The fate of our Pregnancy (Part 2)

The last two and a half weeks have been the longest of our lives to say the least. I felt completely unprepared and ill-equipped emotionally to deal with what we had undergone. This is our Part 2 of our story since we were last told to prepare for a miscarriage. The day after I wrote that blog, I was hopeful I would remain sane, calm, cool, collected and patient. After we decided to make our private business, public, in the hopes of prayers, we were overwhelmed with supportive messages from so many people in our lives, including words of inspiration for those maybe who had a similar experience.

“Prayer was key,” I told myself.

That weekend, our family took sometime to decompress and get rest. I had been an emotional wreck on Friday, uncontrollably sobbing, stopping, sobbing, then stopping. I was pretty drained on Saturday. To top it all off, I had the largest spike in morning sickness I had felt, and it completely incapacitated me. I woke up with hunger pains as if I had not eaten in days, to the point I was lightheaded and couldn’t sit up right. I would eat, only for the nausea to stay, but turn into an angry “What did you eat?!” In reality, all I was able to take down was Life Cereal and Almond Milk and the occasional box of mac and cheese. This lasted ALL DAY until I fell asleep. My fatigue was so bad, I could barely function after 12 noon. One day went by, then two, then five, and by the following Friday, I had not left my bed for more than four hours in more than a week.

In another hope to get a second opinion, we scheduled an abdominal ultrasound on Friday after we had our first ’empty ultrasound.’ We were hopeful this time. We didn’t just pray, we didn’t just hope, but we HOPED HARD. We could not wait for this second opinion and were SURE that the doctor had gotten it wrong. It had been a week and I still didn’t miscarry. I had read numerous stories of misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum of fetuses that were found a week later. We got to this appointment almost 45 mins early. It wasn’t a medical center, only a non-diagnostic ultrasound place. I sat quietly eating my Granny Smith Apples in the waiting room trying to hold my emotions together. I had also figured out by then that Altoids help with my nausea, and I had one clutched close to prepare.

It was our turn. We followed the tech into the the ultrasound room. She was friendly, though we didn’t tell her much about our story. As she got started, I felt the cold gel on my belly and waited. She searched, she moved, and searched. I clutched Justin’s hand tight.

“Did the doctor tell you they had seen a yolk sac?” the technician said.

Gulp. “Yes.” I answered. She kept looking. A few mins later…

“Okay, I see it, barely a yolk, but I am so sorry, I can’t see an embryo.”

She must have seen the look in my eyes, as she started to tear and offered us another follow up visit for free. She tried to instill some hope, but at the end of that visit we both left upset and angry. Angry at everything. Angry at the situation. We hadn’t been ready to talk to any friends at this point and it felt like this moved our strength back even further.

I didn’t speak for the whole day. I slept. I couldn’t do much else anyways as my nausea was painful and debilitating. Getting downstairs was difficult most moments. I couldn’t stand the smell of the kitchen or the refrigerator. I let time pass and we just slept through most of the weekend. I felt hopeless. I questioned my faith. I questioned the purpose of this situation. It might have been the hormones, but I also started going down a dark path of why women (any woman) would every deserve to go through this. Our once rising spirits were cut down.

Monday started another week, and one week closer to our final appointment with our OB GYN. I had just found enough energy to sit at my desk, only to take one trip to the bathroom and find blood. I was sure this was it. It was the second instance of blood. I was feeling horrible. I started to tell myself that my stomach pains must have been cramps, and I just didn’t know the difference. An hour later, Mesa, my college puppy adopted by my parents and bother was being put down after 15 years. I was so overwhelmed with negativity, I had no feelings. I SHUT DOWN. I felt nothing, and after calling the nurse line to log my symptoms of bleeding, I was told to head straight to Urgent Care.

I had given up at this point. They took me in quickly. He did an exam, but no ultrasound. Asked me about my bleeding, and then old me that the odd thing is he doesn’t see my cervix preparing for any type of miscarriage and ordered a panel of blood tests for me. One of those blood tests included HCG count. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone normally produced by the placenta. If you are pregnant, you can detect it in your urine. Blood tests measuring hCG levels can also be used to check how well your pregnancy is progressing, including your baby’s development.

I went home. I had written it off. I had no more room for false hope. I still prayed. I repented. I apologized to God about questioning the path, and just accepted my fate. Within 2 hours, I received a call from the Urgent Care Doctor.


