Wednesday, September 14, 2011


To get this out of the way and prevent the paragraph-skipping your eye is going to want to do unless I just come out and say it, I’m going to just come out with it.
I was pregnant, and now I am not.
I found out I was pregnant about four and a half weeks ago. When I got an ultrasound at seven weeks, things didn’t look great. At eight weeks – last Thursday -- the fetal heartbeat was gone.
With that out of the way, I’ll now start at the beginning.
First of all, I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you right away. The reason I didn’t is because of exactly what happened. I couldn’t live out the joy and tragedy for a live audience. I’d planned to tell everyone after my seven-week ultrasound, if everything looked good. Since it didn’t look good, I kept quiet.
You might remember that Christina and I each took pregnancy tests before leaving for BlogHer in early August.  I was on cycle day 23, and had ovulated around day 15 or so, if The Machine was to be trusted. The result of my test was negative. Not even the faintest line. I proceeded to the airport and had two glasses of wine to calm my flying jitters, then another on the airplane. Then another that evening at the expo, and then a giant margarita at dinner.
For the entirety of BlogHer, I was ravenous. I ate so much I gained two pounds in the few short days we were there.  The first night I slept terribly, but the next two nights I dropped into a deep sleep and had strange, vivid dreams. By the end of BlogHer I felt deeply fatigued and when I got home, I crawled into bed and took a long nap.
I continued to feel extremely tired and have strange dreams. The night before I got my “big fat positive,” I dreamed I had a baby but kept forgetting to take care of it. In my dream, I awoke and remembered I’d left the baby in the living room, and I scrambled out of bed to get it. When I got there, a raccoon had somehow gotten into the house and scratched the baby’s face. I awoke – for real – in a panic.
My husband had forbidden me to take a pregnancy test until my period was abnormally late, and as it happened the date I took the test was on his 35th birthday. I used an EPT test and the plus sign showed up immediately. I started shaking. I looked at myself in the mirror and recognized sheer terror. I’d been trying to get pregnant for so long that I’d never actually envisioned a positive pregnancy test. My husband was elated.
More symptoms started cropping up. Nosebleeds, sore breasts, sensitivity to smells, cramping and nausea. Fatigue and crazy dreams continued to be a mainstay.
And then we went to the first ultrasound. I was seven weeks along. The ultrasound tech showed us the embryo and the fluttering heart. She congratulated us and sent us on to the doctor. We sat in the waiting room, grinning ear to ear.
And then the doctor congratulated us and told us the baby’s due date would be April 22 – our wedding anniversary. But, there was a caveat. She said the fetus looked to be only about six weeks, three days old, and the heartbeat was lower than she’d like, at only 80 beats per minute, so she had us schedule another ultrasound for the following week. She said it could be a fluke and she advised “cautious optimism.”
I already felt optimistic – after all, I’d just seen my baby’s heartbeat. So I smiled and asked the doctor if I could proceed with asking her the dozen or so questions I’d written down. And she said: “You know, let’s wait until your next appointment.”
At this point I realized two things. 1) My doctor is kind of a bitch. 2) She didn’t think the baby was going to make it.
I, of course, jumped on the internet immediately when I got home and found a study that concluded that six-week-old embryos with heartbeats of 80 beats per minute die within one week of the first ultrasound 61% of the time. Even if the heartbeat returns to normal, there is still a 25% chance of fetal demise in the first trimester after such a low heartbeat reading.
This was devastating news. I crawled into bed and cried.
We kept busy over Labor Day weekend. There was a lot going on and we met friends and family for various gatherings with smiles plastered on our faces. My symptoms had begun to fade. The nausea wasn’t nearly as bad. My breasts didn’t hurt at all. And then I started spotting very lightly. I warned my family not to be surprised if I delivered bad news after the next ultrasound. They’d all been so excited when we told them about the pregnancy. My sister is almost six months along and the cousins would have been close in age.
At the next ultrasound, a male technician stared quietly at the screen, perhaps deciding how best to word what needed to be said. I could see on the monitor there was no flutter; no heartbeat. I just stared at it, dry-eyed. My husband didn’t make a sound. The tech said he was sorry for the bad news and sent us on to my doctor, who sat us down to inform me of my options for the next, essential step.
There are three options. 1) Wait it out and miscarry naturally. 2) Insert a pill in my vagina to induce miscarriage. 3) A D&C (abortion) to remove the fetus.
All three are terrifying, but I chose the natural option. My doctor wrote me a prescription for vicodin and I imagine when the time comes I’ll pop a couple pills and spend some time on the toilet. She likened the process to a “mini-labor.” If it doesn’t happen on its own within a couple weeks, she wants to do the surgery.
I am ok, if by ok we mean that I am getting up in the morning and acting mostly human each day. I am a little shell-shocked, and pretty bummed out. I feel a bit of low-burning rage in the pit of my stomach, and I would kind of like to break something and maybe scream a little bit. For now I just sit silent, thinking about how this happened, what must happen next, and what should happen a couple months from now.
The doctor says we can try again once I have a normal period. This probably means we can try again sometime in November, providing I haven’t been committed to a mental hospital (I kid! You have to laugh, or you’ll cry). I admit the thought of trying again makes me want to vomit. But this is still so fresh, of course I feel that way. Also, I still have nausea from the pregnancy, to add salt to the wound.
The good news is that in all my google consults, I discovered another study that says women who get pregnant within six months of a miscarriage have a greater likelihood than normal of having a healthy pregnancy.
And the other good news is that throughout all this, we found out one important thing: I CAN GET PREGNANT. This is pretty astounding.
This is probably enough to have said about all this – more than enough, likely. I’ll be dealing with the fallout for the next couple of weeks and I’m sure I’ll write more about that. In the meantime I’m being as much of a hermit as I can and trying to feel sorry for myself only in the shower or when the lights are off and I’m trying to fall asleep. Miscarriage is something normal, something everyday, that has happened to almost every mother I know. I know this. They made it through and I will, too.


