Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{that time I was pregnant}

I've gone back and fourth about sharing this on my blog, and after much debate, I decided to post what I had originally wrote a few weeks ago.  I've shared everything with you up to this point, from the vag ultrasound to acupuncture- the ups and downs, and your emails of support have been amazing! So with that said, I hope that in sharing this, I can bring someone else who's experiencing the same thing some comfort, which is what you've all done for me.

...Today is Tuesday, April 17th. It's a rainy spring afternoon, and the weather outside matches what I am feeling inside. Drab. Cold. Gray.

I've debated writing this for a few hours now and while I'm not enteirly sure I'll click publish quite yet, I need to get my thoughts on paper (so to speak).

There has been so much I've wanted to blog about the last few weeks. So much I wanted to share- my excitement, my anxiousness, my worries. So much in fact that I wrote an email to myself so I wouldn't forget. I'll share it here to give you a peek into what was going on...
Thursday, April 5th. I’m writing all of this before I post it on my blog while the memories are fresh.

We had decided to adopt. After trying to conceive for three years, we felt in our hearts that adoption was the right step to take and figured that conceiving just wasn’t in the cards for us, and I was coming to terms with that. My period was to start on April 3rd. When it didn’t come, I was bugged. I was past hoping for a pregnancy, but I was frustrated that my cycles were becoming longer and longer. First it was the normal 28 days. Then it was 30. Then 32. When I still hadn’t gotten my period by the 5th of April, the thought that I might be pregnant crossed my mind, but only for a split second. Instead of being excited, thinking I could be pregnant, I was annoyed. I had one pregnancy test left from a pack I bought that had 3 in it. The first two tests brought heartache and major disappointment. Each time I had pee'd on that stupid stick, I was full of hopeful anticipation. Now I was just annoyed. I hastily took the test out of the package, did my business and then waited. Instead, this time, I threw a washcloth over the test and continued to get ready for work.
Two tests earlier, I would have studied that stick like a hawk, praying my heart out in the three minute waiting period for two lines to appear, only to be struck with disappointment as a single line became bolder. That was usually followed by feeling a wave of sadness engulf me. It was a vicious cycle, and I wasn’t going to let that happen this time. This time, I could care less. I just wanted to know and it didn’t matter, anyway. I knew I wasn’t pregnant. About 5 minutes later, I walked back into the bathroom and grabbed the test from under its hiding place.
Two lines. One light and one dark. But there were two parallel lines.
I squinted at it again. Clearly I wasn’t seeing this correctly. I picked up the box to make sure I was reading it right. Two lines = pregnant. My head slowly turned up and I met my gaze in the mirror. Furrowed eyebrows and a look of confusion stared back at me. If I could have taken a picture of my face I would have. It was a look of complete and udder shock.  I didn’t let myself get too excited because I thought it could have been a false pregnancy. Still, I threw on some clothes, pulled my hair up quickly, skipped putting on makeup and left the house to show Andrew. He was going to be so shocked...
 As I re-read that email I can't help but cry. I was so, so excited. Finally, what we had wanted for so long, what we had waited for, prayed for, and hoped for, was happening. I made an appointment with my fertility doctor that morning and a blood test confirmed what my home test had told me. We were expecting. My hcg level was a 70 and my progesterone was low at a 10. My doctor immediately prescribed Prometrium to spike my progesterone levels. Another test two days later showed my hcg levels at a 170 (doubled = good) and my progesterone was good. They estimated that I was about 4 1/4 weeks pregnant and wanted me to come in for an ultrasound on Tuesday to check the yolk sac (when I would be 5 weeks along). Tuesday came and I anxiously waited on the exam table. When they nurse came in, she told me to lay back and scoot down (I should have remembered from last time) and started the ultrasound. As she was looking around, her face got a bit serious. Looking at the same black and white screen, I couldn't tell what the heck I was looking at. She hesitated and then said that she wasn't seeing a sac- or anything. I told her I was pretty sure I ovulated later than they thought, and if that was the case, I'd only be about 4 weeks pregnant. The nurse told me at 4 weeks they wouldn't be able to see anything, but she was still a little concerned it could be ectopic (since my levels were going up but no visual). This, of course, sent a wave of panic through me, and she sent me to get another blood test. I went back to work and waited until that afternoon, hoping for the best, but I knew something wasn't quite right. The call that came later confirmed what I was feeling. The HCG levels had gone up, but just barely, which caused them to be more concerned. Usually with an ectopic pregnancy, your levels will slowly increase, but won't double or triple like they should. I freaked out and had a mental breakdown right there at work. My coworkers, I'm sure, thought I had gone crazy, as nobody knew what was going on. I left early and called Andrew on my way home, bawling and telling him what happened. Hoping that I was just a week behind, my doctor scheduled another ultrasound for the next Monday and the wait was torture. I still had all the symptoms of early pregnancy (tender breasts, fatigue, semi sick) so I tried to stay positive and spent the rest of the week praying and hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

