In the fall of 2003, a couple of months after our first anniversary, my husband, Jordan, and I decided we wanted to try to have a baby. It had been my observation in my 24 years that when a couple made that decision, it was a simple matter of the Mommy discontinuing her pills, throwing away a diaphragm, or no longer getting that shot every three months. In some cases, the choice was taken away by an ineffective birth control method (Hey Baby Sis!) or the sheer stupidity of two teenagers in a back seat.
But not being ABLE to get pregnant? That thought never occurred to me. I mean, how hard could it be?
As it turns out, it can be very difficult. I think most people know that a certain hormonal cycle needs to take place for reproduction to be possible. When I came off my birth control, that cycle didn’t come back like it was supposed to, so off to the doctor I went.
My OB/GYN didn’t seem too concerned, just gave me progesterone to kick-start the cycle, then Clomid to stimulate ovulation. I know now that jumping the gun like that with no further investigation was a mistake. Hindsight and all that.
By this point, I of course had been online learning as much as I could about trying to conceive, or TTC as any of you message board veterans know it. I ended up with so much more knowledge about the reproductive process than I ever wanted. So I knew that I was extremely lucky to get pregnant on my very first round of Clomid.
Jordan and I were over the moon at the sight of that plus sign. We called our families and friends to share the good news.
Because I had used Clomid, my OB wanted me to have an early ultrasound so I went in at eight weeks pregnant. He mentioned that the baby was measuring on the small side and the heart rate was slower than it should be so he wanted me to come back in two weeks.
I tried not to worry. I just chalked it up to maybe being a few days off on calculating the gestational age. At ten weeks, I went back, this time with my husband.
“What’s conspicuous in its absence is the heartbeat.”
That’s what the doctor said to me as I was trying to register what I was (not) seeing on the screen. I’m sure you can guess how devastated we were. I hope you can because I can not come up with any words to describe it. If it helps you understand, know that now, six years later, I am trying to keep the tears from hitting the keyboard as I type.
After I was dressed again, the doctor gave me some options in his very calm, clinical voice. He told me he was on call through the next day so I could have a D&C done then, I could wait until he was on call again the next week, or I could wait and see if I miscarried on my own.
The thought of walking around for any amount of time knowing that my baby was gone was more than I could handle. So we scheduled the D&C for the next day, Thursday, April 22, 2004.
There’s not a lot of actual events from that day that I remember. All I remember are emotions. I don’t recall the ride to the hospital or the OB talking to me beforehand. I know that there was an emergency C-section taking place in the operating room I was supposed to go to, so they left me laying on a bed outside of the room for what seemed like hours.
All I could think was “Why can’t they go ahead and knock me out so I don’t have to sit here and think about what’s about to happen?” They finally came and got me. I was still awake when they strapped my arms down on each side and did all the prep work. When I woke up in recovery, I was already sobbing.
At least one of the nurses hugged me and tried to cheer me up the best she could. I honestly don’t remember anything after that. I don’t remember going home, talking to anyone, or even seeing Jordan, even though he drove me there and back.
As is usually the case, my doctor told us to wait a few months before trying again. So we did. The second round of Clomid also resulted in pregnancy. I got a positive test on a Monday. That Saturday, July 24, 2004, I woke up cramping and bleeding. I knew exactly what was going on so we headed to the ER. Obviously, at just five weeks, there was nothing they could do besides make sure it wasn’t ectopic or otherwise complicated.
The next week I went back to see my OB/GYN. At this point, he referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). The new doctor finally diagnosed me with PCOS, put me on some new meds, and performed a hysteroscopy to remove some polyps in my uterus. After all of that, he prescribed another round of Clomid. Again, I got pregnant right away. Remember the date of my second miscarriage? Well, on Sunday, July 24, 2005, Jordan and I brought home not one, but TWO beautiful, perfect, two-day-old baby girls.
I know that our journey to parenthood was not as dramatic or as lengthy as some. I’m thankful we didn’t have to do more, such as IVF, IUI, etc. But, just as in every life issue, knowing that someone out there has it worse than you doesn’t lessen your pain. There are women out there who have had 7 or more miscarriages. That fact certainly doesn’t stop the pain that is still inside me, even after so many years.
A mother is a mother whether her children are here on earth or waiting for her on the other side.