Journey to my Rainbow baby.
Miscarriages occur more commonly than you think and 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. However, talking about miscarriages seems to be somewhat of a taboo topic and that really should not be the case. It should be normal to talk about miscarriages, so that women who are going through one know they’re not alone and can find support.
This has been the hardest blogpost I’ve had to write thus far, because it brought back some pretty painful memories. My purpose for writing about my own personal experience, is to raise awareness about miscarriages, as well as give hope to some women out there who are suffering/have suffered the loss of their little one.
Three years ago, my husband and I started trying to get pregnant with our first child. We were ready and excited to expand our little family and a lot of planning and preparation went into it. After some months of trying I finally got a positive pregnancy test one early morning that I was hit with some nausea. We were super ecstatic and emotional that we were expecting our first child.
We set an ultrasound date and waited patiently for the next few weeks as that date drew closer. However less than 1 week away from the ultrasound date, I noticed a small amount of spotting… I became a bit panicked and immediately got my blood tested for my hormone levels. My bHCG hormone (the pregnancy hormone) was normal and increasing but my progesterone level (the hormone responsible for keeping the pregnancy) was low… Being the doctors my husband and I are, we knew immediately what that meant. We were at risk of losing our little one even before we got to hear his/her heartbeat.
I remained hopeful that my progesterone level was enough and will somehow increase but unfortunately that was not the case. The day before the set ultrasound date, I miscarried…. I cried in my husband’s arms that entire day. Never in a million years did I think this would happen to me. I was so prepared for this pregnancy. I had been taking all my vitamins and had cut out caffeine and alcohol for months in preparation. Yet here I was miscarrying my first pregnancy and with no explanation as to why my body just didn’t keep the pregnancy.
Fast forward 2 months later, I was hit with the familiar wave of nausea and lightheadedness and I did a pregnancy test that morning. Positive! This time we tried to contain our excitement till the ultrasound date and till our first Obstetric appointment. We were able to hear baby’s heartbeat at the repeat scan at about 7 weeks pregnancy and my obstetrician then put me on progesterone suppositories just in case.
I purchased a fetal doppler for myself to use at home to hear my baby’s heartbeat when I reached 10 weeks of pregnancy. It was so reassuring hearing his/her heartbeat every morning as I was so paranoid about another miscarriage. It was at this time that I announced my pregnancy to my parents, my in-laws, my friends and co-workers. I was just 1 week away from my 2nd trimester now and was counting down the days till I cross over that milestone.
Some days before the end of my 1st trimester, I noticed my all-day pregnancy nausea was completely gone. I thought this was just due to being so close to my 2nd trimester. It had been a couple days since I heard baby’s heartbeat on my doppler machine at home but I wasn’t that worried as sometimes it depended a lot on positioning so early in pregnancy. I decided to get an ultrasound that day to put my mind at ease.
I called my husband and told him I booked a last minute appointment that afternoon. At the ultrasound office we waited nervously as the sonographer started up the ultrasound machine and began the scan. Before the sonographer could tell me what was going on, I already knew for myself. Being a doctor I knew what to look for. I saw no flickering of a heart beating…. I heard no heartbeat… I saw no movement….
The sonographer looked at us quietly and said she will use another ultrasound machine. She switched the ultrasound machine and repeated the scan. Once again we saw no flickering of a heart beating…. we heard no heartbeat… we saw no movement…. My baby’s heart had stopped beating. I immediately broke down in tears. She sent me to the hospital for confirmation and of course the repeat ultrasound there showed the same thing. HOW? How can this happen to me TWICE in just 5 months. HOW?! I felt broken…..
I sought advice from my obstetrician that day. Because I was on progesterone suppositories, waiting for the miscarriage to happen naturally could take some time. The other options were surgical or medical management. I opted for medical management and followed the instructions given by the obstetrician. That night I lay in bed heart broken and in pain physically and emotionally. I felt hurt. I felt disappointed. I felt angry. All I wanted was a baby and I did everything right and still had 2 babies snatched from me.
My husband and I took longer to recover this second time. Lactating and producing a small amount of breastmilk for a few days after the miscarriage didn’t help at all. I didn’t even know that was possible with a late 1st trimester miscarriage. We talked it over and decided to take a break from trying for a baby. Instead we decided to concentrate on ourselves, our career and postgraduate education. I just couldn’t go through another heartbreak so soon.
Three months later, I felt strangely lightheaded and faintish at work and wasn’t sure why. I checked my blood pressure and blood sugar, I drank water and ate a snack but still I felt like fainting. Someone joked I should do a pregnancy test and so I did. POSITIVE! What? I was in utter shock. I immediately messaged my husband. We weren’t even trying this time. My husband responded with so much joy but I was hesitant to rejoice. I was nervous and scared…. What if I miscarry again?
My third pregnancy wasn’t an easy one at all. There were so many concerns throughout the pregnancy that my anxiety level was on high. First there was a concern about cervix length early on and then I had an irritable uterus that started having contractions early on and resulted in being hospitalized twice for threatened preterm labour at 28 weeks and 34 weeks of pregnancy.
I remember the terror I felt that first night of threatened preterm labour at 28 weeks when the contractions kept coming every 3 minutes for over an hour. I couldn’t believe it. I had just crossed over into my 3rd trimester and there I was, possibly about to deliver a very preterm baby that would have to stay weeks in NICU if born that early.
Fortunately the tocolytics at the hospital worked (medication to stop contractions) and the contractions subsided. I was put on bed rest, given antibiotics and IV fluids and discharged from the hospital after 5 days.
Six weeks later at 34 weeks pregnancy, the same thing happened again. I began having contractions every 3 minutes for over 1 hour. This time they stopped on their own and I was only hospitalized for 3 days this time.
I was able to make it to 36 weeks pregnancy before my rainbow baby boy made his entrance into the world. He came almost a month early but that was fine. He was close enough to term and was a healthy newborn with no issues.
Finally! Nothing could describe the joy I felt the day my son was born alive and well. He is my surprise rainbow baby… my rainbow after two back to back storms. This ordeal taught me that there is a light at the end of every tunnel and that the sun must return after the rain.
For those having experienced pregnancy loss, you are not alone. It happens to many women who suffer in silence, but it does not mean you have to as well.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month