[Trigger Warning: Miscarriage talked about in this blog post. So, if you’re sensitive to reading about that maybe wait until you feel you’re ok and ready to read about it. Also I swear I bit in this blog post, but that’s so I can fully share my experience for you. So if you’re offended by that I’m sorry. Ok, into the blog post.]
I always told friends that if I didn’t get pregnant right away I would feel like a failure because cycles and charting is kind of my thing.
Obviously, your knowledge of your cycle doesn’t change your fertility.
And little did I know fertility and conception doesn’t just automatically go quicker because you “know more”.
I remember when one of my best friends was in her first trimester, and I was trying to get pregnant and she said something along the lines of “I’m just worried that I’m going to miscarry, and I know I’ll feel so much better after my 13 week appointment.” And it was the first time it had crossed my mind that there was fear and worry after getting pregnant.
I was so consumed with just getting pregnant that I thought once I checked that off the list that they’re wouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Oh baby, was I wrong.
We first had the talk on a plane ride back from vacation in late 2016 or the start of 2017. Basically, the timeline of when we wanted to have kids and all that exciting stuff. We settled on a fall baby, which would fit perfectly into our schedule for the year. It would be the start of Micahel’s "off season" and would give us plenty of time to just figure out how to be parents, whatever that means.
So, an October baby meant getting pregnant in January.
I dutifully ordered my prenatals to start taking in November of 2017 in preparation. January came, I had my last drink on January 4, stopped drinking caffeine and was ready to get pregnant.
Well the trying came and went, the waiting came and went and my period at the end of that cycle arrived. We were both upset. This isn’t how it was supposed to go, we were going to have an October baby. Well, now we weren’t.
Ok, well maybe it would just take another month or two. I started looking into the statistics of how much quicker couples who charted got pregnant. Cycle came and cycle went, period after period coming and going.
After three months we decided to stop charting. It was in our heads, messing with our relationship and the whole “trying” process. That’s right, I stopped charting my cycle. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still really freakin’ in tune with my body and my cycle. You just can’t ignore you cervical fluid turns out.
Then, on my birthday, May 24th, I went on a morning run with my mom. And with those first strides my boobs went thu-thump, and I thought “What the?” And I knew, this was different from every other pregnancy symptom I’d convinced myself of over the past five months. This was the real deal. And when we took that pregnancy test a day or two later it confirmed it for me.
I was pregnant.
We were on our way out the door, to put on a race and we spent the drive talking about the exciting what if’s, asking ourselves “when are we supposed to go to the doctor?” and other innocent questions like that.
But we were excited, I had pulled up a “due date calculator” online. January 29th was our day. I started mentally plotting out the timeline of it all. I’d be X weeks pregnant during X time. My second, third trimester would start here and here, and I’d be super pregnant for Christmas.
I was four weeks pregnant when I found out, and I would be another five weeks until my first midwife appointment.
Well, that appointment finally came. I got my goodie bag, I got my physical check up, I got to ask my questions, answer their questions. And just before it was all done, almost as we were walking out the door she asked, Oh, would you like an ultrasound today?
Michael and I looked at each other and replied "Sure!”
We were going to see our baby. The one I had been imagining from the pregnancy books, the week by week app I had installed on my phone.
But this would be ours. We’d get to see them, hear their heartbeat. This was the moment so many parents waited for.
Jelly on the belly, monitor in hand, pushed across my stomach annnddd….
I knew before she said anything.
I had my own eyes.
I knew what the ultrasound should have looked like, where the fetus should have been.
And it wasn’t there.
Nothing was there.
My midwife was pretty quick to speak. She explained where my uterus was, that there was a gestational sac, I was “pregnant”, but there was no baby.
Michael put his camera down, scooted closer, grabbed my hand and I focused on holding my shit together.
We were both blindsided. This was not supposed to happen. I had already waited six, almost seven months for this, and this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.
She explained my options. I responded I would need to think about it.
I just need to get out of there was all I could think.
But they had to draw blood, and then I’d have to come back in two days to get more blood drawn to confirm that my HCG levels were going down.
They were. I was miscarrying.
It would be another two weeks, and one painfully uncomfortable vaginal ultrasound later before I would get booked in for a D&C.
But there was something freeing about that procedure.
On the day we found out, Michael dropped me off back at home, asked for the tenth time if I wanted him to stay home from work and come up with me, but I said no. I honestly just wanted to be alone so I could fully just let it all out. I went upstairs, sat on my bathroom rug, leaned up again my tub, and sobbed uncontrollably.
But eventually I had come to terms with it all. It wasn’t meant to be this time, and I was ready to clear out my uterus, get my first period after that so I could be back at square one and try again.
So the D&C was a great experience. I was ready for it. Yeah there was a lot of waiting, and it ended up costing more than I expected, but it was me getting one step closer to being back to a place I could try again.
Not to mention getting knocked out with general anethsesia was a beautiful thing. I did not want to be conscious for that procedure.
I headed home with those super comfy stretchy underpants (seriously where can I buy a pack of those) and a pad the size of a football wedged between my butt cheeks and sticking painfully to one thigh.
I gave myself diaper rash wearing pads that next week, and had to ask my sister for a butt cream recommendation because damn it was uncomfortable. I ruined at least one pair of underwear because the ol' diaper cream got on it and it apparently doesn’t come out.
I cramped, I bled, but I healed.
And four weeks later my period, my own, real period showed up.
