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My Pregnancy Story

It's been nearly three years since I had my youngest child.  While I love both of my children, I must admit that he is my angel.  Here is his story:

My husband and I wanted a second child.  So, shortly after my daughter's first birthday (and well after I'd forgotten the morning sickness, preterm labor, and sleepless nights) we decided to start trying.  Because it took nearly two years to conceive our first child, I wasn't holding out hope that the second would be much easier, but I was wrong.  A few months in and that second line appeared on the stick.  My husband and I were overjoyed!

We waiting until I was twelve weeks pregnant to spread the news to close family and friends.  We'd already had an ultrasound and morning sickness was, once again, well underway.  Then, at thirteen weeks (the start of my second trimester), on a Sunday, I suddenly started bleeding.  It wasn't spotting.  It was enormous abdominal cramping with bright red blood that seemed to never stop.  My husband was out of town at a military training event (TDY), and I was unable to get ahold of him.  Thankfully, this all started at church where some very good friends were able to take my daughter home with them while another friend took me to the ER.  These friends may not realize just how much they helped me this day as my life - and pregnancy - went into chaos.

At the ER, I was quickly seen by a nurse and doctor.  An ultrasound was brought in and the ER doctor was able to locate my baby.  The heart was still beating.  I could see it right there on the screen.  I felt relief.  This relief was temporary when the doctor told me that, while the baby was still there and alive, it wouldn't be by the end of the week.  I was in the middle of a threatened abortion.  They told me that I could go home and come back if I saw any signs that the miscarriage was complete (i.e., if I saw the baby pass out of me).  I didn't know what to do.  I felt fear and sadness.  I began to question everything that I had been doing during my pregnancy wondering what could have caused this to happen.  I began grieving the loss of a child whose heart was still beating inside of me.

I went home.  I had to care for my daughter, but I could hardly hold myself together.  I had to tell my husband and my family - over the phone - what had happened.  On that Monday, my husband was able to come home early from his training exercise and we began to prepare for my miscarriage.  The cramping and bleeding was still happening, but no signs of the baby.

I made an appointment with my OB's office and was able to see one of the doctors in the practice - not my regular OB.  They checked on everything and did another ultrasound.  Baby was still there - heart beating.  And, at this point, I learned a very important lesson.  ER doctors (while incredibly educated and talented) don't always know everything about obstetrics.  My bleeding was the result of a large subchorionic hematoma (a blood clot) near the placenta.  I was advised to go on full bedrest for a couple of weeks and come back every two weeks for ultrasounds.  The grief that I was about to lose my child lessened, but didn't go away.  I still didn't understand how or why this was happening to me.  There was still a risk that I could lose my baby; however, there was also the hope that my body would reabsorb the clot.

Over the next several weeks, I stayed home resting either in bed or on the couch in front of the TV.  A friend sent me an invite to join Pinterest and, I expanded my social media and recipes for food I would never prepare but thought looked tasty.  I attended nonprofit board meetings via conference call and friends stopped by with meals.  Family came to help us out and my nanny came more often since I wasn't allowed to lift my 20-month-old daughter.  Friends even hired someone to clean my house.  I felt useless.  The only thing I was able to continue doing was grow the child inside me.  The child that I was so scared to lose yet didn't really know - I hadn't even felt it kick.

While on bedrest, I had plenty of time to use my laptop to search anything and everything on the web.  So, I did.  I learned things like the state of Oregon would not legally allow a doctor to resuscitate a newborn until it was 24 weeks in gestation, despite the fact that the youngest baby to have survived birth was 21 weeks old.  I wasn't that far along.  So, with my increased risk of preterm labor, I found out that I might have to deliver my child but doctors could do nothing to keep it alive.  I read stories about babies who were born this early and all that they went through in the NICU.  These stories gave me hope.

Once I made it to 24 weeks, I was allowed to do more.  My doctor's words were, if there's a purpose for what you're doing, you can do it.  In other words, he didn't want me standing, walking, or doing other things just to be doing them.  I left the house.  I went shopping (I felt this had purpose).  But, I still had to limit what I did.  I was exhausted most of the time.  I was able to travel a bit (my doctor recommended only traveling within the continental US in case bleeding started on the plane).  We traveled back to visit family and enjoyed our stay with them.  Life was returning to normal.  Then, on the return home, I took a wrong step and fell.  At 28 weeks, this started preterm labor that never ended.