  1. Oh, Erin... I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I am about to say things you know, and that other people will say. I can't stop myself.

    Oh, feck it... this sucks. I'm sorry.

    The only cliche-type thing I will say is: girl! you got pregnant. That's the first step to changing diapers.

    Get through this, take care of yourself and your husband. And let yourself grieve. It's a natural process that you will go through.

  2. I'm so sorry...I just found out two days ago that I had my second miscarriage in 6 months. I just feel so cheated. A positive pregnancy test should bring such happiness and all I got was grief. On top of it they are suspecting an ectopic so unless my beta comes down more quickly than it is now I will go in for surgery.

    Take care of yourself! I know all to well how you feel...

  3. I am so very sorry. There are obviously no words that will make you feel better, but try to take good care of yourself and allow yourself to mourn. I just started following you ladies and I already feel so invested in your journies. Again, I am deeply sorry and wish the best for you through your next steps.

  4. Oh, sweetie. I am so sorry. I am glad you are trying to look at the positive though -- that you can get pregnant.

    Be nice to yourself. And be nice to your husband too. My thoughts are with you.

  5. I am so sorry.

    I know that it is so hard. Glad you can look at the positive parts, and I am thinking of you guys.

  6. Oh dear. I don't even know you (I'm a friend of Christina's), but my heart is aching for you, and at the risk of sounding like a creepy stranger, you are on my heart and in my prayers. Thank you for your beautiful openness.

  7. I am so sorry. I read this with tears in my eyes. My thoughts are with you and I'm sending you as many positive vibes to help you get through this. Take care of yourself. We are all here thinking of you.

  8. It will probably get old and just making you even more of a wreck hearing all of the "I'm sorry"s... but what kind of a friend would I be to not say it? A bad one, that's what.

    So I'm just going to say it once and move along: I'm sorry our bodies can be assholes.

    The fact that you can get pregnant is FUCKING GREAT NEWS. I know we texted about this yesterday, but really, I'm feeling so hopeful for you this next time around.

