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Our second loss – a missed miscarriage

July 21st of 2016 I woke up and felt a little flu-like. I decided I’d take a test, but didn’t expect anything from it. I jumped in the shower, started getting dressed, and then remembered I’d left the test in the bathroom and hadn’t checked it. To my surprise, there was a line again. I couldn’t believe it. It had been 15 months since our last positive, and I fully expected that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant without IVF. I mean, we had planned to start IVF the very next day. This had to be a total God thing, right?

I made a doctor’s appointment, still in shock. They confirmed that I was in fact pregnant again, but my progesterone and estrogen were low. So they prescribed hormones for me to take. This isn’t totally strange, as some women have to take hormones throughout their entire pregnancy.

Over the next several weeks, we had at least one to two ultrasounds and blood tests a week. We saw the heartbeat, and watched the baby grow and the heartbeat get stronger. We had some moments along the way where the doctor would get a little worried about a blood test or measurement, but then assured us things were fine. As we passed each marker, I was more and more excited. Once we saw the baby in the uterus, we knew it wasn’t ectopic. Big relief. Once we heard the heartbeat, we knew the chances of miscarriage decreased from 20% to 5-10%. So great chance we had a healthy baby! Yes, we’re on the right track!
SIDE NOTE: With a regular ob-gyn, you wouldn’t have as many check-ups and ultrasounds that early. Since I’m at a fertility specialist, and I had an ectopic pregnancy, we had a lot more frequent visits. 

By this point, we had told all of our immediate family and our closest friends. Around 9 ½ weeks, we figured we were in the clear to share our news with our extended family. We were far enough along that the chances of miscarriage had dropped to 3-5%. The baby was the size of a grape, had all of his/her essential body parts, had eyes, and was starting to grow teeth. So why not share our happy news?

Labor Day weekend we had a get together with one side of my extended family (someone had already spilled the beans on the other side of the family). We played a game where we ended up sharing the news in the middle of the game, and everyone was so excited. We got it on video and everything. And then I sent out the video to anyone else that didn’t know. It was perfect. We were so excited. That weekend I signed up for a baby registry online, and started searching for cribs. I had a feeling it was a boy and I started ordering onesies and maternity clothes.

Two days after our reveal, I had another ultrasound. At this point, we had done at least one a week for 5 weeks, so we knew what to expect. Reid had a big meeting at work, so I told him not to worry about going. It would be the usual, we’d see the baby and all would be good. Yeah, not so much. I went in and laid on the table. The doctor and nurse came in, we chatted, and began the ultrasound. The nurse started it, and the reading came up 8 weeks 3 days. Wait a second, that’s what it said last time. So the doctor stepped in to try. He sat there for a second and then put his hand on my leg. He said in a soft voice “Abby…” I said “please don’t say it” and he responded “I’m sorry, but there’s no longer a heartbeat.” I lost it. I think I stopped breathing. How could this happen? How could we be getting bad news again? How could my perfect baby with a heartbeat of 174 suddenly die? The doctor started explaining to me what all this meant, and what our next steps were. We went into his office and called Reid. He stepped out of his meeting, expecting to hear good news. I said “I need you to get to some place where you can talk” and he immediately knew it was bad news. The doctor explained to Reid that we had lost the baby. At this point, he really wasn’t sure why this happened.

So, what do we do now? He told us that we were far enough along where he didn’t want me to “pass” the baby naturally. So we needed to schedule a D&C to remove the baby from my uterus. In doing that, we would also be able to run tests on the tissue to determine what happened. I wanted to schedule the procedure immediately. Apparently, I had already been carrying a baby who was no longer alive for a week. I didn’t want this to go on any longer than it had to. We scheduled the D&C for the next morning.

The doctor was so amazing. I don’t even know how long we sat in his office while I cried. And then he gave me a big hug and asked if I’d like to slip out the back door. I got in the car and called my mom. She was so used to the weekly updates by this point, that she answered the phone all cheery. I just burst into tears and said “there’s no more heartbeat. The baby died.” Those were difficult words to say. And by her response, I think they were just as difficult to hear. Once we both calmed down, she said she was going to head to our house soon. I sat in the parking lot and called my dad. I called my best friend, Denise. And then I called my boss, Julie, so she could cover my meetings that day. By that point I had told 4 people (5 including Reid) that our baby had died. I couldn’t do it anymore. I asked all of the people that I told to spread the word. I couldn’t believe we were here. We had seen our baby, we had heard the heartbeat, I had picked out a crib. Is this really happening??

That day was one of the worst days of my life. Reid came home from work shortly after and we both had a good ugly cry. We were just in disbelief. Things were going so well. And we got pregnant the day before we were supposed to start IVF. God was definitely sending us a signal, but it wasn’t the one I had really hoped and prayed for. Throughout the day I went from crying hysterically to staring at the TV in a daze and back again. I had finally gotten to the point where I was really relaxing more about the pregnancy and was truly happy and looking forward to the future. And with one phrase it was all ripped away: “there’s no heartbeat.” I don’t wish that moment on my worst enemy.

My mom, my sister, and Denise all came and sat with us that day. Neither of us knew what to do, so it was nice to have people around to “take care of us”… they made sure we ate, and Denise called my ob-gyn to cancel my appointment. Oh yeah, so we were at the point where we were to start transitioning from the fertility doctor to our regular ob-gyn, which is a big deal. I had our first appointment set up for the following week. And I just didn’t have it in me to call and cancel. While the 3 of them were there, they also went around our house and collected all of the baby items I had bought and was gifted. I had books, onesies, stuffed animals, pregnancy journals, ultrasound pictures, etc. I wanted everything stuffed in a box and put out of my sight.  

The next morning we went in for the D&C. All of our parents were there for moral support. I don’t think I spoke much before or after. I just couldn’t believe this was happening. The doctor came in to talk to us before and we had our list of questions: What would this mean for our future fertility? What does he think happened? Could something I did have caused this to happen? When would we get the results? What are the chances of this happening again? Some he had answers to, some he didn’t. But he was patient with us while we went through our list and addressed them the best he could at the time.

The procedure was fairly quick (at least for me, it may have been much longer in the waiting room). I woke up in pain. They gave me some morphine, as I asked that I “not feel anything for the rest of the day – physically or emotionally” and man, that shit works. I went home and felt fine that day. I had a project for work that weekend, so I was determined to distract myself with that as much as I physically could. I had to accept where we were and that the future we had been planning for was no longer a reality right now. 


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