Rachel, Day by Day
I thought I’d give you a nice, scenic photo to look at.
In early December 2018, my husband and I found out I was pregnant. We were happy, nervous, and excited about the new baby to come. This child would be our second kid, and I liked imagining our three-year-old son playing with a sibling. I was already going through lists of baby names to see what I liked and making lists to prepare.
WARNING: THE REST OF THE POST MIGHT GET DETAILED, SO PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU DON’T THINK YOU CAN HANDLE IT (SEE TITLE OF POST).
On December 30, I noticed I was spotting in the morning and didn’t think much of it. I read that it can happen during pregnancy. It got worse throughout the day, though, and I was bleeding heavily. Since it was Sunday, the doctor’s office wasn’t open, but I called the emergency line to ask about this. He didn’t want to confirm, but he told me it sounded like a miscarriage.
I went to the doctor’s office the next day where he performed an exam. He couldn’t see much, just a lot of bleeding. So I got a blood test and a bunch of ultrasounds (transvaginal ones hurt me like hell, by the way). That day involved many tests and waiting around, and when I glanced at some paperwork, I couldn’t help noticing it said possible spontaneous abortion. I tensed up when reading those words. At the end of the day, here’s what my doctor concluded:
- My progesterone level was at 2.7 when it should have been between 11-44.
- There was no fetal heart tone.
- My hCG (blood) level was at 2,288.
- I was 6-7 weeks along.
- There was an abnormal appearing intrauterine gestational sac in the upper uterus. There was no fluid around the sac, but a yolk sac was present.
- The due date was August 24.
With all of this information, my doctor still wouldn’t confirm 100% what was going on. For a while, he just kept saying it’s probably a miscarriage. My thought was, if it wasn’t a miscarriage, wouldn’t all of this sound really bad for the baby? The lack of confirmation was freaking me out.
A few days went by and I was still bleeding. I threw a New Year’s Eve party and went to a New Year’s Day party. I wanted to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t think about what was going on behind closed doors, but now that I think about it, it wasn’t the greatest idea. I was hurting physically and emotionally, and it’s hard to ignore that.
I had another doctor’s appointment on January 3 with a different doctor. She confirmed that I had a miscarriage, but it was still going on. She told me I didn’t need a D&C (procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus) since it was early on in my pregnancy. Instead, I could have taken Cytotec, a pill to help induce miscarriage, but she told me it would be very painful. I decided against it that day for some reason. Everything was happening so fast, and I wanted time to think before making any decisions. She scheduled another ultrasound for that Saturday, January 5.
On January 4, I received a call from the doctor with some results. My hCG level was at 162. He didn’t want me taking Cytotec anymore since my level was so low, so I had to wait it out at that point. He cancelled the ultrasound appointment, too. So at this point, it was a waiting game to see when I’d stop bleeding and when my hCG level would get back to zero.
The one thing I didn’t realize until later was that I was technically still pregnant this whole time. Until your hCG level gets back to zero, you are pregnant. If I took a pregnancy test, it would have come back positive. Crazy.
On January 11, the doctor checked me out and wanted another blood test. I was first told I’d be getting a urine test, but that didn’t happen (lots of confusion between doctors I guess). I had to go back another day since the office was pretty much closed and no one was there to do the blood test. Yay. On the plus side, the receptionist said I had beautiful hair, and I should be in a Hallmark movie.
On January 12, I got the blood test done. Yay.
On January 14, I found out my hCG level was at 6. They checked again on January 26 and it finally reached zero. I stopped bleeding on January 11.
I thought everything was over, but weeks later I started bleeding again. I called the doctor and he said it’s rare to get your period that early, so he thought I started bleeding again from the miscarriage. This lasted almost two weeks and I was finally DONE in mid-February.
So, now that I told you my detailed story, I wanted to share my thoughts. During this whole ordeal, my emotions kept going up and down. It was strange doing everyday things like going to work and going to parties while all of that was going on. I was sad, upset, and hurt by all of the confusion and losing my baby, but then I’d feel guilty since it’s a common thing and I already have a son. I was angry when anyone (even the doctors) talked about trying again. Technically I was still pregnant, so why would I be thinking about that at the time?
I wanted to share my story (to whoever reads this) for a reason. I don’t want you to say I’m sorry to me after reading this post. I wanted to share my story because this whole ordeal was extremely confusing to me, and we need to talk about miscarriages more. Why are they such a secret? I had no clue what was going on most of the time, and it was completely frustrating. I didn’t understand any of the terminology (D&C, cytotec, spontaneous abortion), so I had to keep asking, “What is that? What does that mean?” over and over again. I didn’t know you could bleed twice. If we knew more about this and shared our stories, maybe it would be easier to understand.
I also realized during the miscarriage that I needed to grieve. I lost a child that was growing inside of me, and that’s something I’ll think about the rest of my life. There was a while I didn’t cry because I wanted to be brave, but that made grieving even worse. I just broke down one night and hyperventilated in my husband’s arms. It’s still hard to think about August 24, my due date. It felt like a death in the family that no one ever met but I shared a connection with. I imagined how the baby’s room would look. It was strange for a while to see everyone around me moving on when I didn’t. A part of my heart will always be broken when thinking of this baby.
So please, share your stories, thoughts, and feelings on this. I hope the confusion and silence on this will end. We haven’t been talking enough about this subject.