health & body, loss, pregnancy

Tied together with a smile when you’re coming undone…

Today a coworker told me that he and his wife are expecting a baby just 5 days after what was supposed to be our due date and it took everything in me to smile and say congratulations, while I felt like bursting into tears.

You see, we had our ultrasound on Monday and it didn’t go well.

After spending nearly an hour with the nurse practitioner doing a basic pelvic exam, going over family history and answering basic questions, we finally got to go to the ultrasound room where we were supposed to get to see our baby and hear the heartbeat. I remember the nurse practitioner congratulating us as she handed us off to the doctor and D saying something to me about how they should wait until after the ultrasound to congratulate us so we know everything is fine. I know he was joking (he does this when he’s nervous or uncomfortable), and I told him to shut up (playfully), as I was already nervous enough. But to make myself feel better, I reminded him that during the pelvic exam, the NP had commented on how I definitely felt like I had an “8-week uterus.”

The doctor came in and began the internal ultrasound, and right away I knew something was wrong, by the way she was frowning and staring at the screen. Finally, she told us it didn’t look like a viable pregnancy, but that she wanted to send us down to the actual ultrasound lab, as their equipment is more precise. As soon as she left the room, I burst into tears. It was the worst feeling.

We had to wait about 45 minutes to get into the ultrasound lab, so D and I went down to Starbucks since I needed to have a full bladder, anyway. I swear, there were babies and strollers everywhere, which was too much to take. I was starting to tear up again, so we decided to just go wait it out in the ultrasound waiting room… which, of course, was full of pregnant, happy couples. It was just miserable. Finally, we were called back, where they did both an external and an internal ultrasound, and the radiologist confirmed what my doctor had suspected. While the sac and my uterus were both measuring right on track at 8 weeks, the baby appeared to have stopped developing about a week prior, and there was no heartbeat. They also said there was some bleeding within the sac.

So then, we had to go back up to the doctor’s office to discuss next steps. She reassured us it was nothing we did or could have prevented, but that it was likely a chromosomal abnormality or other defect, and that it was essentially nature’s way of stopping something that wasn’t viable. She outlined our options (wait for miscarriage to happen naturally, take a pill to induce miscarriage, or schedule a dilation & curettage), discussed the pros and cons to each, and told us to go home and think about it. As of now, I have a D&C scheduled for next Monday, unless I miscarry naturally on my own before then.

This is truly the most emotionally painful thing I’ve ever been through, and it’s been really hard on us both. We’re so heartbroken, and it’s such a letdown from the sheer excitement we were feeling just a short time ago. To make matters worse, I still feel pregnant. I was still throwing up as recently as yesterday morning. The doctor said my hormones are still elevated and may be for a while.

I am glad that we held off on telling people. As hard as it is to put on a smile at work and pretend that nothing’s wrong, I think it would have been so much harder to have to tell everyone the bad news and relive it over and over again each time. I’m also so thankful I decided to take the entire day off work on Monday. Originally, I was just going to come in late, but decided to take the entire day, “just in case it was bad news.” There is absolutely no way I would have been able to go into the office that day – not to mention, what was supposed to be an hour-and-a-half long appointment turned into over 3 hours.

I honestly don’t know when we’ll try again. Part of me wants to as soon as we’re given the all-clear from the doctor. Another part of me feels like we need more time to grieve, and am totally overwhelmed with the emotional roller-coaster that trying itself is. Even though we conceived quickly last time, there is a big part of me that wonders if it was just a fluke. Or worse, if this miscarriage is the first of many to come and further complications down the road. The doctor seems to think this was just an anomaly and said we have about an 80% chance of having a successful pregnancy next time. She said they don’t get too concerned about miscarriages until you’ve had three in a row. While this is encouraging, I can’t help but fear the worst… what if this is the first of three or more?

It’s a terrifying thought, and all-consuming. I am thankful that this week has been busy at work to at least attempt to keep my mind off things, but during any down time, my mind starts to wander again, and I find myself struggling to keep back tears and forcing myself to smile.

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