Monday, August 17, 2015

The First. The Second. Then Our Rainbow Baby

My favorite family picture.
I've been meaning to write about my miscarriages for such a long time now. I'm not sure what was holding me back, but I do know that I want to share my experience because reading about other women's miscarriages helped me get through mine. I hope that my words will help others in the same way.

My husband and I decided we were ready to become parents in November of 2012. I knew very little about the science behind getting pregnant. We had spent most of our early adulthood fearing an accidental pregnancy that it seemed silly to fear infertility. I went off the pill. We were both healthy young adults. That should have been enough, right?


The First

On a whim, I took a pregnancy test in February 2013. It was 2am, and through my blurry eyes I saw a pink line grow darker and darker. I thought about all the clever ways I would tell Hubby. Instead, I just ran into the bedroom and shouted, "I'm pregnant! You're going to be a dad!" He woke up panicked, thinking that the house was on fire. We exchanged a quick embrace and kiss and fell back asleep. I couldn't believe that we had gotten pregnant so quickly.

I went to my doctor's office the next day during my lunch break to confirm the pregnancy. This would be the first of numerous times I would have to pee in a cup. I received a phone call with my test results that afternoon. The nurse stated that the test was negative, but to not worry as it was most likely due to the fact that my hormone levels were still low, especially in the middle of the day. She recommended that I return a week later and go in the morning.

I took several more pregnancy tests the following days at home to confirm what my body was already telling me. At this point, my period was already 17 days late. My chest was so sore that I could barely wear a t-shirt. I needed to pee every two hours and my appetite was out of control. After dinner every night, my stomach extended because of extra bloating. I downloaded a pregnancy app on my phone and started a Pinterest board titled "For Future Little One" that included pins of nursery color schemes and parenting techniques. I had no concerns and was excited to finally get it on record that I was pregnant so that I could schedule an ultrasound.

The urine test came back negative again. They decided that perhaps a blood test would be more accurate. I went back to work and waited hours to hear the results. Yet another negative result. I ran into my friend's office and sank on the floor in tears. She was kind enough to call another clinic to find out if I could be tested again as she had heard before of pregnant women with false negatives. I stayed at work, thinking that there was still hope. Shortly after, I went to the bathroom and saw blood.

On the way home, I called my husband in tears to tell him that I had lost the baby. I crawled into bed and stayed there the rest of the day with Bella. Hubby came home and held me for a bit before I finally fell asleep. I woke up in such pain. My body was disposing of what it no longer needed and it was excruciating.

I called the doctor's office the next morning. They directed me to the women's clinic on post where I miserably sat in a waiting room surrounded by glowing women with their growing bellies. Since my pregnancy was never documented officially, the doctor told me that it was just normal period blood and I did not have a miscarriage. Stunned, I asked him how it was possible that I had all the pregnancy symptoms and three positive home tests. He said that some women who have been trying to get pregnant for a long time may fake symptoms enough to have a hysterical pregnancy. He ended with, "We can't help you. This clinic is only for pregnant women, and you're not pregnant."

I left discouraged and confused. I made an appointment with another doctor so that I could receive some sort of explanation to my positive home pregnancy tests. This doctor, a woman, was more sympathetic and confirmed what I knew all along. I was pregnant. Something was wrong with the baby and my body let go.

My husband and I went shopping that weekend. He saw a book he wanted to buy for our future child. His response to my miscarriage was more hopeful. We had been able to get pregnant. That was the good news. I, however, was just angry at the world.


The Second.

I downloaded ovulation apps and period trackers on my phone. Trying to get pregnant consumed my life. Every month I would take a pregnancy test as soon as I could. Pregnancy symptoms and PMS symptoms are remarkably similar, which is a terrible mindf*ck. I had a pregnant patient come in the office with the same due date of what would have been mine. It was a struggle holding back my tears and act excited for her.

Finally, on November 1st, the test came back positive. I put a sign around Bella's neck saying that she was going to be a big sister the following July and sent her to my husband. He had just decided that he was leaving the Army. Our future was uncertain. We laughed at this less than perfect timing. We cried the happiest tears.

Two weeks later, I spotted a little bit of blood. We went to the Emergency Room to make sure that the baby was okay. After a three hour wait, I was finally taken back to get an ultrasound. The technician gave a short introduction: "My name is Veronica. Don't ask to see the screen. I can't show you anything. Don't ask any questions. I can't answer them." I hated her.

(Veronica ended up being one of my patients later on and she was the sweetest woman. She didn't remember me, but she told me how she hates that part of her job when she can't find a heartbeat and isn't able to comfort her patients. I was so excited to tell her later on when I was pregnant again.)

The doctor who spoke to me about my results was not any kinder. My cervix was still intact, but there was no heartbeat. "It's probably still too early. You're only six weeks pregnant. Everything looks fine. Come back for a follow up appointment tomorrow."

Little Miss gets hundreds of kisses a day.
My husband couldn't stay with me at the follow up appointment. It had been yet another three hour wait and he had to return to work. I sent him away, reassuring him that I would be just fine. Dr. Guidry came into the room with a solemn look. He explained to me that the pregnancy was most likely not viable as the gestational sac and yolk was not the proper size. That plus low HCG levels and the lack of a heartbeat meant that I needed to prepare for another miscarriage.

He wanted me to return in a week for another ultrasound and HCG count before we made any decisions. I let my coworkers and bosses know about the situation because I would no doubt be missing work. A week later, I was bleeding again. I called my boss to let him know that I would have to miss work again. He asked me if I found anyone to cover my job. I was losing my second baby. Work was not a concern for me at this point.

