I sometimes feel that I don’t deserve to talk about this. I feel like because I have a medical condition, or because I was never that far along in my pregnancies that it’s somehow less than. I finally decided that it's ridiculous. How can there be only one side portrayed of pregnancy.
I recently had another miscarriage. It was due to the same reason, at least I think, I had my previous three before I was blessed with Ximena. She didn’t come easy though, with her pregnancy I had to give myself Progesterone shots, Heparin Shots, and take a steroid the whole first trimester. It was to cover all bases, and make sure that the Pregnancy stuck. It worked. I am 1 for 1. With this last pregnancy I was on the same steroid already, and I assumed it would be enough. I was definitely farther along than my other pregnancies (12 weeks), but in the end the baby stopped growing and there was no heartbeat. It appears like my body does need the extra support.
So let me start off by explaining what I do know. After we got married we wanted to start to have kids right away. To our surprise we actually got pregnant right away. So soon in fact that I didn’t even know I was pregnant. Finally when I did take a test and we found out that it was positive, the excitement was so short lived. I started bleeding that night. It was a whirlwind of emotions. From being so thrilled, to then feeling period cramps in the middle of the night. What?! I knew bleeding wasn’t’ a good sign, so I called the doctor and they were able to get me in later the same day. They did confirm that I was pregnant, but when they did an ultrasound there was nothing in my uterus. It had already passed. I had to go to the doctor a few days later to make sure my HCG levels (pregnancy hormones) were going down. So they drew my blood, and they told me how common miscarriages were. Especially first time pregnancies. I honestly don’t even remember how I felt. It was just so fast. So I left it at that,
Ok, it happens, let’s keep trying.
That was at the beginning of April 2015, so we didn’t get pregnant again until November. It was a long seven months. People tell you not to stress, and it will happen when it happens. Which is all true and sound advice, but also something that’s not all that comforting either. So now it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and our niece was born! We also had some exciting news to share too. When we went to hospital to see miss Sofía, we also shared our news! The energy was so joyful, with so much celebration in that room! Thanksgiving was fun, we were all talking about our little summer baby to be; but then it happened again. I went to the bathroom and there was blood. Again. I was so mad and frustrated. I told Daniel It’s happening again, even though it was just a little spot at the time, I knew. He said, "Don’t worry, sometimes bleeding is normal", which it can be, but I just knew. I had to work on Black Friday the next day. It ‘s always so busy that day so I knew I couldn’t ask for it off, so that was probably the worst, because I knew it was happening, I had the worst cramps, and I had to put on a smile for the clients as I did their hair. I did get to go home early that day, but everything was closed. So we ended up going the ER to confirm and make sure. It took forever, and it was just so cold and quiet and an impersonal experience. Finally an intern told me that I had miscarried. She was short and abrupt and mandatorily apologetic. I didn’t say anything. I know my husband was sad, as was I but I just got dressed and walked to the car. Still quiet he asked if I was hungry so we stopped at Wendy’s. When we got home I sat down to take a bite of my Spicy Chicken and then I literally just started sobbing. We were sitting at our long Friendsgiving table that we still had up from a few days prior. We were both sobbing, and really grieved this time. It was different, wasn’t it? We knew about the pregnancy for a little longer, we already had the “spontaneous” one, why did it have to happen again. Then I felt so annoyed that we once again had to tell the family, Oh just kidding we're not pregnant anymore. Like it was my fault. It was probably our most emotional loss. The holidays didn’t help it any either.
So now here we are in February 2016 and we're pregnant again. I decided to not tell anyone. We had a trip planned to New York and it was Daniel’s first time going so we were both so excited. My sister met us there and spent the first day with us, I obviously ended up telling her then, but I said it cautiously, and not to get too excited. She still was but respected what I said, and we kept baby talk to practically non-existent. We really enjoyed ourselves! The next day we met one of my friends in Brooklyn. We stayed out all night! I loved watching them drink for me! We went to diffrent bars and clubs, we even walked the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn back to Manhattan at 3:00 AM! We found a late night meatball restaurant and stopped for some much needed fuel. Except I wasn’t very hungry. After we had finally sat down and stopped moving so much, I noticed my stomach was hurting again. I told my husband, I feel the cramps again, he’s like "It will be ok, try not to think about it", always so positive that one. When we get back to our hotel as soon as I went to the bathroom, everything came out at once. Did I walk too much? Was it my fault this time, did I over do it? Ugh, it had to happen on vacation.
Like there is ever an ideal time to have one. Our final day was a somber one.
Still trying to enjoy the city, but I just wanted to come home.
