Today, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and the month of October is designated Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan first dedicated this month in October 1988.
October 15th is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, still birth, SIDS or the death of a newborn. Each year this day is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle-lighting vigils.
My Miscarriage Story
In April 2016, I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks, 2 days gestation. It had been 1,208 days since we started trying to have a family, that is 3 years, 3 months and 22 days. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been pregnant, and my heart broke into a million pieces.
After trying to conceive naturally and with medical assistance, we decided to begin the IVF (in-vitro fertilization) process as our last resort in 2016.
We had a successful egg retrieval and decided to transfer two frozen embryos, the two highest quality, on March 8, 2016.
After a few days of bed rest, I went back to normal life. Nine days after my FET (frozen embryo transfer), I was scheduled to get a blood draw to see if I was pregnant. I know lots of women start taking home pregnancy tests every day after their transfer, but I refrained from doing this since I knew it would drive me nuts. However, while I was waiting for my blood results to come back, I could not stand it any longer and took a home pregnancy test. It was POSITIVE! My blood draw also confirmed that I was pregnant!
I took another home pregnancy test two days later, and then had my second blood draw two days after that. Still pregnant! However, my blood test results did not have the numbers my doctor was hoping for. This was the first sign that things were not progressing as it should be.
Two weeks later, I returned to my doctor’s office for our first ultrasound. This was super exciting for me because we should be able to hear a heartbeat. Look! It’s my old friend Wanda!
We found out that only one of the embryos stuck. The other one did not make it to implantation. We were able to hear a heartbeat but the doctor pointed out that the ultrasound was also not as expected because the area around the embryo was so small. If you look at the ultrasound, the black area surrounding the embryo is usually much larger than this.
I headed back home after and carried on. There was nothing to do but see what happens. Although my doctor did give us an indication that the pregnancy might not progress normally, all we could do was hope for the best.
Hubby took my very first baby bump photo for me at 6 weeks gestation.
Two weeks after my first ultrasound, I was scheduled to see my OBGYN who would be taking over care of my pregnancy. We had a long conversation about what to expect in terms of my prenatal care, and at the end of my appointment, she wanted to look at the baby with a portable ultrasound machine. I knew something was wrong because there was no heartbeat coming from the machine. She didn’t show me any pictures of the baby and then she said she wanted to send me to the high-powered ultrasound machine. I waited and was taken to the ultrasound room later. The ultrasound tech did not really say anything to me and again, I heard nothing from the machine in terms of the heartbeat. The tech sent me back to the exam room, and I was told to wait for the doctor.
That is when I finally got the news. The baby had basically stopped developing right after my first ultrasound and it had no heartbeat. It was shocking and crushing to hear this. Even though we had been warned and I kind of knew something was off today, I was so sad.
Going through something like this is so difficult but then to have to decide what to do next is truly the worst. The doctor gave me three options: wait, undergo a procedure or use medication. For me, I could not fathom walking around with my dead baby inside of me for an unknown time period and I would rather try the noninvasive approach first before undergoing another procedure.
I left the office with a dose of misoprostol to induce miscarriage at home. I remember having a number of events that weekend including my friend’s bachelorette party and bridal shower. I decided to wait until I came home from the bridal shower to medically start my miscarriage. It happened relatively quickly and I felt pretty normal physically later that day, but the mental effects of having a miscarriage stayed with me.
For me the worst part of having the miscarriage was how it affected my second pregnancy. I came to terms that my first pregnancy was not viable, but the prospect that something could go wrong at any time haunted my second pregnancy.
Every time I entered an ultrasound room, I had a deep fear that there was not going to be a heartbeat. I bought myself a pregnancy journal but could not bring myself to write in it out of fear that the pregnancy would not make it to term. I did not buy anything for my twins until after my baby shower because I was afraid that there would not be any babies to use the items.
I went through my entire pregnancy with fear and I wish that my miscarriage had not robbed me of the joy that being pregnant should have given me.
Miscarriage is so, so common. In fact, one in four pregnancies result in a miscarriage, but it is seldom talked about. I hope by sharing my story that we, as women, can be more open about this issue and support each other through the difficulties of pregnancy loss.