Happiness, Loss and Hope
Trying to have a baby is one of the most beautiful experiences of adulthood so far, but the ugly truth, it’s hard, it’s emotional, it’s unpredictable. After 11 months of trying, in February 2018, my Husband and I got the news we’ve been wholeheartedly waiting and praying for, we were PREGNANT! In one week’s time, we experienced one of the happiest times of our lives only to be followed by the saddest times of our lives. The unthinkable happened, we had a miscarriage. Our hearts are broken. It has been a very hard and lonely time. What I am thankful for is time heals and each day gets a little easier, but the pain still lingers and we will never forget. This blog isn’t meant for attention or sympathy. We are sharing our experience so we don’t have to continue to grieve in silence and to connect with 100’s of thousands of couples and women out there who have or who are going through the exact same thing we did. When we had a miscarriage, we joined a community we didn’t want to, but the fact of the matter is we did and what we’ve learned so far is these women, these families are tough as nails, strong-minded, hopeful and resilient.
Sunday, February 18th was the second happiest day of our lives next to our wedding day. My husband and I found out we were pregnant and suddenly our lives changed, for the better. When I read these first two sentences, I can’t help but smile and cry at the same time.
I wish I could stop there and re-write the next chapter, but life isn’t that predictable or easy. It’s not always beautiful rainbows and fairy tales outside personas and social media highlight reels portray life to be. The ugly truth is life is messy and we were about to embark on one of the darkest and scariest nightmares we could’ve ever imagined.
For a few days, we got to celebrate our pregnancy. We were just over five weeks pregnant. We took multiple positive tests, store bought and at the doctor, went through blood work and experienced early symptoms. We had already downloaded the Ovia pregnancy app and looked forward to reading clever descriptions daily about our little peppercorn that grew to the size of a Maine blueberry in just a matter of days. We learned about the different stages of pregnancy, how Baby Legg’s lungs and ear buds were already developing and any day now, there would be a heartbeat. We started our future life planning. We were so excited, literally beaming with excitement, high on life. This was our miracle baby. See, this has been our dream for a couple years now, ever since we said “I do,” on that hot summer night under the Oklahoma City sky. We didn’t expect it would take us so long to get pregnant, but this was a sign that together we could create a little Legg, that a child was in God’s plan. That I was meant to be a mom and Ryan was meant to be a dad.
It was the following Wednesday when my body started having some questionable symptoms. I’m pretty sure we were talking about baby names or nursery options while making my night time tea, when I felt a pain in my lower abdomen, looked down and saw blood. My heart instantly dropped, my eyes filled with tears and I went into panic mode.
We called the on-call doctor who reassured us everything could be fine, that since the pain wasn’t unbearable and/or the blood wasn’t uncontrollable, it was most likely implantation bleeding. That reassurance helped calm the nerves. After lots of babying by my husband, I was able to sleep through the whole night. It was a waiting game until we could re-evaluate the situation with professionals the next morning. The doc called the next day to go over blood work levels previously done by my primary physician. My levels were good, but I needed to go in for more blood work to make sure my levels were doubling, improving, day to day. More bloodwork was taken on a Friday, so unfortunately we had to wait for our results until Monday, one the hardest/longest weekend of our lives. I was also told to reduce all activity to walking, to keep my heart rate under 140, until we were able to gain some answers about our pregnancy. Friday, we binged watched True Blood (yes we know we’re late to the game, but needed a show with lots of seasons) to the point of being couch potatoes. It was depressing. Saturday, we at least made it off the couch to meet friends for dinner and games, a temporary distraction during a trying time. Sunday dragged on, but we had made it. Monday was around the corner.
Monday came. The phone rang. It was our doctor. Immediately I noticed the disappointed tone in her voice. My levels were not where they needed to be. The words came out of her mouth, my case was concerning. I was told to be cautiously optimistic, but needed to come in for another round of blood work, more waiting time, more unanswered questions. At this point, hope was very hard to come across but we tried to hold on. I was told if your numbers aren’t doubling, there’s most likely a problem. I was asked to come in again for more blood work. Unfortunately when you’re so early on and your levels are low, doctors aren’t able to see anything on an ultrasound, so any answers had to come from blood work. I went in, gave my blood and went on with my day hoping and praying for the best.