    Other great news: You didn't have to be on some crazy ass vegi-juice diet for it to happen. You were just enjoying life and- BAM! You got pregnant. (Babies come from Emeril Lagasse, right?)

  9. Hey Sweets,
    Just so you know, its OK to scream and break something every once in awhile. This instance totally warrants that.

    We've e-mailed a bit about the whole thing, and I just want to say again, that we're thinking of you and B, and that it fucking sucks.

    But I know you'll pull through it. (And there's always that silver lining that you CAN get pregnant.)

    Major hugs, doll.

  10. Thanks you guys. It feels very special to have so many awesome women in my camp.

  11. I'm so sorry Erin. My heart broke when I read those first few lines. Take care of yourself.

  12. Oh Erin I am so so sorry. Gosh we would have been very close on our due dates, too. I know it must be such a mixed bag..."yay I CAN get pregnant" and then just utter disappointment. Hang in there and know you are loved and supported...always.

  13. This is the most bitter sweet thing I have heard all day. Obviously, you know the bitter... screw the bitter. I don't understand why our bodies do the things they do. It really makes no sense.
    The sweet is all that matters now. You got pregnant. You did what so many of us have been trying to do for years. I for one want to know everything you did to get there. Not now of course... when you are ready to try again.
    Take care and know that all of us infertiles are rooting for you to leave this camp soon.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing. I, too, know many women who have been through it - many moms, and while it's awful and not fair, I thought the same thing you voiced at the end of this post - now you know you can get pregnant. What a shitty way to find out though. Take care of yourself, and send a hug to that hubby of yours, too. The Internet loves him, too, even if he is super private.


  15. Oh I am so very very sorry for your loss. I will just give you some hope: I got pregnant with a perfectly luscious girl, now 1, just two months after a loss at 8 weeks. My one loss made me love and treasure my children that much more. I will always, always, remeber the baby that wasn't, though. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Erin, there is nothing I can say here that you don't already know. I'm heartbroken for you. You are one of the most brave and honest women I know. I love you and your darling Hubs.
    xo! Christina

  17. No words. This sucks so bad and is so unfair. ...just keep holding on. **HUGS**

  18. I am so sorry to hear this! I cried reading this, as I have been through it with a very dear friend. I don't know if this will help in any way, but I'll share the story. My best friend and her husband tried for more than a year, finally got pregnant, and found out at 12 weeks that the baby had such severe spina bifida that it most likely would not have survived outside the uterus, even if she opted to continue with the pregnancy. The only healthy option (for mom and baby) was to do a D&C, which they did, at 13 weeks. It was horrible. The happy ending here is that one year later, almost to the day, they had a perfect baby boy who is almost two now and just awesome. Seriously, best kid ever (don't tell my other friends with kids I said that). :) I know it may not feel like it now (and it often sounds like a load of crap), but I have to believe that everything works out how it's supposed to. Knowing that you CAN get pregnant is also half the battle. :)

  19. Erin, I'm so sorry. Christina and I talked today about how there aren't enough words in the English language to appropriately convey our feelings. It's so primitive... like grunting. ugh. I just wish we were physically closer so I could hug you. I'm thinking about you, chica.

  20. I am so so incredibly sorry. This sucks. I know. First, I'm going to focus on the positive here - same as you: You are totally right. Your chances of getting to a healthy pregnancy now are MUCH higher. 30% of first-time pregnancies end in miscarriage. I can tell you that I had irregular cycles and an overall hormonal nightmare before my first loss, and my cycles have been like clockwork ever since.
    Second, a bit of unsolicited medical advice: Avoid the D&C if you can. If it doesn't "resolve itself" in the near future see if you can go for the pill. It's not pleasant, for sure, but it's less invasive. And I learned the hard way that the least invasive option may not always be pleasant, but is usually best. Of course, if your doc insists on a D&C then I'm sure it's for a good reason. But please make sure you absolutely have no other choice medically.
    Third - give yourself time. Just because you CAN start trying once you get through to your next natural cycle, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Medically, yes, it's safe to try. Emotionally, most professionals recommend waiting three months. From my own experience, I think it's natural to be both impatient and terrified to try again. Ignore the impatience, and wait until you're ready emotionally. Plus, giving yourself a couple of extra months will give you a chance to examine if your cycles have changed at all.
    That's enough unsolicited advice for one comment, methinks. Hang in there. Thinking of you, and sending you huge hugs!

