Tuesday (November 22) evening into Wednesday (November 23) morning, I suffered a miscarriage. Words cannot describe how devastated I am. This was my very first pregnancy.
PCOS and The Challenge of Getting Pregnant
I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over 2 years. In 2015 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) when I was trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. It turns out women with PCOS have a much harder time getting pregnant naturally, and the risk of miscarriage is much higher for women with PCOS as well.
Digging further into my PCOS diagnosis it was revealed I have insulin resistance and high levels of testosterone, both of which can contribute to the risk of miscarriage in women with PCOS. In March of this year I started taking taking Metformin to help with the insulin resistance portion of my PCOS. This helped me dramatically. I lost 15 pounds and my irregular cycles became regular.
My cycles had become so regular thanks to the Metformin that when my period was several days late in October it was enough to convince me to take a pregnancy test. For the first time in my life, I saw a positive result. I couldn’t believe it given how many negative pregnancy tests I’ve taken over the past two years. I ventured out to Walgreens to buy another box of tests, all of which yielded a positive result. I told Dani right away, but I wanted to make it special for Joshua when it was confirmed that this was the real deal.
A visit to my primary care physician followed by a referral to my OBGYN, I did intake with the RN and got all my blood tests set up as well as my prenatal screenings. I was doing everything that I needed to do now that I was pregnant – getting doctor appointments set up, making lifestyle changes, etc. but the scare of miscarriage was always lurking in the back of my mind.
I decided I would tell Joshua on our anniversary. I ordered a Mercedes-Benz pacifier and presented it to him after dinner at Blue Bayou in Disneyland, the same placed he proposed to me. It was very special and he was equally excited as I was that we were going to be parents.
A week later (November 14) we had our first ultrasound. Based on the dates of my LMP (last menstrual period), I should have been about 9 weeks along at that point. Instead, the ultrasound showed I was about 6 and 1/2 weeks along and no fetal heartbeat. My doctor thought that was a little odd given how certain I was of my dates, so she had me get setup with the imaging department to do a more invasive ultrasound which would have a better chance showing a fetal heartbeat as well as a more accurate EDD (estimated due date).
I did the detailed ultrasound two days later and not only did it show the same thing that my doctor saw, but it also confirmed my PCOS diagnosis because I had cysts on my ovaries (fun fact – you don’t necessarily have to have cysts to have PCOS).
Since I was on the cusp of it being to early to get a heartbeat, my OBGYN wanted to see me in a week or two to do another ultrasound. We scheduled that appointment for December 1st.
I had been spotting for about two weeks at this point. At first I thought it was because of all ultrasounds/exams I had recently, but the spotting didn’t show any signs of going away. Last weekend the spotting turned red and started getting heavier to the point where I was scared/stressed enough to call my doctor for an appointment on Monday (November 21).
At my appointment, my doctor examined me and did an ultrasound. Not only was there no fetal heartbeat, which there should have been at this point, but the baby looked even smaller than my last ultrasound. It was clear the baby stopped growing, and I was showing signs of an early miscarriage.
It was only a matter of time before I would have a full-on natural miscarriage. She wanted me to get a blood test in order to monitor my HCG levels and to still keep my December 1st appointment.
My worst fear was becoming a reality. Tuesday at work was the hardest day ever to endure as my symptoms were starting to progress. By lunchtime I regretted not calling in sick. As soon as I got home, I began to bleed heavily and cramp. The RN called me with my blood test results, and after I told her about my symptoms, she advised me at what point I should go to the ER should it come to that.
In attempt to take my mind off what was happening, Joshua took Dani and I to Melting Pot – as sort of a belated anniversary dinner for us and a “thank you for house-sitting” dinner for Dani. However, my symptoms were getting worst as the evening went on to the point where once I got home I just wanted to lie in bed. The cramps were getting more and more painful and the bleeding was getting heavier. I was really close to going to the ER that night.
I went to bed at 9:30pm, waking up every couple of hours or so to use the restroom and change positions due to cramps, and about 1:30am I was fully awake with the most painful cramps I ever experienced and lots of bleeding/clotting. It was happening. I had the textbook symptoms of a miscarriage. For the next two hours I was basically “in labor” as my body worked to expel the fetus. It was incredibly painful and exhausting, but once the final gush of blood and “stuff” happened, the pain went away. I knew it was over. I crawled back into bed around 3:30am exhausted and emotionally drained.
After the Miscarriage
I called out sick from work, filled the prescription my doctor gave me for painkillers, and I went over to my both my parents house and my in-laws house to break the news. Up until this point they had no idea I was pregnant because Joshua and I were planning on telling them at Christmas. Since this was the day before Thanksgiving, I didn’t want to tell them on Thanksgiving plus there was no way I’d be able to go through that day pretending like everything was okay. Naturally, both sets of parents were extremely sympathetic and supportive.
Later in the day I came home to rest. My doctor called to checkin on me, as well as my boss; I hadn’t told my boss what happened yet, only that I was very sick and might need to go to the ER. I told my doctor what happened and she still wanted me to keep my December 1st appointment just so we could make sure everything had been expelled.
The days following, I continued to experience light to medium bleeding as well as occasional cramps, both of which are totally normal following a miscarriage. Yesterday at work I told management what happened, and everyone has been incredibly understanding and supportive.
Emotionally I’ve been taking it one day at a time. My heart aches. A couple friends on Facebook welcomed their babies into the world around the same time I lost mine. It hasn’t been easy healing from this loss. It’s a process that only time can heal.
My doctor has advised me to wait three months before trying to get pregnant again. The good news is I got a pregnant, and now knowing all the lifestyle changes I had to make when I was pregnant I can set up a better foundation for when I am ready to try again.
I will admit though, as anxious as I am to try again in order to fill the void left by this loss, I am also scared that this might happen again. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, and my heart breaks for all the women that have not only experienced this but have experienced this multiple times.
If you made it this far through my blog post, thank you so much for reading. I really wanted to share my experience so others would know they’re not alone. Writing about it has also helped with the healing process for me. Below are links to different articles that I found helpful throughout this experience.
- Early Miscarriage
- Miscarriage in the First Trimester
- What Does a Miscarriage Feel Like?
- What I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage Until I Had One
- Why It’s Not “Just a Miscarriage”
- 20 Things to Know About Healing From Miscarriage
- Women Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Talk About Miscarriages
- To the mother with an aching heart