Thursday, April 7, 2016

dark nights of the soul {part two}

{part one}

we were home visiting family the week after Christmas when i took another pregnancy test. the very faintest shadow of a line appeared. i remember staring at it and saying "no freaking way!" quickly, i calculated my due date to be September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which seemed fitting since i had been praying the Memorare prayer in addition to my usual prayers for God to bless our family with another baby. i tiptoed back into the bedroom and whispered the good news to Nick. but i was already holding the idea of this pregnancy loosely, afraid that we would lose this one too.

we flew back to Pittsburgh the next day, and in all the chaos of traveling, i didn't take another test until the following morning. two days later, the line should have been noticeably darker, but it wasn't. no matter how i squinted at it, there was just no way to convince myself that things were progressing normally. 

the same pattern continued over the next few days. eventually the line began to fade even more, and one morning the test was clearly negative. there would be no baby. 

as heartbroken as i was over this second early miscarriage (also known as a chemical pregnancy), i felt more at peace with it. it was clear from the start that the pregnancy hormone levels weren't great, so i was already preparing myself for the worst. in addition, Kelli spent the month of January with us for an elective rotation during her last year of medical school, and her support, encouragement, and knowledge was so helpful. 

i was torn about what to do next. obviously, i was able to get pregnant, but i wasn't staying pregnant. statistics point to chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo as the cause of early miscarriage in the vast majority of cases, and typically, doctors don't undertake a full workup for recurrent pregnancy loss until after a woman's third miscarriage. but i didn't want to wait for another one to happen if there was some simple hormonal imbalance or vitamin deficiency to blame, especially if it was going to take us another several months to conceive.

so after discussing it with Nick, i called my midwives and explained the situation. they referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist and i took their first available appointment -- two months away, in April 2016. i was secretly hoping that i wouldn't need to keep the appointment, but it was such a relief to know that at least i could go over everything with a specialist. even if everything looked fine and there was nothing more to do except keep trying, at then we would know that. 

another month came and went. i was scared of having another miscarriage, and yet, in some twisted corner of my brain, i thought, "if we have three in a row, then they'll definitely do some testing." and nine days past ovulation (dpo), i took another test.






so faint at first, and a smidgen darker the next day, and then almost undetectable the following day on a different kind of test, so i panicked, called the midwives, and had quantitative hCG levels drawn. on the fourth day, the home test was clearly positive, and i got my bloodwork results back: 54, consistent with early pregnancy. now all we could do was wait! 

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