Missed Miscarriage

As I have mentioned before, our first confirmed pregnancy ended in what is called a “missed miscarriage.”  Before this happened to us, I had never heard of miscarriage being missed, nor did I even know what it was… but sadly we had to learn.  According to American Pregnancy Association, a missed miscarriage is “…when embryonic death has occurred but there is not any expulsion of the embryo. It is not known why this occurs. Signs of this would be a loss of pregnancy symptoms and the absence of fetal heart tones found on an ultrasound.”

I had complications from almost the start.  Around six weeks I found out I was pregnant, which I was sure that I was not (see Ovulation Sticks…how to pee into a cup).  I took a test on the Tuesday morning, which was positive!  On Wednesday I started spotting and went to the doctor the following morning.  They sent me for a blood test and an ultrasound which confirmed the pregnancy, but my progesterone levels were way low.  So a week later I was started on twice daily vaginal progesterone.  I had occasional spotting, but generally it was after sex and it was never heavy.  At our eight week ultrasound the baby was measuring around seven and a half weeks, only a few days behind so it did not worry us at the time.  I had no issues, other than cramping, which the  doctor chalked up to my low progesterone level and a “irritable uterus” (or contractions that do not cause labor).

At my twelve week appointment I mentioned to my doctor that I had noticed spotting after sex (which we had had earlier in the week) but otherwise no issues.  My breast tenderness had disappeared and so had my nausea.  She told me that the spotting was likely to do with a low laying placenta so I was to be on pelvic rest until an ultrasound could rule that out and that I was lucky to have gotten rid of the annoying pregnancy symptoms so quickly!  They had disappeared around ten weeks, so I was feeling good.  I was given the go ahead to stop the progesterone and then she got out the Doppler to hear baby’s heart beat.

She couldn’t find it…

I remember my heart sank…

She tried to tell me that it could just be that baby was sitting back to far or maybe moving around too much.  She felt my uterus and told me I was the right size for twelve weeks, but no matter how hard she tried she could not find a heart beat.  My doctor scheduled me for an emergency ultrasound and told me to drink up and head to the ultrasound location (damn HMOs and not letting the doctor just do the ultrasound in house!).  I knew then that something was wrong.  My symptoms were gone and they really shouldn’t be yet… she couldn’t find a heart beat… I texted my husband and my mum to tell them what was happening and headed to the location.

Now all of my prior ultrasounds I had been allowed to see the screen and see our baby.  This time I wasn’t.  The tech turned the monitor, turned off the sound, and hardly said two words to me.  I left in tears.  I remember calling my mum on the way home and just balling.  I knew before the doctor called me that the baby had died, but my body had not figured it out.  Why on earth it did not figure it out I will never know.  I blame the progesterone, but I will never really know.

My doctor called shortly after I got home and told me what I already knew.  The baby had stopped growing at around nine weeks, just before my symptoms disappeared.

I was scheduled for a D&C the following week and told to stay home from work.  That night was my husband’s birthday get together, I had my first drink in a few months.  Over the weekend I started spotting more, but it never turned into bleeding.  Monday I went to the doctors office to fill out paperwork for my D&C and to talk with my doctor.  They told me that they would test the baby to see what had happened, but that it was possible that we would never know.  Monday night into Tuesday morning I was woken up by contractions.  They were really strong, but enough to not let me back to sleep.  I sat on the couch all night and let my husband sleep.  I didn’t want to worry him and it was his birthday… I didn’t want him to spend it in the ER.  I wasn’t bleeding so I felt like there was nothing the ER would do anyway (and I was right).  I completed my pre-op blood work on Tuesday and then made my husband his birthday dinner.  The contractions were getting worse and I did not think we would make it to the D&C on Wednesday.  I was right.

Around 5pm on Tuesday my “water” broke.  There is no nice way to describe what happened.  It was like a heavy menses that would not stop.  I went through heavy pads in minutes.  I told my husband to eat his dinner (because it was done and damnit he was going to eat it!) and once he was done we would go to the ER.  I wasn’t in any immediate danger and there wasn’t much that the ER could do anyway, other than a D&C.

We went to our hospital and checked into the ER.  Friends of ours met us down there to give support and to keep my husband sane.  I was lucky, I had a ER doctor that was nice as I have heard horror stories about ER doctors.  I was passing clots and still bleeding heavily so they took me into a room and did an exam.  Because of what was happening I had to deliver the baby.  My husband was there the whole time and the doctor even commended him on being able to stay in the room with all the blood.  He wouldn’t leave my side, I am certainly a lucky woman to have a guy like him.  I have never felt pain like I did with those contractions.  Maybe when I had my cyst, but my mind has blocked the pain from that as it has now from this experience.  Because there was still a chance that tissue was left behind which could cause infection, they decided to continue with the D&C the following morning so I was admitted.  My husband stayed with me over night… he spent his 29 birthday in the hospital.  Not a good memory.

