My husband and I got married in November 2019 and pretty immediately decided we wanted to try and start a family. We got pregnant quickly and easily and in September 2020 we welcomed our son Elliott into the world.
We were so enamored with him, we decided in the fall of 2021, right after our baby boy turned one that it was time to grow our family yet again.
For the second time, we got pregnant right away. We were overjoyed to go to our first appointment where we heard and saw the little heartbeat so strongly on the ultrasound machine. After that appointment, we told our families at Christmas that we were going to have a baby in August. We gave them snow-globes of Elliott wearing his big brother t-shirt while holding the ultrasound photos. It was a very special time.
We were really looking forward to seeing the baby again at our next appointment. We were chatting with the nurse and hoping to find out their gender through bloodwork at this appointment. Everything was normal until it wasn’t.
It was so quiet in the room I remember saying, “Awww look, they’re hiding!” And then somehow it got even quieter. The nurse just kept saying “I’m so sorry you guys, I’m so sorry… let me get the doctor because I might be wrong. But this doesn’t look good.” She got our OB and we heard the dreaded words “I’m so sorry, there is no heartbeat.” Our baby had passed away after that first appointment, and we had experienced a missed miscarriage. My body had no signs or symptoms of a loss, and I still had pretty severe morning sickness – so it was extra shocking to us.
I remember my ears ringing and it felt like the floor dropped out from under us. I stared straight ahead, blinking back tears but none fell because I felt so numb. My husband did his best to comfort me but we both were so shocked and devastated, never thinking that the worst would happen.
We were offered medication to miscarry at home but recommended the option of surgery since we were almost to the end of the first trimester. I couldn’t give an answer on the spot because I honestly didn’t even know what a D&C was.
We went home, did our research and hesitantly scheduled surgery. The morning of the surgery we went back into the OB’s office to double check and see our baby one last time. We wanted to be extra sure and never have to wonder what if. It was very clear there were no signs of life and we proceeded with a D&C.
We found out two weeks later, our baby was a little boy. We named him Sunny. He had a very rare chromosomal disorder called triploidy so even if he made it through the entirety of the pregnancy, which we found out was extremely unlikely, he wouldn’t have survived more than a couple hours after birth.
It was a very emotional and sad time for us. I honestly don’t know if I ever recovered from this day, Sunny definitely took the biggest piece of me with him.
The doctors reassured us it was bad luck and since we have Elliott already at home, I would be able to successfully have another baby. My husband and I immediately decided to try again as we so wanted a second baby close in age with our first.
We tried for 6 months and nothing. I only had 2 period cycles from January to June, so I told my OB who said this was normal, which should have been an immediate red flag.
Despite the concerns we were having, I finally saw a very, very faint second line on our pregnancy test in June of 2022. It was exciting and hopeful to see we could get pregnant again after a strange and frustrating period of infertility. I kept taking tests but the lines never got darker, the digital test said not pregnant, but the tests with the pink lines always had two. This very confusing time went on for about a week and then on the morning of the Fourth of July I got my clear as can be “PREGNANT” on the digital test!
My heart skipped a beat, I was so excited to show my husband the confirmation we’d been waiting for. I quickly wiped and then realized I was looking at toilet paper covered in blood. My heart immediately sank.
I called our doctor who told me we were probably experiencing a chemical pregnancy and to come in once the long weekend was through – they would test my betas. I went in 3 days later and I was still pregnant but then after 5 days the numbers dipped. We were experiencing our second loss in 7 months.
I was devastated, and the nurse on the phone said to me “I hope next time we see you under better circumstances.” That was our second red flag.
My biggest takeaway from this journey so far is to make sure to always advocate for yourself. I was in a very dark place, and being dismissed by a doctor’s office can truly mess with your head. You deserve to be seen and listened to. You deserve a team of people around you to make sure you’re not struggling alone. It’s totally okay to switch doctors. Yes, the paperwork is a pain but the results are completely worth it. If what you feel isn’t normal, then it probably isn’t. Trust your gut and listen to your intuition, it is valid. There shouldn’t be red flags and you should feel confident in the care you are receiving.
After a lot of back and forth, my OB finally agreed to send me to MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) for testing after our second loss.
During that time I got a very strong positive on our ovulation test (something that hadn’t happened since before our first loss). So we took that as a sign to try again and we ended up getting pregnant in July, the cycle immediately following our chemical pregnancy.
