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Recovering from the Second Loss

As you can imagine, the recovery was difficult. With our first loss, I was starting a huge 400-person move (that’s my job, move coordination) the next day. Naturally, I had to hand that one over. The day that my grandma suddenly passed away, I was starting a project and had to hand that one over. So I had a pattern that I was determined to break. As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I had a move starting the day after my D&C. It was for a company that I used to work for, Greater Houston Partnership, so not only did I not want to miss it personally, emotionally I just needed to accomplish something. And do something where I felt I was in control of the outcome. My boss and co-workers are so wonderful. They knew that I wouldn’t be 100% for the moves, but also wouldn’t keep me from doing them as they knew that’s where I felt I needed to be. So they filled in all the gaps. I was able to be a part of it where I could, but was still in some pain from the procedure so I couldn’t be near as involved as I hoped (and quickly learned it’s not a good idea to be on your feet for hours after taking a Tramadol.) The move went well, thanks in large part to them, and I felt like I was able to change the pattern a bit and have a “win.”

My boss had a conversation with me a couple days later and asked that I take a couple weeks off, paid. She knew I was avoiding dealing with the loss, and had seen how much the last one affected me. I reluctantly agreed. What was I going to do for 2 weeks? I certainly didn’t just want to sit around and feel sorry for myself. So I made plans. I thought about the things I would enjoy doing, and I planned to do them. I redecorated part of our house, I went shopping with my mother-in-law to decorate their new home, I had lunches and mani/pedis with friends. I entered a phase where I wanted everything to be “different”. I died my hair red. Reid started growing a beard (that was more to do with the Cubs, but still, it was a change that I welcomed with open arms.) I bought a new couch (I wanted a new house, but Reid thought that was a bit much.) I was determined not to get back to that place that I was this time last year.

My mom’s best friend found a therapist who specializes in infertility and pregnancy loss. The day after my D&C I went to see the counselor that I had seen earlier that year, but I realized I really needed something a little different this time (there’s that word “different” again.) I started seeing Julie, the new therapist, the week after the D&C. And it was a world of difference. She talks to women every day who have gone through the same struggles we were facing. So she knows how to best help you to work through those feelings. She also runs a support group once a month and invited me to attend, which I happily accepted. I had been through this once where I tried to conquer it without asking for help. I knew that wasn’t the way to go. If people offered help, I gladly accepted.

The next couple of weeks, I really tried to let myself be sad when I felt sad, and not stuff it in. But I refused to get stuck there. I would have my cry (sometimes I would “schedule” it for later, if it wasn’t a good time – great suggestion from my therapist), and then I would get up and do something. Or add to my list of things I’m grateful for. The silver lining of going through tough times like these, at least for me, was that I saw how much support I had around me. And I truly felt it.

Exactly 3 weeks after our loss, we went in to the fertility doctor to read the results of the products of conception (POC) test that they did to determine what happened. Reid and I talked prior to the appointment, and I said I really wanted to know the sex of the baby. He didn’t. He said for him it would change it from “losing a baby” to “losing a son or daughter,” and would be even harder to process. I get that. So we agreed not to find out. We sit down in the doctor’s office and he flips the screen around to show us our results. Right there in the middle it says “MALE.” Welp, there goes that plan (not my doctor’s fault, we should have said that up front.) He goes on to explain that the baby was a triploidy, which means that the baby had three sets of chromosomes, and would have never lived. The good news is this is not typically a recurring problem, and there’s nothing we could have done to change the outcome. He explains that there are a couple different ways a triploidy can happen. One is if two sperm fertilize one egg, or the sperm has two sets of chromosomes in it already. The other is if the egg didn’t divide correctly after being fertilized by the sperm. The doctor believes ours was the latter. (Paraphrasing here, definitely not medical definitions.)

Of course we asked the doctor “where do we go from here?” He responded by asking what we thought was best. I felt that us getting pregnant the day before we were to start IVF showed us that we could get pregnant on our own again, and I wasn’t ready for IVF. So we agreed to try for 6 months, but then the doctor wanted us to come back and talk about IVF again if we weren’t pregnant at that point. So another deadline. He also mentioned that my HCG (the main pregnancy hormone) needed to get back to zero before we were able to try again. So we began more blood tests.  

After we left the doctor, I did more research on triploidy babies. In doing that, I learned that triploidy occurs in 1-3% of confirmed pregnancies. If you haven’t figured it out by now, we tend to hit all the small odds. I also learned that 2/3 of triploidy pregnancies are lost in the first trimester, but the other third happen later in the pregnancy, or after birth. But ultimately, the child cannot survive with three sets of chromosomes. So I consider it a blessing that we lost the baby when we did. That’s terrible, but I believe it would have been even harder if it happened later in the pregnancy. And it’s good to have answers and know what happened.

So for the next 3 months I went in to the doctor each week for more blood tests. My HCG very slowly went down. So slowly that it was 12 weeks later before we were back at zero. I was so frustrated because I was ready to get a start on that next deadline, and kept being told we couldn’t. Looking back, I think I needed that time to really process the loss. 


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