It was amazing how many women came out to tell me they had gone through miscarriages. Women I had known for years told me they had 1, 2, or more miscarriages. I had no idea. I also had no idea how truly in love with the baby I had been, I was really devastated. It was without a doubt the most difficult thing I had ever been through.
Even so, it never really occurred to me that I wouldn't try again, but I definitely needed to take some time off. My sister's mother in law, who is a labor and delivery nurse, told her that women are most fertile in the 6 months after having a baby, so in the back of my mind, that was my goal, but in the end it was closer to 8 months before I felt ready to start again. They had performed tests on the baby to see if they could determine why she had died but there wasn't anything they could find - no infection, no chromosomal abnormalities, nothing conclusive. My doctor was confident I could use the same donor since there was no evidence that it was anything more than just terrible luck. That was strange. To hear something so terrible reduced to "luck."
I did some soul searching but in the end I decided to use the same donor. I was really attached to him, I was so sure he was the right one. So I bought 4 more vials.
I had my 4th IUI on July 26th, 2012, almost one year to the day of my 3rd IUI. Two weeks later I was stunned to find out I was pregnant again. Stunned. My doctor had told me I was lucky to get pregnant after only 3 tries, and I shouldn't expect such quick results the second time around.
This second time, I felt so sure that I wanted to experience the pregnancy in a different way. I was SO tired of going to the doctors. I was so tired of getting poked and prodded and pricked with needles. I was so tired of the whole process being so clinical. So I took a home pregnancy test, and never went to get the blood test at the doctors office. I just wanted to enjoy it, even if just for a little while.
I didn't end up having the blood test till i was about 5 weeks, and right after I took it, the doctors office called me and said my hormone levels were a little low and they wanted to repeat it a few days later. So I did. They were still low so I went in for an ultrasound at 6 weeks. No heart beat, no fetal pole and still low hormones. My doctor was not hopeful. I tried to be - the fetus was still growing, although about a week behind. But it wasn't to be. At 9 weeks my doctor gave me some medication to force a miscarriage, and I took it at 7pm. By midnight, it was over.
It was a tough loss, because everything was happening within almost exactly one year of my first pregnancy. My second due date was 361 days after my fist. So in a way the second pregnancy felt like a second chance. But really, more than grieving the second loss, I think I was re-grieving my first. It was, thankfully, not as difficult. I think never having seen a heartbeat helped.
TMI probably but I had collected the tissue so it could be tested, and when the results came in, my doctor called and said she wanted to talk to me about the results. In 4 days. FOUR DAYS. The longest 4 days of my life almost. I became convinced that she was going to tell me I couldn't use the donor, that there was some incompatibility between he and I. And that was terrifying because I had 3 vials left and there was just no way I could afford more. It would mean putting my plans on hold indefinitely. Then I thought, oh my god, she's going to tell me I can't have kids at all! In all the thinking and planning and soul searching I had done leading up to this journey, I can honestly say it had never occurred to me that I might be unable to get pregnant. Maybe it was naive of me, but it never entered my mind.
Yeah it was a long few days.
As it turned out, it was another case of truly bad luck. There was an extra chromosome, and it was "incompatible with life past 9 weeks gestation." I'll never forget those words. No connection to my first loss, no reason it would ever happen again, no reason I couldn't use my donor again. How crazy. How awful. But there was hope.
My next cycle, I tried again. Almost one year to the day after the end of my first pregnancy, I found out I was pregnant again. 5 IUIs, 3 successful procedures. I couldn't, still can't, believe how lucky I've been in that respect.
And here I am, 37 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl. I am so blessed. This pregnancy has been easier than I could have hoped for, and I can't wait to meet her!
For some reason in the last few days, I've gotten closer to my due date, I've found myself thinking more about my first pregnancy. It's never something that's that far from my mind, but lately I think about her a lot, and it got me thinking about this blog, and this single mothers by choice community and how I was always so thankful for its support. How amazing it is to go through something this life altering and knowing you're not the only one doing it, even though, for me anyway, it can feel kind of isolating.
I actually just met a friend of my sisters who is in the thinking phase, and she told me about a local SMC group which I plan to join up with. She's the first potential SMC I have ever met in person, and I had no idea until I talked to her how empowering and great it was. As much as I've learned from all the women I've connected with online, it's not the same to talk to people face to face.
So that's where I am. Happy and healthy, and kind of nostalgic lately. And very excited to meet my daughter :)