We were SO excited to once again have a positive on our pregnancy test as we waited for the MFM appointment in early August. My husband and I took a much needed long weekend trip to Bermuda to clear our heads after everything we’d been through, and to celebrate the little life we had growing inside of us.
We still felt nervous as we headed into our appointment. We first talked to the MFM doctor who went through our history and excitedly offered us an ultrasound that day. We determined with her ahead of the exam that we were probably about 6 weeks along, but it was a little strange because we didn’t have “a last period” since the bleeding that we had was an early miscarriage. After two losses we were pretty hopeful that the odds of a successful pregnancy were in our favor.
What we saw in the ultrasound room was a tiny gestational sac with nothing inside of it. The tech was very pessimistic but the doctor remained positive since we didn’t have set dates to go off of.
It was extremely crushing to have this pregnancy start out so abnormally. She estimated we were about 5 weeks and scheduled us for another ultrasound the following week. We came in the next week and the sac did grow – there was a yolk sac and what they thought was the start of a fetal pole. It felt like things were growing and my husband and I were so excited to see any type of growth in there.
But then the doctor came in and told us she was so sorry, this is a miscarriage. We didn’t understand why, there wasn’t much of an explanation. Once we got to the car I was bawling and I got a call from the same doctor saying “Actually, the images are playing tricks on me – can you please come back next week for another ultrasound… I don’t think this looks great, but I do see the start of a fetal pole and given your circumstances I want to be fully sure.”
I was so fragile at this point I ended up immediately calling OBs in the area to get a second opinion. We ended up finding a new OB who was so sympathetic and understanding of our situation and that would see us right away. Exactly what we needed.
She immediately started checking betas and numbers were consistent to what we were seeing on the ultrasound and they kept rising. We went for bloodwork and weekly ultrasounds for 3 more weeks. It was an extremely grueling time of feeling so many up and down emotions. The baby even started measuring and we had an official due date!
We went for another weekly ultrasound around what would’ve been around 9 weeks and we needed the baby’s heart to start beating, which it sadly never did. Our 2 year old son named this baby, Patsy.
Unfortunately, this was considered another missed miscarriage and we opted for a second D&C that September to test Patsy to look for any answers as to why this kept happening to us. We learned two weeks later that they were unable to properly test the sample from the D&C, so sadly we will never know what went wrong.
With so much support, empathy and compassion our new OB sat with us, explained everything to us and had us tested following our 3rd loss in 10 months.
Following our second D&C with the new practice, I was so incredibly nervous about having another surgery done because of how long it took for my body to recover and get back on track after the first one. I’m not sure if the second surgery reset my body, but I felt immensely better. My cycles were at 28 days to the day and it all felt manageable again both physically and mentally.
We were then sent to a fertility specialist for more in depth testing and they were so wonderful! They ran every test under the sun, both for infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. Nothing came up as an issue. They even did a procedure to check my uterus for any scarring after the two D&Cs and nothing. While it was a bummer to have no definitive answers, it was so helpful and reassuring that we were so thoroughly checked out after all we’d been through. It began to feel like when we were ready to try again we’d be doing it with a clean slate.
I began going to weekly acupuncture, changed how I ate and added a lot of new supplements and vitamins to my day to day. This was all life-changing.
We took a break to recover mentally, emotionally and physically for a couple months. 2022 really felt like it was going to break me.
That was, until we got pregnant in November, 2022. Joy filled our hearts and home again as we are hopeful for our triple rainbow baby to join us in August, 2023.
This time feels different – we have a supportive team of people around us. We are constantly being monitored, both by the fertility clinic and since graduating from there our OB as well.
This pregnancy so far has been normal and uneventful (knocking wood, so hard!) and we are praying it stays this way. Each appointment is still so nerve wracking and my anxiety is off the charts. I don’t feel like we will ever feel completely sure of anything when it comes to this process, but we are trying to keep faith over fear as we are so excited to meet our rainbow. We will never ever forget the storms that we endured, and the 3 angels we have gained along the way.
I’m sharing our story because despite how easy it may look on the outside, so many of us are struggling under the surface. If our story helps just one person realize that they’re not alone, it’s so worth it for us to share.
Photos taken by Larisa Stinga.
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