Author Archives: RJ

About RJ

I am a 35 year old RN who lives is the SF bay area. I enjoy cooking, running, and spending time with my friends, husband, and amazing daughter. I started this blog because I was so grateful for the few accounts of miscarriages I found online after having my first one is 2014. Little did I know I would go on to have two more before being diagnosed as a unicorn (a half uterus...unicornuate uterus or UU) and high FSH (13 with E2 <50)/borderline low AMH (1.24). Essentially poor egg quality/DOR. I luckily conceived my miracle baby in Jan 2016, and delivered her at 37 weeks after a stressful and complicated pregnancy. She was growth restricted (a common complication for UU pregnancies) and I had to be induced. She is almost 2.5 years old now and I am so incredibly thankful to be her mommy and have her in my life. My husband and I decided that we wanted to try for a second child and began TTC in Dec 2017. I’ve had my 4th miscarriage (a chemical pregnancy) in December 2017, and had my 5th miscarriage in May 2018 of a chromosomally normal boy. I went back to the RE in July 2018 to find that my AMH was still essentially 1.2 and my FSH had increased to 15 (E2<50). So not a huge change but the high FSH is a bummer. I conceived again in Aug 2018 with an EDD of mid-May 2019. This pregnancy seemed to be going smoothly until about 28 weeks where I went in for decreased fetal movement and found out he had passed away. We delivered him on Feb. 24, 2019, and it was the worst experience of my life. Now we are waiting to figure out what our next steps will be... **this section has bee updated last in March 2019**

Ask Me How I’m Doing

I went back to work last Monday. It was initially really hard walking in and getting the hugs and condolences, and then it was just normal. Normal is so nice, and I have been wanting to feel some sense of normalcy since Colton died. One of the doctors shared with me that she also suffered a stillbirth. She said no one at our workplace knows and she only shares when it happens to someone she knows. In some ways I think it would be easier to have no one know. But since they do know, I think it’s appropriate to ask me how I’m doing. It allows me to open up if I’m feeling up for it, and it shows that people care. Another doctor did this, saying welcome back and asking how I was both physically and emotionally (physically almost normal and emotionally is day by day in case you were curious). I was really grateful that he did this, as I wouldn’t have expected it from him.

In my personal life, only a few people have been asking me how I’m doing. To be fair, I sent an email when Colton died saying I needed time before discussing it, so maybe I need to open up. But it makes it so much easier if my friends and family would just ask me how I’m doing. It’s hard to bring it up but I want to talk about it. My sister in law sent an email saying she didn’t know how to act and asking how she should act. I told her I wanted her to ask me about him and still be in touch with pictures of her kids. She has been texting pictures of her kids like we normally do, but then this past weekend when she visited, she said nothing about Colton. I even tried to bring up the delivery in a conversation and she just changed the subject. It’s so frustrating.

I have a couple of friends who have been texting and calling frequently and I am so eternally grateful for their support. It’s eye opening when you suffer loss to see who really cares. I’m not surprised by who has been in touch, but there are a couple of people I would have expected to be more present that have been missing. That’s life I guess.

In other news, at my follow up doctor’s appointment I still had the retained placenta. My OB was able to get me in really quickly for a D&C, which I had yesterday. It’s really hard to feel done with the physical part of birth when you’re still bleeding and cramping everyday. I was so incredibly scared to have this procedure done that I insisted it be done in the OR where I could sleep through it. Luckily this was accommodated. The OB who did it was fabulous and I even continued to advocate for myself by asking that the resident did not perform the procedure. After everything I’ve been through, if this procedure screwed up my uterus I certainly want to know that it was messed up by someone very experienced and not someone still learning. What a weird thought to have, right?!

I was so relieved to have the procedure over and done with yesterday that I was in a fabulous mood (after I napped for 3 hours). I had to have general anesthesia and a breathing tube due to heartburn, which was not something I wanted but it went fine so I’m just going to be thankful there were no problems. I am also so thankful that I didn’t lose my uterus. Being in the medical field, I just know way too much and I was so freaked out this would happen even though the risk is incredibly low. I certainly hope there is no scar tissue either.

Today I have no cramping and just light pink spotting. It’s glorious! I feel normal and it’s just so incredible to have my body be getting back to normal. Now I have to lose the last 10lbs of baby weight, but I can at least squeeze into a good chunk of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I’ve been running, walking and doing exercise videos with my husband to slowly get back into shape. It makes me feel so good. My husband and I both have noticed how we are in such better moods when we exercise. The mind-body connection is incredible.

