Our story is one of secondary infertility. My husband and I had two full-term, uneventful pregnancies before we ever had any difficulty. Our daughter was born in November 2011, and our son was born in August 2013. In late spring 2018, we decided to try for a third child. We found out we were pregnant on July 7, 2018. Because I was 36 at the time, our doctor recommended testing at 10 weeks to better prepare ourselves if there were any complications. After a quick blood draw, the testing was complete. We were overjoyed to find out that our Baby #3 appeared healthy; in those same tests, we found out that we were having a boy.
At 13 weeks, I went in for a regularly scheduled appointment on a Wednesday afternoon. My husband was out of town, so I went on my own after a full day at work. Given our uneventful pregnancy history and the results of the testing, we both felt secure in this approach. At this appointment, though, the doctor could not find a heartbeat. She sent me to the sonographer, which was actually in a separate building that was about a 10 minute drive from her office. Even at this point, I didn’t suspect that the baby had died. My assumption that the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat due to faulty equipment or an uncooperative baby.
The sonographer quickly saw me and confirmed what my doctor had suspected. The baby’s heartbeat had stopped, probably around 11 weeks. I went home to take care of our two children, and my husband began his journey home. The next morning, our doctor walked us through our options and we elected to have a D & C (Dilation and Curettage). I was fortunate to be able to schedule the D & C early on Friday morning, and my parents immediately jumped in to help with our children for the weekend. I went back to work on Monday, because I was feeling better at that time. However, by the end of the following week, I had developed an ongoing fever and infection that put me back in the doctor’s office.
It took me a while to recover from the D & C, and emotionally we weren’t certain when or if we might want to try again.
In January 2019, we decided that we were in a better place emotionally and somewhat healed from our first miscarriage. The doctors warned us that, although it’s rare, consecutive miscarriages do occur. Then and now, I appreciate these warnings. The doctors wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t be devastated if we were in the very small minority who experienced consecutive miscarriages. I especially appreciate the warnings, because we ended up in that very small minority. On April 26, 2019, we found out that we were pregnant again. This time, due to our previous experience, we had weekly ultrasounds and found out that the baby died at 8 weeks. I again had a D & C, and once more had an ongoing fever and severe infection, which led to a more prolonged recovery than anticipated.
In some ways, I was less devastated by the second miscarriage because the emotions felt so similar to the first miscarriage. The pain that felt so new with the first miscarriage made me feel numb the second time around. In other ways, the second miscarriage brought about deeper questions of how we would approach any future attempts to grow our family. We are still processing, but through it all we have been incredibly grateful for our shared faith, our church community and our families.