Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Miscarriage of my 2nd Pregnancy

On Friday, April 4, 2014, I found out that I was pregnant after one cycle of trying to conceive (TTC)! It hadn't been a normal cycle for me, which was strange as I have always been very regular! I got a positive pregnancy test about 8 weeks from my last menstrual cycle and I'd been testing fairly regularly, so I was pretty sure I had just conceived. I had thought I was pregnant the previous month, of course. When you're looking for pregnancy symptoms, you are sure to find them! So when my cycle hadn't started when I thought it should and I was still getting negative tests, I was a bit concerned but figured I'd give it a couple weeks to see if something would happen. 
On April 4, one of my coworkers asked if "the rumors" were true. I laughed and asked her if she was asking if I was pregnant and if so, the rumors were not true. When I went home, I told my husband how silly that was. I said I was feeling a bit light-headed but nothing compared to the extremely obvious pregnancy symptoms I had early on in Robbie's pregnancy. I had one test left and was like, what the heck, let's see what it says. I used the test and closed my eyes and wished really hard it would be positive. I almost even started crying, hoping so hard. When I opened my eyes, there was a positive test! Even though I had hoped it would be positive, I'd had so many negatives in the past month (probably like 20) that I didn't expect the positive line to show up. I ran out into the living room and my husband and I started jumping up and down and then Robbie joined us, it is such a great memory. I had to go to my parents' house that evening so we put Robbie in the "Big Brother" shirt I had bought him at the beginning of February and drove over there, just a few minutes after taking the test.

When we got there, Robbie didn't want Daddy to put him down but we really wanted everyone to see his shirt! My husband sat down on the couch and put Robbie on his lap, facing everyone. My mom asked, " is this how you're telling us you're pregnant?" jokingly. I said, "well, yes!" After we went back home, we invited my husband's family over and everyone was so happy.
The symptoms I had with that pregnancy compared to Robbie's pregnancy were so different! With Robbie, I was very nauseous all the time and my skin was clearer than it had been in years. I was waited for these signs and my skin never cleared up, I had a bit of light-headedness and I didn't develop nausea until a few weeks later. Another symptom I had this time that I didn't have last time, because I wasn't breastfeeding last time, was extreme sensitivity to Robbie nursing. W00-wee, I am not looking forward to that again. So I felt pretty normal for a few weeks besides the nursing sensitivity and then I developed slight nausea around April 18. I figured it was a reassuring sign, although I did up my magnesium consumption, as I've heard magnesium deficiency can be a cause of pregnancy nausea. 
The ultrasound to calculate my due date was scheduled for April 21. I wasn't sure how far along I was because I had the strangely long cycle. I could have been as far as 10 weeks at that point! I thought I was about 7 weeks, based on when I got my positive test. I was a bit nervous about the ultrasound because I tend to be, not pessimistic, but cautious. The nausea kind of reassured me that the pregnancy hormone was still around and even increasing. 
On April 21, my husband and I went to the appointment and were very happy as we had such great memories of the area where the hospital was since our son was born there. We reminisced about the childbirth classes we took and fun appointments. When we got in the ultrasound room, we were excited and I was a bit nervous but I really didn't think anything would be out of the ordinary. We didn't have to wait long before the doctor came in and we started the ultrasound right away. And right away I knew it wasn't a normal pregnancy. I saw the shape of the uterus and a small circle inside it. The doctor also started making those "confused" sounds, like "hmm." I turned to my husband and he knew too.
I knew it was totally normal, even in the moment, to have an early loss. I immediately thought about what action I would have to take to start miscarrying, since it hadn't started on its own. I cried. I was sad, of course, but also I didn't want my mom and mother-in-law to be upset. They are both very emotional people. My husband was sad but strong.
The doctor said it looked like the egg stopped developing and that is common and completely normal. It's called a blighted ovum. People say that perhaps I wouldn't have even known I was pregnant if women didn't test so early these days but after two months of not having a cycle, I would have known something was up. And my body hadn't miscarried on its own so no matter what, I needed to start the miscarriage for my health. 
I already knew my options from other women's miscarriage stories and I knew I wanted the least invasive procedure possible. My doctor offered misoprostol (Cytotec,) which is an [off label use of a] medication that causes the uterus to empty, or a D&C, which is a procedure where the doctor physically removes the pregnancy. I knew immediately that I would take the Cytotec because the D&C would upset me and it can also cause scarring in the uterus if the procedure goes wrong. I would have to take an antibiotic as well to prevent infection from the miscarriage. She also prescribed pain medication as miscarriages can be very painful.

