So… it’s been a couple days and I think it’s time for me to finally write this.
I noticed early last week that I was feeling less nauseated, and I was really happy about it. I had spent the last couple weeks feeling sick after every bite of food, and it felt nice to have a little relief from it. It actually crossed my mind one afternoon that it didn’t seem right that I should be feeling less sick… since the hCG level in my blood was supposed to be going up, which should make me feel more sick. I just wrote it off and good luck and didn’t think much more about it. It was about this same time that I noticed my dog Gus started sleeping at my feet again instead of on my stomach.
On Thursday, I spent the entire day out in the field working, and I felt horrible. I started to get a migraine in the early afternoon, and I was sick to my stomach and just feeling awful all day. I went home and crawled into bed. By the evening, I had such a bad migraine that I could hardly see straight, I was on the verge of throwing up all night, I started running a fever and was restless to the point that I spend hours tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.
When I woke up in the morning, I felt like I was coming down with strep throat. I could tell that I was running a fever, but I just sucked it up and took Nicolas to school. I went and saw a patient, and then came back home since I wasn’t planning on going in to the unit until 11am. I had another headache coming on and I was aching so bad from the fever that I decided to take some Tylenol. It was around 10:45am that I noticed that I had some spotting along with a little bit of cramping. I had implantation spotting and cramping on days 9-13 after IUI, but it had gone away and I hadn’t had any other issues since then. I didn’t feel right, so I decided to take a pregnancy test. I stared at it for the entire three minutes, and no line came up.
I brought lunch to Ashley at her work and told her that I was concerned because of the negative test and the spotting and cramping, and we decided that I should go in to see my doctor for blood work to test the hCG level in my blood. At this point we were just thinking “better safe than sorry” because these cheap 88 cent tests had been giving us weird results from the very beginning. I called the unit to tell them that I was going to be late, and what was happening.
I drove straight to Dr. Nemiro’s office and one of the nurses took blood for the test. She said she could tell that I was running a fever, and it turned out I had a temp of 101, almost two hours after the Tylenol. They said that what they thought was happening was that I was having migraines from the progesterone that I’ve been taking, and I was coming down with some sort of infection which is what explained the fever. They said not to freak out over the spotting because it was (TMI alert) brown and not red. They said a little bit of cramping was OK. I was told that I would get results in an hour, so I went home to wait for the phone call.
Almost two hours went by, and I hadn’t heard from them. I called Dr. Nemiro, and he said he would check on the results for me. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. His exact words were. “Oh, Devan… barely pregnant. Your level is at a 3 when it should be upwards of 200.” He said that I had lost the baby probably a day or so before, and the hCG was almost out of my system. He told me that I should stop the progesterone, wait for my period to start, and then we would be free to try again.
This is usually referred to as a “chemical pregnancy” which is when you have fertilization and implantation, but due to a chromosomal abnormality, the embryo stops it’s own growth. It’s hard to tell how often it actually happens, but I’ve seen statistics that range from 25% to 70% of all pregnancies end in this type of early miscarriage. It has nothing to do with me or my body, and the statistics show that the likelihood of this happening again are slim, unless there is something wrong with me that caused this first one. We just have to try again to see what happens.
So now we get to experience all of those wonderful stages of grief. I’ve had so many different feelings in the last two days, and they have been absolutely all over the charts. I’ve cried so hard that I stopped producing tears. I’ve screamed, and been angry at people who have babies or are pregnant when I’m not anymore. I’ve had anger towards the people in my life who have abused their bodies with drugs while pregnant. I’ve had anger towards people in my life who have had abortions. I’ve been peaceful and calm, and at ease. I’ve been so depressed that I feel like my heart is physically being ripped into shreds, and it strikes me so dumb that I can’t even muster up the energy to cry. I’ve had little moments where that glass half full attitude comes out, and I have that voice in my head that says, “Devan, this is just what happens. It’s biological, it’s ok. Next time is your time.”
