Pregnancy and Miscarriage
family life

Pregnant 8 times with 2 Live Births

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Earlier this week I wrote a quick post to share my gratitude for TriCare.  In that article I briefly mentioned the trials that I’ve gone through while pregnant.  It’s so important for those who’re ready to speak about their difficulties in pregnancy to do so.  When I started down this path not many people spoke about their losses and it’s so easy to feel alone.  That’s why it’s so important for me to share my story.

I found out that I was pregnant for the first time in May 2013.  It wasn’t a planned pregnancy.  My husband and I’d just gotten married the month before and I think we got pregnant on our wedding night.  We moved to Washington in early May and still in a hotel when I took the pregnancy test.  It scared me.  Any thoughts of parenthood were far into the future.  As the pregnancy progressed those feelings changed.  I began to dream about what our little family would look like and I fell in love with the idea.

I Never Expected to Lose a Pregnancy

The afternoon of June 5 started out pretty like any other day.  Or as normally as any military family in the middle of a permanent change of station.  We were in our new home surrounded by boxes and I didn’t even know where my plates were.  The cramping started while looking for a cereal bowl.  I’d never experienced pain like that.  My husband came home to me laying on the floor of our bathroom.  He rushed me to the emergency room where they confirmed our worst fears.  I’d lost the pregnancy.

The following weeks were a blur of craziness.  My husband took amazing care of me, but I don’t think he was prepared for my emotional anguish.  There were still so many boxes to unpack and we found out he’d deploy overseas in a week.

Milspouse Life Left Me to Cope on My Own

I had a doctor’s appointment the day after he left.  I wasn’t expelling everything that I needed to on my own and needed to have a D&C.  I was in a city 3000 miles from home where I knew no one and it wasn’t possible for a loved one to get to me in time for the same day surgery.  I didn’t have anyone to drive me home so I took a taxi.  All this time my husband didn’t even know what happened.  He was on flights that stopped somewhere in Kuwait and then on into Afghanistan.  I didn’t hear from him for 3 more days.

While I was lonely over that deployment, it did give me a chance to heal my mental and physical states.  I also knew that when my husband came home that I wanted to try again.  My doctors assured me that it was possible for me to have a healthy pregnancy.  They told me that 1/5 of pregnancies end in miscarriage and that statistic is higher for first time moms.

Ready to Try Again

At that time Steve served in a unit that was on a tough training schedule.  He was gone for weeks at a time and after 6 months “at home” he’d deploy again.  It was important to us for him to be with me when I delivered so we only tried during months that would guarantee his presence at the birth.  Luckily we got pregnant right away.  Steve left when I was 11 weeks and he came back when I was 36 weeks, just in time for the birth.

Joseph Ray was born in late September and he’s been an absolute joy since the day we brought him home.  Words can’t ever express the gratitude we felt after a healthy and normal pregnancy and delivery.

Our family moved from Washington to Georgia when Joe was about 9 months old.  That was also the same time that we started thinking about having another one.  It didn’t cross our minds that we’d encounter more difficulties.

Just before Joe’s first birthday I found out I was pregnant again.  I was over the moon.  We were in Georgia for my husband to complete a military training school so I knew that he’d be able to be with me every step of the way with this pregnancy.

A Great Doctor Can Help More Than Just Physically

Yet again, that excitement ended.  This time I made it to my first ultrasound, so excited to see my little peanut.  The ultrasound tech began taking measurements and then became quiet.  She excused herself and came back in with our doctor, Dr. Gonzaga.  She remains the best OB/GYN that we’ve ever had and I highly suggest using her if you’re ever stationed at Fort Benning and have TriCare Select.  As soon as I saw her face I knew that something was wrong.  She broke the news to me while holding little Joseph, our peanut had no heartbeat.  If their measurements were correct, I lost the baby a few weeks prior.  She sent me home and told me that if I didn’t start to pass material within 48 hours I needed another D&C. I had surgery later that week.