So here’s something that you don’t know, until you have to know. Your OB will not recommend you to a Fertility Specialist until you have had three consecutive miscarriages. (Un) Fortunately I finally met the quota, and was hoping to find some answers to why this kept happening. After many tests, and blood tests, and family histories, a MRI to confirm my doctor figured out what was causing the miscarriages. I have a benign tumor on my Pituitary Gland called a Prolactinoma. There are a few different symptoms with having a Prolactinoma, but one can be infertility. Now I had no problem getting pregnant, it was getting the pregnancy to stay that was the concern. This little guy that I named Timmy is making my body over produce Prolactin. Prolactin levels are most present in a woman’s body when she is at the end of pregnancy and breastfeeding up until 6 weeks post partum, then it starts to normalize and level back down. It “can act as a natural contraceptive to prevent back to back pregnancies”, (but it is not 100% effective), so therefore in Layman's terms higher Prolactin levels can prevent pregnancies. If you want to research more about it I linked this article explaining prolactin, what it does, and how it can be related to recurrent miscarriage.
So I began treatment, in May . I was now on this steroid called Bromocriptine, it’s to help inhibit the overproduction of Prolactin. With in one month of taking the medication I had another positive pregnancy test. My specialist was determined to keep this pregnancy safe and strong. So for the first trimester I did a concoction of different methods to help “cover all bases”. I had to do Progesterone shots in my butt, once a day. That helped to make sure my uterus was getting stronger and thicker to support the development of the baby. I had to do Heparin shots in my stomach twice a day, to help prevent any blood clotting in my placenta, making sure the baby received all the nutrients it could. I still was taking my Bromocriptine along with a baby aspirin, Co-Q10 vitamins, (the natural energy that our cells produce, used to help make sure the development was strong), Vitamin D pills, and my prenatal vitamins too. It was a lot. I eventually had to give myself all my shots, because Daniel had a night shift rotation and I was all alone. Not that it really hurt, it’s more of a big work up that you go through in your head having to give yourself shots. I eventually became a pro. The Heparin thins your blood so much that my stomach was full of bruises from the injections. I was super nauseous and had pretty bad morning sickness on top of that. The good thing though was after I would get sick I felt instant relief. That all lasted for the duration of the first trimester (12 weeks). The rest of my pregnancy I was only on baby Aspirin, Vitamin D, my prenatal, and the Co-Q10.
It worked! I was able to deliver to full term. I had Ximena naturally with no complications. She truly is my Rainbow baby. You can read about her story here. So Fast-forward to a couple months ago, we found out on St. Patrick’s Day that I was pregnant again. I had been taking the Bromocriptine since last May (2018), after I stopped breastfeeding Ximena. I had almost been on it a year already. Since I knew I was already on the medication, I figured we were already ahead of the game. I knew I would have to be on the medication for any future pregnancies, but I wasn’t so sure about everything else. I couldn’t get into my OB doctor until April 1st. At that I had to see a new OB because my doctor wasn’t available until the week we would be vacationing in Phoenix. So I booked with the new doctor, to see how far along I was. To my surprise she told me I was less far along then I thought. That was the first sign something was wrong, but I blindly put faith in this doctor. According to my calculations I should have been 9 weeks, she told me I was measuring at around 6 weeks. How could I be almost a month off? That didn’t make sense to me, but I trusted her. She told me it was a “healthy pregnancy” and even printed us a little picture. We still have our little gummy bear on the fridge. She didn’t hear a heartbeat though, she said it was still to small, so she asked me to go to an imaging lab to get a complete work up and they would be able to tell me more info. She was also very adamit about reminding me to stop my Bromocriptine meds at 12 weeks. I couldn’t get into the lab either. Their first apt. available was two weeks out. So I called back and asked if I could come back in and have her re-check me before we left for vacation. I went back to the office on the 12th. It’s been eleven days later. She tells me, “Hmm you’re still measuring around 6 weeks”. What? How? Also still no heartbeat. I should have known! I just still felt so pregnant because I was so very nauseous. To the point of me not being able to cook anything because all the smells were just too much. It only happened at night mind you to, so dinner was just an awful time. I asked her How could that be? It’s almost two weeks later, she responds saying her machine isn’t the best, and sometimes it’s so hard to tell. She also reminds me again to stop my meds at 12 weeks, How can I stop them if I do not even have a date of how far along I am! On top of being annoyed with my care or lack there of, Ximena was with me and she was also not feeling the appointment; which was during her naptime. I was just on such a sort time span, and felt like I wasted my time. I had to suggest to her, Can I go to my OB in Phoenix to see if she can let me know how far along I am? She replied with “Yes, yes just have her fax over your results.” I left annoyed, and so confused. My body felt pregnant, but the doctor couldn’t tell me any updates on my pregnancy. The baby looked the same size as they did eleven days prior, maybe even slightly smaller. All the while I am so nauseous, throwing up and feeling so tired.