  21. we don't know each other, i am a complete and utter stranger, but i just went through the exact same thing. My husband's body doesn't mature his sperm (in a round about way) we have no answers nothing has ever come back abnormal on him not even genetic testing. Needless to say this was devastating news to us. Flash forward a year later (so we have been trying for almost 2yrs) we decide to use anonymous donor sperm. Guess what, it worked second insemination, hurray! (right? no.) everything was good, i too had the fatigue and the flipping freaking vivid dreams every night in the beginning, oh and the hot flashes. awful! around 6/7wks i wondering why i wasn't vomiting my guts out like every other pregnant person i've known...then i realized my breasts didn't seem quite as tender...then we went for our first u/s at 8wks 1 day...the tech looked and looked...then sorta mumbled under her breath "im not sure i can see a heartbeat" and ran from the room. I was shocked and in disbelief. We saw our dr who recommended having another scan in a week...needless to say when we saw our ob/gyn 2 days later the news only got was TWINS...(natural) and they were both only made it to 4/5 wks and the other 6/7wks. He tried to console me by saying it would have been high risk as they were sharing a placenta, but by that point i felt so empty and dry it didn't matter. I too was told the same options and decided to take the natural route. I did not lose my babied until the day i would have been 11wks 1 day. So i carried them around for a month calling myself the walking tomb. (like you said you have to laugh, or you'll cry) Then i started spotting...for 5 days. I was at the point of getting the meds and inducing things myself. Then one evening as we were finishing dinner on the deck i felt a trickle...and suddenly a horrendous wave of cramping overtook me as i ran for the bathroom. Without going into detail, was like a mini labour (if i can call it that, having never been through it) but the cramps came in waves as i would imagine contractions do. They slipped out within 20mins of the cramps beginning. My poor husband, he didn't know what to say or do. It's an awful much more so than i thought it would be. I'm not trying to scare you, but be honest with you about MY experience. Luckily we had Tylenol 3's in the house from his testicular biopsy surgery last november. As horrible an experience it is, and how much you are sick of people saying "but hey, you got pregnant!" it will get better, day by day...i still have crying fits, they are bound to happen. Good news is, i had a +opk on my 30th birthday and ovulated the next day, exactly 3 weeks after the m/c. So...we say F^%* the text book time frame our ob/gyn gave us of waiting 3 months to try soon as i get my next period, we are ordering our "goods" and trying again in October.

    Chin up love, you are so not alone in this. If you ever want to talk, shoot me a msg and i can give you an email etc.
    *hugs* from a stranger who truly does understand.

  22. You ladies all bring tears to my eyes. Floods of 'em. Someday I'll repay this wave of friendly female karma, somehow.

    Joo - my god. Twins. I mean ... as Lexey said above, words simply fail in this instance. If a singleton miscarriage is difficult, a twin miscarriage can only be twice as hard. I did have the miscarriage over the weekend, so I completely understand what you went through. I commend your positivity and determination. October sounds like a lovely month to conceive. Best wishes to you and your husband.

  23. Sending my sympathy and condolences for your loss. Believe me, what you wrote describes exactly what I went through a few years ago. Holing up with your husband, sleeping in, writing, feeling anger, feeling resentment, feeling sadness, eating ice cream, drinking copiously ... do whatever feels good to you. You are brave and strong, and you are right: the silver lining to this shit cloud is that you can get pregnant. :)

    If you want to read something I wrote about my miscarriage, here's my essay (page 36):