“Yes, Michaella, this is Dr. Smith. I wanted to make sure I called you before the end of the day. I don’t know if you’ve already seen your test results, but your HCG is very high. You have a 140,000+ HCG count which is more consistent with a viable pregnancy. If I had to put my money on it, you have some high chances of a viable pregnancy. I am not sure why your OB didn’t order these tests before since it’s pretty standard practice, but we will send them to her asap.”

WHAT!??!?!??!?! What is he saying? I don’t think I could handle this emotional roller coaster. I told Justin immediately, and of course, he was skeptical. We had gone through so much false hope, this seemed unreal. And of course, it didn’t last long after more googling. High HCG could mean a lot of things, but it didn’t SOLIDIFY a viable pregnancy. I realize that now too, considering that Urgent Care doctor was not an OB. I chalked it up to at least being the explanation of why my morning sickness and stomach pain had been so high…I was pumping 2-3xs the hormones than usual. At this point, I was adamant and angry at my OB. I wanted answers, I wanted answers now, and I was not going to wait another week and a half to find out if I had miscarried by then. I BLEW UP MY OB’S Email.

My HCG tests came in and it was high. What does this mean? It shows that I am now at risk for a molar pregnancy, did you rule this out? I haven’t miscarried, what is this supposed to look like?

She responded simply with, “I have put in an urgent order for an ultrasound for your to go into radiology to check on this. Please feel free to walk into radiology this week.”

GLADLY! I thought.

I was able to schedule an ultrasound two days later on Friday, August 21, 10:10 am in Moreno Valley. I prayed hard at this point. Not to see a baby, but to give me the strength to accept the results. I prayed to bless all those how had also supported and loved us unconditionally during this time who we haven’t even had a chance to thank personally.

Justin wasn’t available, so my dad had taken the day off to drive me. I was still weak and also nauseous. Not to mention, we were preparing to see an empty sac, and I was ready to lose my “$h!t” and would need some emotional support.

I walked in, right on time. I took a number and I was called in within 10 minutes. The technician was calming. I was so anxious, but it was nice to hear a friendly voice. I laid down. She started the ultrasound, but I could not see the screen.

The technician prodded and typed. Prodded, and typed. She paused. She squinted at the screen. She typed. This went on for several minutes. I closed my eyes, holding back tears, and prayed…

“Dear Lord, please hold my hand and provide me with the strength I need to accept this moment.”

And immediately felt a calm come over me. EXHALE.

I see the technician turn the screen over to me slowly.

“There it is, your little baby with a flickering heartbeat.”


My ears rang. Before I can get a word out, my tears were streaming out. My hands were shaking as they covered my face. I was breathing heavily, and struggled to get a word out as I sobbed.

The technician looked at me with blank eyes unsure what was happening. I responded to her with the little breath I had, my head in my hands…

“I was told I was going to miscarry and there would’t be a baby. I just can’t believe this. How’s the heartbeat?” SOB. SOB. SOB.

She responds that she sees a strong heartbeat with a fetus measuring 8 weeks and 1 day. It turns out I also have a retroverted uterus which is why she said my doctor would not have seen the baby, and asked if I was told that. No, I was not. I also don’t remember much after that moment, other than I was thanking God, believing in the power of prayer, and ready to go home.

I ran out into the parking lot to see my dad outside the car. I ran to him sobbing and inaudibly saying, “They found the baby!!!”

He starts to tear up, gives me a hug and says “Is that a good thing?” – after retelling this story, I realized he had no idea what I was saying (love my dad).

It was a GREAT thing. I am renewed in my faith. I am overwhelmed by the power of love and prayer from the people around us. I feel blessed. I feel nauseous, but I feel a sense of purpose. Our miscarriage rate just dropped dramatically seeing that heartbeat. I am so thankful for all of the people in our lives right now who checked in on us, prayed for us, and hoped for us.

I am renewed to be so much more positive that even during a time of COVID where we cannot see the people we love often, people were there for us. So I leave this note with this.

Thank you for your support, your love, your prayers. No matter what the ending would have been and what it will be in the future, your distant support and your place in my life is needed and valuable. Thank you for filling our our lives for everything we need at any time. We love you. We’re grateful for you. And we are also here for you. So here we are now, taking in every day, bringing in Everly into this joy, and hoping the best for the rest of this pregnancy.

We are far from the finish line, and with only at 8 weeks and 4 days, we have a long way to go before we are in the clear. We are going to celebrate this openly and share this blessing with you, no matter what we see from here…

PS – We had to tell Everly. Mostly because she kept asking me if I was dying because I was “always sick.” 🙂

They Told Me to Prepare for a Miscarriage

I should start by saying that I haven’t shared any of this with many people (including my family), so if I work with you and you see this, it’s because I trust you and would appreciate confidentiality as I haven’t shared this with my boss either.  