The D&C was not terrible.  I did wake up slightly sore, but overall it was nothing in comparison to the actual miscarriage.  I experienced bleeding for a few weeks afterwards, but no real cramping.  At first I blocked the emotional pain because that is what I do best.  My husband and I did talk about what happened, but I could not explain to him how I really felt.  I felt like a failure as a woman.  My “job” is to create babies and I could not do that right.  What kind of a woman was I?  My experience did lead me to seek counseling services and i benefited greatly from talking to someone about my loss, because it was a loss, a major loss.  We had already been planning when my parents would come to visit and since the baby was due on Christmas Eve there were holiday plans that were now changed.  I think that is what I did not understand about a miscarriage, its not only the loss of the baby, but the loss of what you planned for that baby.  Now there were fears of it happening again and did we even want to try and get pregnant again in the near future.

With all of this happening I was really surprised to find out how many people had experienced the loss of a baby.  Whether is was a miss miscarriage, a late term miscarriage, or just problems with getting pregnant… so many of my friends and co-workers had experienced a loss or multiple losses.  I really think the hardest part for me was the look on peoples faces when they honestly did not know and they asked how the baby was doing.  I felt terrible telling them what happened because they felt terrible for bringing it up.

If you experience a loss I would highly recommend seeking counseling services, even if it is just for a few sessions.  Talk about the emotions you have as it relates to the loss, don’t ignore them.  Your feelings are real and important and you need to heal before you try again.  I’m not a religious person, so maybe your God or faith will help you in this area.  To each there own.  I just recommend highly that you get some support that is not just your family or significant other.  They are wonderful, but they are also involved emotionally too.

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Pregnancy: Has your body lost its mind?

There are many things that we, as women, don’t usually talk about outside of maybe our house or close family/friends. Guys have cart blanch to talk about their “itchy balls” or to fart in public and then grin about it.  So what happens to us during pregnancy when our bodies are acting out of sorts? We try to figure it out and still act like the ladies we are, or at least until we get in the privacy of our own homes!

Pregnancy Gas
Now I will admit, I do not fart roses to begin with. I know, shocking isn’t it?  So when I became pregnant and experienced pregnancy gas, which for me was exasberbated by progesterone, I was amazed, and a little proud that I could make my husband cringe!  You can try and keep this under wraps, but trust me, better out than in for your bloated belly.  Gas is super painful and almost feels like there is a serious problem sometimes, well there is… and it needs to be released.  I have found eating prunes helps and also eases any constipation (another issue that progesterone seems to exacerbate) that you might be experiencing.

Acne?!
What am I, 13?! Oh yes, acne is back and for some it is worse than you remember. My face and chest broke out something terrible during the first trimester… but (at least for me) it did clear up in the later months. There really is not too much you can do. Most acne products are off limits during pregnancy, so its just a case of trying to keep your skin as oil free without overly drying out… which can be just as bad because then you itch. I found that the sun helped, but depending on the time of year (and how you feel) catching some rays might not be possible.

Boobs and Nipple drama
If you haven’t already realized, your breasts are going to grow. Some people only notice a cup size or maybe half a cup size… others (like me) feel like someone poured Miracle-Gro directly into the center of your breasts… it sucks! My growth spurt caused my 36DDs to jump to a 40E almost over night. Ways to help with the pain include wearing sports bras to bed and having well fitting bras with lots of support. Don’t run anywhere… this results in lots of pain! What about the nipples you may ask… they itch and its an itch that you can’t scratch using the rub-your-elbow-across-your-chest move. Lotions help, just avoid ones with too much fragrance as not only can this cause your sensitive nose to make your sensitive stomach turn, they can irritate your skin in ways they did not before. Stick to a plain lotion like Eucerin or Aveeno. Luckily this usually calms down in the second trimester.

Food Aversions
With my first pregnancy I could not stand bananas or coffee. The smell alone made me want to throw up! With my current pregnancy I haven’t had this issue. Although the smell of the dishwasher makes me gag… Many women can not stand the sight or smell of raw meat, chicken seems to be especially bad. A friend of mine could not prepare dinner during her first trimester and into her second because of this. The thing with this is everyone is different and every pregnancy is different. Listen to your body and work with your husband/partner/spouse to figure out how to work around this issue.

Pregnancy Hormones
“I know you’re pregnant and hormonal, but…”
When my husband said that in the middle of an airport I was about to kill him… I looked at him with daggers and stormed out of the terminal leaving him to find the luggage! However, as much as it pains me to admit, I was most likely being “crazy.” Pregnant women talk about the crying at commercials, tv shows, movies, etc… for me it was those damn ASPCA commercials with the puppies looking at me through their jail bars… oh and songs on the radio! But the real issue is your poor significant other… I yelled at my husband over the weekend because he didn’t cut the bread right so that when I tried to make my grilled cheese sandwich it came out all wonky and had holes in the bread. Instead of being rational I threw out the bread and yelled at him! Wow… poor guy! A friend of mine admitted to throwing the washing basket at her husband because he was bitching that the washing wasn’t done… yes we are pregnant and hormonal, it just might not be the right time to remind us of it 😉 Just remember that while you are having a moment or three… take a minute to say sorry later!

