I have started writing this post so many times. I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. There is just so much I want to say but I don't want to write a novel in a blog post. I like to tell a story with my writing and this story is so long. It starts over five years ago when this blog was born.
I have known all along that autoimmunity isn't something to mess with. That's why I've been writing this blog, to document my path to healing. Somewhere along the lines, the path took a sharp turn in the wrong direction. I just stopped trying. I got incredibly lazy. I caved into cravings. I ate whatever I wanted. It was a slow slide to hell. I gained so much weight. I weigh more today than I ever have. I never exercise anymore.
Why???? I wish I could answer that.
This spring I started trying again. I started working out in the mornings before work, I cut out the gluten and diary again. We were trying to get pregnant and I knew that I was in no shape for that. I struggled with that. Knowing that there was a big potential that I'd have trouble because of my health. I pushed through, making small strides each day. Five months into trying and I started to get discouraged. I started to think that maybe we should just wait until after the wedding next April. It would give me more time to get healthy. I had been spotting for a few days so I thought for sure we were out for the month. Memorial Day weekend I told B that I wanted to put it on hold. At least for now.
Three days later...
We were shocked. He was so excited. I was terrified. I wanted so badly to be happy, but I couldn't shake this terrible feeling that this was just not going to work out. It seems like as soon as I found out, the symptoms started. Nausea, cramping/pulling in the lower abdomen, fatigue, breast tenderness. I felt pregnant. It was crazy but I loved it. It was the spotting that kept me on edge. The slightest change in it and I'd panic. Surely this was it. It was over. But then it wasn't.
At my first appointment with the OB/GYN I found myself feeling so insecure. The staff at the office kept congratulating me and my reaction was to be angry at them. How could they be so positive and excited for me when this surely wasn't even going to happen? These feelings surprised me. Why couldn't I be happy about this? B was making lists of names, I wasn't even thinking about it. I felt physically pregnant, but I didn't feel any kind of connection to it. Should you that early? I don't even know.
Based on the spotting, the nurse practitioner ordered blood work to check my HCG level. At 6 weeks the level was 1993 and then 2710. Low, and slow rising. Not a good sign. But I was within the normal range and it was rising so we held on to that. That week I had my first breakdown. Sobbing to B because I just knew something was wrong. He convinced me that I was being emotional from the hormones and I'd be fine.
At 7 weeks I had my first ultrasound. The tech had a terrible bedside manor. You could just tell that she didn't have much faith in this pregnancy either. When she finally showed me what she was seeing, it was just an empty sac with a small yolk sac. What you'd expect to see in a pregnancy of roughly 5.5 weeks. I was devastated. B didn't understand what was wrong. He saw a healthy 5.5 week pregnancy. I saw an unhealthy 7 week pregnancy. I knew my dates weren't off. I feel it when I ovulate, my boobs get sore, my body changes. I knew exactly when it had happened. But I let myself believe that I could've been wrong.
The HCG level came back at 7,000. Normal for 5.5 weeks. It could go one of two ways at this point. I tried to hold onto what little hope I had left, but the spotting had changed again. It was red and heavier and I could see tiny bits of tissue. But other women had experienced the same thing and had healthy pregnancies. I clung to this. Another ultrasound was scheduled for 10 days later. I should be 8 weeks 5 days by then. Or would it be 7 weeks? I didn't know what to tell people when they asked me how far along I was.
By the weekend I was starting to relax again and was hoping beyond all hope that I would be one of those miracle women that have healthy babies after complicated first trimesters. Deep down I knew I wouldn't be. Saturday I felt great. The spotting was almost gone and I had energy. We spent the day with friends and family being excited for the baby.
Sunday I woke up to spotting again. I shrugged it off. It wasn't out of the ordinary at this point.
By late morning I was feeling a dull ache in my lower abdomen. I ignored it.
We had been talking about seeing the doctor earlier than Friday because we had so many concerns but since I'd had such a good day on Saturday we decided to leave it.
Just before bed I went up to use the bathroom. As soon as I sat down, I passed a huge blood clot. I knew immediately what was happening. I went back downstairs and told B it was starting. He nodded. We both were resigned to this by now.
The worst of it lasted about an hour. It wasn't terribly painful, just uncomfortable. Gross, really. Eventually I was able to lay down and finally around 2am I fell asleep.
This week has been a roller coaster of emotions. The first day I was relatively calm. Denial? Probably. But I had already cried so much in the weeks and days leading up to the actual miscarriage that I didn't have anything left. We took the dog to the park, watched movies, relaxed. The second day I woke up in pain. More clots passed. The nurse practitioner had warned me about this. I went back to bed, rolled into B, and just cried. He had to go to work so I stayed home alone. I spent most of the morning in tears. By the afternoon I was ready to face it head on. I felt like I had been robbed and I was determined to not let this happen again. What had gone wrong? Why did this happen to me? Why must I always have to go through things the hard way, hadn't I already dealt with enough struggle and heartache in my life? Couldn't just this one thing be easy for me? So many questions we ask when things don't work out the way we hoped.
I'm not blaming myself for this. Miscarriages happen all the time. It's so much more common than I realized. People just don't like to talk about it that much. Understandable. It sucks. However, I can't help but wonder what if I'd been taking care of myself like I know I should be? I've suspected some thyroid issues for a while not but didn't bother making the doctor's appointment to get it checked out. I suspected low progesterone when I was spotting so much right from the beginning but I was too nervous to mention it to the doctor. Another potential complication, ignored. Well, let me tell you, it's a big wake up call. I've essentially wasted 5 years of my life when I could've been building up my health but instead I let it get worse.
I will not waste another day.
I have an appointment with my primary care physician at the end of the month and I will ask her to do every single test known to woman that could be related to fertility. I'm doing my homework, just like I did before the Crohn's diagnosis. I will walk into that office armed and ready. She won't see me coming, but I promise you this, she won't forget me. I'm back in self advocate mode. I will not rest until my health is under control and I'm confident enough to start trying again. I have a little angel in heaven now to watch over me and keep me on track.
The weekend that would've been the start of my 40 weeks was my brother's wedding. While we were getting ready, my sister took out her jewelry and asked me what she should wear. There was a ring with small purple stones in the box that matched our bridesmaids dresses. I asked her if I could wear it and she just gave it to me. I'm not sure if they are real amethyst but they are close enough for me. I was due in February. I have worn this ring every day since she gave it to me and only noticed the significance just the other day. It gives me strength.
Ever since I was little, my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother would sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with me. They say that a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison. When a pregnancy loss has happened, the storm is supposed to be over and as we continue to cope with the loss, eventually something colorful and bright will emerge from the storm clouds. They call this the rainbow baby. I can't wait for mine.