Pregnancy Challengesby Laura Bowles | 10 months ago
It has taken me I kid you not over 3.5 months to figure out how to even begin this piece. Every since the opportunity presented itself to be a part of goInspo, I knew that I wanted, scratch that, needed to share my story with others in hopes that it might help someone else. Let me preface this by saying that it took me over a year of internal grief, projecting feelings/emotions onto others, and reading hundreds of articles and posts on various forums that helped me to get to this point. So what am I referring to? I’m referring to something that most women dread hearing at a time when they are typically filled with happiness, the big “M” word, MISCARRIAGE.
I had my first daughter at age 28. She was a welcome surprised and has been a spunky, energetic, and sassy little lady ever since she was born. So when we decided to go for a second, not one time did we think it would be a challenge. In fact, we decided to start trying at the very end of June 2015, then in July, we found out that I was pregnant. Well, that went according to plan we thought….great! Then in the middle of August, our whole world was turned upside down. I started bleeding one afternoon and that began our whirlwind spiral of events. Of course, I turned to Dr. Google in hopes that it would give me some reassurance. I read through a number of posts that said some bleeding is normal as it happened to them and they went on to have a normal pregnancy, then many more posts saying it’s most likely a miscarriage. I’ve never analyzed the human body as much as I did during this time. My doctor confirmed the end of August that it was indeed a miscarriage. There was no other explanation as to why, just that it was most likely an abnormality and the human body knew the pregnancy wouldn’t be viable. Over the next couple of months, my days were filled with working (going in every day and to meetings pretending everything is okay, all the while internalizing the heavy emotions that felt like bricks on my heart) and trips to the doctor’s office for them to draw blood to make sure my levels were declining. Good thing I’m not squeamish of needles or I would not have made it through. But the most difficult part in all of this was the toll it took on my relationship. It’s hard to even write this because I know it’s not true, but at that time, I started to feel a sense of resentment. He couldn’t possibly know all the emotions and physical pain I was going through, how could he? He couldn’t feel every cramp, every tear, every sorrow that came with seeing a picture of a baby or hearing about the news of someone else’s pregnancy. Again, how could he possibly understand? It was like my mind was my worst enemy. Everything reminded me of what I was going through and yet I had the hardest time vocalizing these emotions because during that time there were no words in the English dictionary that could 100% describe these emotions. Our relationship was severely put to the test and ultimately was on the brink of no return. Over the next couple of months, we worked hard to get our relationship back to where it was and to try again. Then in December, the thought of just taking a break and enjoying the Christmas season seemed like a welcomed idea so that’s what we did and it was nice to relax and not be stressing over something that you don’t really have complete control over.
That next month in January, it was a new year, I had started a new job the month before and was ready to tackle whatever 2016 had in store. On January 12th, I decided to take a pregnancy test as I was a couple of days late. That morning I found out I was pregnant. When I say nothing could have made me happier than seeing a couple of lines! We were so thrilled and thought that our prayers had finally been answered. That morning I called and scheduled an appointment to see my doctor in a few weeks. Later that day, I was having lunch at work when my stomach started cramping. I went to the bathroom and noticed the blood. My heart sank, this couldn’t be happening AGAIN. As I stood in the bathroom stall, I tried to make sense of it all, I tried to tell myself that everything was okay and that somehow, this wasn’t really happening, although I knew deep down that we were here yet a second time. To top it off, I had my first client meeting scheduled in just two hours with my boss attending so I had to put my best self out there. I quickly rushed home before anyone could notice I was gone, changed clothes, told my BF what had happened, cried a little more, then rushed back to work wondering how I was going to make it through the rest of the day. My boss and I went to the meeting. I know I didn’t do a great job, I mean how could someone sit in a meeting pitching a platform to a brand when you’re literally losing your child at the same time. I did a pretty good job of masking what was going on during the meeting so he didn’t pick up on anything being wrong. What started off as a day of complete bliss and utter joy, turned to misery and depression within a matter of hours.
Over the next few weeks to a couple of months, I was once again thrown into the cycle of blood tests to check my levels, early morning doctor appts, and anger/confusion as to what in the world was wrong with me. In early March during another doctor’s visit, I told my doctor that I’d like to leave here today with a plan. We want another kid sooner rather than later and I’d like to figure out why this has happened twice now. We discussed everything from there being an abnormality (which she suggested was my issue) to fertility issues (which she didn’t think was my issue since I was getting pregnant), to low progesterone levels (which might also have played a role with me). We also discussed a procedure called hysterosalpingogram or HSG for short. She mentioned that we could run this test just to check and make sure the uterus and fallopian tubes are normal. The way she explained it did NOT sound fun at all, but we were desperate for answers and if this was how we could get them, then I was all for it. The plan was to get this test done in early April…if I didn’t become pregnant during March. She also recommended that I take a pregnancy test on the day that my period was to begin. Because my progesterone levels were low during both of the miscarriages, if I was to get pregnant again, she wanted to put me on progesterone pills asap to help strengthen the uterine wall.
On April 10 (Sunday), the day I was to get my period, I decided to take a test. I wasn’t feeling any different and was doing it merely because my doctor said too. As I watched the test, I was in total shock and disbelief, I saw a faint second line appear. Now having gone through this experience twice already, I was happy but then felt an instant sense of nervousness and anger…anger because I didn’t want to travel down this road again. Instead of telling my BF immediately after (as was the case the first two times), I put the test on his side of the bed and went into the kitchen to help make breakfast. It took him about 15 mins. before he went back to the bedroom and saw the test. While we were both happy, there was still that dark cloud hanging over saying “don’t get too happy.” I called my doctor the next morning and told her that I was pregnant and that I’d need a prescription for progesterone pills and to schedule an appt asap due to my history. We got in to see the doctor and I was given an ultrasound. It was at that point when we were able to see a tiny sac (I was only about 5.5 weeks at this point), but it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It gave me an increased amount of hope that things this time would work out. I was on progesterone pills for the entire 1st trimester. It wasn’t until around 14 or 15 weeks that I could breathe a sigh of relief and feel really confident that this baby was going to make it.
Fast forward to December 2016 and little Ms. Luna Marie was born. She’s been keeping us on our toes from the very beginning. While the nights have been long and the days of juggling two kids have been trying at times, we couldn’t be more blessed to have Ms. Luna with us now and would have gone through all the tests in the world in order to have her.
While approximately 1 in 5 women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime, I still feel like its a taboo subject to talk about, and it should not be that way. It took me almost 2 years to talk about it outside of my BF. It may sound crazy but I felt like miscarriage was one of those things that couldn’t happen to me. Then it happened twice. I also felt ashamed, embarrassed, and most of all vulnerable. Talking about any of this with others would be revealing too much of myself, and I just wasn’t ready for the condolences or statistics, or anything else that I might hear. I needed time to process, as does anyone who has or is going through this.
My advice to others is just knowing that you’re not alone. Take as much time as you need to heal and process. Try not to alienate those who love and care for you, but if you need time away, take that time and when you’re ready, know that there’s a ton of support out there for you. The more we as a society talk about this issue that plagues so many families, the less taboo it becomes, and the less taboo an issue is, the easier it will be for women & men to receive the level of support that’s needed to get them through a really rough time.
This is my story and I encourage you, the goInspo Community, to share your story or stories as you just never know who it might help.
I’ve shared my story in honor of National Infertility Week. I’d also encourage you to read Kara’s story about infertility who created a foundation because of her journey and also offers Grants to help people in need. Not to mention she also took our lovely infant pictures. Thanks, Kara!