*This blog post contains TMI for some people. If you are easily offended by personal woman stuff, or feel strongly that things like this should remain personal, now is an excellent time to close your browser.*
In January 2017, after nearly two years of missing and irregular cycles, dozens of doctors appointments, bloodwork screens, emotional turmoil and tears, I was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. At that moment I had a choice. I could follow through with the referral, or I could take some time to navigate this on my own.
I chose the self-guided approach, becoming my body’s best health expert. I learned how to listen to my body’s cues in response to food. I learned to manage stress, and get enough sleep. I learned about the importance of a positive mindset and gratitude. Through this time, I came to learn that our bodies are talking to us, and it’s up to us to learn how to listen.
Slowly but surely, my cycles began to regulate, and for the first time since before Ziggy was born in 2014, I began ovulating again. And, in November 2017, we were elated to learn that we were expecting a baby.
From the moment you see the two lines on that stick, you start to think about when and how your life will change. You pull out your old baby books to reminisce and compare how this pregnancy is different.
You plug into all of the apps, get daily email updates, you make your first doctor's appointments.
You start putting away clothes that you know you are going to grow out of soon as your body changes. You tell a couple of your closest friends.
You tour the new birth center, start asking Ziggy how he would feel about being a big brother. You buy tee shirts for him to wear on Christmas to announce to family that he will be a big brother.
And as quickly as that all changes, it can all change again.
I started spotting on a Sunday afternoon before Christmas. My OB and midwife were not overly concerned, "Bleeding in the first trimester can be normal. Are you in pain? Any cramping? Are you bleeding heavily?" They shared words of encouragement, and as long as nothing changed, wanted to see me first thing Monday morning. They encouraged me to go to the ER if anything did change.
That evening, I made the trip to the ER.
I learned that my HcG levels (the hormone that is present when you are pregnant, and doubles every 48 hours in a healthy pregnancy) was low for being nearly 8 weeks. They sent me home Sunday without any definitive answers, but I knew in my heart the prognosis wasn't good. I was devastated.
I visited my OB first thing that Monday morning. She ordered another HcG screen for Tuesday (48 hours) to see how it was trending. She assured me that I did nothing wrong, that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It is just our body's way of detecting that something isn't quite right, and doing the right thing by terminating the pregnancy early.
My mom laid in bed with me while I cried. And cried. It's so weird, because you already have this attachment to this little person. I felt totally broken.
My bloodwork came back that Tuesday showing my HcG levels had dropped significantly, as I suspected. The following week, they were below 5. It was good in the sense that my body took care of this on its own, and I did not need any intervention.
In the weeks following, I immersed myself in the healthy 3 year old baby boy in our life, and in the joy and wonder of Christmas.
In mid January 2018, my period has still not returned. I took a pregnancy test to learn that we were again expecting! (omg!) We weren't quick to get too excited, but again, you cannot help but think when/how your life will change when this person arrives.
You, again, begin making appointments with your doctors, treat your body like a temple, and this time, aren't as quick to share the news with anyone.
On Sunday evening, just shy of 6 weeks, I thought to myself, you know, I feel really good. Like, almost too good. My energy is super high. My boobs don't really hurt. I wonder if I really AM pregnant?
I took another test to settle the gut feeling I was experiencing to confirm that yes, I was pregnant.
The following morning, I was shocked to find I was bleeding again. I called my doctor and midwife in tears, "I just experienced this. Why? What is wrong with my body?"
After a few phone calls, I dropped to my knees in the kitchen, and prayed (and I don't pray) "oh please, give me the strength. Please give me strength."
As I shared the story of my first loss with friends, many opened up and shared stories of their lost babies.
Some early in their pregnancy, others later. Some lost a heartbeat before losing their babies. Others lost one of their multiples, while others delivered their babies, who never took a breath.
For every four pregnancies, ONE ends in miscarriage. This emotional and physical heartbreak isn't something that we talk about. There are women and couples everywhere, every day, that are going through this silent trauma.
To those of you that have lost your baby, I see you. I see your strength.
To those of you that have lost your babies, I see you. I see your strength.
To those of you that are still waiting for your baby, I see you. I see your strength.
To those of you that have held your baby, I see you. I see your strength.
We are not alone.
I believe there is a positive intention in everything. I'm still really struggling to find the positive intention here, but am staying open to receiving answers.
When I was in the office awaiting my bloodwork panel, this reminder popped up in my phone. The timing was perfect. I took a screenshot. I do believe in miracles.
For now, I stay immersed in gratitude for the support system I have built into my life. For our 3 year old miracle, Ziggy, who keeps joy and wonder in every day. For feeling reassured that after 15 months of missed periods and irregular cycles, that I CAN get pregnant again.
I believe there is healing in transparency and shared life experience.
I believe we are only faced with what will contribute to our inner & outer strength.
I believe in miracles.
MAY YOU, TOO, BELIEVE IN MIRACLES.
Now, to embark on the next chapter of the journey -- healing, continual learning and self discovery.
I would love to hear from you. A supportive tribe of women, good thoughts, shared experiences and healing vibes are so crucial. <3