I really am pregnant right??
I end up getting a so very lucky apt with my Ob in Phoenix, She confirmed it. The baby had no heartbeat and was still measuring at 6 weeks. She told me I was most likely going to miscarry again. It was somewhat comforting to know I had an answer now, but also still so confusing to why it was holding on for so long. I said, Is it the Bromocriptine helping so I don’t miscarry as fast like before? She said possibly, I asked, For future pregnancies will we need to do the whole shot concoction like we did with Ximena’s pregnany, and she said,
“I would say most likely, it seems like your body needs the extra little push.”
So we left with answers, but I was feeling so uneasy. Basically there was no heartbeat since April 1st. It was now April 18th. Even though my body wasn’t releasing it how it usually had before, I came to the conclusion that maybe my nausea was my body’s way of telling me something’s not right. My doctor prescribed me the pills to take if my body didn’t start to miscarry on its own. This was new, the first time I had been far enough along to need a little extra help on this end. I was actually going camping the next day and all weekend, and guess what happened the very next day. Honestly I was lucky. I had zero cramping. Yes there were lots of bathroom trips, thank God for that campsite bathroom, but I still had a really great time with my sisters. It was a very meditative and emotional trip that honestly I really needed. I did take the pills the following week per the doctor’s orders to make sure it was all released. It gave me the worst heartburn ever. The pills are basically a very strong Ibuprofen and a side effect is a relaxed esophagus. Ugh that pain was awful!! Because I had passed naturally I only needed to take the meds for one day, so that was a positive.
So now here I am almost a month since all of that happened. This past week I finally got in to see My Ob doctor. She herself was annoyed that she also couldn't see me, per front desk scheduling. As for follow up, any pregancies moving forward have to be planned. I will need to start the whole regimine as soon as I get a positve pregnancy test. She did say the doctor was fresh out of residncey and she's new, they can make mistakes. I get it, but also Ladies we have to advocate for ourselves. I should have been more vocal with the care I was receiving. Would it have prevented it, probably not, but the point is we need to stand up for ourselves.
Trust your insticts, find your voice, I know I am finding mine now.
A couple days ago I was actually listening to a podcast about misscarriage, and a woman experienced a very similar story to mine. The baby measuring the same size at different appointments, still feeling pregnant with nausea, and then finally having no heartbeat. Her being just as confused as I was asked her midwife, "How could this be?" Why wouldn’t my body just release it? And her midwife replied, "Your body just wasn’t ready to let go.." That literally spoke to me so hard.. and I started crying on the spot. How very beautiful and sad at the same time. In the depths of our soul our human body is trying to fulfill our desires as best as it can, even if it’s just for a few moments for us. Hearing that almost put me at ease. At first it freaked me out that I had the baby inside of me for so long and it wasn’t growing even though I didn’t know it at the time but now I know my body just wanted to hold on a little longer. I thanked my body for doing that for me; I didn’t know how much I would appreciate it, until after
I heard those words from that podcast.
Funny how you get the messages you most need with divine timing.
So my point to this long story is to share. To open the conversation. To use my voice. I will willingly talk to anyone about this topic. I know there are many variables to miscarriage, but one that I seemed to notice is the lack of conversation with in it. The excitement for a baby is exuberant, but when you get the other side of pregnancy, it’s a very short lived. I understand. People don’ t know what to say, they don’t want to make you sad, they are uncomfortable. But guess what so are we. We don’t know what to say, we are sad, we are uncomfortable (physically and mentally). But that’s a common ground we both have. Here I was thinking we would be ok this time because I was already on my Prolactinoma medication, it was going to be ok. But life is never what you think, ever. Life is literally so beautiful filled with so many wonderful and sad things. Even though these unfortunate circumstances happen I feel like they should have as much light as a pregnancy announcement or a gender reveal. To keep them in the dark only keeps these mothers’ in the shadows. I want to give a big hug to any woman who has had any and all experiences with in the other side of pregnancy.It’s a sincere cyster (cyber-sis) hug that’s full of light, and love, and patience, and hope, and knowing that you are not alone.
To my four angel babies, thank you for choosing me to share your stories. Thank you for your moments of joy you brought us, and the moments when we became stronger together.
I know we will all see each other one day,
Stephanie + Brittany here! We'll be sharing different topics week to week depending on what life throws at us! Funny moments, frustrating moments, heart to hearts, epiphanies, ideas, thoughts and anything in between.