urban pacifier – misadventures in baby making: these things happen

Self doubt. Inadequate. Failure. Sadness. Devastation. Anger. Fear. Frustration. Worry. Self Pity. Guilt. Want. Envy.

These were a few of the feelings that I went through and continue to go through after having a miscarriage.

At 7 weeks my husband and I saw what looked like a little grain of rice with a heart beat. This was very welcoming after 8 months of trying to get pregnant. However, the doctor gave us some unwelcome news. He saw that there was quite a bit of blood in my uterus, which elevated my chance for miscarriage.  I was told that there was a chance that it would clear itself.  Miscarriage was not even on my radar. After 8 months of trying, I thought how could I possibly have a miscarriage.

That evening I started spotting, which progressively got worse over 2 more days. The third day I woke up with cramping, heavy bleeding, and passed a very recognizable embryo and placenta.  It was devastating.

At the doctor, they told me “these things happen.”  There is generally no explanation and this was the unfortunate bad luck of the location of implantation that hit a blood vessel and caused a bleed.  They called it a Subchorionic Hematoma.  Generally with no known cause or prevention, it affects many women, but only results in pregnancy loss in about 1% of women.  I was within the unlucky 1% that lost the pregnancy due to the subchorionic hematoma.  My mind started racing of what I could have done wrong that could have caused this.  I thought maybe lifting that piece of furniture two weeks back may have caused it.  Further research stated that it was unlikely, and there is generally no cause or prevention.

I mourned the loss of what could have been my baby.  I had nothing to show for it, except the image of my first early sonogram.  I felt like my body was failing at what it was meant to do.  My wonderfully supportive husband tried to keep me optimistic. He continued to reassure me that I did nothing wrong. This was just an unfortunate and unlucky attachment location that caused the bleed and caused this miscarriage.  The doctors continued to reassure me that miscarriages are very common. The next time I get pregnant, it will be just fine.

It wasn’t “fine.”

I was given the green light to try again as soon as I went through a normal menstrual period. I quickly became pregnant a second time. I immediately called the doctor.  I was nervous about everything.  Any little cramp I worried.  I continually checked for spotting.  I had no confidence in my body.  I did not want to have another miscarriage. I asked the doctor if there was anything I could do or be tested for.  The doctor reassured me that I would be just fine. There is a three-miscarriage policy at this office and the office doesn’t do testing unless the patient has three miscarriages.

I was excited but very cautious. I just had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. 6 1/2 weeks in, I started to spot again.  The same time frame, the same symptoms.  I went to the next available appointment with a different doctor this time. He preformed an ultrasound, and didn’t see anything.  I had either already lost the pregnancy or it was too early.  He mentioned he saw something in my uterus but quickly disregarded it and told me again, “These things happen, and there really isn’t much that we can do.”  The spotting got progressively worse, and 2 days later I had another miscarriage with heavy bleeding and cramping.

Devastated a second time, I saw a new doctor. She was kind, and compassionate.  I told her I just felt like there was something bigger that was wrong, and she trusted me. She supported my instinct that something wasn’t right and that I should start testing to see if there was some other preventable reason.  I had a previously scheduled doctors appointment with yet another doctor at the practice a week later. I kept it so he could confirm that I had completely miscarried. At the follow up appointment he started to explain that often, “These things happen.”  Typically miscarriages occur from an abnormal chromosome that causes the pregnancy to end.

Another common preventable cause of miscarriage can be clotting disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, or structural abnormalities.  The doctor suggested that we begin the testing process since I had two miscarriages in such close proximity.  He continued the appointment with an ultrasound to be sure that the miscarriage was complete. As he was examining my uterus, I heard, “ hmmmh.”   Not exactly something you want to hear.  He went on to show me that there was something quite large in my uterus, about 3 cm in length.  It was not left over from the last pregnancy.  I had just completed a pregnancy test and all of my levels had dropped close to pre pregnancy level. He was pretty sure that I had a large uterine polyp that could be acting as a natural intrauterine device, preventing the pregnancies from sticking. I was to have surgery as soon as possible the following week.

One week later I underwent general anesthesia, a cervical dilation, hysteroscopy, and polyp removal.   This was the first major surgery that I have ever had.  It was a simple procedure. I returned to work the following day and had bleeding for about one week after the procedure. My hope, along with my doctor, is that this was the cause of the recurring miscarriages and moving forward everything should be just fine.

Uterine Polyps can be symptomless, such as in my case. Other times the symptoms, can be the following: (courtesy of the Mayo Clinic)

  • Irregular menstrual bleeding — for example, having frequent, unpredictable periods of variable length and heaviness
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Excessively heavy menstrual periods
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Infertility

If you feel like something is just not right, trust your instincts.  It may be nothing, but don’t give up until you are satisfied.  Find a doctor that will be your advocate and will listen to your concerns.  If you are not happy with your doctor, find a new one.  I did.

The “Misadventures” author is remaining anonymous at this time. She is eagerly trying to start a family despite the many obstacles that stand in her way. 

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