This is my story of hope through recurrent miscarriage. This topic is not what I normally post about but I have been waiting a year to share my full story. Disclaimer: I am not holding anything back so read at your own discretion and I am not a writer so please ignore the grammar mistakes. 😉
October 2015 my husband and I started trying to add another baby to our family. We were so excited and nervous but we were ready. After the first month trying I went out and bought the most expensive pregnancy test I could find in hopes that it would somehow make those two pink lines appear. It didn’t. It was our first month so it wasn’t that big of a deal. We kept trying. More negatives in December, January, February, and March. By March I was feeling really discouraged. It was really hard seeing negative test after negative test every month.
We gave it another go in April and I saw those two lines that I had been praying for. I remember talking to my sister on the phone the same time I was watching the test. When I saw the lines I interrupted her and said “I think I’m pregnant!” She was so confused but excited for me.
Pat (my husband) and I were car shopping around this time. We wanted something with more room since we were trying to have another baby. I remember sitting in the dealership waiting to test drive a car and grinning from ear to ear knowing that I was pregnant and that we were going to be able to fill up that mini van with our littles. We were going to visit my parents the weekend after I found out. We had decided on a van and purchased it so I had the perfect plan of how I would tell them.
Before the weekend even came I started spotting. I figured it was implantation bleeding so I wasn’t too worried about it. The next morning I woke up and was cramping very bad and was full on bleeding at this point. I took another pregnancy text and the line had faded. I was heartbroken. I took off a day of work to give myself a break and allow me to process what just happened. As sad I was, I was still hopeful knowing that I could get pregnant!
May 2016 we tried again and right away we got pregnant.
This time I just knew it was going to “stick”. I was so excited! I announced it to Pat in the most adorable way.
Bryson gave this to Pat as he was walking in from work that evening. The video was super cute.
We laughed, cried, and celebrated! I just knew this was going to be our “take home” baby. Everything seemed fine; minimal cramping, no spotting. At around week 6 I started having very strong cramps and the next day I started bleeding heavy. I took another pregnancy test and the second line was so faint I could barely see it. I knew I was miscarrying again but went to the doctor to confirm. The doctor confirmed.
There I was 6 weeks pregnant, two miscarriages in a row, and my heart shattered into a million pieces. I remember my sister sending up an Edible Arrangement package to my school. That brought me so much joy that day. Small gestures like this mean so much to a person who is dealing with grief. I didn’t know what to do at this point. Should we keep trying? Should we wait? We asked my doctor (at the time) and she told us to wait a month before we try for round 3. She had found a polyp on one of my ovaries that she thought could have been causing the miscarriages. She told us that I could have a small procedure to remove it and start trying again after. We agreed.
June 2016- We were on a family vacation at Disney World and were having a blast! We weren’t worrying about having a baby, just relaxing and enjoying our family. Half way through our trip I started feeling nauseous. I just knew it was from that roller coaster I had ridden earlier in the day. That night I had Pat stop by Walgreens so I could run in and get a pregnancy test. The following morning I took the test and it was a VERY strong positive.
We weren’t “trying” this month but God had other plans. I told Pat (in shock) and immediately called my doctor. She told me to relax and not ride any more roller coasters. I hesitantly walked into my parents room at our condo and told my mom and dad. My mom immediately responded with “I knew it!” and they both gave me a hug.
At this point I wasn’t holding on to much hope considering my past but every day I took a new test and the lines kept getting darker! We made it home and I scheduled an appointment with my doctor to look at the baby. I was about 8 weeks at this point. My sister came over to watch Bryson for us and we headed off to see our baby.
While we were at Disney we had made a pregnancy announcement that I was going to save and keep for when we were ready to announce. After this appointment I just knew I was going to be ready.
*Pregnancy announcement for baby #3.
We made it to the doctor’s office and the nurse starts searching for the baby. Sometimes it can take a little while to find it so I wasn’t worried at this point. She asked me how far along I was and I told her. As she was looking I could read it all over her face. She wasn’t talking and she was staring blankly at the screen. I started asking her questions and she said that she couldn’t answer them. She went to get my doctor. My doctor came in and started looking. She said “I found a sac and a small flutter but it’s only measuring around 5.5 weeks”. My doctor told me to come back and see her in a week to see if there was any growth. I knew what that meant. That was her way of letting me down easy. My heart sunk, Pat hugged me, and I sat in that cold room and cried for what seemed like forever. I didn’t want to walk into the hallway and see the nurses who had been cheering me along. I wanted to hide and not talk to anyone.