After waiting the recommended amount of time we tried again.  And again, we got pregnant almost immediately.  I was more cautious this time.  I didn’t tell anyone about the pregnancy, I was scared that I would manage to jinx it in some way.  Again, I made it to my first ultrasound only to be told that there was no heartbeat.  Again, I needed another surgery.

Dr. Gonzaga began testing me for markers of genetic disorders that could cause my miscarriages.  Unfortunately, we moved to Kentucky within a few weeks of the miscarriage.  So it was on to a new OB.  While he was competent, he was nowhere near as kind, conscientious, or thorough as Dr. G.  There was zero continuity of care.  I’d sent in all my previous records and brought a second copy with me to my first appointment and he basically dismissed them.

Constant Moves Ruins Continuity of Care

Conventional medical wisdom is that one doesn’t have “recurrent miscarriage” until they’ve experienced 3 consecutive miscarriages.  Since I had Joe in between the first 2 losses, I didn’t count.  As such, he didn’t do much of a work up on me.  I’m not saying he was a bad doctor… he just forced me to start all over again and at this point I was terrified of being pregnant though I wanted more kids.

So we tried again.  This time it took a little while to get pregnant.  That threw us off a bit.  Even though it’s totally normal for it to take months to get pregnant, it wasn’t what we’d previously experienced and at this point we read into everything.  After a few months we scored.

Be Your Own Patient Advocate

I called the OB and was told that they wouldn’t see me until I was 10 weeks pregnant for a dating ultrasound.  That left me in a total state of panic.  I couldn’t imagine sitting in another ultrasound and not hearing a heartbeat.  So I decided to be my own patient advocate.  I marched into that office and demanded to an appointment.  After a lot of run around and me threatening to barge into the back of the office to confront the doctor, I had an appointment the next day.

I put on my sweetest personality the next day, hoping to combat the batsh*t crazy that i threw all over the place.  Amazingly, the doctor seemed as disconnected as ever.  Thank goodness I had done my research.  So I began to make demands.  I demanded blood draws to track my beta levels to make sure the pregnancy progressed properly.  I requested a prescription for progesterone suppositories and asked whether low dose aspirin could help.  Basically, I brought up everything I could think of.  And he agreed to all of it.  He said nothing I asked for was harmful if unnecessary so why not try.  He also sent me to a maternal fetal medicine specialist for closer care and weekly ultrasounds.

It was a wake up moment for me.  With the constant moves and new doctors I needed to advocate for myself.  With no continuity of care so much falls through the cracks.

Making it Out of the First Trimester Isn’t a Guarantee

Thank goodness I did.  When I went to maternal fetal medicine some irregularities were found on the ultrasound.  I had a subchorionic hematoma between the placenta and uterine wall.  It prevented my placenta from fully attaching.  This had the potential to limit the nutrients the placenta delivered to my baby.  There was also a risk of hemorrhage that could cause a placental abruption.  I went on bed rest with fetal monitoring for the first 6 months of the pregnancy.  They finally let me off of bed rest when the clot absorbed.  And not a second too soon because my husband deployed around that time and I needed to go back to being Joseph’s primary caregiver.

Robert James made his debut in late February and absolutely stole my heart.  I wish my husband was with me, but he was able to be in the room via Facebook Video Messenger.  They met when Robbie was about 3 months old and I don’t think my cup has been more full than in that moment.

After Robbie we began to consider whether or not our family was complete.  With the difficult pregnancy and the previous losses it didn’t seem smart to put our family through all of that again. And yet… we wanted just one more.

We Just Weren’t Done

During the deployment we moved our family onto the military installation so that I could have quick access to a support system especially given the fact that I was in the middle of a difficult pregnancy.  Moving onto the installation also meant a new OB.  This time I went in as soon as the strip turned pink.  While they were ok with seeing me, cool with checking my beta levels, the doctor didn’t see any reason to put me on progesterone even though my history indicated that it could help me.