See, I'm a realist. While I do believe in miracles and hope for the best, I can't help but look at what doctors and scientist are putting in front of my face and agree with what they say. When my doctor told me it could be ectopic, I was really concerned it could be. When they told me that my levels weren't rising and something wasn't right, I believed them. Andrew, on the other hand, is much more hopeful. He kept telling me he knew everything was going to be fine,  and while I wanted to believe him, I just knew in my heart something wasn't right.

Finally Monday came and I found myself once again on the exam table. Andrew was with me this time and another doctor was doing the ultrasound, as my doctor was out of town. Once again, the black and white screen showed nothing. I was disappointed, but somehow expected it. Andrew, on the other hand was crushed. The doctor told me that even if I had ovulated later, they should have seen a yolk sac at this point. Now I was really freaked out it was ectopic. They drew more blood and I waited at work for them to call. Finally, at 5:00, my nurse called. I stepped outside, standing next to my car as she told me that my HCG levels were a 6. They dropped so suddenly and they were so low, the pregnancy couldn't be sustained. She expressed how sorry she was, but the good news was that I got pregnant without any fertility aides. All I could do was nod, which over the phone, doesn't translate. My voice cracked as I verbally thanked her, and then I couldn't stop sobbing. She told me to stop taking the prometrium and that I would probably start bleeding soon and again, she was so sorry.

I was devastated. I called Andrew and we both cried on the phone. I left work and cried the whole way home. We told our families later that evening and by that point, I was numb. I didn't cry when I told them, which was frustrating. Looking back, I think I was probably in a little bit of shock.

The next day, when I woke up feeling crampy, it hit me. I called my boss and started bawling when she answered, telling her briefly what happened and that I needed a day to myself. Thankfully, she understood and I hung up, buried my head in my pillow and sobbed. I knew I needed to get up and make myself be productive (my way of coping) so I painted my dining room wall. There were times during the day when I felt fine and then, suddenly without warning, the tears would come and when they did, I let them fall.

A few days after my period started, I left on a trip with my mom to Los Angeles. It had been planned before any of this happened, and I feel like it came at a perfect time. I was able to relax, take my mind off of what was happening, and spend time with on of my favorite people- my mom.

I still have mixed emotions about my miscarriage. On the one hand, I got pregnant. Without fertility drugs and without ovulation kits. I now know my body is capable of getting pregnant, which is great! But at the same time, I wanted that baby so bad. I wanted it to stick and to work out and to be healthy. In the short time I was pregnant, I let myself think about how we would tell our families. Creative, fun ways - we had decided to tell them on Mothers Day. Finally, I thought, I get to celebrate with the millions of other moms. I let myself think about how I would decorate the nursery if it were a boy or a girl. I thought about when I would be due - right before Christmas. I downloaded an app on my phone that gave weekly baby updates (which after miscarrying, still popped up until I figured out how to uninstall it, adding salt to my fresh wound).

