This is where I introduce myself to the world and tell everyone why I’m bothering with a blog. The uninteresting story is that I need a place to unleash all my ugly thoughts and feelings about miscarriage and infertility. I need a place to dump my emotional baggage, so that I may continue to function as a pleasant, personable, and reasonably happy human being in real life. My family and friends know that I had a miscarriage nearly two years ago (May 2011) and that I’ve been struggling to get pregnant since then. What they don’t know is that I have turned into a bitter hag who resents anyone who is able to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and sail through pregnancy and childbirth without a care in the world. The things I plan to write about in this blog are things I could not possibly say out loud without the risk of alienating everyone I love.
Two years ago I was your typical older-than-average newlywed. At 33 years old, my husband and I knew that time was not on our side. If we were going to have kids, we shouldn’t wait. So, I stopped taking birth control, stashed the condoms, and we got to work just days after saying “I do.” To our delight, I was good and knocked up just two short months later. In the TTC (trying to conceive) universe, I was the reviled “fertile ho,” a woman who gets pregnant at the drop of a hat. I wasn’t surprised: Every woman in my family gets pregnant easily; why should I be any different?
After seeing that beautiful word “Pregnant” on the pee stick, I excitedly called my doctor. A blood test confirmed it; I was officially with child. My doctor scheduled my first prenatal appointment for 7 weeks later, when I would be about 12 weeks along. Until then, I busied myself with making plans for baby’s arrival. I won’t go into the boring details; just typical first pregnancy stuff.
The day of the appointment I was a mess of anxiety. I had read enough blogs and message boards to know that not everyone gets good news at that appointment. But, things like that don’t happen to people like us, so I pushed those bad feelings down. After answering an annoyingly long list of questions about my health and enduring an awkward pelvic exam, it was time to listen to the heartbeat. I wasn’t worried when the doctor couldn’t find it right away. I knew that my Bean was tiny and difficult to find. As the minutes passed, however, the sick feeling I had earlier that day came creeping back. I looked at my husband, who had no clue what to think. Why would he? I searched my doctor’s face to see if I had anything to worry about. I could tell she wasn’t used to not finding a heartbeat after trying for so long. She tried to reassure us that it was not uncommon, that it was probably just too early, and I should come back in a week or two. She wasn’t very convincing. She left the room while I got dressed, and when she returned, she had an order for an ultrasound. How do you go from “wait 2 weeks” to “get an ultrasound right now” in 5 minutes? I knew something was up.
We drove across town to the hospital, and, in less than 20 minutes, I was once again naked from the waist down, knees spread. Instead of a hand, this time I had a large wand thrust into my vagina (my first of many, many encounters with the “dildo cam”). The ultrasound technician was silent as she moved the wand around inside me and pressed buttons on the computer. I couldn’t see the screen, so I kept looking to my husband to see if he could tell me anything. Of course, he had no idea what he should see; he just kept shrugging his shoulders and squeezing my hand even tighter.
After we were dismissed by the tech, I got dressed again and we headed home. We didn’t say too much to each other. I kept telling myself that everything would be just fine, that the doctor would call us with the news that we had a perfect baby. I didn’t believe it, though. I don’t remember how long we waited, but eventually my doctor did call. She coldly told me that the gestational sac measured only 6 weeks, and that I had 3 choices: wait to miscarry naturally, take medication to induce miscarriage, or have surgery. I could call her back in the morning with my choice. I won’t go into the details of how I felt in the moments after that phone call. It’s too painful, and don’t care to relive it.
The next day, I called my doctor back. I hadn’t made a decision yet, but that was okay, because I was to see an ob/gyn the following day. He was the complete opposite of my primary care doctor: warm, understanding, gentle, and patient. He shared with us that his wife had miscarried, so he knew what we were going through. He talked us through all of the options, in detail, and repeated everything at least 3 times, until he was sure we understood. He gave us plenty of privacy to talk over the decision, but it didn’t take long for us to decide that the medication would be best. I didn’t want to wait for it to happen naturally. My body was in no hurry to get rid of the dead fetus inside me, it seemed, and I could not bear the thought of being pregnant with a dead baby. The idea of surgery scared me: I didn’t want to risk damage to my uterus. With instructions in hand and a follow-up appointment scheduled, we headed to the pharmacy, then home.
The next morning, I took the medication (misoprostol), and by the end of the day, I was no longer pregnant. (Again, I don’t care to rehash the details of the physical miscarriage. However, if you’re considering taking misoprostol (aka Cytotec) to help complete a miscarriage, and you would like to know about my experience, please email me. I know it was helpful to me to know what to expect.)
As instructed, we waited 3 months to try again. I was scared, but confident that I would get pregnant again quickly. Month after month went by, however, with no positive pregnancy tests. A year after my miscarriage, I went back to the friendly ob/gyn to find out why I wasn’t pregnant yet. He had me try Clomid a couple of times, but I kept getting large ovarian cysts. One of them burst, causing the most horrific pain I have ever experienced. Six weeks later, I had another cyst. My ob/gyn convinced me to have laparoscopic surgery to remove the cyst and to give him a look at the inside of my uterus. Much to my (and his) surprise, he found that I have Stage IV endometriosis. He removed as much of it as he could, and referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), who recommended more fertility drugs. And that’s where I am right now. I just started my first round of Femara.
In January 2013, it will be two years since we started trying to conceive our first child. I’ve lost count of how many babies have been conceived by and born to family and friends since then. Each one has brought me nothing but jealousy and resentment. Don’t get me wrong: I love those kids to death, but watching them grow makes my heart ache. I can’t stop thinking about the baby we lost, the baby who would be a year old this month. I’m angry and bitter about the fact that, if I ever do get pregnant again, I will never have a care-free, happy pregnancy.