The day of our appointment, Mike met me for lunch first and then we went to the appointment. I remember us talking about the appointment over lunch and about how excited we both were. I even remember saying to Mike, "You know, the funny thing is, I'm not even nervous about this appointment. I feel like the Lord has just given me a peace about this pregnancy." You would think that after already having one miscarriage, I would have been scared to death about this pregnancy, especially with the way things started out, but I really just felt like everything was going to work out.
When Dr. K came into the room, he congratulated us again and asked how I was feeling. When I told him I had been really tired and hungry, he gave me a high five and said, "Sounds like pregnancy to me! Let's take a look at your beautiful baby." I remember asking him if he could take pictures that we could show to everyone and he said, "We can take as many as you want!" He began the sonogram and then said the words that made my heart stop:
"Have you had any bleeding?"
I knew at that point that something was wrong, but told him that I had not had any bleeding or cramping at all. He finished the sonogram and said, "Well I'm afraid I don't have the best news for you." (UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY!!) He told me that instead of seeing the gestational sac, my uterus was filled with blood, which meant that I would be miscarrying sometime in the next few days. He apologized and left the room, and told me to come to his office when I was dressed so we could talk about it. Mike and I were both stunned and just sat there, and as soon as Dr. K shut the door I broke down. I just remember saying, "I can't believe this is happening again." I don't think Mike said anything.
We went into Dr. K's office and he again apologized profusely, but said that he saw no evidence that this would be a viable pregnancy. I asked why my hormone levels had continued to rise, and he said he thought something must have happened in the week between my last blood test and my first appointment. He said in several pregnancies, sometimes they don't see the gestational sac at 6 weeks, but he said that was a very rare occurrence out of thousands of pregnancies that he saw. So I said, "So basically I just have to go home and wait to miscarry??" Dr. K's response was, "Unfortunately so."He gave me a prescription for some pain medication for when it did happen, and just said to call when it did. He went ahead and did some blood work just to check my levels and said he would wait on those before he offered any other solutions.
We left the office devastated and angry. What was supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives had quickly turned into one of the worst. I remember calling Christen, my best friend, after the appointment. It was her birthday and she had been joking about me calling to tell her I was having twins on her birthday. When she answered the phone, she said, "So, is it twins??" And my response was, "No, it was bad news..." I had also told the church staff where I worked that I was going for our first sonogram that day, and told them I would come by after the appointment when they would all be in staff meeting with pictures for them to see. I went back by to deliver the news, which was so hard. Then I called my mom, who was out of town for Thanksgiving, and I know it was so hard for her to be so far away when this was happening. I told her we didn't really want to see anyone anyway.
That night, Christen and Ronnie came over to bring us dinner and hang out with us for a little while. The rest of that week, we spent pretty much alone, not wanting to see or talk to anyone. That Monday began one of the longest weeks of our lives. Since it was the week of Thanksgiving, I was only planning to work that Monday and Tuesday, but we were supposed to go see my family for Thanksgiving like we do every year. I just couldn't do it...I was afraid the miscarriage would happen there, and I remembered how painful and messy the first one was. I also didn't feel like being around many people when I was so down I couldn't even pretend that I was okay. Mike and I ended up spending Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel...not my favorite Thanksgiving by any means! We just held on to each other and waited....
Dr. K called the next day to check on me and to let me know that he got my blood test results back. He said they were at 3200 (which sounded good to me!) but he said it was not nearly what he would expect to see at this point in my pregnancy, so he said he thought I would still miscarry. He said that if nothing had happened by Monday, to call him back and they would have me in for another scan.
With each day that passed, I became more frustrated. I had so many questions...why would my levels increase and get us excited, if I was only going to miscarry? Why the sense of peace about this pregnancy when it was going to turn out like this? Why the wait?? If I was going to miscarry, I wanted it to just happen so I could get it over with. I knew the physical pain and heartache that was coming, and I just wanted it to start so it could end.
By that Sunday, I was starting to wonder if maybe Dr. K was wrong, or maybe the Lord was going to work a miracle out of this situation. When nothing had happened by that Monday, I called Dr. K and went in for another sonogram. He said that the results were still the same, and he still knew that this was not going to be a viable pregnancy, but he wasn't sure why it was taking so long to happen. He then gave me 3 impossible choices: 1. Continue to wait for it to happen on its own. 2. Have a DNC (a surgery where they go in and remove all of the tissue and evidence of the pregnancy) or 3. Take a pill (which is basically a pill form of Pitocin, the drug they use to induce labor in pregnant women) that would make the process start. I felt like none of these were good options!! I wanted to be carrying this baby full term, not deciding choices about miscarriage! I felt like the DNC or taking the pill were always going to make me wonder, "What if I would have waited??" Rationally, I knew there was no way this pregnancy could work, but emotionally I knew I would always wonder. And I had already been through the most agonizing wait you could imagine the entire week before. Dr. K told me to think about it and they would call me that evening to see what I had decided.
We went home and I told Mike to go back to school to get things figured out while I slept. I knew Mike needed his time away from the house to process things, and I needed to be alone with my thoughts, and with the Lord. I talked to Mike's aunt, who has been through 4 miscarriages herself, and asked her what she thought I should do. She was the best person to talk to, because she told me she had basically done it every way and was able to tell me how each worked. She didn't tell me which one to choose, just gave me the information and empathized with the horrible decision I had to make.
