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May 23rd, 2007, 03:05 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Knoxville, TN
I've never written my miscarriage story before. I hope this helps put away some of the fears I have for my current pregnancy.
My DH and I got pregnant for the first time last year. We were being careless and the pregnancy was a surprise. I wasn't even sure if I wanted to be a Mom, but as soon as I found out I was pregnant we both wanted the child very much. I was definitely ignorant of the symptoms of pregnancy and was convinced I was suffering from on-and-off walking flu or a stomach virus. My Mom told me I was pregnant, but 2 at-home pregnancy tests came back negative. Finally I went to see a OBGYN (about two weeks after the last negative home test) and she confirmed I was 12 weeks pregnant! I guess I ran into a batch of faulty pregnancy tests...
My first u/s was amazing. At 15 weeks we saw a gorgeous baby kicking and playing in my belly. My pregnancy was so real for me at that moment. I still wasn't feeling the baby too much, but there she was in black and white, and boy was she an active baby! As the weeks passed I could feel her more and more, but I also felt increasingly uncomfortable. As soon as my pregnancy was confirmed I immediately embraced a healthy diet, and as a result of my diet change, I thought, I was steadily losing weight (I dropped a pound or two at every doctor's visit). I'm a big girl so no one was worried about the weight loss. But despite the weight loss my belly felt heavier and firmer, and it wasn't really growing. But the baby was still moving up a storm and everything else seemed normal. At 18 weeks the heartbeat was hard to find, but it was there.
Then at 20 weeks I went in for my u/s to find out the sex of my baby. My family was so excited my Mom and sister came in from out of town to go to the appointment with me. My first u/s was so amazing I wanted to share the experience! I don't know why, but I felt really bummed that day. I should have been so excited to find out my baby's gender but I couldn't shake this really low feeling that something wasn't right. Mom picked up on it and kept patting my hand in the waiting room. When we went in for the u/s it wasn't like the first one. I could immediately tell that the picture was different because the black womb wasn't there. All we could see was the grey hazy color of my body. The tech finally found the baby but we could barely make her out or distinguish her body from my body. It was all a hazy grey. She took alot of measurements of the baby and never could see the genital area well enough to determine the sex. The u/s was over and we were shuffled into an examining room to wait for the doctor. The longer the wait stretched the scareder I got. At one point a nurse came in to try to find the heartbeat, tried for awhile and couldn't find it, and summoned another nurse to come help. The second nurse finally found it and it sounded normal.
Finally the doctor came in and asked us to join her in her office. She informed us that her u/s tech could find no amniotic fluid in my womb. This was very dire, she said, because the baby cannot develop lungs without amniotic fluid. There could be a very few reasons why there was no fluid present, and none of them were likely to result in a healthy baby. She also said that measurements of the baby showed that she was undersized and her head was slightly malformed. The doctor had scheduled an emergency appointment for me the next Monday (this was Thursday) with the resident high risk pregnancy specialist in the main wing of the hospital (my OBGYN office is in the physicians' wing of a hospital).
I spent the weekend in a state of numb terror, trying to embrace a scrap of hope that things could work out, but not having received any assurances from my doctor. I went to the mall with Mom and sister to try to distract myself that Saturday and cruelly it seemed it was national "parade your gorgeous, healthy newborn in its stroller" day.
On Monday we saw the specialist for a high tech u/s and an amniocentesis. He used the amnio needle to pump my womb full of fluid which was a bizarre feeling. So this is what I should have really been feeling? He wanted to test to see if the lack of fluid was due to a leak or tear in my womb. That test was negative as I didn't immediately expel the liquid. His final diagnosis was that our baby had Potter's Syndrome. To put it simply, Potter's means that the baby is unable to produce urine, which makes up the amniotic fluid in the latter 2/3s of pregnancy (Mom produces the amniotic fluid for the 1st trimester). The inability to produce urine can be because one or more of the kidney's didn't develop or there is a blockage somewhere in the digestive tract. The baby had not begun developing lungs and would not develop lungs without amniotic fluid. There was no way to keep fluid in my belly. The lack of amniotic fluid had likely been an issue for several weeks, and as a result the baby's head and legs hadn't been supported in liquid and were unable to form properly. My baby wouldn't survive labor, but could possibly survive to full term. I was given the option to induce and numbly, I took it.
After 36 hours of labor I gave birth to a stillborn and the nurses were finally able to tell me it was a little girl. Neither my DH nor I could bear to look at her, so they whisked her away immediately. My Mom and sister asked and were allowed to go hold her. I'm very grateful they got that chance, and I have never regretted that I didn't hold her myself. I know myself, and I know I would allow the image of my dead little girl to forever taint my precious memories of her as a living child within me. The nurses lovingly made me a care package that consisted of beautiful pictures they took of her, a little dress and cap they had dressed her in that was handmade by a local charity for miscarried or stillborn babies, a little beanie baby squirrel that was put in my daughter's arms, and a memory book. I took the package home with me and after grieving for some time, I was finally able to open it for the first time and enjoy my memories of my daughter, with sadness, but with fondness too.
Now I mainly look back on the good times I had with my daughter and the excitement of my first pregnancy. I miscarried my baby at 5 months in October of last year. My husband and I are now thrilled that we are almost 8 weeks pregnant. I'm not worried about an early miscarriage, but I am worried about Potter's Syndrome coming to haunt me again. 5 months is a long time to wait to be sure. But I am optimistic and know that my first little girl will be an angel for our new baby.
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