We have been keeping people in the loop from the very beginning, which is why I’m writing publicly about this right now. This is usually a situation that would never have to be discussed. Most women choose not to announce a pregnancy until the end of the first trimester, because miscarriages do happen and it’s a loss that is usually mourned privately. Well, this baby was planned and conceived publicly, and it will be lost that way too. I’ve been documenting my dreams for all to see, and now I’m documenting my nightmares. We made phone calls, and then posted on Facebook, just to get it all out on the open. We didn’t want to continue to have to tell people in the weeks to come, we just wanted everyone to know so they could process it and move on, and we could too. It’s been nice to see the comments from others with their words of encouragement, but I’ve been so frustrated with people telling me that this is some sort of plan from God. I have never kept it a secret that I am an atheist, and it makes me so angry that in the midst of this pain, this worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, someone is telling me that God took my baby for a reason. I’m sorry, and I know that this is probably inappropriate, but that is bullshit. Hypothetically, if God existed, I highly doubt he would have any use for my embryo.
The fact that we are atheists is a blessing and a curse. We know what we lost, and we know what we didn’t. What we lost wasn’t a baby. Yet. It was the potential for a baby. What we did lose was the dream. We lost what we had imagined of him. His face, his smell, the sound of his cry. What color his eyes would have been. Hearing his heart beat a week from tomorrow. Feeling him kick. Naming him, loving him, watching him grow. We lost our reckless optimism. We lost the joy that had been swelling in our hearts. We lost the joy that we will feel the next time we see that pink line. Next time… that line will be the start of an agonizing waiting period. Waiting to see if he will stay for us, or if he will leave. Waiting to see if I will be able to carry at all, or if this is the first in a series of let downs that we will face in our attempts to have our family.
I got into a huge fight with my dad and sister yesterday, and I spent the vast majority of yesterday sobbing. I felt bad for Ashley, because she became very distressed asking me what she could do, and I didn’t have to words to tell her what I needed. I don’t even know what I need. I’ve been in and out of depressions that get so low that I start thinking things like, “my family doesn’t want me, and neither did my baby.” Sometimes that depression just fades away and I go as far as joking about the situation, which is my usual defense mechanism. (For example, we came to the conclusion yesterday that my body rejected the baby because it would have been a Twilight fan. LOL. A little distasteful, but laughter is the best medicine, no matter how inappropriate!) I’ll sometimes think that the clouds are parting and I’ve cried about as much as I’m going to, and then I’ll go on Facebook and see the post of a pregnant friend or see a picture of someone’s baby, and I’m down for the count again. I feel like I could cry forever and never feel relief from this pain. I think the absence of their support has been the loneliest time in my life.
I finally got up from the couch and took a shower this morning, changed my clothes, and had lunch with my mom and Ashley. It was nice to see the sun, lol. Heather and Robert came over last night, and they brought chocolate and a lovely glass dove vase with a rose in it. My Grandma, who I hardly ever see or speak to, called me today to tell me that I was in her thoughts. The people that love us are texting and calling periodically just to see how we are, and if we need anything. It’s the support of the people closest to us that will ultimately make the difference. We can grieve privately all we want, but being alone just isn’t going to get us through this. I don’t regret the decision to write honestly about this. Writing my feeling is what I do. It’s what I’ve always done.
So, that’s the emotional. Here’s the physical: Since it was so early, I don’t have to undergo any sort of medical procedure. I’m bleeding heavily and cramping pretty badly, and that should be as bad as it gets. I am fee to attempt to get pregnant again in as soon as two weeks. We have not made a decision yet as to when we are going to try to get pregnant again. I think at this point, we are resolved to give ourselves a few months to regroup and grieve our loss, and then we will jump on the horse again. It’s too soon to say for sure.
Well, I guess that’s just about it. We’ve been talking about making changes in our lives, including trying to go a week without Facebook, and possibly going without all together. We want to spend more time together to have a better jumping off point for our family. I’ve also been thinking that this is a good time to get into an exercise routine and try to get into better shape before getting pregnant again. We’ll see!
Love to all,
Devan and Ashley