Not a day goes by where I don’t think of Colton but I am no longer crying everyday. I do randomly have tears well up in my eyes and I also cry sometimes, but it’s much less frequent. I know that grief ebbs and flows and I’m pretty sure hitting all the milestones like the due date and birthday will be hard for me, along with lots of other random things. This is a part of me finding my new normal. It sucks that I have to do this, and I hate that I have to do this. Life is just so unfair.

Next week I meet with maternal-fetal medicine to go over the results of the stillbirth and figure out where to go from here. I already know there is no obvious reason for his death based on all the tests that were performed. However, I’ve crafted a list of questions to ask and I’m hoping to get something new out of our conversation.

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Another date with misoprostol

As if the universe hasn’t dealt me enough shit already…

I passed some half dollar sized clots at 3 weeks postpartum, and had an ultrasound to make sure nothing was amiss at that time. I did not see my regular OB. Nothing was noted except a heavy uterine lining, which was expected. Relief overwhelmed me, because the doctor had to manually extract my placenta during my delivery, and I was expecting bad news.

I had my 6 week postpartum appointment today. Based on the fact that my bleeding has not lightened much, and in fact has become heavier and redder, I knew something was up, but I was hoping I was just one of the unlucky ones who bleeds a long time after birth.

As I undressed, I managed to bleed all over my legs, socks, and the floor. Glorious. Apparently there was a huge clot just sitting in my vagina making a mess everywhere. She removed it and took a quick look. Everything looked normal, and my pelvic exam was normal as well. Then she followed up with my gazillionth vaginal ultrasound.

The ultrasound showed I have what looks like some retained placenta. I have no idea how that was missed 3 weeks ago, but my OB said she looked at the previous picture and agreed nothing looked amiss there. My options are D&C or try misoprostol in hopes that it’ll cause enough contractions to get everything else out. I opted for the misoprostol, since I am intimately familiar with the workings of my body with this medication. I do not want a D&C if I can avoid it. At this rate I’m willing to bet my left toe that at my follow up next Friday I’ll still have some placenta in my uterus and I will have to have one anyway.

I had a whole host of questions about my stillbirth but the exam took so much time that I elected to save them for my follow up next week. We scheduled a 30 min slot before lunch to do a recheck and chat about the results. She provided me with the full report today so I can read over it and re-formulate my questions based on what I read.

Basically, there is nothing obvious that caused Colton to be stillborn. Maybe a cord accident, maybe placenta problems or a fetal arrhythmia. I wish there was a better answer. The ambiguity makes the next steps much harder for me.

I’m giving a huge F-YOU to my uterus right now. Feels like it just can’t do anything right.

Things I never thought I’d experience…

Yesterday, I picked up  my son’s ashes.

This sentence is so short, yet so incredibly loaded with grief. The fact that anyone should ever have to pick up their child’s ashes, or bury their child, no matter how short or long they lived, haunts me now that I have experienced it. We did not pick out an urn. He came home to us in a box wrapped in brown paper that was placed in a purple velvet bag. He sits on the headboard above my pillow, next to his memory box that we brought home with us from the hospital. This is the tangible proof that I gave birth to him.

Now I am trying to figure out how to make sense of these things I never thought I’d experience. I never thought I would experience a miscarriage, let alone five of them. I never thought I would experience a stillbirth. I never thought I would hold the lifeless body of my baby. I never thought I would leave the hospital without him in my arms.

I never thought I would cremate my son.

How do you memorialize someone that no one knew, who never existed alive on this earth? His only existence was in the comfort of my womb, a womb that was not able to give him a life on this earth. It could only give him death. We only met him after he had passed away, but he was very much alive inside me until he was gone. I am lucky that I know his kicks. But I will never know the sound of his cry, his laughter or his voice. I do know he had blonde hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. But I will never know the color of his eyes or the curl of his hair.

Life is so incredibly unfair.

How can you wish that the worst experience of your life never happened? Because if it didn’t happen, you would never have had the short opportunity to hold him, kiss him, cuddle him and love him. Nor would you have had the opportunity to marvel over his tiny, perfect features and how he had your husband’s nose. And you never would have seen your husband hold his son, the son that you both so desperately wanted. Nor would you have gotten to hold the precious little body of the baby that has made you a mother all over again, regardless of whether he is alive today.

Life goes on, but how does it go on without you?

 

The Worst Experience of My Life

Dear blog friends,

I am so sad to tell you that our beautiful baby, Colton, passed away and was born still on 2/24/2019 at 6:09pm. He was so beautiful and tiny, perfect in every way. My husband and I are devastated. I never in a million years thought I would experience this, even though I am intimately familiar with the risks of pregnancy, especially with my history.

