Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (having two or more miscarriages in a row) is a heartbreaking infertility diagnosis I would not wish upon my worst enemy. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that we would be “that couple”… that couple who finds themselves in the unfortunate “less than 1% of all couples” statistic. Yet here we are.
Since May 2014, David and I have been pregnant 5 times. The picture on the left is the only ultrasound picture of any of our babies we have been able to see thus far, and this is our first pregnancy at 8.5 weeks. We were surprised to be pregnant with this one, as we had only been married a little over 6 months at the time. We were both only 23 years old, healthy, and expected to have a drama-free pregnancy ending with a beautiful baby 9 months later. I had some mild bleeding and cramping 8.5 weeks into the pregnancy, so David and I went to see the doctor just as a precaution. We saw the most beautiful, tiniest flickering little heart beat and our precious little baby snuggled perfectly right where they should be. The doctor told us “everything looks perfect!” and I was relieved to learn that bleeding and cramping in early pregnancy can be pretty common. David and I thanked God for our little Blessing and went home expecting things to be OK. Unfortunately less than 12 hours later, I started having contractions and our little Blessing was gone.
My OB/GYN diagnosed the loss as a “spontaneous miscarriage”, and told us that most likely it was just a fluke and that our next pregnancy would be perfectly normal. Unfortunately, our hope was crushed again 5 months later in October, 2014 when our second pregnancy ended the same way at 7 weeks. At this point, my OB/GYN referred us to start seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist for infertility.
Our journey so far has been one of many tears, questions, frustrations, and confusion. Our third baby passed in June, 2015 just one day after a positive pregnancy test and we lost our fourth in October, 2015 the week after our second wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of hard medical evidence or treatments available for recurrent pregnancy loss, and most doctors take a “try this or try that and see what happens next time” or “let’s do this as a precaution just in case the losses are due to xyz” approach. In some cases a cause is able to be found, however, 50% of the time recurrent pregnancy loss is unexplained. My RE had some theories about our losses due to some of the test results. He had a lot of positive energy and came up with a treatment plan, and we all had a hope and a peace that surely this would change things next time.
We found out we were pregnant for the 5th time in January, 2016. We were terrified and very cautious, but also felt a glimmer of hope and even excitement that maybe things would finally work out for us. Unfortunately, some familiar symptoms of doom and gloom reared their ugly head and after several blood tests and an early ultrasound in February, my RE diagnosed the pregnancy as ectopic and said the baby was growing in the wrong place. We should have seen the baby in my uterus, but instead, they were in my right fallopian tube. David and I found ourselves once more landing in another unfortunate “less than 2% of all couples” statistic. An ectopic pregnancy can be fatal for the mother if the tube ruptures because a ruptured fallopian tube can cause massive amounts of internal bleeding. I was scheduled for emergency surgery on February 4, 2016 to terminate the pregnancy and remove the baby. They ended up having to remove my right fallopian tube as well, because it had sustained too much damage to be able to function properly in the future.
I am still currently recovering from surgery and the whirlwind of emotions has been unreal. Coping with the immense grief of losing another baby coupled with the grief of losing my fallopian tube and wondering how my fertility will be impacted as a result. Sadness, anger, confusion, resentment, numbness, bitterness, hopelessness, shame, guilt. What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? Why does my body keep failing me? What did I do to deserve this? Why me?
Honestly, one of the biggest struggles I have is comparing my circumstances to the circumstances of others. At work, I help find services for women who may lack positive parenting skills, have had multiple abortions, have lost custody of their children, or have used drugs and other substances while pregnant or around their children. At home, I log into FaceBook or Instagram and see pregnancy announcements, ultrasound pictures, gender reveals, pictures of beautiful newborn babies wrapped in their pink and blue hospital blankets, or pictures of toddlers who were born on or near the due dates of my pregnancies. I wrestle constantly with God and find myself most often in a place of tension spiritually. How can God be good? How is this good? How is this loving? Where is the light at the end of this dark tunnel?
I don’t know if David and I will ever be able to have children biologically. Regardless, I am more thankful for David every day and try to set my thoughts on the many things we have to be thankful for. We are blessed in so many ways. We both have jobs that we truly love and are following our passions. We have family and friends who love us and have been instrumental in supporting us during this time. We have a house and two cars that we own. We have two fur babies who always keep us on our toes. We have a healthy savings account and we have been blessed to travel and take time away for ourselves. We have good days and we certainly have
bad hard days, but at the end of the day we still have a lot to be thankful for. It helps to try to keep my focus on God’s goodness in spite of my circumstances. He is always good. Even when my circumstances don’t reflect that. Somehow, even when it hurts like hell and doesn’t make any sense, God is still always good. Today, I am holding onto that.