Discharge – Did I just pee myself?
Maybe, did you sneeze? Or maybe laugh too hard? You very well could have peed yourself! That’s another unplesant preggo side effect, do your keagles! But it also could be increased discharge. Your body is working in overdrive to keep your lady bits (and baby) in good working order. The discharge will likely increase as time progresses, panty liners can be your savior! The discharge could be clear, watery like or slightly thick and like mucous (depending on you and how far along you are). You can get yeast infections (more so during your second trimester) so check with your doctor if you think you may have one. My OB cleared the 7 day OTC for use in pregnancy so when I ended up with a yeast infection I used that and it did clear up, just took a bit longer than I expected. If you notice a lump of mucousy-bloody discharge, that could be your mucous plug (or part of it). Check with your OB regarding this! It could be a sign or preterm labor or it could be nothing, but always better to check!

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Am I pregnant?

In December 2010, two months after we started trying to get pregnant, my menses was late.  The week after Christmas, I felt a bit queasy, but otherwise OK.  I took a couple of pregnancy tests, but just got a big fat negative (BFN) every single time.  A few weeks after New Years, I woke up to blood everywhere… well, not really, but a little goes a VERY long way.  I had already made a doctors appointment for the following day to figure out what on earth was happening to me and decided to keep it and see if they could figure out what the heck was going on.  The bleeding continued so it was clear that I was not pregnant.

I talked to my nurse practitioner and she thought that I had not ovulated that month and therefore the bleeding was not a menses, but rather my body flushing my system (the medical term is anovulatory bleeding).  She told me to purchase ovulation tests and to test myself to see if I was ovulating.  Track this for three months and then report back.  The hope was that I would report back pregnant, but if not then I may have to take Clomid to force my body to ovulate.  There was a potential issue with this… since I have a history of ovarian cysts and Clomid can cause ovarian cysts in “normal” people, it was very likely that I would have complications.

Now I was never very comfortable talking about what was going on with my body, but I had to become comfortable very quickly.  My first experience with being comfortable was that day.  The nurse practitioner looked at me and said, “you need to be having sex every other day when you think you might be ovulating.  Don’t just try one position.  One time do it missionary, the next doggie style, and then do it another way.”  I just looked at her and tried to hide my amazement.  A medical professional just told me to have sex “doggie style.”  She explained that it was because each women’s cervix sits differently and changing positions increases the chance that his sperm would find my egg.  They did not teach me that in Human Sexuality.

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Ovulation sticks… how to pee into a cup.

After meeting with my nurse practitioner, I came home and found an online store that sells ovulation and pregnancy tests.  A co-worker had recommended www.early-pregnancy-tests.com so I started there.  I found them to be relatively cheap and there were good reviews.  So I ordered a kit that came with ovulation tests and pregnancy tests.  I also ordered a cup to pee in since it was only a couple of dollars and I figured I did not want to use one of my cups/bowls in my house.

So now what you ask? I peed in my little plastic cup every day for two months and never got a positive! You are supposed to pee between something like 10am and 6pm… I work M-Th 7am to 5:30pm… so that was tough.  I was so frustrated. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a few friends/co-workers that have used these exact tests and gotten positives and even gotten pregnant using these tests.  So I am not saying they do not work.  I am saying that I did not get a positive.  I have since figured out a possible reason as to why, but that’s more a recent thing.

By now its March 2011, and I have given up.  I decided that I was not ovulating and could never have children.  I gave up caring and decided to stop being “good” and just do what I wanted.  I had decided that I would stop all social drinking while trying to get pregnant so that I would not feel guilty if I found out I was pregnant after a few glasses of wine the day before.  I had also considered adoption because I figured that since I could not get pregnant, I would still be a mother.

I had my follow-up appointment scheduled at the end of April 2011, so when my menses did not show up on time, I did not think twice.  I did take a test just in case, but got a BFN so this just confirmed my thoughts that I could not get pregnant so I might as well just stop worrying about it.

What really made me mad was the odd symptoms I was having.  I decided that my body had decided to fake a pregnancy just to make me more mad.  I was nauseous, could not stand bananas (which I generally ate daily), I had breast tenderness, and cramping.  I was just plain mad at the world and how much of a bad joke this was.  The weekend before my next appointment I had a girls night filled with wine.  I was drunk out of my head and the next day had a terrible hangover.  The hangover really never went away, but then again, I just figured that my body was being mean and I ignored the symptoms.  The Tuesday before my Friday appointment I decided to take another test.  I told myself that I should take another test because when I went to the doctor on Friday they would ask me and I would not be able to tell them that I had taken a recent test.

I took my test and low and behold it was a big fat positive (BFP)!  I was in shock.  I woke my husband up to show him and he made me take another (which I could because of my trusty pee cup).  That one was positive too!  My husband said to me that we should take another the next day so I did and that was positive too!  I called my doctors office just to let them know that when I came in I was pregnant.

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