And yet, I still got pregnant. Even if it was for a few short weeks. Who knows what the future holds. Maybe it'll happen again. Maybe it won't. We're still continuing the adoption process and praying for the best. This time, I'm learning to expect the best too- whichever way it turns out.


pollydove said...

Hey Shannon - I am so sorry that you are having to go through this! I can't even imagine how hard all of this must be on you and Andrew. Great news about you being able to get pregnant! And great news that you guys are considering adoption! I will hope for the very best for you too ... love you!!!

Jill said...

Beautifully written but heartbreaking to read. This post took me to so many dark memories, so many sad days. I think the way you let yourself cry and feel every terrible emotion that comes with infertility is so healthy and says something about you as a woman. You are strong Shannon. I know you will be a mother. And a fantastic one at that. I will continue my prayers for you and Andrew. Thank you for sharing. You are helping people through your honesty. No question.

Anonymous said...

I love you and your blog Shannon!! These struggles you are facing break my heart. I honestly believe that they won't last forever though and that when you finally are a mom-it will be the greatest thing that ever happened to you (sorry Andrew) and that you will be a better mom because of all your struggles. Read
She is my good friend and old neighbor who has been through all these same struggles and then had to make the heartbreaking decision to have a hysterectomy at 33 years old. It broke her heart, but now she is the mother of 3 beautiful boys!! Maybe he blog and her perspective will bring you hope? I hope so. Thanks for sharing your personal stories!!

Jen said...


BECKY said...

so, so, so, so, so many hugs

paula said...

Shan...I wish I could see you right now to give you a big 'ol hug. I suspected something was amiss because it's been so long since you posted anything. I'm so sorry you and Andrew are going thru this. I wish I had the words to say to make it better-but there are none. I hope knowing that you are in my thoughts will give you some comfort.

Laura said...

Shan, you are an incredibly strong woman. You will get through this. I love you and pray for you. You WILL be a mom, one way or another. I am glad you got to spend some time with your mom after it all. There is no better way to heal than that.

Beth said...

Hi! I have been reading your blog off and on since last year when I found your blog through another and then I emailed you for a tip on hiking in St. George after you blogged about it. Anyway, I wanted to say that I deeply feel for you because your story is exactly my story. We tried for almost 4 yrs (clomid, IUI, etc) and finally got pg, had a few weeks of joy and then a very depressing miscarraige. It is an incredibly painful loss, especially when it is following years of infertily. But, we kept trying, and we had a girl a few months later, and then after a few more years of secondary infertility, a little boy. Now I am 36, wishing for a 3rd but knowing it probably won't happen. I guess what I want to say is even though I don't know you, I understand your pain and I hope and pray that you will find peace and that the blessing of motherhood will find you soon. It is so hard when you are in the depths of it, but it does get better. Good luck and God bless!!

The Author said...

Oh, Shan. I'm so sorry. My heart is heavy for you. The long silence on your blog had made me worried, but I didn't want to intrude.

Nothing can make a miscarriage better, you can't replace that baby, it doesn't matter that it was so early, it hurts to lose it on day one, or day 100. You're already in love, you're already hoping. The only thing I have to offer is to allow yourself to grieve and don't feel guilty about it. After my second miscarriage many told me I needed to move on and get over it. But no one knows how much it hurts you and the need to process it emotionally. Don't do it alone. I isolated myself and it nearly destroyed me and my marriage. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

You are in my prayers. I hope you find some peace and comfort. Love ya.


Jeff and Alyssa Hertzler said...

Oh Shannon.... There are no words. You are an amazing woman with a wonderful man. You are in my prayers.

Brooke Hill said...

You are sooooo strong! It took all I had not to cry while reading it. I feel your frustration. You will get through this. I have never met you but think about you often as I too have been struggeling to get pregnant. It has finally happened and I am scared to death!
Keep the faith, your time will come and you will be amazing!!!

cathycan said...

I wrote my thoughts on my blog

It will happen, I know it will! I love you : )

Megan said...

