Some of you may know that I recently suffered a miscarriage. Some of you may also know this was not my first miscarriage, in fact, I’ve had 6 documented losses, ranging from 6 weeks to 5 months. I’ve had blighted ovums, early miscarriage due to low progesterone, and after a full genetic workup as well as testing from surgery and autopsy/testing on the baby I carried to the fifth month of pregnancy, been given a clean bill of health and no real reason for the losses.
Having no answer makes it hard to accept and frustrating to make a decision about trying for another pregnancy.
With my history of pregnancy loss, seeing a positive sign on a home pregnancy test dampens a little of the joy and excitement I felt when I had my first positive test that resulted in the birth of my 13 year old daughter. My first miscarriage occurred when she was approximately eighteen months old and even though I hadn’t been trying to conceive and was in fact, using birth control, I was ecstatic to think of another baby. That was an early miscarriage and left me feeling very confused, sad, and isolated. I chalked it up to an aberration and immediately began trying to conceive again..which I did. The resulting pregnancy, however, introduced me to a world of thrice weekly blood tests, heavy bleeding, bed rest, and being put on medications that made me concerned about the side effects to my baby. Every time I would bleed severely despite being on bed rest, I’d hold my breath for the ultrasound, wondering how my baby was. She was fine.. for a long time. One morning, however, I woke up and felt something was different. I called my OB/GYN’s office and they had me come in for an ultrasound. She wasn’t fine that time, and we saw a still baby on the ultrasound.
I was in shock. Utterly in shock. Two OB/GYN’s confirmed there was no heartbeat and my doctor recommended a high risk specialist so that I could understand my options about “expectantly managing” a miscarriage in the fifth month or proceed with medical choices. I begged my doctor to get me in straight away with the specialist as I couldn’t bear the thought of going home and not knowing what decision to make. The specialist was Dr. Roussis, who agreed to have me come over despite their full patient schedule and even had me wait in his office so I didn’t have to sit in a waiting room with other pregnant women. Their entire office was so sweet and compassionate. When we did discuss my options, which were presented in written form, I remember looking at the choices (give birth to a still baby, have surgery, or wait) and repeating over and over, “but I don’t like any of these options.” I went home to think about it and ultimately decided to have surgery, which happened a few days later.
Testing was performed and other than a non-specific autoimmune issue that showed up, there were no answers. There were some speculations, such as a clot in the cord, or this or that. It didn’t matter to me the reason..and it did, all at the same time. I saw a reproductive endocrinologist for an opinion about trying to have more children. I grieved. I had also been entertaining the idea to become a doula and childbirth educator and felt even more strongly that now was the time to complete my training.
More losses have followed and some people ask me how I can be around pregnant women and new babies. My answer is simple: I love what I do. I love seeing new life, I love being a part of and witness to the creation of new families and little persons. Pregnancy, birth, and babies reaffirm to me all that is right in life.
Miscarriages and pregnancy losses happen. They are very sad and can leave real wounds and real grief. No two mothers will feel or grieve the same way. No two fathers will feel or grieve the same way. No one can say with absolute certainty “I know how you feel” but we can say we understand in some way the sadness and grief.
This latest miscarriage caused my husband, my daughter, and myself much sadness. The love and support we have received from people we know has been very healing and we thank you very much for the act of sharing in our sadness, if only that someone says, “I’m sorry for your loss.” It’s taken me a few weeks to even physically feel “okay” again and I would like to publicly acknowledge the tremendous support I have received from my husband and daughter, even as they have been dealing with their own grief. I would also like to thank some very special friends who brought food, called and emailed, visited, brought their new baby for me to snuggle, sent cards or flowers, as well as the many thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for sharing in our sadness, even as you shared in the joy of the news of our pregnancy.
For anyone out there who has had a pregnancy loss, my heart goes out to you and though I do not know “exactly” what you are going through, please know I have a compassionate understanding as well as a listening ear.
All Rights Reserved 2011, Kimberly Sebeck, CLD, CCCE