I cried all the way home, blamed God, and said some things out of anger that I shouldn’t have. I was down right mad. When we got home I walked into my bedroom and shut the door. My sister had already been texting me asking how the appointment went but I couldn’t get up the courage to tell anyone. Pat explained to her what happened and she stayed (being the amazing sister that she is). She wasn’t leaving without talking to me and making sure I was ok. Later that evening she came in my room and she let me vent to her about everything. I was feeling so much bitterness toward God. Why would he be putting me through this? Why did God even let me get pregnant if this was going to happen? Why me? My sister sat and listened to me lash out.
At this point I had about 13 missed calls and 37 text messages from my mom. She was so worried about me. Anyone else’s mamas worry about them like that? 😉
The next day I woke up and felt normal. I was still pregnant, no cramping, and no bleeding. I was holding on to any hope at this point that I could. I rested a lot that day and didn’t do much. I remember Pat taking off work to be with me at home for a few days. He truly is the best and puts our family before anything.
Side note: After the last appointment with our doctor we decided to seek another opinion and try out a new doctor. His name was Dr. Wai and was a God send at that time in our lives.
I had scheduled an appointment with Dr. Wai to come in and see the baby….to see if the measurements really were off.
The day before my appointment I started having VERY intense cramps. Almost like small contractions. Within the hour I started spotting and by the evening I was bleeding very heavily. I knew it was happening and I was bracing myself for it. The emotional and physical pain only got stronger with each miscarriage. That night I started having even more intense cramps and I passed a large clot. I believe that was the sac. The next day I went to meet Dr. Wai and we were welcomed with the biggest smile from his nurse Dianne. She still knows me by name (or at least pretends to) and was always so helpful and encouraging.
I sat on the exam table, Dr. Wai started searching for the sac, and he couldn’t find anything. I explained to him that I had passed a large clot the night before and he agreed that was probably it. I felt ok at this point because I knew what to expect at that appointment. I was still hurt and angry but had hope that with a new doctor I might get more answers. He immediately started testing me for blood clotting disorders (which is what I wanted from my other doctor).
A week or so passed and the blood results came back that I had MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) which can sometimes cause blood clots in the placenta. If there is a blood clot in the placenta, the baby isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, and therefore ends in a miscarriage. I am no doctor but that is the best way I can explain it. Google it! He explained to me that the next time I got pregnant he would put me on baby aspirin and blood thinner shots to help prevent any blood clots.
I told Dr. Wai about the polyp on my ovary and he agreed that it would be best to go ahead and do a D&C to remove it and clean everything out from the previous miscarriage.
This procedure took place on August 3, 2016 and went great. This is a very important date so keep it in mind.
*Trying to stay positive even in the midst of heartache.
Dr. Wai recommended that we try to not get pregnant for a couple months. We took a break in August and September and started trying again in October. That month I got pregnant again. I was so excited! We knew exactly what we needed to do this time around to bring our rainbow baby home. I had blood work done and my progesterone numbers came back pretty low so I was put on progesterone pills. I also started Lovenox injections and baby aspirin at this time.
I went back two days later to do a redraw. I remember Dianne (the nurse) calling me. I had just dropped my students off at lunch and I was back in my classroom. This was the moment that would be make or break. If my HCG levels hadn’t doubled then the pregnancy probably wouldn’t be viable. I took the call and the nurse told me that my levels had only gone up a little bit and that I could expect to miscarry within the next few days. There I was in the middle of my empty classroom with my heart shattered into a million pieces (again). I remember Danyelle (my teaching neighbor) being so excited to hear what the nurse had to say and there I was not knowing what to say. I broke down and started crying. Danyelle hugged me and was being so encouraging but I was not ok. I had our counselor, Melissa, come into my classroom to cover for me the rest of the day so I could go home. I stayed home for a couple days to recover. You may be thinking…recover? Recover for what? The emotional pain was unbearable. The emotional pain paired with the physical pain was even worse. Being stable enough to not break down and cry in front of my 18 kindergarten students was not going to be easy.
Within a few days I started having intense cramps and heavy bleeding and I knew it was happening. I was losing my 4th baby. 4th!! Four miscarriages within 7 months. How is that even possible? I must have really done something to make God mad. That’s all I could think. What did I do to deserve this? Why was God putting me through this?
After this miscarriage Dr. Wai sent me to see a fertility specialist. We spent a lot of money there without getting many answers. The doctor basically gave us three options: IVF, IUI, or wait. He told me that if we waited we would probably eventually have a successful pregnancy but we may have to go through even more miscarriages. I didn’t like that option. IVF was out of our budget so we looked into an IUI. We decided that would be our best option and had the procedure scheduled for the beginning of December. Right before Thanksgiving I really felt God telling me not to do it. To cancel the appointment and to stop trying. For the first time through this entire process I felt a peace about that decision. I discussed it with Pat and he agreed. I cancelled my IUI and we stopped “trying”. We literally did everything we could to not get pregnant that month. We went to Branson, MO over Thanksgiving break with my family and had a really relaxing vacation. We weren’t thinking about getting pregnant for the first time in a long time and it felt so good and freeing.