Tuesday felt like an eternity later. I waited by my phone like a hawk. I got the call around 11:15 a.m., it was my OB. She called my case a bad pregnancy. I had two options. Option #1, I could take medicine (progesterone) to try to support my pregnancy, but there was a risk involved, a big one. Since doctors couldn’t tell if I was pregnant in the uterus or tube (ectopic pregnancy) there was a risk my tubes could burst, leading to an emergency like internal bleeding, or even death. Or option #2, let doctors help us dissolve our pregnancy. With the recommendations of my OB and primary doctor, my husband and I went with option #2. Our pregnancy wasn’t worth risking my health or future pregnancy complications. It wasn’t our time. This was the safest option.
From there, my doctor put the order in for the medicine, I picked it up, went to the doctor’s office and was injected with the medicine in my bum. I cried the whole time. Not necessarily because of the pain (however the medicine going into my body was a serious burning sensation) but because this was it. Soon, I would no longer be pregnant. I cried the whole way home, changed into my pajamas, laid on the couch, ate too much food (I’m an emotional eater) and watched The Voice. My husband was able to come home from work early just to lay with me, nurture me, to reassure me everything was going to be OK. I didn’t know what to expect with the medicine, doctors told me I would most likely feel intense cramping, lots of blood, tissue leaving the body, mood swings, lots of unsettling reactions. I was uncomfortable for a couple days, but it was Thursday when the worst hit. I’m pretty sure that’s when our miscarriage happened. I was up all night, running to and from the bathroom trying to control the bleeding and fight through the pain. My poor husband was up all night with me too, rubbing my head, my belly, tucking me into the guest bedroom because it was a straight shot to the bathroom. I barely slept a wink, but all I could think is I hope the worst is over.
The weekend came with lots of downtime and more blood work, pending final results of the miscarriage on Tuesday. If the medicine worked, we could continue on our lives to recover, heal and get the body ready for a hopeful healthy, good pregnancy next time. I spent the weekend being sad, mad, angry, resentful, doubtful, confused, optimistic, hopeful, all of the feels. I’m generally a positive person so people close to me sternly said it’s OK to not be OK. Healing takes time. So grieve, go through the emotions, feel the pain in the moment. All hard things for me. Alone time for my Husband and I was necessary. We talked about our situation, we distracted ourselves from our situation, we sat in silence, we continued living our lives one day at a time.
Now we know we’re not alone. We know there are hundreds of thousands of women and couples out there who have chemical pregnancies and/or miscarriages, way beyond and worse than our situation. We can relate and understand some of the pain those people went through. You don’t know how hard it is until you live through it. What’s crazy to us is miscarriages are a very taboo topic. Obviously, it’s very personal and someone’s decision whether or not they want to share their experience, we can respect that. From my position, and I discussed this with my husband, I have this incredible platform to reach thousands of people in a positive light. If I could help ONE person going through something similar not feel so alone, as I did, then it makes sense for me to share our story. I felt lost when I found out our circumstances, I had to google and YouTube miscarriage to come across people (there weren't many) who were open to talking about their experience like Shawn Johnson, an Olympic gymnast. I felt connected to those people addressing this topic and it helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. It helped us feel less of a failure. Apparently 25 % of women miscarry, that’s 1-in-4 women and the majority of those women go onto have healthy pregnancies which is a big sign of hope for us.
Through the heartbreak and pain, we are optimistic. Why? How? Because a couple weeks ago, we had no idea we could even get pregnant. We had tried month after month for nearly a year without a sign that pregnancy was possible. We are holding onto the hope that baby Legg will come into our lives when he or she is ready. It’s out of our control. It’s in God’s hands. All we can do is continue to try, dream and pray about how we are going to be the best parents to our little Legg when the time is right.