On May 29th, 2018 we discovered that we lost our twins at 9 weeks during our first sonogram. A week later, my body did not miscarry on it’s on and I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage. I finally had a D&C on June 4th, 2018 to remove my babies. I still remember asking the OBGYN to do one last ultrasound before the procedure just to be sure. Perhaps by some miracle, she’d had made a mistake, and my babies were still alive. I could picture their little hearts beating! But no, they were really gone. I cried and cried as they wheeled me into the operating room.
The D&C went well. Surgery was at 8am. I was put under general medicine while the doctor easily removed the contents of my uterus in an hour, and sent it off for genetic testing. I was back home before noon, laying on my couch, eating soup and watching Netflix. The first week after surgery was rough due to surgical gas pains and hydrocodone induced constipation. It felt like a hot poker had been shoved up my rear whenever I tried to empty my bowls. TMI, yes, but this post is all about being honest. At one point, I was on all fours on the bathroom floor waiting for the pain to subside. Two weeks later the pain and bleeding had eased up and I visited to the doctor for a post op check up. She was happy to report that my uterus had returned to it’s normal pre-pregnancy size.
However, the genetic testing she’d done on our twins was inconclusive. “What does that mean?” I asked. She went on to explain that my body had begun to break down and reabsorb both fetus before the D&C was performed. Therefore, she had no definite answer as to what went wrong. Was it hormonal failure? Was it due to the little fibroid she saw during the sonogram? Was it chromosomal? Was it diet? Was it something I ate? She couldn’t even tell me the gender of my babies! She simply said, “You’re over 35 and miscarriage is common when you’re old. I suggest you wait two to three cycles and then try again.”
Try again? She made “try again” sound so simple, but for me it has not been simple. Jason was unsure if he wanted a second child, but I’ve always known that I wanted another baby. It took us 5 years to BOTH agree to have baby #2. Then it took another year to plan the timing of the pregnancy. My school district does not offer paid maternity leave, and will doc you $350 per day during FMLA (family medical leave act) if you don’t have enough sick/personal days to cover your time off work. Teaching has many perks, but health care and insurance isn’t one of them! So I saved $4,000 and 40+ sick days in preparation for baby #2. We’d hoped to concieve in Fall 2017 and give birth in Summer 2018, so as to have the summer off with baby. Well life didn’t go as planned. It took us 7 cycles to concieve! I had given up hope when I finally fell pregnant in April 2018. I was beyond happy! But it was short lived because we lost our babies 9 weeks and 1 day later. The doctors words: “you’re old” hit me like a tons of bricks. Oh Jehovah, why did I wait so long to have Baby #2?!
Although, my uterus returned to normal size, all of the emotional pain I felt caused me to bled, as mentioned in my previous post. I bled from June 4th to July 10th. Then to my horror, my cycle took another two months to regulate itself. I had one 25 day cycle followed by an 18 day cycle. So much for trying for Baby #2. Meanwhile, three co-workers announced new pregnancies, three friends gave birth, and Jocelyn turned 8 years old. It’s been like a slap in the face.
And don’t get me started on the stupid, thoughtless, inconsiderate things people say! One person said, “A miscarriage is just as well. We were not meant to have kids in this system.” The best statement yet, “Well Jenna, you are in your mid 30’s. Some women begin menopause at that age.” That statement left me crying on my bathroom floor after the Sunday meeting. Who wants to be told their menopausal when they yearn for a child? Depression swallowed me whole, and pulled me into deep darkness, like the whale who swallowed Jonah.
I’ve learned that time DOESN`T heal all wounds, but it makes the pain bearable. Over time, I’ve stopped crying everyday. It’s those wee hours in the morning that hurt the most. I’ve become more assertive and stop trying to please everyone. I’ve finally given myself permission to rest when tired, instead of constantly pushing myself. I pray more, study more, and meditate more. We now play a new game where we throw away one piece of clutter for each negative thought! You guys, my house has never looked better.
The biggest change has been my diet & exercise. When I was trying to regulate my hormones after the D&C, I came across an article about Estrogen Dominance. I realized that I’ve been showing signs of Estrogen Dominance for the past year! I decided to fight back with a combination of diet, daily exercise, and herbs. We ditched the bottled water and purchased a home water filtration system. I took the plunge and completed the Whole 30 challenge during the month of August. I stopped running and simply walk 30 minutes a day. Oh my goodness, I felt so much better! I loved my results so much that I continued it thru September. (I guess a I did a #whole60challenge 😂) Next, my monthly menses finally regulated. I have no PMS symptoms: bloating, breast tenderness, cramps, or clotting. All constipation has disappeared. I didn’t experience my normal seasonal allergies, I lost 15 pounds, and I sleep so much better. In October, I slowly reintroduced previously eliminated foods back into my diet. I’ve learned VERY quickly what works and doesn’t work for me. It’s no soy, no gluten, and minimal dairy for me.
