When I was in high school I made a promise to myself that I would not have sex until after I graduated. Mostly I was just trying to live up to the standard of my older sister, who had said something to that effect to me one time in a random conversation that she probably doesn’t even remember. All I knew was that I was terrified of having sex and accidentally ending up pregnant. I may not have known what I wanted to major in when I went to college, but I knew I definitely didn’t want to be a teen mom. I assumed (as most women do) that it is really easy to get pregnant, otherwise how would so many people have these accidental pregnancies.
Well, when my husband and I finally decided to try and have a baby, I was terrified, excited, and most of all expecting to get pregnant very quickly. After all I was still young (25 when I stopped taking birth control) and healthy, with no reproductive health concerns. Cut to my first positive pregnancy test two years later… I was seriously beginning to think that there was something majorly wrong with me that it took me TWO YEARS to finally get pregnant. After using every period tracking app, basal body temperature monitoring and ovulation tests, we finally just got lucky and nailed it (so to speak) I was so excited to finally be pregnant I told my sister right away, it was right before my Dad’s birthday and I considered telling him that his gift would be arriving in 9 months but, thankfully, I decided against it. A little less than a month later we ended up in the ER because I was having some bleeding and neither my husband or I could get our minds out of the bad place. 5-6 hours, and two ultrasounds later, they told me that everything looked ok, and I should follow up with my OB/GYN to get another ultrasound. A week later we were back in the ER again and the baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was devastated.
They told me that they could schedule me for a D&C, they could prescribe me Cytotec to take at home, or I could wait to pass the baby naturally. I left that night with a prescription for Cytotec, a heavy heart and all the tears my husband and I could cry together. Trying to lighten up the situation, as much as we could, we made a day out of my miscarriage day, we filled the prescription, bought pads and ibuprofen at the pharmacy, rented a bunch of movies and bought all the junk food we wanted to eat. I had to insert the Cytotec vaginally (something I actually had to google how to do) and just wait for the whole thing to start. I was armed with my heating pad and ibuprofen and while the cramping was bad, I can honestly say I have had worse. I passed a lot of blood clots, which was fine, and then I saw this tiny little sac. That tiny little thing that must have been no bigger that the size of a quarter had been my baby. I sat on the bathroom floor and stared at it for a while, wanting so badly to inspect it closer, but also feeling strange about that. Finally, I just picked myself up and said goodbye to all of my hopes, dreams, and naivety about what it is to be pregnant. It was a lovely way to spend my birthday that year.
We had decided that we would wait for a little while before we tried again, but I ended up getting pregnant again pretty quickly and I had realized it right after our anniversary trip to Vegas. Panic immediately sprung to my brain… I’d had that 1 drink at the pool, we had gotten massages, WE HAD JUMPED OFF THE STRATOSPHERE TOWER! I emailed my OB/GYN immediately and they scheduled me for an early ultrasound. We held our breath as we watched that screen and much to both of our surprise, the baby looked healthy, and was a good size with a strong heartbeat. I breathed a little bit and vowed that I wouldn’t hold on to the fear of my last miscarriage, the chances of repeating the same experience had to be lower, right? It was just about a month later again, when we were about to go out to a movie, that I saw the smallest amount of blood. I knew right then that it was over. I came out and told my husband. He tried to reassure me that it could still be ok, but I knew in my heart that I was going to have another miscarriage. Rather than having another expensive ER visit where they would make me wait for hours to find out what I already knew, I waited until the morning to call my doctor. They were able to squeeze me in that morning. Again, I held my breath as the doctor placed that ultrasound wand until she told me what I knew in my heart. She couldn’t find a heartbeat. They did a second ultrasound with a better machine where I had the choice to watch, I did, and saw my tiny little baby there with no movement, no blood flow and no heartbeat.
I sat in my doctor’s office crying as I asked if there was something wrong with me. It had to be a problem with me, since it had taken me so long to get pregnant. It had to be my fault that these babies were dying. She tried to reassure me that sometimes it is just bad luck. She told me that you have to have three consecutive miscarriages in order for insurance to cover any fertility tests, and even then most of the time they can’t find anything wrong. I was sent home again with my Cytotec trying not to make any eye contact with the other happily pregnant women in the office as I made my way out of the waiting room. I didn’t want them to see me as the girl who can’t keep her babies alive. I didn’t want to be seen at all. I wanted to crawl into my bed and cry, and that is just what I did.
We had to wait until my next cycle before we could have sex again due to the risk of infection after miscarriage. and in that month I became determined. If they wouldn’t do any tests on myself or my husband until our 3rd miscarriage, then that’s what I would do to get some answers. My husband reluctantly agreed that we would try again right away so that if it was going to happen again, we could at least just get it over with.
Little did we know, that next time would be the pregnancy that gave us our little girl.