Before Dr. Guidry could even do an ultrasound, he let me know that "this was it." This was the miscarriage we had been waiting for. But wait! The sac had grown. There was still no heartbeat, but there was hope. He was amazed.

The following week, I started bleeding profusely at work. It was enough to saturate a pad. I was also cramping badly. It was a busy day and I didn't want to leave my coworkers so I asked around for Tylenol and answered a few phone calls with tears in my eyes. I eventually left the office after persuasion from my coworkers, but before I left a patient's mom stopped me and spoke to me about a fundraiser for her son. I had to act as if everything was perfectly fine.

I met my husband in the Emergency Room. At this point I was in agonizing pain that started from my lower back and wrapped around my stomach. Hours passed in the waiting room. They had to draw some blood from me and my terribly small veins were not giving a single drop. I was poked three times before they found a good vein. I was in tears.

The nurse tried to comfort me by saying, "I know it's a big needle, sweetie. You don't have to be scared."

Did she even look at my chart? I was losing my baby. It wasn't the needle. Please make her go away.

Four hours passed before I was taken back and seen by the doctor. She confirmed that I was having a miscarriage, prescribed me some pain medication, and sent us home with her apologies.

I remember asking my husband during the drive home how he could possibly believe in God after all that we had been through. He said that we were done trying. He couldn't see me in so much emotional and physical pain again.

I had a follow up appointment the next day. The young doctor asked me if I knew what was going on. I told her that I knew that my pregnancy was not viable.

"Oh. We're using big girl words," she replied pretentiously. I wanted to punch her in her stupid face.

I was prescribed Cytotec to induce the miscarriage, Vicodin for the expected pain, and anti-nausea medicine to counteract the Vicodin. We decided that I would take this over Thanksgiving weekend
so that I could have time to recover. My husband and I had previously agreed to host a Thanksgiving dinner for a group of misfits with nowhere else to go and we didn't want to cancel on everyone. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom passing clots and using a heating pad to help with my cramping. No one knew.

We put up our Christmas tree that weekend. I wanted some sense of normalcy. The majority of the weekend consisted of naps, changing out bloody pads, and counting down the minutes until I could take more pain medication because the cramping was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life.

I remember texting the few people who knew about the pregnancy the words: "We lost the baby. I am okay." I could overhear my husband on the phone with my sister telling her that I was doing fine and in bed.

Hubby captured this candid picture of us and I love that it captures my joy.

Then Our Rainbow Baby

A funny thing happens when you're trying to get pregnant. You're suddenly surrounded by beautiful babies and pregnant women. Friends and family start asking you when you're going to have children and all you can give is a smirk and avoid eye contact.

My friend at work had an unplanned pregnancy shortly after my second miscarriage. She was reluctant to tell me because she knew my history and didn't want to hurt my feelings. I was truly happy for her as she was born to be a mom, but I went home that evening and spent some time crying into my husband's shoulders.

Finally, in March of 2014, I was pregnant again. I took the test on my husband's birthday and was overjoyed, yet cautious. We had a difficult time celebrating this time around because we were so used to pregnancies ending in sorrow.

Every cramp was frightening. I checked for blood every single time I went to the restroom. Hearing our baby's heartbeat at our first ultrasound was the most remarkable feeling because we had never heard a heartbeat before. My previous pregnancies never progressed that far.

I felt relief when I reached the 20 week mark of my pregnancy because it meant that if anything should happen, I would be sent to the Labor and Delivery floor rather than the Emergency Room. It was a big deal.

Our Rainbow Baby was born two years after we had initially started trying to become parents. Whenever I am having a tough moment with Little Miss, I have to remember the long journey it took for us to reach this point.

 We are so in love with our baby. She is the one we were meant to have.

Curious Crawler

This child is on the move! She started crawling a week and a half ago and just a few days later she started to pull herself up to a standing position. 

Little Miss spends every minute she's awake finding new ways to endanger herself. Seriously, kid. Do you know how much effort it took to keep you alive these past nine months? And now you're actively trying to hurt yourself!

Okay, I know she's just a curious child, but how is it that EVERYTHING is now dangerous? And how does she consistently find the most deathly object in the room and sprint for it?

We removed our towering bookcases from our living room as well as the coffee table with its ridiculously sharp corners. Hubby even removed the drawer handles from our TV stand because Little Miss still isn't steady when she's standing and nearly hit her face against the metal handles when she fell down from playing with the Xbox power button. (P.S. Unplug the Xbox to deter babies from wanting to press the bright green light a bajillion times.)

As I was looking at different baby proofing products, I saw a lot of moms on message boards say that you should just keep things like tupperware and pots and pans in baby accessible cabinets so they can just play with them. Hubby and I are not "Let Baby Bang on Pots and Pans" type parents. You should have seen Hubby's face when I gave him this option. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being those parents. In fact, I envy them because they're most likely less high strung than we are. We like a neat house and my nesting instincts from pregnancy never went away.

The kitchen cabinets in our first house in Texas were baby proofed with latches and we hated them with a passion. I wanted to find another option that was also non-permanent as we're most likely going to move. I saw this option on Amazon, but wasn't super happy with the price so I made my own using dog collars from The Dollar Tree in less than ten minutes. 



1. Purchase collars and cut nylon webbing to remove buckles.
2.  Rethread nylon webbing through the buckles. Trim proper length of nylon webbing needed to loop around cabinet handles. Hot glue in place to secure. You can also sew in place, but you can only do so much during nap time.
3. Test strength of your new cabinet lock and admire your cleverness. 

And BOOM. Cabinets secured for $1 each.