Monday, January 19, 2009

My Other Miscarriage

I don't talk about this miscarriage as often, and there are several reasons for that.
At the time I had a strong feeling that the spirit waiting to join our family was not meant to be born at that time, but that he would come to us later. I did not grieve in the same was as I had with my previous losses, because I felt sure that he'd be back soon...and he was: Bear was born a year and a half later. So I did not name the lost baby as I had with my others, because he was not really so 'lost', he was just waiting a while. Now he is here, and I need not grieve him at all.

But that is getting ahead of myself...first I want to tell the story of my third miscarriage.


Following my Valentine's Day miscarriage I was heartbroken. I had been extremely careful during that pregnancy: I'd put myself on a strict diet, taken my vitamins religiously, and used progesterone. I had done everything I knew of to protect my baby, and still she died.
A few weeks later, on Mother's Day, Hubby gave me a card that said "good for one baby"...
A few weeks after that, on Father's Day, I was thrilled to be able to give him a card that said "that baby you promised me should be here in February..."

We decided to see if medical science could help this time around, so I signed up with the doctor who had done my previous D&C, was prescribed a different form of progesterone, and when I was 5 weeks pregnant we had an ultrasound. Our baby was only the size of a grain of rice, but we could see a beating heart (I had never seen or heard my other children's heartbeats).
On my birthday, when I was 8 weeks pregnant, we had another ultrasound. This time we could not see a heartbeat, nor any movement, and the measurements they took showed a 12 day discrepancy from the prior ultrasound's dates. The doctor kindly offered to do a D&C right away, but I wanted to go home to think about it. The emotional torture of never getting to see or hold my second baby was still too fresh, and I had felt so optimistic about this pregnancy that I didn't really believe that it could be over. (By the way, that is without question the worst birthday I've ever had.)

When I got home I asked the Lord what I should do, and in my head I heard words as clearly as if someone in the room had spoken them: "Be Still, and Know that I Am God." So I concluded to watch and wait. The waiting was extraordinarily hard on Hubby--he felt like the facts were clear and we should get the D&C and get it overwith, but I had been told to be still, and so I was. With a nut-sized baby it all felt inconclusive to me--maybe we had just missed seeing the heartbeat. Furthermore, although the measurements from the two ultrasounds disagreed about my gestational dates, my own charting had given me a date halfway between them, so I thought it best to wait a week and have another ultrasound.

Five days later we had an ultrasound which revealed that the baby had not grown in the elapsed time. Two doctors, a midwife, Hubby, and finally even I agreed that this baby was not alive. The options then were to have a D&C or to wait for the miscarriage to occur naturally, which they assured me would probably happen within 1-2 weeks.
I went home and thought about my options. I prayed and cried and prayed some more, and still heard only one message "Be Still."
So I was still, I stayed home and prepared for the physical process of letting go of yet another child. It occurred to me that I was nearing the due date from my previous pregnancy (August 17), and I had the odd feeling that the date was still significant somehow.
A week passed, then another.
When it had been almost three weeks, with nary a cramp or drop of blood to indicate that I was beginning to miscarry, I called the doctor's office and asked if they would consider another ultrasound to see what was going on. They seemed shocked that I had still not miscarried--they said it was unheard of to continue to carry a baby for this long after such a diagnosis. The ultrasound was scheduled for August 16th, and I confess that part of me wondered if it would reveal a miraculously living baby.

Of course the ultrasound showed the same thing as the prior two--a baby that had long since ceased to live and grow. The standard procedure at that point was to have me meet with the doctor on call to discuss my options (even though I already knew them).
It happened that the doctor on call was the one in the practice that I had never met before. I told him of my desire to miscarry naturally, and he said I was in the minority to choose that, but that there was no danger in it, and that if I changed my mind the D&C option was always there. He then happened to recommend that I see Dr Ware Branch, one of the world's leading researchers in recurrent miscarriage who just happened to work at the University of Utah, a mere hour from where I lived.
You see, I do not believe in coincidences, I believe in what my friend J calls "God-incidences."