Guess what?  I lost that pregnancy.  Is it 100% because I didn’t take the suppositories… who knows.  But I’ll always wonder.  Steve and I took it as a sign.  Maybe we should be happy with our two little blessings and stop trying for more.

So that’s what we did.  We decided to move on.  The universe had other plans for us, though.  As a complete surprise to us, I was pregnant… again.  This time when I mentioned progesterone the doctor prescribed it to me.

Gratitude Is Keeping Me Going

This pregnancy is difficult, but I’m still pregnant.  I developed another hematoma which puts the integrity of the placenta at risk.  Just last week I woke up with an intense concentrated pain in my belly.  Come to find out, my placenta has partially detached.  My little guy gets all the nutrients he needs but it’s back to bed rest for this momma.  Since I’m so far along the partial abruption kick started early labor.  It looks like this little guy wants to add his bit of drama to my pregnancy story.

This time it really is it.  Steve will head down the vasectomy path.  I’m stressed, I’m tired, and I’m not getting any younger.  I’m glad that I never had to worry about the financial obligation associated with medical care thanks to TriCare.  I’m so grateful for the constant love and support my husband provides for me.  I’ve had some difficult times dealing with what I assumed to be my own inadequacies.  Most of all I’m grateful that I get to hear the pitter patter of little feet and demands for hugs.

8 Pregnancies 2 live Birth

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  • Tamalyn

    Oh, WOW, Nicole! I feel like you were writing about me! I went through all of my miscarriages before Jack & Kate and after the 4th consecutive miscarriage, I lost it and threatened they test me or else! They kept calling it bad luck and who knows how long the madness would have gone on if I didn’t go ballistic.

    Well, test results indicated I have a blood clotting disorder where my blood clots too fast. This is why all of my babies’ heart beats would start off strong and slowly fade away, they were literally being deprived of oxygen and nutrients. The placenta was clotting up. I was put on blood thinners for Jack’s pregnancy and everything went perfectly. With Kate, I was put on bed rest due to a massive subchorionic hematoma. The OB told me he was pretty sure I would lose the baby but miracles happen and Kate is here with us happy and healthy!

    Anways, I am SO glad to have met you and here’s to healthy baby #3 for you!!

  • LavandaMichelle

    What an honest post! I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I can’t even imagine. Miscarrying is so common, its horrible. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure this helped some people.

  • Flossie McCowald

    You said it!!! Continuity of care AND being your own (or at times your child’s, spouse’s, etc.) own best advocate are SO important!!! I am so sorry that among the other sacrifices you-all have to face as a military family, continuity of care – to the detriment of your and your children’s health – has been one of them. I am so glad you are OK, and *thank you* – your whole family – for your service to our nation, and for all you’ve given up because of it.

  • Kiwi

    This pains my heart to read this. Thanks for being honest about your story I am so happy you have children and that even though you went through a few of these miscarriages you are strong now.

  • Flyingkids

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s really inspiring, especially for first-time moms. There can be so many challenges but if we hold on to our faith, everything will turn out alright.

  • Princess quinn

    Those were really tough times I can relate to. I had lost a pregnancy too and underwent D&C. And aside from emotional needs, financial obligations may add up to the burden. So having a reliable health insurance partner would be a great relief.

  • Morgan

    Thank you for being so brave and putting your story out there. I’m sure it’s helping many women out there who are dealing with the same thing as this topic isn’t spoken about much. Stay strong 🙂

  • Abrah

    You are really strong, and I admire you a lot for sharing your story. It’s such a common thing, and it helps to know we aren’t alone is the experience.

  • Danish Rasool

    I am really touched by your story. I hope no one EVER has to go through this, but again whatever happens is God’s will and we can only pray for the best. Just hang in there, everything will be alright!

