Not one, not two, but three. Three is the number of times I had to miscarry in order for my miscarriages to be deemed ‘recurrent’, and for my health insurance to cover testing to find a cause. It didn’t matter that my first two miscarriages happened within six months of each other, nor did it matter that there were signs of a possible underlying cause (clotting present with both miscarriages). I had to wait until I lost my third baby to be ‘labeled’ and for insurance to ‘deem’ that there was a problem worthy of being resolved by testing; I suffered my third miscarriage, in under a year and a half, yesterday. It was a scenario all too familiar for me, going in for an appointment with my midwife…and an inability to find a heartbeat. Never mind the fact that I had recently come off of a two week battle with 24/7 nausea, or the fact that I had been up to use the bathroom four times the night before. There was no heartbeat. This can happen when you’re only 10 ½ weeks, as my midwife reassured me, but my gut told me that my baby was gone. The evidence was surely there when I went to give a urine sample at the end of my appointment, pink spotting seeming to verify that there would be no heartbeat found with an ultrasound. It was as though my body knew that I was in a place of nurture and support, letting me know that we would not be welcoming a new addition in the spring. My midwife, who delivered my first son, was amazing and incredibly supportive throughout. (if you reside in the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend Valley Birthplace)
I was able to get an ultrasound appointment later that day, and no angle the technician tried was going to show a viable baby with a healthy, lightening quick heartbeat; my baby was dead. I spared the doctor the difficulty by telling him that I knew as soon as he walked in, but it didn’t seem to make him feel any more comfortable (why was I trying to comfort him?). He discussed some options with me, and wanted to know how we planned to proceed so that he could discuss it with my midwife. The doctor left the room, and I went in to use the adjoining shared bathroom, the sound of the woman in the adjoining room’s healthy baby’s heartbeat echoing off the cold tile of the room. I collected myself and got ready to leave (it’s not strange to walk out with sunglasses on, is it?).
Within minutes, the doctor had my midwife on the phone, catching me as I was taking the long walk, past numbers of visibly pregnant women, and out the door with a dead baby in my womb. We discussed options and I asked my midwife for advice. Within ten minutes I had a trusted OB/Gyn calling me to set up an appointment; have I told you how amazing my midwife is? The entire experience was incredibly [and thankfully] different from the clinical, impersonal experience I had with my first missed miscarriage.
I am meeting with my new OB/Gyn today, and am hopeful to begin a dialogue that will send me on the road to finding answers. I am having a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) performed tomorrow, for the sole purpose of fetal testing. While I am saddened by the loss of yet another baby, I am filled with hope that we’ll be able to find an answer, and that my family will welcome another baby into our family in the near future. The hope that I hold supercedes my grief, and I am positive that our journey towards having another healthy baby is only beginning…