The next morning, the anticipated August 17th, I began to spot just slightly. And so the date was significant after all.
That same morning I called Dr Branch's office and spoke with them about getting a work-up done. When the nurse learned that I was just beginning to miscarry, she suggested that if I had a D&C, the tissues could be brought up to Dr Branch's lab for examination, and they might be able to learn something from them. So that night I had my second D&C: it was not the way I had wanted to miscarry, but it seemed like the right choice under the circumstances. It also reaffirmed to me that I had been right to wait.


So we did all the testing. And, as Dr Branch had told me it probably would, all the results came back 'normal,' meaning that nobody has any idea why I miscarried so many times, nor whether I was likely to continue to do so. On the other hand, my medical information has now been added to a database and they are able to use it (along with the information from thousands of others) to look for patterns and try to find answers to the mysteries of recurrent miscarriage. Even if we cannot prevent them, there is some comfort in at least knowing what is causing them.


I said before that I did not name or grieve for this baby as I had my others because I believe it was Bear, and that he was not meant to be born at that time. So why did I even get pregnant if it was not yet his time? I believe that he 'previewed' with us specifically so that I could have a third miscarriage. Whether God asked him to, or whether he asked God to let him, I believe it was intentional. You see, it is not until the third consecutive miscarriage that the medical establishment will designate a woman as a "recurrent aborter" and that insurance will pay for her to have any sort of diagnostic testing done. I needed a third miscarriage in order to set everyones minds at rest over causes (or potential solutions) for my miscarriages.
I also believe that the whole process of being guided through this miscarriage taught me to "let go, and let God" in a way that I may not have learned otherwise. It was that mantra that took me though Bear's pregnancy--seeking God's guidence rather than trying to make my own decisions and control everything. They are mottos that guide me still:

Be Still
Let Go & Let God


Becky N. said...

That was a very touching read. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

Mallory said...

You have a beautiful way of presenting the Spirit. It nearly brings me to tears to hear this story of how God shows His love through tender mercies, even when they seem like trials. Somehow, through our trials, we are able to find ourselves closer to the God that loves us more than we can comprehend! Thank you for sharing this story!

megandjon said...

Thank you so much for sharing what must be a very private story. It was very touching and uplifting. I'm glad your baby came to you, even if he took his time! And that scripture also means very much to me! It's a good one!

Kimberlee said...

we could have some much to talk about.
You told his story beautifully.

Mike and Tammy said...

I came across your blog from Mormon Mommy Blogs. I was touched by your story and want to express my sorrow for your losses. I too, have had many miscarriages, 8 total, but I still have not given up hope.

Reading your story really confirmed that the Lord does know each of us and that things need to happen in His time and not ours.

I would love to follow your blog.


Carrie said...

Thanks Jenni. You are helping more people than you know by writing posts like this.

Cynthia said...

I'm so sorry for your losses. I did not suffer miscarriages but had the problem of being unable to get pregnant. Different problem but much of the same heartache. I'm glad we were both eventually able to have a child/ren.

I've heard that recurrent miscarriage is often linked to underproduction of progesterone. Whatever the case may be, it's wonderful that your pain may help prevent it for others in the future.

Mommy Bee said...

Yes Cynthia, I do know about the progesterone link. I was on progesterone for two of my pregnancies (and I was not on it the time that I finally carried to term). Progesterone is vital in the first 10 weeks or so of pregnancy, but then the placenta takes over, so in my cases the facts don't add up anyway. It was still one of the things that was tested (among MANY others), but I appreciate your bringing it up, because that is something I should post about--common causes and preventative measures. :)

Stacy Smith said...

Jenni, thanks for writing about this. I think its so important to raise awareness about how common miscarraige is, and how if affects everyone. Your story is very similar to one of my miscarriages- my first miscarriage was my daughter, who returned to us a few months later.

Kimberlee said...

I carried Z to term on progesterone injections. But we had blood work during an infertility work up and during my pregnancy with her that led us to believe that three of the four miscarriages before her were likely due to low progesterone. It is an easy fix *if* that is the problem.

alisaterry said...

Thank you for sharing this.

nicole said...

That was such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You're an inspiration!

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