Fast forward a few weeks and I started feeling very nauseous. There was a stomach bug going around my classroom so I just knew that I had gotten it too. I never got sick though and the nausea was not ending. I took a pregnancy test just to see. At this time we weren’t trying and were actually PREVENTING so I knew I couldn’t be pregnant. I sat the test on the counter and walked away for a few minutes. When I came back to look at it I saw the darkest TWO pink lines I had yet to see.
Inside I was jumping up and down with excitement but I knew I didn’t need to get my hopes up. I called my doctor and requested blood work. My HCG was great and progesterone was a bit low so we started on the pills again. I went back two days later for a redraw to see if my HCG had doubled. I waited (not so patiently) for my call from the nurse the following day. My phone was on silent and I had missed it. When I saw that she had called I noticed that she left a voicemail. Surely she wouldn’t tell me that I’m miscarrying over a voicemail. I listened to it and heard the most amazing words. “Christa, your levels almost tripled! Everything looks great! We will see you in a week.” I dropped my phone and cried. This time they were happy tears. Was this going to be our “take home” baby?
I continued having my levels checked and everything was progressing great! We saw the baby on ultrasound around 7 weeks. When my doctor moved the wand over the heart I could hear my precious baby’s heartbeat beating away inside me.
Pat and I were over the moon excited. Unlike all the other pregnancies we chose not to tell anyone about this one. If we miscarried again we wouldn’t have to disappoint anyone.
Jump forward a couple weeks to Christmas. Everything was still going great and we were ready to tell our families. We wrapped up an ultrasound in a Christmas package and had them open it. We saw many happy tears that day. Everyone was so excited for us, especially big brother Bryson!
We did have a few scares along the way; some spotting, cramping, and early contractions but overall I had a great pregnancy.
August 1, 2017- I go in for my weekly check up with my doctor and I had starting making progress. I was going to have to be induced early because of the blood thinners I was on. We had originally scheduled induction day for August 7th but our sweet baby had other plans. Dr. Wai asked if I was ready to have her and if so to meet at the hospital the following night to begin to be induced. He assured me that she was ready and looked great. Having a high risk pregnancy often comes with decisions that you have to make in a moments notice and this was one of them. We agreed to go ahead and deliver her while she was doing great than to wait and something possibly happen to her.
August 2, 2017- I go in at 9 pm to be induced. I’m feeling super good with the medication that the nurse had given me. Pat has a couple funny videos from that night. I was progressing beautifully and we thought we were going to have a baby at any time.
August 3, 2017- Exactly one year from my D&C. Things started to slow down so Dr. Wai came in to break my water. Once he did the contractions really picked up and I was ready to push soon after. I pushed for what seemed like an eternity and she still wasn’t budging. She started to have heart decels which made me panic. They had me turn every way imaginable and still nothing. I could tell at this point that either she was going to come out or we were about to have an Emergency C Section. Dr. Wai had me try one more time and we delivered our rainbow baby. The cord was slightly wrapped around her neck but my doctor was able to get it unwrapped quickly. All I could think about was what if we didn’t deliver that day? Would she have been ok? Would she have been able to survive with the cord around her neck? These are all thoughts that I still have today but know God has a reason for everything he does and that day the reason was to have our precious baby in our arms.
Look at that squishy face!
*Dr. Wai with Ava Lee.
Ava Lee was born on August 3, 2017-exactly one year after my D&C. How amazing is that? From possibly the saddest day of my life to a year later, one of the happiest days of my life.
Today we celebrate our rainbow baby! Our miracle. Our precious gift. We may have gone through a lot to get her but man was she worth the wait. Happy birthday, sweet girl! Mommy, Daddy, and Bryson love you so much!
Looking back on my story and reliving the days over and over again every year makes me stronger. As mad as I was at God at the time I now know he had a much greater purpose for my story. I have talked with many women this past year as they, too, have struggled with miscarriage. I’ve talk to women on the phone, through text message, email, and Facebook. Some women I didn’t even know but somehow heard my story and reached out. Others who I hadn’t talked to in years and wanted some encouragement. And some close friends who had to go through this heartbreaking lose as well. If God can use my story for healing then I know he has great plans for you too.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with miscarriage please talk to someone. This can be a very lonely time and sometimes the best thing to do is talk to someone who has been in your shoes.
Love you all!
August 3, 2018