When 2010 rolled around and we started trying to conceive, we got a positive pregnancy test on my third cycle in early April. I probably took about 20 pregnancy tests to assure myself that it was really positive. We were ecstatic! I started a new blog to chronicle my pregnancy journey and we started reading all the pregnancy books. Of course, I heeded my doctors’ advice and called my OB right away to make an appointment. My OB preferred to wait until 8 weeks so that something would show up on an ultrasound, but I stressed my thyroid condition and the need for confirmation before I could schedule an appointment with my endocrinologist to adjust my medication. The OB’s office agreed and I excitedly waited for the day of my appointment to roll around. There was a little nagging feeling of, “What if there are complications because of my thyroid condition?” But it was irrational since I’d had regular checkups with my endocrinologist and I was doing great on the medication.
It was a Thursday and I had an early appointment so I got to see my OB right away. I’ve always loved my OB. She understood my health concerns and anxiety. I took another urine test and she confirmed that I was pregnant. Then, the moment I had been waiting for, she whipped out the ultrasound wand and an image flickered onscreen. She probed around for a bit and I noticed that her brows were knit and her expression didn’t seem promising. She finally said, “I don’t see anything yet. There’s no sac. But let’s be optimistic and take a blood test to check your hCG. You can come back in 2 weeks and we’ll take another look. It may be too early.” She assured me and told me to go on with life as normal. There would be nothing we could do if things didn’t go as planned, so there was no sense in worrying.
I was disheartened, but hopeful. Again, I anxiously waited for my next appointment. I followed her instructions and went about my routine. I even went for a bicycle ride over the weekend (after I had confirmed with my OB that bike riding was acceptable exercise while pregnant). The following Monday, my blood test results came back and showed that my hCG was at 166 mIU/mL, which meant that I was definitely pregnant! I was happy about the news. The remainder of the week was uneventful, and I had no major pregnancy symptoms except for tender boobs and mild cramping.
I was visiting my parents the following weekend and was looking forward to some down time. At that time, we also shared the good news with my parents. It was early, but we wanted them to know since they are often extra paranoid when it comes to my health, and we didn’t want them to worry unnecessarily if I seemed more tired than normal. My parents were ecstatic.
On Saturday I felt tired, but ran some local errands. After a busy morning, I arrived home and had to pee for the 20th time that day… not unusual when you’re pregnant. Although this time, I noticed some light pink discharge after wiping. I wiped again to be certain and the discharge got darker. I was very frightened. I called our OB who told me that it was not normal to be spotting in the 5th-6th week and to see her first thing Monday morning. I decided to rest in bed to try to calm myself down. I lay there in complete and utter fear and finally fell asleep hoping that when I woke up there wouldn’t be any more brown discharge.
Throughout the evening there was still some light discharge after urination. I called Mr. Marbles (who was traveling for work), and we both frantically searched the internet for instances of brown spotting in pregnancy. Most of what we found was positive; many women had experienced light spotting like I did and continued to have healthy pregnancies and babies. My one comfort was that it was only happening after urination and it was very faint and light. I chalked it up to “old blood” and that my body was just making room for the baby. I hoped and hoped that that was the cause… I rubbed my tummy and told our little one to be good and stay inside. The spotting continued through Sunday.
On Sunday night, Mr. Marbles picked me up and we tried to have a quiet night relaxing. Before I went to bed, I noticed darker spotting… not blood red, but dark milky brown– a similar consistency to what I usually get before my period. I was panicked, but knew that I’d have an answer after visiting the doctor on Monday morning. We went to bed optimistic that our baby would be safe and fine.
That Monday morning, I woke up and after my daily 5AM urination, and finally saw the worst. Crimson blood like a menstrual period. I rushed back into the bedroom and told Mr. Marbles. All we could do was just hold each other. I didn’t really cry then. The realization that I wasn’t going to be a mom hadn’t hit me yet. I continued to bleed, but not profusely. I hoped that we weren’t losing our baby. I still had hope that it was just a little fluke and all would be well. We’d test my hCG and it would be normal and it’d just be one of those freak incidents.
We went to the doctor and after a pelvic exam and more bleeding, our OB did not seem optimistic. We had an emergency blood test. We also had another ultrasound that showed no pregnancy sac. I could hear a doppler somewhere in the room– perhaps next door– and kept hoping that it was our baby’s heartbeat. It was just my imagination. The OB was concerned that I might have had an ectopic pregnancy considering that they couldn’t find the sac. If that wasn’t the case, then we had had a chemical pregnancy… which is not uncommon. Either way, I was to come back for another blood test on Wednesday to compare the levels of hCG and see if I was indeed losing the pregnancy. We left a bit more dispirited but hopeful. I tried to remain positive and felt pretty fine until I got home.
I went to the bathroom and saw more blood and just started to cry. I thought about all the things I did that I shouldn’t have done like bicycling, and not eating when I was hungry because I was too busy running from appointment to appointment. All these thoughts just started swirling and I felt guilt, remorse, and sadness. I broke the news to my mother who was very deeply saddened. It hurt me to see her hurt. My father, who was traveling, called to check in on me, and I told him as well. He asked why it had happened and I couldn’t quite explain.. just that I didn’t know why. I could tell he was hurting just listening to my muted sobs while I tried to explain in between each breath. All my fantasies about a little one in my arms on Christmas day vanished. I had already started maternity shopping and the new clothes were a reminder of the excitement and anticipation that just ended so abruptly.
The doctor called that day and the lab result was an hCG of 140 – lower than my last lab, which pretty much confirmed that we were losing our baby. I could tell on the phone that my doctor was also sad for me, knowing how much I wanted to be pregnant.
Since the OB never saw the sac on the ultrasound, my pregnancy was considered a chemical pregnancy and not necessarily a miscarriage. Still, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sad and depressed. After a year’s worth of medical struggles with thyroid cancer, I was looking forward to some positive news and felt angry that I wasn’t granted a reprieve. I took a few days off from work. I felt terrible, but Mr. Marbles and my parents helped me through my days so I wouldn’t wallow in self-pity. My mother would visit and make my meals. I mourned the loss and nothing seemed to make me feel better. I stopped reading baby and pregnancy blogs and discussion boards. I had to try hard to get excited about friends’ and acquaintances’ pregnancy announcements, assuring myself that in time, my turn would come.
Mr. Marbles suggested we plan a great summer trip to get my mind off the loss and I agreed. I had a work trip to Seattle in May and we decided to tack on a road trip down the West Coast to lift our spirits. I dove head on into travel planning and tried to focus less on my baby-less existence.
To be continued…
Hellobee Series: Mrs. Marbles part 2 of 111. The Road to Pregnancy – Part 1 by Mrs. Marbles
2. The Road to Pregnancy – Part II by Mrs. Marbles
3. The Road to Pregnancy – Part 3 by Mrs. Marbles
4. Emma’s Birth Story Part 1 by Mrs. Marbles
5. Emma’s Birth Story Part 2 by Mrs. Marbles
6. The Struggle by Mrs. Marbles
7. Re-learning How to Cook by Mrs. Marbles
8. Sitting the Month by Mrs. Marbles
9. Selfish or Self-Care? by Mrs. Marbles
10. A Portrait for The Marbles by Mrs. Marbles
11. Little Marbles’ First Birthday by Mrs. Marbles