The beginning of my miscarriage:
The doctor placed the Cytotec vaginally at about 2:30 pm. It can also be taken orally but can cause stomach upset to the woman and also a nursing baby (it passes through the breastmilk.) She said not to worry if the tablets came out as that doesn't mean the medicine hadn't absorbed. It was a very simple, mostly painless procedure. 
We picked up my prescriptions at Target and got some supplies for the bleeding. We went to lunch before we went home to tell people. My MIL, who was watching Robbie, took it better than I expected. She didn't cry but was teary a few times during the next few days. I wanted to tell my mom in person but she was busy helping an injured family member. She kept sending me text messages, asking how the appointment went and when I wouldn't give her a straight answer and finally called to tell her, she said she had guessed by that point. She also took the news better than I expected.
I wasn't sure when the bleeding and cramping should start. I wanted it to start immediately so I would know it was working but it took about 5 hours. At about 7, I started cramping and at about 7:30 pm, the bleeding started. The cramps were bad. I used to have terrible menstrual cramps as a teenager and these cramps were very similar. I had to breathe through them and my husband gave me a back rub. I decided to take some ibuprofen. The rest of the evening I pretty much sat on the couch with my legs up as the cramps died down. When they went away completely about two hours later, I was shocked. They never got really bad again but I did take the ibuprofen once more a few days later.
I told my sisters and brother about the miscarriage by sending them text messages. It sounds impersonal, but I didn't want to talk about it much yet. They responded kindly and I reassured them that I was okay.
The bleeding was not as heavy as I anticipated and that confused me. My mother-in-law, who is a nurse, suggested maybe because the pregnancy was only about 5 weeks long that light bleeding could be normal. That made sense to me but when I called the doctor for an excuse from work, I still asked the nurse if it seemed normal. She said the doctor said it could be normal but that I should come in for the follow-up ultrasound in one week, not two, as previously scheduled. 
I was in a okay mood the rest of the week and physically all was going as it should. I would feel sad sometimes thinking about what I had anticipated, like having a baby right before Christmas, wouldn't happen. I had no animosity toward pregnant people until one time I caught up on a month's worth of posts from one of my favorite bloggers that included pictures of her growing baby belly. I was mad, not at her but at the situation, for just a minute. I also felt sad when watching "Call the Midwife," a fictional show about pregnancy and childbirth, but also so happy whenever a baby was born. I mostly feel back to normal though, besides a few moments here and there.
My follow-up ultrasound went perfectly fine. The doctor said all the tissue had passed and there was just some fluid remaining that would pass in a few weeks. Two and a half weeks after the start of the miscarriage, I am still bleeding. Strangely, I am bleeding more this week than the previous two, maybe because we are back to TTC. I bought some OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) and have been using them this week and I think I ovulated three days ago. Since I've been bleeding more this week, I just don't think it's likely we will conceive this cycle but I'm happy to see that I ovulated and should be back to normal next month. The doctor recommended I wait to TTC until after a normal period for reasons including a higher chance of miscarriage (to do with the placenta and progesterone or something.) I didn't want to wait but I don't think I'll conceive this cycle anyway.
I'm excited to conceive again and holding a six month old yesterday made me really want another baby! This experience has actually made me focus on Robbie's babyhood again and I'm happy to nurse him whenever he wants (most of the time) and I'm not so exhausted. I know I will be tired and nauseous and have sensitivity while nursing again soon but I am appreciating the break from pregnancy symptoms for now. We conceived the first time trying so I'm hoping it will be that easy again. I have no fears that it will happen again- if anything, I will be less worried than before the miscarriage I think.
My experience with a misoprostol- induced miscarriage was different than any I'd read before. I did not have terrible physical effects from the miscarriage and I think I'm handling it emotionally like most would, especially with an early loss. I hope my story can help others who want to know they aren't alone. Miscarriage is a sad thing to experience but for most women, with average fertility, it is just something that happens when the egg and/or sperm just isn't right. I don't expect it to happen again, though it could.
If there's anything worth updating, like how long the bleeding lasted since I am still bleeding, I will write a miscarriage update. Hopefully that update will include a new pregnancy!
Thank you for reading about this sad experience of mine and if you've had your own loss, I'm very sorry for your loss. Please feel free to share your own experience in the comments.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sign Language at 2 Years (and a verbal language update)

  1. milk
  2. more
  3. food/ eat
  4. bug
  5. horse (also neighs)
  6. dog (also woofs)
  7. dada
  8. cow (also moos)
  9. apple
  10. cracker
  11. thank you
  12. baby
  13. help (not the ASL sign but baby sign)
  14. water
  15. hat
  16. nose
  17. ball
  18. bird (also chirps)
  19. all done 
  20. outside
  21. cat (also meows)
  22. hair
  23. grandma (uses father sign)
  24. grandpa (uses father sign)
  25. mouse
  26. please
  27. orange
  28. nut
  29. cereal
  30. tree
  31. sign
  32. time
  33. book
  34. mama!
  35. juice
  36. flower
  37. chicken
  38. pig
  39. light
  40. thank you 
  41. banana
  42. balloon
  43. bubble
  44. goat (also bleats, haha)
  45. popcorn (makes a popping sound)
  46. lion (also roars)
  47. monkey (makes a monkey sound)
  48. bear (also roars)
  49. carrot
  50. cookie
  51. butterfly
  52. fish
  53. orange (the color)
  54. strawberry (uses the same sign for blueberry)
  55. ice
  56. moon
  57. star
  58. hot
  59. pear
Verbal words:
  1. bubble (he was calling his birthday balloons "bubbles" all day, so cute!)
  2. mama
  3. dada
  4. apple  
  5. book 
  6. two (says doo)
(He also thinks that anything more than one is two and it's so cute!) I've decided there is no point in stressing about his verbal development when he is doing so well with signing. He will follow a verbal command perfectly and immediately so as far as I can tell, he is processing speech just fine. He picks up new signs very quickly, even if he's just mimicking the action, which other kids may do with verbal words. He can communicate very clearly, although since most people don't know ASL, it can be a little confusing when he signs to people other than me and my husband, and people who know ASL, of course! At two years old, children are expected to use at least 50 words and ASL counts toward that, so he's right on track! I know a few children his age that clearly speak sentences (!) but they are mostly girls, who tend to speak earlier, and all children progress at different paces anyway. I try to compare him to other children sparingly and enjoy him for who he is, and not just his abilities. He impresses me everyday with different things he can do like puzzles and climbing. It's so awesome to see him thinking and then do something; you can actually see him figuring things out.
So I've counted 59 signs and I'm sure I'm forgetting some. I'm so proud of my smart little guy. I love him so much and I look forward to updating more about his new accomplishments.