I internally debated myself about sharing this story and announcement this way.  I am typically a very realistic person, which at times, can be void of optimism.  I will also add that situations like this don’t always find a cozy, natural, and comfy place in my emotions and my mind that allow me to share my feelings and words verbally.  Sometimes, my emotions are extremely delayed and  I have a really bad habit of internalizing and pushing forward without much discussion of my feelings.  So instead of doing that in this situation, Justin and I thought that written word might be the best therapy for me.  It will also be a way to let the people I care about into our journey.  And so our story goes…

The last few years, I have been mostly preoccupied with work and Everly as most of my story goes.  Neither slowed down, and it always made having a second child seem like “not the right time.”   My career continued to morph and grow, as did Justin’s career path.  Everly required more and more from us as she grew into a toddler who needed a lot of stimulation and learning opportunities.  My life seemed like there could not be any extra time for another child.  But, being the softy that Justin is, he loves being a dad, and didn’t want our family to stop growing.  I didn’t either, but I may have had more reservations given the scare I had with my last delivery. However, time was tickin’…. AND I COMPLETELY HATE THAT AGE MATTERS, but at the end of the day it does.  I was in my mid-thirties and it was time to try again before it got harder.  We had always planned for 2020 to be the year.  (HA – seems absolutely ridiculous given our current COVID climate, but at this point, there was never going to be a good time).

I had started to track my LH to track my ovulation – I know, so romantic-  and we found my LH to be extremely low.  At that point, after 3 months, I didn’t get my hopes up that this would be as easy as the first time.  Fast forward 5 months later, however, on July 20, there it was, two lines.  

I tested again, another two lines.  They were faint, but they were there.  

I can’t say I was as excited I was when I was pregnant with Everly.  I was scared this time.  I thought it was the hormones and planned my announcement to Justin.

I left a print out on the kitchen table.  It read…

“I double checked the finish line.  The results are official.  We have a winner!”

It was a happy and cautious moment for me, and Justin was so happy.  We decided to hold off telling Everly (she still does not know), until we got a confirmation from the doctor.   

Almost immediately that week I experienced fatigue and major hunger pains.  I could not stop myself from eating every 2 hours.  It felt that pregnancy symptoms were underway, and based on my LMP, I was due March 23.  We shared this news with our parents and siblings for support and prayers.  I may have been protecting myself from disappointment because of fear from the last delivery and my LH levels.  I continued to take a pregnancy test almost every other day.  

“Okay, still pregnant.”    

We were not scheduled for an ultrasound until August 7.  This would have estimated me to be about 7 weeks and 5 days gestational age.    We waited patiently 3 weeks for that, knowing that this would relieve our feelings.  

If I could just see that baby and hear a heartbeat…I prayed every day. 

I asked our family to pray.  I still felt nausea and hunger.  But, somedays I just felt “not myself” vs “pregnant.” I still told myself this is all in my head.  Then, on August 5 (only 2 days away from our Ultrasound), I bled.  It was only a small amount, but I panicked, of course, and immediately called the doctor.  They asked a lot of questions about IVF, if I had an ectopic pregnancy before, and if I had been experiencing cramps.  Luckly, with no other symptoms, I was told to go on bed rest and continue to monitor and to go to the ER immediately if symptoms got worse. I calmed my fears and slept.  I tried my best to be positive.  I was still fatigued and nauseous.  The next day, I continued to rest.  I worked as normal, but abstained from my normal cycling or running routine.  I continued to spot, but it seemed to subside.  Later that evening, I took a nap, and woke up to go to the bathroom to find a lot more blood.  

I wept in the bathroom.  I was scared and felt defeated.  I am not usually a crier (validated by Justin), but I lost it.  I was having trouble catching my breath and felt completely out of control.  All Justin could do was hold me and say, “It will be okay.”   Once I calmed down, I called the after hours advice center to let them know that I had bled more.  This time, the nurse was not as optimistic.  It felt as if I was being prepared to miscarry that night.

“I’m going to go over with you some information about ectopic pregnancies, okay?” He said.

At this point, it made no sense to head to the ER with an Ultrasound scheduled the next day at 11 am. I prepared myself to miscarry that night and braced myself for cramps.  I fell asleep.  I woke up and realized we made it through the night.  I did not have cramps,  I did continue to bleed, but it looked old.  The morning went on, and we didn’t speak much, but prepared for our appointment.  