Two to three times a week, the preterm labor got so bad that I had to go into the hospital.  Shots of Terbutaline caused my heart to start racing and I began to get anxiety.  Nifedipine caused me to feel like my arms were weighted and I couldn't lift them up.  I couldn't stand without fear of passing out.  Morphine took the edge off the pain and Ambien allowed me to get some rest.  I'd never taken so many pills and had so many shots in my life.  We were doing everything we could to keep baby (we still didn't know if a he or she) in me.

At home, I had terbutaline to take for when the contractions got bad.  I hydrated, slept on my left side and rested...again.  I was uncomfortable and becoming an angry pregnant lady.  I didn't have anyone to talk to about what I was going through.  I didn't want to be a burden to my family and friends, so I internalized everything I was feeling and attempted to put on a happy face - to try to show a reality where I truly was thankful for everything that people around us were doing to support my family and me.  But, inside, I was a mess.  I despised the fact that others were taking care of my family and me.  I despised that I was unable to do the things that a mother to an almost two-year-old should be doing.  I couldn't take my daughter to the park or play with her like I wanted.  I could hardly prepare her meals and get her ready in the morning.  I was so angry that this was happening to me.  While others helped my family, the thought of them doing this hurt me both emotionally and spiritually.

And, yet, I still was desperately seeking to grow my unborn child and have him or her be a healthy baby.

At 36 weeks, the time had finally come when my doctor said, "We're not going to stop your labor."  Monitors were attached, contractions continued like clockwork.  Then, my water was broken and...everything stopped.  No more contractions.  No more progress.

The nurses who, by this time, I knew quite well were taking bets that baby was a boy because of its stubbornness.  I didn't care.  All I wanted was a baby to hold and listen to it cry.  I wanted to know that all of these weeks spent doing everything I could to keep this baby alive and inside of me were not without purpose.

My doctor gave me medicine to hurry along the contractions - and I quickly got an epidural after learning about these induction contractions during my first pregnancy.  We waited.  At one point, my doctor came to check on me and I was still only at 5cm.  He had a small surgery to perform on another patient and said he would be back that afternoon and we'd have a baby.  I sent my husband to get lunch.

An hour later, contractions changed.  The epidural no longer was working and I was gripping the railing on the side of my bed pressing the nurse call button telling them I needed help.  They came in and checked me only to see my baby's head crowning.  They began to quickly (I won't say frantically because they were so well-prepared to act) get the room ready for delivery.  My husband returned.  The doctor came running in.  Within what felt like a matter of minutes, I was holding a baby and the nurses were laughing that it really was a boy.  A fairly healthy baby boy.

There were a few small complications after his birth.  He returned to the NICU at one-month old.  He was a failure-to-thrive baby who had contracted an infection and the nurses labeled him as having Wimpy White Boy Syndrome or WWBS (check out the editorial in Neonatal Intensive Care, p.8 of this syndrome).  But, after five months of strictly monitored feedings, I had a well baby.

I share this story not to say that I can relate with those going through miscarriages - I can't.  I can understand the grief when someone tells you that you are in the middle of a miscarriage, but I don't know the lasting effects of losing a child you desperately wanted.

I also know that there are women who have experienced pregnancy complications far greater than anything I can imagine.  I cannot begin to understand the physical and psychological effects you have gone through.

I share this story because it has taken me nearly three years to recover physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually from all that I went through.  Perhaps there are others out there who, too, have been afraid to share their stories.  I was afraid that someone would see me as a weaker parent because I was dealing with emotional struggles I didn't think others understood.  After my son was born, I still struggled.  While I felt a connection to him, I was so focused on the scientific - the amount of food consumed and the output in the diapers, as well as weight gained and lost.  I forgot to simply enjoy my baby.  I suffered what I consider to be depression and anxiety - but I was too afraid to talk to my doctor about it because I irrationally thought this would be a check against me with all of the other complications we were going through.

If you take anything away from my story, know that whatever you are going through needs to be shared and understood by those supporting you.  I hope you will share your stories.


  1. Great post and Congratulation for Successful story of your Pregnancy to Delivery.God Bless you.


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