Pregnancy After Miscarriage
I do like to keep things light over here at So We Gathered, but the thing is, hard things happen in life and it’s important to have conversation around them to gain insight, advice, and support. If you’ve been through a similar experience, know that I’m here for you and willing to chat about it.
For those of you who have been here before, or follow me on Instagram, you may know that I had a miscarriage during my first pregnancy (read that story here). If you’ve experienced a miscarriage (or multiple), I am so sorry for you loss and what you had to go through. It’s something that many women experience, and few talk about. But, I felt like talking about it and reading others’ stories was one of the most therapeutic things I could do at the time.
For those who are new here, I miscarried in October of 2020. My husband and I had an ultrasound on our anniversary, September 21st. Our baby’s heart was beating normally and I measured 8 weeks and 4 days. We were told that miscarriage was rare after seeing a heartbeat. About a month later, however, I had some bleeding and found out our baby had stopped growing after that first ultrasound appointment.
I wrote my previous post only days after finding out about our miscarriage, while I was still bleeding and processing. At the time, it had seemed like things were looking up and I’d be able to miscarry naturally without medication or a D&C. What I didn’t share was the rest of that story. I ended up denying a D&C a second time after another ultrasound showed “remaining products of conception” in my uterus. I still had some time to let my body handle things naturally, though, so I waited. After about a week and a half, I passed more product, was feeling better, had less bleeding. I felt optimistic the miscarriage was complete and I could move on.
At almost 3 weeks into my miscarriage (well past the 2 weeks recommended of trying to pass things naturally), I had a third ultrasound that actually looked like I had more product in my uterus than the last time (what?! how is that possible??). My body still thought I was pregnant, I learned, so there was still blood flowing to the placenta in effort to grow a baby. I was also starting to spike a fever (a sign of infection, which is why it’s only recommended to wait about 2 weeks). The OB was getting nervous for my health and strongly recommended a D&C. I finally conceded.
The only procedure I’d ever had before was getting my wisdom teeth out, and I didn’t get anesthesia for that (that’s another story, it’s not pleasant). Needless to say, I was scared and sad. I felt like my body failed and I was terrified of going under, but I didn’t exactly have a choice. It was a Thursday and I had the option to do the D&C either later that evening, or first thing the next morning. We chose to have it Friday, and then I went to work right up the street, where I had started a job as a Hannaford Dietitian. Not really sure why I thought that was a good idea, but I felt bad since I took some time off when I first started miscarrying and was bleeding heavily a few weeks ago. I’d only had one sick day my entire life and I was really blowing my record, which honestly should’ve been the least of my worries. Later that day though, something changed and I didn’t want to wait. I called the OB office to see if I could have the D&C that night after all. They said yes.
Before having a procedure, I first had to get a COVID-19 test, which ended up getting scheduled for noon that day, so I was at work for all of an hour before leaving for the rest of the day. Probably for the best. And my D&C was scheduled for later that evening. Hayden couldn’t be there though, he had to stay at work. I called him in tears, while I waited for my mom to show up, who was able to come with me – thank goodness!
In the end it wasn’t so bad. It was very short, though I still felt unsettled by the fact that I don’t know what happened for 20 minutes of my life, but do know that I woke up with a sore throat and neck (was I intubated?! did I aspirate?! what happened???). I asked later on and I’m pretty sure they told me I was intubated as an aspiration-risk precaution given the last time I had eaten something. I went home that night and ate sushi with my sister-in-law. My mom wasn’t home, Hayden was at work, and I wasn’t supposed to be alone, nor did I want to be. The next day, I went to work because I was told it was safe to do so if able. I would not recommend doing that! I was exhausted, had a head and neck ache, and overall felt emotionally drained. But, you live and learn. So, now I’m telling you: don’t work after having a procedure if you can help it. Maybe people already know to do this and I’m just the workaholic? I don’t know, but don’t do it.
I bled for another week and half, and then got my period, so bled for another week. I’m mentioning all this because in the end, I had been bleeding for about a month straight at this point between miscarrying, D&C recovery, and period. I had to wear a pad constantly (tampons not recommended), and had been an emotional wreck, especially since up until my D&C I STILL had hCG hormones cranking through my body, not too mention going through a stressful experience.
Needless to say, I wasn’t ready to jump back on the baby making train again anytime soon. I wasn’t ready to deal with this again anytime soon, and chance of miscarriage was still about the same.
We waited about 3 months before I was ready to try again. I say “I” because Hayden was ready before I was. It wasn’t easy though, especially for someone who’s bad a making decisions. I’m scared, what if it happens again? but I want to have a baby! was our miscarriage a sign we should wait, or was it just something we had to go through?! we’re still living at my parents, I’d rather be in a house, but what if it takes years to get pregnant again?! – you get the idea. There was a lot of back and forth in my head, and Hayden and I had to further talk things through.
The first month of trying was tough. For my first pregnancy, we tried only once. So, we weren’t really sure what to expect this time around. I was 2 days late that first month of trying, and very anxious. My pregnancy test though, was negative, and I got my period the day after testing. Pretty sure stress made me late. Not only was I sad about not being pregnant, I was also worried my D&C had potentially damaged my insides! Could I even get pregnant again?!
The next month, nothing. Nor the month after that. I came to terms with it though. I knew it would happen when and if God said the timing was right. In the meantime, I’d enjoy beer and sushi and all the caffeine I wanted while I could! I think not being stressed about it (and also timing things a little better) must have done the trick, because by the fourth month (March), I had a positive test! It almost felt too surreal to be true. I took another test a few days later, just to be sure.
We were excited, of course, but I was nervous (if you hadn’t guessed, I’m the worrier of this relationship and Hayden is relaxed about most things – we balance each other out). Pregnancy after miscarriage is not easy, but the first 11 weeks before our first OB appointment were definitely the hardest. I was scared I would see blood any time I went to the bathroom, and didn’t wear light-colored clothing for the longest time – just in case. It took an emotional toll to say the least. I wanted to be excited, and every time I let myself, I thought back to last Fall and all the times I’d walked into the OB office and was given bad news. I would say I was cautiously optimistic.
Eventually we had out first ultrasound, which I closed my eyes for at first, remembering the lifeless lump I’d seen on multiple ultrasounds only 6 months earlier. But, the technician told me to open them so that I could see our baby’s heart beating normally. What a relief!
He/she measured 11 weeks and 3 days on May 27th, and was also very wriggly, which was quite cute. I could not wait to see our baby continue to grow!
We had our next appointment about a month later at the end of June, which I was again, nervous for. During the last appointment I had in order to listen to the heartbeat, there wasn’t one. This time, though, there was! And it was normal. But it’s still tough. Pregnancy after miscarriage does not necessarily get easier. The fear of something going wrong is still there.
We left that very first ultrasound of our first pregnancy feeling happy and optimistic, thinking everything was okay and then it immediately changed. So after every positive appointment, I feel a rush of relief, but it’s only temporary. I’m worried something will go wrong again.