After I got off the phone with her, I really began to just deal with God. I was so angry, and I remember my prayer exactly: I prayed, "God, if this is going to happen, please just let it happen. I don't want to make this decision. You say that you never give us more than we can handle, and making this decision or continuing to wait is MORE than I can handle." I don't think I've ever prayed that angrily or emotionally, and as soon as I said, "Amen", I felt the blood. I know this is a weird thing to say, but I felt like the Lord completely heard my cries at that point and honored my wishes. I felt such a peace in that moment, even though I was still angry, hurting, and confused. The cramping and bleeding picked up shortly after that, and I figured it would all be over soon.
But I was wrong. I always joke (it's a defense mechanism, I know) that this was the never-ending miscarriage. While the first one began and was over within 48 hours, I felt like this one lasted FOREVER. We already had the week of waiting, and even though the bleeding and cramping started Monday, the worst of the miscarriage didn't happen until Wednesday and Thursday, with complications on Friday. It was awful.
I knew that when the cramping got intense, it would really be the beginnings of the miscarriage, but that didn't start until late Wednesday afternoon. Of course, that was the day I had volunteered to go pick up the Christmas presents for my clients and the other girls' clients who work with me! It started to get really bad that afternoon, the excruciating pain that I remembered from the first miscarriage, and I passed the tissue later that evening.
*Disclaimer: this part may be TMI, but it's an important part of this whole process, and the part I think of as the most traumatic.* During the worst of the cramping, your uterus is basically having contractions in order to expel the "tissue" that is inside the uterus...in other words, your baby. I believe in life from conception, which is why I viewed that "tissue" as my baby...passing that into the toilet and flushing it is one of the most devastating things I have ever experienced, in both miscarriages. I know that is way more than most people want to know, but it's a reality and something that most people who haven't experienced don't think about. This process was worse this time, since I was about 7 1/2 weeks along at this point, but I finally started to feel a little bit of physical relief after this part was over.
The next morning, I had decided I would get up and drive down to Austin where we were having our big work meeting/Christmas party. I thought it would be good for me to keep my mind off things and be distracted. Since I told Mike I was going to Austin, he went back to work and I started getting ready. About halfway through my morning routine, I started to feel nauseous and started to cramp again. I thought maybe I was just having some after-effects of the miscarriage, so I just brought a stool into the bathroom, and figured I would just take some Aleve after I ate breakfast. Very quickly, the pain and nausea got worse, until I was lying on the bathroom floor, unable to move. After about 30 minutes of lying on the floor, I finally made it to the bed and grabbed my phone to call Mike. I don't remember what I said, but something to the effect of "You need to come home now." I must have sounded bad, because Mike was home in about 5 minutes!! He said when he walked in and saw me lying there, he freaked out. He could tell I was in so much pain. I thought something was wrong, because all of this pain should have been over by now. He called the doctor and they said for him to bring me in right away. It was another 20 minutes or so before I could even get up, and before we left, I went to the bathroom and passed another large piece of tissue. The pain had started to subside again, but we went to the doctor just to be sure. He did a sono (JUST what I wanted to have done that day!!) and said it looked like most of the tissue had passed and the worst was probably over. We went back home with more pain meds and I ended up sleeping half the day because my body was worn out!
There is no way of knowing this for sure, but I believe this pregnancy was twins, since I passed the separate pieces of tissue at such different times. Of course, we can't know since we never got to see anything on the sonogram, but I think that is something I will always wonder about. The next morning (Friday), I again was feeling better so Mike went back to work. An hour or so later, I began feeling pain again and was thinking, "Not again!!" Mike came home and when even the pain meds weren't working, we went back to the doctor. This time, the pain was from a UTI (urinary tract infection), probably from the length of time that the bacteria, tissue, and blood was in my system trying to be expelled completely. This was just the icing on cake after 2 weeks of HELL! (Yes, that's really what it felt like, or the closest thing I have come to it before or since.) They sent me home with antibiotics and by Saturday I was finally starting to feel human again.
These 2 weeks will without a doubt be considered 2 of the hardest weeks of our lives. We are both still grieving this loss, as well as the loss of our first baby, and I still have so many questions. In January of 2011, we began our first fertility treatment, and here we were finishing out 2011 with nothing to show for it besides 2 miscarriages, a LOT of money spent, and a lot of grief. Whereas with the first miscarriage I was ready to jump right back into getting pregnant, this miscarriage was the exact opposite. I needed a break from fertility doctors, appointments, and this whole process. I was bitter, overwhelmed, sad, and just...numb. I felt like this was happening to someone else, and I almost didn't want to deal with it. Dr. K wanted to run some tests to see what was causing the miscarriages, so we did about 12 different blood tests. As I said before, insurance doesn't cover any of the treatment for infertility, and my doctor suggested I called to see how much the tests would be and if my insurance would pay. When I found out the blood tests were going to cost $3700, I about had a heart attack! We had already paid $3000+ dollars in 3 months with the specialist, which was taking it's toll on our finances. Luckily insurance paid for all of the tests, and we were so thankful for this blessing!
Dr. Kaufmann suggested we wait until January, when all of the test results came back in, so we could discuss them all at once. We spent the holidays relaxing and enjoying it with friends and family, trying to grieve our losses in 2011, and try to find a way to be hopeful for 2012.
We are so thankful to be blessed with so many wonderful friends and family who supported us through this past year. They brought us food, prayed with us, cried with us, and loved us. When you are going through the pain of infertility and miscarriage, it is so hard to remain hopeful and keep the faith, but that is something that our friends and family do so well for us. When we have nothing left in us to hope for, they continue to hope and believe that one day Mike and I will be parents to our own biological children. It is this faith and love from our friends and family that reminds us to continuously give this struggle to the Lord and to remind us that His plans and timing are better than our own.