Back in September, I visited my OBGYN and requested that she test my estrogen/progestrone levels. I also asked about the little fibroid she saw during the sonogram in May. She assured me that she had 3 fibroids herself. “It’s nothing to worry about,” she assured me, but I kept asking. She reluctantly did a 21 day hormonal test. During the visit, she was impatient and made me feel as if I were a nuisance. A week later, the results returned showing my progestrone levels were on the lower side. “Well sometimes, they can drop quickly. Let’s test you again in October. Don’t get pregnant now. ” I was very so disappointed when she said this, but I remained obedient.
In October she once again tested me, but a week later, I still had not heard from her. Finally, I was able to reach one of her nurses on the telephone. They put me on hold for 10 minutes while they scrambled to find my information. “Ms. Jennifer, your progestrone levels came back a little low, so the doctor is giving you progestrone suppositories. Your prescription is now available at your local Walgreens pharmacy. Take them as directed and call us when you’re pregnant.”
I was stunned. I’ve been with my doctor for 8 years, and this is how she treats me?! She didn’t have enough decency to call me herself. She didn’t go over the pros and cons of the medication. She disregarded my concerns. Not to mention, setting foot in her office brought back the painful memories of my miscarriage. Right then and there, after 8 years of care, I decided to divorce my OBGYN. I hung up the phone and immediately made an appointment with another doctor.
A Spark of Hope
I got lost on the way to new OBGYN’s office. The last six months have been so stressful that I gave way to tears before I reached the lobby. I signed in, sat down, and said a quick prayer. Five minutes later the nurse called me back. She was like a breath of fresh air on a hot sunny day. The new OBGYN, (Dr. B), is very different from my previous doctor. She listened while I explained everything that had happened. With kindness in her eyes she told that she’d been through something similar with her pregnancies. After a quick pelvic exam she expressed what I’ve felt for the past few months, “You are very healthy women, but you’re over 35 and it took 7 cycles to get pregnant. That’s a little too long, so let’s be proactive. I want a full work up on you and I want more information about your fibroid. Please schedule a sonogram with our pelvic specialist.”
Two weeks later, I met with the Pelvic Specialist for a SIS Sonogram. It’s where the doctor inflates your uterus with fluid and uses a vaginal wand to get a better view of things. Once again I begged Jehovah for help, pleading that the doctor treat me with kindness. Ten minutes after meeting the Pelvic Specialist, (Dr. J) I knew that I was in the right place. Dr. J immediately put me at ease and examined me with care. The SIS Sonogram was gentle and painless. He took his time, and went above and beyond what I expected. He examined my follicles and ovaries in addition to my uterus. “Get dressed and let’s talk!” he told me after the sonogram.
Dr. J explained that during the examination he’d discovered three small fibroid within my uterus. Without a SIS sonogram I would never known they existed. He assured me that I’d done nothing to cause the fibroids. They’re genetic, and more common in black women. Further he was upset that my previous OBGYN gave me progesterone, knowing that I had a fibroid. “Fibroids have both estrogen and progesterone receptors,” he explained. “By taking the progesterone it’s possible that the fibroids could have grown larger. I’m very glad you decided to get a second opinion.”
Dr. J was only concerned with one fibroid, not because of it’s size, but because of it’s location at the top of my uterus. “If you don’t want more children then do not worry about it. However, if desire another baby, I would have them removed. We don’t want to risk an egg implanting on that location. An embryo won’t get enough nutrients and it may stop growing. It could result in a miscarriage,” he explained. My heart skipped a beat as he said this. My twins had implanted towards the top of my uterus. I now have some idea of what could have happened to my babies.
Because my fibroids are very small he recommend that I have a Hysteroscopic Submucous Resection. It’s very similar to the D&C I had in June. A Hysteroscopic Submucos Resection is an outpatient procedure where the surgeon inserts a small telescope through the cervix to see inside of the uterus. No abdominal incisions are required. The protruding fibroids may then be shaved sufficiently to allow the configuration of the uterine cavity to be returned to normal. The exposed blood vessels are then sealed by electrical energy. Healing time is usually one month. “I don’t understand why your former OBGYN didn’t take care of the fibroid when you had the D&C,” he said, shaking his head. DR. J then requested all medical records from my former OBGYN. Last, he ordered blood test to determine the number of eggs I have left, and my hormonal levels. This will help us to know what steps to take.
So here I am, six months later with a new doctor, a new diet and lifestyle, and a clear plan to move forward! I feel 100% better physically. Emotionally, things are slowly getting there. I’ve learned to be assertive and fight for what I want. Above all, always get a second opinion. For the first time in forever I feel hopeful. One day, I’ll get my rainbow baby. (Nine/ten year age gap, here we come.😜) And that’s okay, as long as it happens. Here’s to a healthy pregnancy, healthy birth, and above all, a healthy baby!