I will be writing much more about the experience, the postpartum period, and what the heck we are going to do next in the coming weeks. It will hopefully be a therapeutic experience for me, and also I hope it will keep his memory alive.

Lastly, I hope with all my heart that if you have gone through this traumatic experience you know that you are not alone and I am so sorry to share this bond with you. The isolation is one of the most difficult parts, as no one knows him except my husband and I, and no one will ever get to know him.

Love,

RJ

The big ”V”

Today marks 24 weeks (by my calendar) so I’ve officially hit viability. Not that I want this baby to come anytime soon but it’s a bit of a relief to know if something does happen and I have to deliver early he will actually have a chance.

I had my 24 week appointment yesterday and my fundal height is measuring right on track, so that’s good. I was supposed to do the gestational diabetes screening but I ate grapes so it could have been a bit risky to try. We also had cake at work to celebrate January birthdays (yum). So I’ll do it next week when I have a half day. Hopefully that will not be an issue.

My weight is slightly higher than it should be this time. I’m up 19lbs (12 of that was by 16 weeks…eek). My OB isn’t really worried about it, especially with the history of IUGR, but I am a bit concerned. I do not want to put on too much weight. If I want to stay at 35lbs total I can only gain 16lbs more. With A, I gained 37 or 38lbs so not too shabby. I ate so much at the end trying to get A to gain weight. I now know that doesn’t work, so I will not bother eating too much extra if it happens again.

Next step is the GD test, followed by 28 week appointment, and then the ever important growth scan. I wonder how my fundal height will be measuring in a month. Hopefully all will be perfect!

22 week ultrasound…

So my cervix measured longer at 3.8 to 4 this time! Thank goodness.

I’m beginning to realize my anxiety about appointments is contributing to my symptoms and seems to increase my Braxton Hicks contractions and cramping. Apparently I need to do a better job relaxing in general. I am ok until a few days before the appointment and then I start to let the anxiety take over. Any suggestions?

Next step is a another cervix check at 24 weeks and the gestational diabetes test. Yay! And the ever so exciting viability at 24 weeks (which I hope to goodness I don’t have anything close to a 24 weeker)!!

20 week ultrasound

So in my true blogging form I am late to the game once again. My 20 week ultrasound was a week and a half ago and I’m happy to report that everything looks within normal limits with the baby! He is measuring on track with dates so far, which is a huge relief. And we confirmed that he actually is a he.

My cervix is measuring 3.2cm which is still in the reassuring range, but of course I’m concerned that it’s been shortening every two weeks. I started in the 5cm range, down to 4cm and now closer to 3cm. I held steady around 4cm for my last pregnancy. Hopefully my cervix check this week will show no change and I can stop worrying about it (yeah right, I am a huge worrier).

Next up is my last cervix check at 22 weeks, and then I will have a growth scan around the 30 week mark. With baby A, the growth scan at 30 weeks was where the IUGR was diagnosed so I’m hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself.

I’ve been feeling movement since 15 weeks but over the last week it’s become very frequent and it’s getting stronger. I even saw a kick through my belly the other night. My husband has been able to feel him this past week as well, which has been great for bonding.

My Braxton hicks contractions have been increasing in frequency over the past week as well. I hate that I feel them so early. I’m always concerned they are going to turn into preterm labor. I’ve also had some period-like pain that I’ve been attributing to round ligament pain (this has been my norm for weeks). It’s been way worse this pregnancy but luckily it’s only severe for 10-15 mins before subsiding.

I finally started telling people at work, and it’s certainly time because I cannot hide I anymore. Hilariously enough I have a co-worker who is due 2 days before me! She also waited until the 20 week mark to say anything. I know she and her husband had a hard time conceiving (although I don’t know the details) so I am super ecstatic for her! Sadly, I have another co-worker who is currently experiencing her third miscarriage in a year. She had a late miscarriage at 18 weeks where her water just broke out of nowhere, followed by two first trimester miscarriages. I’m so sad for her and I did my best to offer her support yesterday when she told me (I disclosed my five miscarriages to her) but I’m still unsure how much support she wants from the pregnant girl so I’ll just keep checking in.

In other news, we are potty training A. She is still in diapers for naps and nights but she’s doing great otherwise. She still poops in her diaper but has also pooped in the potty several times as well. I initially didn’t want to bribe but my husband started giving her 3 chocolate chips if she poops in the potty and that has helped immensely. She doesn’t need any bribing for pee. We had one day this week where she peed herself FIVE times in an afternoon and I though we had completely regressed, but it’s now been almost 4 days and no accidents since then. She is also doing great at daycare using the potty. I hope it keeps going well.

Wishing everyone all the best in the new year!