I don’t know what I was expecting.  I can hear people telling me to be optimistic and hopeful, knowing that my mind doesn’t work like that.  I can’t hold on to false hope without any facts and the call from the night before felt like a bad foreshadow in a movie.  But I tried.  I arrived at the Dr. office.  They called me in as I waited patiently in a room.  Covered up, next to the ultrasound machine, I was anxious. 

The Doctor walks in and asks how I am doing.  I immediately flood her with information.

“I have been bleeding for 3 days.”

“I have been feeling nauseous and hungry, though.”

“I had a bad first delivery – Cholestasis, dangerous high-blood pressure, and lost 20% of my oxygen saturation.”

“No I didn’t get a transfusion.”

“Yes, I did get infected during delivery.”

I watched her face to see if I can gauge her reaction.  “I see,” she says, “well, let’s see what’s happening.”

She starts the Ultrasound procedure.  I should note that because of Covid, I am in a mask and Justin was not allowed in the building.  I was prepared to Facetime him.

I close my eyes because I am scared to see what’s on the Ultrasound screen. 

The doctor is quiet.  She takes one “screen shot,” and then says,

“I don’t think you’ll be Facetiming today.  There’s nothing here to see, unfortunately.”

The room spun.  My heart stopped.  Part of me anticipated this, but it hurt, and there was no emotional preparing for it.  

There was a gestational sac and a yolk sac…but there was no fetus.  One had not developed.  She told me I likely have a Blighted Ovum and I may expect to miscarry.  It happens in 50% of miscarriages.  She told me that this happens frequently, and while it’s not great news, I should know it’s natural and unavoidable.  She explained that it’s due to chromosomal abnormalities.  I think I zoned out at this point.  She said, “Do you have any questions?”

“Yes, what do I do now?”

She said that I will likely miscarry naturally in the next 2 weeks.  I will experience some cramping and bleeding.  I should be okay doing this at home, but if I have extreme pain or bleeding that I should go to the ER.  She told me to rest with minimal activity until then.  She would schedule a follow-up Ultrasound in 2-3 weeks to make sure that “everything had cleared out of my system” and if it had not, that I would need to do a “D&C.”

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. Doctors perform dilation and curettage to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage.

I think she saw me turn white at that point as I asked her, “Are there any other chances?”

“There is a chance that your fetal pole could develop, however, it will likely be a delayed and slow growth which would make this an abnormal pregnancy or that we could have miscalculated your gestational age and you’re just not as far along as 8 weeks.”

“What are the chances that I am just behind?” I asked.

She winced and awkwardly responded with, “Well, it’s not zero, but let’s focus on you getting rest and just making sure that you are monitoring your symptoms.  It’s not in your favor that you are bleeding, but the chances aren’t zero.  Even if you are miscarrying, you will still feel your pregnancy symptoms so take care of yourself.”

I don’t remember the rest of the visit.  I have a hard time holding on to “your chances are not zero.”  I was still confused, upset, and sad.  The doctor had made it clear not to get my hopes up as I walked out of the room, and had said “apologies for this circumstance.”

I had nothing to say to Justin.  Only a text that said…

I spent the rest of the day in bed, trying to wrap my head around what just happened.  I got some rest when I could, but continued to feel nausea, though my hunger pains were gone.  We were both AGAIN for the second time, preparing for me to miscarry any day.

I couldn’t sleep.  So, in true Mica fashion, I started to Google Blighted Ovum, 7 weeks no fetal pole, 8 weeks no fetal pole.  I wanted to know every single thing I could that was happening to me.  And I found something I didn’t think I would find: Success Stories.

There were floods of posts and stories about women in the exact same position.  They had seen no fetus at week 7 or 8 only to find out 2 weeks later that there is a little developed fetus with a strong heartbeat because they either had irregular cycles and ovulated later.  As I did more research, this seemed to happen about 50% of the time.  I continued to read for 4 hours.  I didn’t want to hold on to false hope.  I shared these stories with Justin, and we have a little new sense of hope.  There’s nothing that can prepare you for this up and down.  I am irregular, I do ovulate later than most women, and it seemed like there absolutely was a chance that the Ultrasound was just done too early.  We won’t know for sure, of course for 3 more weeks.  Our next appointment is not until August 28.  However, we hope by holding onto these successful stories and sharing this with people we love to send prayers our way, we have ONE MORE shot at making this pregnancy work.  We know this is unorthodox to share something like this so early and this way, but we know we can’t do this alone.  (And I suck at talking about it).  

So yes, they told me to prepare for miscarriage.  And I will follow doctor’s orders and keep to my realistic situation, but we hope the ending of this story is not the real ending…

Please send your prayers and love as we hope that our hope has not ended.

Much love,

The MicShaws