Life sure has changed in the past 5 months. In May of this year, we welcomed our precious Anderson.
It was a long journey leading up to that happy day. In October of 2010, right before our 2nd wedding anniversary, Anthony and I found out we were pregnant. We were so excited. We dreamed of the life we would have with our child. I was 36 at the time and Anthony was 43. We were ready.
At 11 weeks, though, in December of that year, we found out that we had miscarried. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe it. I felt like my life had stopped at that point. I went to work every day and functioned, but that was about it. I think we were both in survival mode…for a long time. At the time, the miscarriage was too painful to even discuss. I thought many times about blogging, but it was too raw, too personal. I spent several months angry and bitter. Seeing babies and pregnant women was excruciating….what had we done wrong to deserve this? But, through the anger and bitterness, Anthony and I supported each other and trusted God.
We didn’t get an answer about the cause of the miscarriage. I asked if we needed further testing. My doctor told me that it just happens sometimes….just bad luck. She said that even at 36, I was young and healthy and to try again. I was terrified to even contemplate getting pregnant again. For many months, I said absolutely not. I couldn’t go through that pain again. Maybe I was too old. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. We had always talked about adopting at some point…maybe that was best.
After a few months, though, in June of 2011, I decided that I might always regret it if we didn’t try one more time. But I wasn’t prepared to take my doctor’s advice. I had been researching causes of miscarriage and I found that while many miscarriages were, in fact, bad luck and related to chromosomal issues – absolutely unpreventable – there was very effective treatment available for some potential conditions that might cause miscarriage. I also read that in many cases, physicians wouldn’t even test for these issues (recurrent loss panel) until one had 2 or 3 miscarriages. That was unbelievable to me…going through the pain of losing 3 babies to determine there might be a very simple treatment that would result in a healthy full term pregnancy.
I sought out a highly recommended Reproductive Endocrinologist in our area and Anthony and I made an appointment. I am so thankful we did. This doctor took our concerns seriously and in June of 2011, he did a comprehensive assessment of both Anthony and me. We found out a few things that might increase the risk of miscarriage. I had a slight thyroid abnormality, elevated thyroid antibodies, which was easily treated with thyroid replacement hormone. I also had a couple of genetic clotting factors that increased my risk for a small clot forming in the placenta. And, another genetic issue, which affected my absorption of folic acid. This was all good news. Several things that were easily treatable. Of course, this was no guarantee, but I liked that we were controlling the things we could control.
In September of 2011, we found out we were pregnant. I was thrilled. And terrified. The morning after my positive pregnancy test, I saw the Reproductive Endocrinologist. I had already been taking thyroid replacement hormone, prenatal vitamins, prescription high dose folic acid, and fish oil on his recommendation. That day I started a daily baby aspirin and a daily Lovenox injection to help prevent blood clots. I saw this doctor twice a week for the first 10 weeks for beta HCG and then progesterone tests (I ended up taking additional progesterone as well). The pregnancy wasn’t easy. Anthony gave me my Lovenox injection each night. I threw up every single day from about 7 weeks to 18 weeks. And, we had a few scares…some really elevated levels on our first trimester screening that resulted in multiple visits to the high risk clinic, and an amnio. I prayed constantly for a healthy baby. I had a gut feeling that he was healthy and perfect. And the amnio results confirmed that he was a perfectly healthy boy! But, I knew too much to completely relax…I had found an amazing support group of women on twitter…many had lost babies at all different stages of pregnancy, many were undergoing fertility treatments. I learned that having a baby, for many, is not a simple process. Bad things can happen, even in perfectly “normal” pregnancies.
But, as we got closer and closer to our due date, I believed more and more that we would be bringing Anderson home. Every kick and punch reassured me. I spent lots of nights and early mornings lying in bed awake waiting to make sure I felt him move.
My OB was awesome. Because of the elevated hormone levels detected in the first trimester screening that indicated a possible issue with the placenta, starting around 28 weeks, I got weekly ultrasounds to confirm the baby was growing correctly and not in any distress. I am so thankful for the care I received. On May 1, I went in for my weekly appointment, and my blood pressure was quite high. My doctor recommended I be induced that night. I wasn’t thrilled about induction, but I wanted our baby here safe and sound.
On May 2, a little after 10 PM, Anderson was born. He was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and perfect. I almost couldn’t believe he was real. The last 5 months have been amazing. Watching him grow is the most amazing gift. I am thankful to God every moment. And I am thankful to the Reproductive Endocrinologist for his treatment.
I share our story for few reasons….
Miscarriage is very common. But, very often, it isn’t discussed. I think often because it is just too painful. Other people really don’t know what to say. But it leaves too many suffering alone. If you’ve gone through a miscarriage and need support, I’d love to talk to you. There is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. It is truly the most painful thing I have faced in my life, and while much healing has taken place, I will never ever forget the baby we lost, and even having my beautiful Anderson doesn’t take away the pain.
I also share my story because I want you to know that you don’t have to accept the answer, “Oh it was just bad luck, try again”. While sometimes that is true, and I might have more easily accepted that if I had been in my 20s, but I am so thankful that we sought out and found treatment.
Anderson turned 5 months old a few days ago. He is amazing. I’m having a blast as a mom. I’ve never been happier to be exhausted at the end of the day. I’m also ready to get back to blogging and share some stories about my experiences with post-pregnancy fitness, the ups and downs of breastfeeding and our plans to feed Anderson solid foods based on the concept of Baby Led Weaning. I’ve missed the blog world and I’m ready to be back.