  • Adessa Marie Young

    I admire how you never give up or lose hope despite the miscarriages, I remember when I found out I was pregnant but I had some bleeding, my OB asked me to drink some meds, I was really scared, and you are right doing research would really help. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Echo

    Reading this, reminded me of, well me. I too, was pregnant 8 times and only had two make it. I had three miscarriages prior to each of my live births.

  • Brittany

    Wow. What a story! Thanks for sharing your experience. What a blessing to see a few lights at the end of the tunnel. Sounds like TriCare was very helpful. I’m happy you found an amazing care team.

  • Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness

    It is so true! It is so important to talk about these things. I have never been pregnant, nor have I ever tried, but I KNOW I would not want to go through loss alone. I always wonder why you can’t talk about the pregnancy until a certain time. Because if you lose the baby, you are all alone in your grief!
    Thanks for starting the conversation!

  • Amber Myers

    I can’t even imagine. This is tough. I’m also a military spouse, so I know it can be hard to go through things when a husband is deployed. I was pregnant and it turned out it was a blighted ovum. I had never heard of that before.

  • Joanna

    I can’t even imagine how terrible it must be to have a miscarriage. 8 must be heartbreaking…. you are so lucky to have 2 wonderful children!

  • Dalene Ekirapa

    Cheers to you for being strong! Cheers to your hubby for being there! And cheers to TriCare! For sure, You’ve been through a lot when it comes to your pregnancies and I can’t help but feel sorry and scared*
    But even so, keep on being strong mom😘

  • Athena

    I can’t imagine going through a miscarriage let alone multiple. This story really brings to light just how much a miracle it really is to bring a baby into this world.

  • Candy Rachelle

    It’s gotta be really heartbreaking to lose a pregnancy. I truly thank God I’ve never had to experience this. But it a blessing to be blessed with your two young ones.

  • Laura Dove

    I can so relate to this having been pregnant 20 times with only 4 healthy children in my arms. We lost 15 babies to miscarriage and our second son at full term to stillbirth. Life can be so cruel, and so incredibly difficult, but it can also make you stronger than you ever though possible. Much love. xx

  • Rachel

    I have a very similar history as you do. I have three kids and have been pregnant 9 times. I also had to advocate for beta testing, progesterone, and aspirin. I am positive the progesterone and asprin helped keep m pregnant. I also had a placental abruption!

  • Holly

    I can relate to the changing of doctors. My doctor retired between my last two pregnancies. I think my new doctor thought I was crazy when I started telling him which medications I needed to keep the pregnancy viable. It is important to advocate for yourself and your baby!!!

  • Helene

    Your journey is so valuable! Never been pregnant so I can’t really be in your place but your beautiful reading would be a wonderful learning for any mother out there.

  • Katherine

    Wow. What a journey you have been through. I know it must be hard, but I love that you’re sharing your story. My husband and I have baby on the brain and it just encourages me to see women getting through what seems like the worst. Wishing you the best with baby #3 and sending you love!

  • Kayla

    You are absolutely right, I think it is very important to share these stories, it can help is so many ways. Your attitude about the heartbreak you have had to endure is inspiring. I wish you nothing but the best!

  • Angela Tolsma

    I watched my mother go through six terrible pregnancies. 4 are with us today. It taught me that advocating for yourself is so important! Wishing you a healthy pregnancy and the best care.

  • MarciaF

    Thank you for sharing. It’s just so emotional to go through that many miscarriages. Not everyone understands what it feels like. Plus with your husband away you needed help. Prayers that this pregnancy ends in another beautiful baby boy.

  • Stephanie

    I had a continuity of care issue when I was pregnant and moved from Florida to Texas. I was about 4 weeks late on my gestational diabetes test because I couldn’t get in with a new OB for just over a month. But good for you for demanding to be seen and getting what you need done.

  • Cindy Ingalls

    As hard as it is to share your story, I’m so glad you did. I think it can help other women feel they are not alone. Going through multiple miscarriages must be devastating but I’m so happy to hear you have two precious little ones and another peanut on the way.

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