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A blessing, a heartache

Two miscarriages, then fertility and relationship problems.

At my scan appointment, instead of hearing a heartbeat, all I got was silence and a second opinion was called for...

I had my son at the age of 19, unplanned. I split up with his father before he was born and raised him as a single parent. A few years ago I got married and my husband and I decided to delay expanding our family for a few years. At the death of a beloved cousin and friend we decided two years ago that life was too short and that what we both wanted was a baby. I must add that we are both lucky in that we are financially secure, secure in our commitment to our marriage and felt that having a baby would bring the final contentment to our lives. How wrong the next two years would prove it to be.

It started simply enough, I was on the contraceptive patch for about a year before we decided to chuck it away and within two months I was pregnant. My husband disagreed with the home pregnancy test because according to him, the second line was too faint and I still remember us arguing about it. I booked an appointment for us with my doctor and went for the required blood test and two days before my 26th birthday, we heard that I was 5 weeks pregnant.

I have to admit I was smug about it. I was ecstatic and we joyously shared our news with all our friends and family members. My doctor told me that my progesterone was low and prescribed progesterone, said that everything would be fine and asked to see me two weeks later.

This pregnancy was nothing like my first. I was nauseous all day and very emotional, I struggled with my co-ordination and could barely keep awake. I remember telling my husband the night before my next check-up that this was nothing like what I felt when I was pregnant with my son. But everyone always says that no two pregnancies are the same.

At my scan appointment, instead of hearing a heartbeat, all I got was silence and a second opinion was called for. The second doctor pointed out that the sac was too small for what it should have been at that stage and that instead of there being just one, two distinct sacs were present. The scan, however, confirmed that my babies had died sometime between the 5 week and 7 week scan. I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum. I was devastated and cried consistently for a few days. My doctor arranged for a D& C the very next day.

Everything passed in such a daze that the only thing I could think of was that it was twins, that I would have had our families’ first set of twins, in my heart I was convinced that they were girls and to me that is what they always will be. The actual procedure was not painful and at my follow up visit my doctor explained that 20% of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage. He ran a few routine blood tests and everything came back fine.

Everyone I knew said that after the D&C I would conceive quickly, however it took us six months before once more the tell-tale two lines appeared on the test. I felt more confident because these lines were darker and I didn’t feel as sick as I did with the first one. I had my first scan, which showed that I was 5 weeks and my progesterone levels were normal. I felt fine, just a bit anxious and believed that my first miscarriage was just a fluke of nature.

On the day before my next appointment I started spotting lightly at work. I ignored it and thought that it was just my imagination but it became more and more apparent that I was bleeding. I called my doctor, who insisted on seeing me immediately. Once again, lying on that bed, a surreal feeling enveloped me and staring at the screen and seeing the same thing I saw six months ago, without my doctor saying anything, I knew, I knew that like before this one hadn’t made it either… I struggle to find the words to explain what I felt lying on that bed, sometimes I ask myself was it grief? Was it shock or did I somehow know that it would happen?

It has been more than a year since my last miscarriage. I have since changed doctors and have been diagnosed with PCOS. It was unbelievable at first – how was this possible? No woman in my family has ever had a problem like this – and in the first few months it was difficult to accept that there was something wrong with me. We have been down the fertility drug road since, with no success to date. I went through a maniacal period of wanting to be pregnant, I did everything, folic acid, multi vitamins, having regulated intercourse, checking my basal body temperature, ovulation kits etc. There was a period in my life when all that I could think of, each and every waking and sleeping moment, was to have a baby. It consumed me to the point that I could neither eat or sleep, could not laugh, could not appreciate all that I have in my life that is good. It took a while but I was diagnosed with clinical depression and started seeing a clinical psychologist.

I see friends and family members who are pregnant, who discover they are pregnant and after nine months can hold their children. I face all of them with a smile on my face, make the appropriate noises and buy the gifts. I have put aside my grief at my situation with the help of my psychologist and by turning to a higher power. Having another child still remains my heart’s desire, but now it is no longer the beginning and the end for me. Somehow I have been able to deal with my inadequacies and realized that my worth should not be measured by my ability to produce offspring but rather by the love I bear all my nephews and nieces, who through the grace of God see what the adults in my family refuses, my desperate longing. I look into their eyes and am convinced that they recognize the hurt and disappointment that lies buried in my soul.

I have read the other personal accounts on this website. I was two-minded about posting mine, as there is no happy ending to my story. The strain of secondary infertility has damaged what I believed was a good marriage. I know that many of the people reading this has had the unfailing support of partners / spouses and family, I am sad to say that in my reality that is not so.

I wrote the poem below on the day I was sent home from my second D & C:

The day I saw my firstborn I knew what it meant to have one’s heart living outside your body…
The look, the touch, the smell…
Wonder and amazement,
I created this, this perfect little boy
Love, like I had never known was possible
Captured me body and soul
How to describe that feeling of awe…
That feeling of incredulity
Of overwhelming protectiveness and
Undying devotion
I knew that day as I cradled my son, that I would die for him,
That my life held no meaning without him…
My precious little fatherless boy…

Watching him grow,
Day by day
Month by month
Year by year…

I wanted to gaze into unfocused eyes and touch once
more the essence and being of innocence…
to have my heartbeat joined with another…
To complete my world with a daughter, our daughter
to hold the symbol of our love and commitment to each other
up for the world to see…

I wanted you to know that too,
Couldn’t wait to see the wonder and incredible joy
On your face as you felt the first movements
And later the first kick,
seeing our baby on the ultrasound
Hearing her heartbeat.

Honey I’m pregnant !!!
we are having a baby together
Plans dreamt now true
Summer sun had never been as bright
Then the mind – numbing , heart breaking news
I’m sorry but there’s no heartbeat…
So fleetingly I held her cradled to my body, only 7 weeks
For only 7 weeks we had a baby…

The hurt, the pain and above all the shame
The look of blame on the faces of your family
As if I was not shamed enough…
Tears, days, nights
Days, weeks and months
Emptiness where should have been filled
Ripe with life now cold and gone

Six months later and softly, timidly
Honey I think I’m pregnant …

Too scared to love what my body cradles
Too scared to lose what I do not yet hold
Silently we hug this news to ourselves
Scared to share what we know
Each silently praying that this one is ours

Beautiful winter day
The fragile life inside chooses
Not to stay…

Farewell my baby, once again
heartache, emptiness alone & in pain