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