Oh Shan, I am so sorry. My mom always said having a miscarriage was like someone giving you the best present you cvould ever imagine and then taking it away. I am sure you loved your baby so much already. I am sorry for your loss and wish I was right there to give you a hug! Please keep up the hope....I know that you will be an AMAZING mom someday.
I agree with your commenter who said to let yourself grieve, and not to feel alone. We are all here pulling for you (I would love to stop by and give you a hug anytime!). Hang in there, girl. I'm praying hard for you. Hugs.

One Fish said...

Oh this post hits so close to home for me. The day we first got approved for adoption, I found out I was pregnant with my 6th pregnancy. I even had a blessing telling me that everything was good and that we had a baby on the way. When I miscarried (for the 6th time), I was devastated. But- my baby was on the way. Just not inside of me. I don¹t know if we will ever know why sometimes it takes such
intense sacrifices in order to bring children into our families. I can tell you that from my own experiences I know that those sacrifices are recognized by the Lord. They do not go unnoticed. The Lord has a way of compensating us for devastating losses like the one you have experienced. Although it doesn¹t remove the grief and disappointment you must be going through, He does have a way of lessening the pain.

I¹ve experienced a lot of tears and misery
during our journey into parenthood but I¹ve also seen incredible miracles enfold our family. It¹s really difficult sometimes to feel so out of control in your own life and in your ability to bring children to your
family. When I got pregnant with my second daughter, my OB told me that there is something special about being a mother who understands the fragility of life and motherhood. You understand in a way that few women probably do what a miracle motherhood is. You don¹t take it for granted or think it's a given that children will come into your family. However your kids make it to you, you really know what a beautiful, rare, and special gift it is when kids come into your family and how special the different ways they arrive are. I think that knowing this makes you more in tune to the miracles that will surely enter your family. I think the pain you have experience leaves a mark on you and exposes your heart to special experiences. Here's hoping that those blessings come soon!

Hawleywood said...

You've been on my mind and I'm glad you posted. I'm sending you internet hugs.

Much love,


Francia Benson said...

I wish I could say something else than I am sorry. There are no words to console, I send you a hug and my positive vibes and I will keep you in my prayers. I had a similar experience, I had to use fertility treatments and ovulation kits, the first time I had an ultrasound they didn't see anything and told me I could have an ectopic pregnancy, I was devastated, fortunately it wasn't the case, I have my baby-boy with me. I really hope you can become a mother, keep trying and adopting is also a lovely way to become a mother, there are many children waiting for a family and love.

Christine said...

I used to follow your blog religiously but stopped following any blogs very closely when all the bloggers became pregnant and their blogs turned from design/home decor/life blogs to baby blogs. I do try to check in again once in a while.

We've been trying for over 3 years to get pregnant as well and all I can say is that there is nothing so painful and unfair as infertility. I wouldn't wish it even on my worst enemy. After one dr's appointment you might be filled with hope and excitement, only to have those positive feelings dashed with another reason why you won't become pregnant.

Though I've never been pregnant I can imagine just a little piece of how heartbreaking miscarriage is. I hope you have begun to heal physically and emotionally, but still allow yourself to grieve. I hope so much for you to have a healthy child soon -- whether genetically related or not. You are a mother and have the heart of one. Your babies will be very very lucky to have you!

Thank you so much for posting your experiences.

Wes and Dani said...

It's been crazy-long since I've been on your blog (like a couple years...bad person). I'm just now running across your fertility stuff (congrats on your sweet baby, by the way!).

Your fertility issues sound so similar to mine. We tried for 3 years to conceive my daughter (and suffered two miscarriages during that time). Prometrium finally helped me sustain a pregnancy, then nine months after I had my daughter we got pregnant again (surprise!) with my son.

It's funny how awful infertility can be, and how it all seems like a distant bad dream when you finally hold that baby in your arms! So glad things are going well for you. I'll be following more closely again.