I was so happy with my body.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This time around I was wiser. I knew not to be so naive. I knew it would take time, and that was ok. And I knew it might not go as planned.
I wondered what it would be like to one day have that experience of seeing your baby for the first time on an ultrasound. (That was my new equivalent to a positive pregnancy test.)
August came and went, so did September and October. But then on my fourth real cycle post D&C a few days before Thanksgiving I decided to take a test.
I knew I had a race to work over the next few days, but I also knew that if I was pregnant I didn’t want to be carrying around heavy things. You see, I life with my uterus I’m pretty sure, bruising the front of my thighs and hips from lugging crates, tables and barricades around.
And if there was a chance that somehow my uterus wasn’t empty, well, I wanted to be a little more careful with it.
Weird things had happened, but I’ve literally convinced myself I was pregnant so many times that I have learned not to trust any “symptom”.
It was a few days before my period so there was a pretty good chance that if I was pregnant a test would tell me.
So, not thinking I was, but hoping nonetheless I peed in my designated pee container (which is in fact a tiny to go tuppaware for your sauce - don’t worry it is only used for this now) and I got out one of my cheap, Amazon pregnancy tests that I had bought in bulk back when we started trying.
I dipped the stick in. One Mississippi…two Mississippi….threeee Mississippi.
Put it on the top of the little test package, told my phone to set an alarm for five minutes, and watched the pee push the pink dye across.
Normally, I would have shoved the stick back in the package, to be hidden from view until my alarm went off. But not this time. I wanted to watch it happen, or not happen. I wanted to know right away.
The dye went across, collected in the control line, and finished it’s journey.
Whelp. At least I knew. And I had kind of known hadn’t I? It was just a precaution. But it was ok. It was just another month, another cycle, another no.
A few moments later, after coming to terms with all of this, I looked back down. What the?! My eyes were playing tricks on me. Those little shits knew where that second line should be. And I swear it was some sort of mirage I was seeing. Giving my some pathetic sliver of hope. Like seeing a lake in the dessert. I could see the faintest, ghost glimmer of where that line should have been.
But it was negative I knew it. I had watched it go across without even hesitating around the test line. The spot where I now swear I could see something.
I looked around, trying to adjust my eyes. Cleanse the palette like I was sniffing some fucking coffee or something.
Ok, look back down.
My eyes aren’t little shits, there’s a line there. It’s light, but fuck, it’s there.
Holy shit, I’m pregnant.
And then I immediately thought, “When am I going to tell Michael?"
You see, he gets stressed during race week (understandably so). And I knew he would want to be fully present to absorb the good news, so I would just have to wait. So, I wandered around, with this huge freaking secret that I couldn’t tell anyone. And trying not to bang my uterus against too many things.
I kept it a secret for five whole days. That’s almost a week. I don’t know how I did it.
But he knew right away, even though I had spent far too long trying to come up with some cute, clever way to tell him. Like it was a marriage proposal or something.
He was guarded, hesitant, and didn’t want to share the news with anyone else. Because we knew it could easily be too good to be true. We needed proof.
So I called my midwife clinic, went in for blood tests again.
And they came back great. My progesterone levels were banging, and my HCG was doubling. Good job body, I thought.
I scheduled in for an ultrasound for 5 and a half weeks, but when we got there and she put in my last period and said, hmm I’ll be surprised if I see anything I immediately said, “I don’t want to do it!” And she was a total sweetie about it.
I rescheduled for one at the very end of 7 weeks. And it turns out that not getting the first scan was a huge turning point. I went into that one at 5 weeks expecting them to say it was a blighted ovum again, that it was all going wrong again, and that there would be no baby, again.
But after saying NO I DON’T WANT TO DO IT something happened. This sense of calm and peace came over me. Why shouldn’t it be fine? Why would I be any different than every other lady that goes on to be pregnant and have their baby?
So, even though I wished I was still blissfully ignorant I wasn’t and couldn’t be. I had to accept reality, and be happy with what I had.
And when I went in for my ultrasound at 7 weeks I knew it was going to be ok. I knew there was going to be a baby.
And there was.
I didn’t get to hear the heartbeat, but she measured with waves or something and it was 160. And the little stinker was measuring 8 weeks 5 days.
So we’ve got a due date again. August 3, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a late July baby instead.
Right in the heart of race season, but it’s going to somehow work out perfectly.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Several weeks later we went in for our first midwife appointment, the place where it had all gone to shit last time. But I was pretty confident. It was all ok. I knew my baby was in there, and we were going to get to hear the heartbeat for the first time.
The appointment went great. The midwife I had was a dream, and when she went to check the heartbeat she warned us that it might take her a minute to find it and to not worry. But as soon as she put the doppler to my stomach there it was. Loud and clear.
Oh also during the physical exam, as she was feeling around she announced “You uterus is nice and full” or something along those lines.
Good job body, you’re doing it.
I’m now 14, almost 15 weeks and feeling great. I remind myself of my gratitude to be pregnant each day and to enjoy the journey. Even all the little aches and pains. I can’t believe I’m already in my second trimester and my little nugget is only 6 months away.
So, if you’re out there in the midst of your own TTC journey just know you’re not alone. There are so so many couples out there going through what you are. We just all do it in silence for some reason. Now that I’m here, I want to talk more about the whole thing.
If there are any topics about trying to get pregnant or being pregnant that you want me to talk about let me know down below.