“As a little girl, I was a complete tomboy, and I had absolutely no interest in playing house or with dolls. I never wanted to have children, but then, I had my first miscarriage at 18. The miscarriage changed my feelings about kids, and suddenly, I wasn’t so sure that a child-free life was the one for me. I became pregnant again five months later, and although it wasn’t planned, I felt a calling within me. I lost that baby, too, 18 weeks later, and after my second loss, I was certain that becoming a mother was of great importance to me.
In December 2013, I met Jeremy, a military divorcee with two children. We dated for about a year and a half before the topic of having children together came up, but Jeremy previously had a vasectomy, complicating the issue. Frankly, Jeremy had no intention of having more children or getting married again, but I guess dating me sparked a change within him. Within two years, we were headed toward marriage, and honestly, an unwillingness to have children would have been a deal breaker for me. Luckily, we came to the conclusion that we wanted a forever commitment and to expand our family.
In February of 2017, we went to the courthouse and tied the knot. Later that spring, we started the process of reversing Jeremy’s vasectomy and planning a wedding. The reversal process took over a year, and after doing some online research, I had mixed feelings about the success of the procedure since Jeremy’s original vasectomy was performed almost 10 years prior. Now if you don’t know, the chances of a successful reversal after 10 years is relatively low. This dynamic added a bit of anxiety about whether or not it would work.
In June 2018, we had our destination wedding, and after our wedding, we went on a Caribbean honeymoon. There was an expectation the honeymoon was probably the last chance we would have to go on a vacation before getting pregnant. With that in mind, we did as many adventurous excursions as we could, savoring each moment. As soon as we got back to the U.S. in July, it was time to get the reversal, and we knew that a lot was riding on this surgery. The procedure was relatively quick and pain-free, and the doctor let me know that everything went well. In the end, we were told the procedure should have an 85% rate of success.
Roughly five months after the procedure, we were scheduled to go in for a sperm analysis and see if the reversal worked. In December 2018, just a week before Christmas, I found out I was pregnant. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell Jeremy, but unfortunately, my hormone levels did not rise properly. A few days later, I found out that I was going to have another miscarriage the day before our analysis. I had to figure out a way to tell Jeremy that not only was the procedure a success, but we were losing our first baby together. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time since it was only a few days before Christmas. Jeremy’s excitement was immediately followed by disappointment making for a very uncomfortable moment.
When we arrived at our hotel I told Jeremy, ‘We need to talk.’ I was so nervous and anxious that my voice trembled. I sat him down and told him, ‘A few days ago I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.’ He gasped and immediately smiled. I continued, ‘but after getting my blood work repeated, my levels are not increasing. I started bleeding on the drive down and it’s not going to be viable.’ His smile quickly turned to disappointment, followed by confusion. ‘So you weren’t pregnant?,’ he said. He couldn’t quite understand how something could begin and end all so quickly.
I explained to him, ‘I was pregnant, but it’s not viable, so I am in the process of miscarrying. Like right now, this very moment.’ After a few minutes, he said, ‘I’m sorry.’ Tears quickly began to fill the corners of my eyes and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I cried while Jeremy embraced me. Afterward, he added, ‘Well at least we know the procedure worked. But how long do you want to keep doing this?’ Words no woman wants to hear while miscarrying. Admittedly offended, I said, ‘How much longer do I want to keep miscarrying? Is that what you’re really asking me right now?!’ He responded, ‘No, I mean how much longer can you go through this?’ While I had already had two losses prior to our relationship, this was ‘our’ first. I understood that he had zero attachment to what we lost, but this line of questioning made me feel like he was already considering throwing in the towel. I felt like we were just getting started and told him, ‘however long it takes, that’s how long. That is, unless you don’t want to do it anymore.’ At this point, he could tell I was hurt. ‘Ok then, that is what we will do. I’m here to support whatever your decision is, I just don’t want you to have to go through this,’ he said.
We still managed to find joy in the success of having an excellent count, motility, and morphology.
We conceived again two weeks later, and I was the most excited I had ever been about seeing those two little lines. Determined to be as happy as possible each day of pregnancy from that day forward, I planned a scavenger hunt for Jeremy which ended in a box full of onesies and a digital test stating ‘pregnant.’ It was a very emotional and happy moment. Then came our first appointment when we were told that I may have a heterotopic pregnancy. This meant one baby in my fallopian tube and one in the uterus, and my first thought was, ‘here we go.’
Over the next two weeks, I had two additional ultrasounds and appointments, one ruling out the heterotopic pregnancy and the other confirming a heartbeat. Even though our baby had a low heart rate, we held out hope that things would still work out. That is, until I began cramping at 11 weeks. That morning, I told Jeremy, ‘I just don’t feel right.’ He took me to the E.R. that day, and before we could even pull out of the driveway, I had a bad feeling about where this was all going in the pit of my stomach. Once I saw the screen of my ultrasound, it confirmed my suspicions. I just had to wait for the doctor to say the words. Three hours, two ultrasounds and one blood test later, the doctor let us know that I was experiencing a missed miscarriage.
The results of the test and ultrasound confirmed the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks, and unfortunately, my body had already reabsorbed the remains leaving only the placenta behind.
Once again, we were leaving the hospital empty handed and preparing for the impending miscarriage. The process took days of passing copious amounts of blood and tissue, and I still wound up needing an emergency D&C adding another layer of trauma to the situation. We were not prepared for the emotional aftermath. I was very angry and hurt, but Jeremy could not relate or understand the depths of my feelings, making our household environment pretty tense for a few weeks. I remember asking him, ‘Do you even care? Is any of this even bothering you?’ Of course it did, but he had already processed things so it felt like he was moving on and expected me to do so just as easily. I remember thinking, ‘How are we going to get through this together if we can’t really talk about it?’ I had grown so accustomed to dealing with losing babies on my own that doing it together was completely foreign territory. The solution was couples therapy, and it is the most helpful tool to process grief both as a unit and individually. We learned how to effectively communicate about our loss and acknowledge the differences in the way we processed our emotions. After a few weeks, things significantly improved between us, but it took months for us to complete our grieving process and for us to find a new normal.
In the months after, we have had lots of testing performed to try to find a cause, a reason, or anything tangible providing an explanation to why this keeps happening. Only 1% of women experience recurrent miscarriages and only half will ever find the cause. To this point, we have found nothing. Everything is anatomically and genetically normal with both of us, and that in and of itself is very frustrating. It is frustrating to hear a doctor say, ‘I’m sorry, but you are normal, so we really have no answers or a sense of direction for you. We can’t explain what is causing your recurrent miscarriages.’ All I can think when hearing those words is, ‘Am I really normal?’ It’s a question that lingers in my mind still, and it probably will until I have our baby in my arms.
Will I get more testing done? Probably. The logical part of me is not quite willing to give up so easily with a small string of hope that something will reveal itself. Until that day, I have to accept that this is how things are and this is the body I’m stuck with, for better or worse. But there are times I feel like an alien in my own body. So where does that leave us? We have 2 choices: Give up on our dreams of having children together, or keep trying with the hope that next time things will stick.
We choose to be hopeful that we will take our baby home one day. It’s not easy or simple, and some days, I want to sit and bed and cry, while others I feel like our time is right around the corner. The one thing I’ve learned is to take things minute by minute when necessary, because it can be a very overwhelming and draining process. Hope and each other are all we have to hold onto during this immensely emotional journey.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mariah Deck of New York. You can follow their journey on Instagram and YouTube. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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