My friend, I’m here again to share that I’ve experienced another loss with a second miscarriage, and I had another D&E surgery a couple days ago, at what should have been 10 weeks and three days pregnant. And I’m feeling pretty embarrassed and heart-broken to have to share this with you another time. But sharing seems like the necessary thing to do.
Well, without a doubt the emotional loss I feel from this second miscarriage is infinitely worse than the first one back in October. While I felt physical pain and emotional sadness before, I never felt like I “had that pregnancy” if that makes any sense. I spent the eight weeks of that last pregnancy in shock and disbelief that it was happening, so it was never really mine, even though I wanted it. But this time it was mine. I had reasons to think it was going well (both rising pregnancy HCG levels in a couple of blood-tests and a good ultrasound with a strong heartbeat). I was excited. I was planning. I was telling people. It was real to me. I had a name for the baby in my belly. I read two books about having a second child. I was definitely showing a bump. I was going to be be a mom of two. And now that’s all gone.
This feels heavy. I feel like maybe it’s a sign of what is meant to be though, and that’s something I will need to deal with moving forward with Dave and with Brady. As many of you may know, the decision on whether we could or would expand our family has been the biggest thing on my mind for the last couple of years — the answer has never been clear on what we really want or should do. For the last 10 weeks, I’ve felt like I had the answer, and I felt like it was working out perfectly, even if not how we had thought. But now I’m back to square one, and while that’s hard to explain … this loss may actually be the loss that lets me know that’s it. No more. Done. Maybe that’s the loss that I’m mourning? I don’t know. It’s still raw.
When I shared about my miscarriage last time, I had an outpouring of support and was so amazed at how many of you shared your stories with me of multiple miscarriages and heartache, and so many of you pressed forward over and over again, because you knew what you wanted in the end goal. I’m impressed and in awe … because at this moment, I don’t think I can do this again. But you never know. I can’t look that far ahead. I can only explain how I’m doing now in the hope that it helps anyone else feel less alone in this situation. It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to be heart-broken. It’s okay if you don’t have a plan. I sure don’t.
I really had no hesitation in writing this post, because I wanted to share what happened, whether I’ve even begun to process it yet. Please be kind, as you read, and if you don’t quite understand where I’m coming from, that’s okay.
My experience with a second miscarriage and D&E surgery
First I’ll share how it all went down, and then I’ll share the week-by-week recap I had been writing for this pregnancy. Once again, I was privately documenting the process, with hopes it would become a “first trimester recap.” In fact, I was only a couple weeks away from announcing the pregnancy before I found out it was over.
Here I am before my surgery …
And here’s how it happened …
Last week, I had a doctor’s appointment, which was my 10-week check-up. I was planning to bring Brady with me, but at the last minute, I got a sitter for him. Dave was gone at a work event for a few days, and I already knew I was going alone. Something told me the appointment may run long, so I decided to leave Brady behind, and I’m so glad I did. It was way better that he wasn’t there, and I didn’t have to explain anything to him in the moment. He didn’t know I was pregnant yet anyhow, so this would have been very confusing for him.
At the outset of the appointment, my midwife was not able to hear a heartbeat via a doppler, even though she gave it her best shot. She wasn’t super worried, so she moved me into an ultrasound instead, like it was no big deal. And the ultrasound technician was pretty silent while doing her work.
I’ve had enough ultrasounds to know what to look for, and I could see on the screen that there was nothing flashing right away — so my heart sank. She took a measurement of the embryo/fetus, and that’s when I felt a real punch in the stomach, because I saw it was only measuring for seven weeks and four days, when I was supposed to be 10 weeks, based on the numbers on the screen. Then she turned on the audio, and there was nothing. She pulled the wavelengths … once again, nothing. She said sorry, she gave me a box of tissues, and said she’d leave the room to give me a minute. Nothing else needed to be said.
While I had my doubts about this pregnancy in the beginning (as anyone who has already experienced a miscarriage would), they were very much relieved during my previous OB appointment at around seven weeks, when they found a good heartbeat. I knew my statistics said that there was only a 10 percent chance of miscarriage for my age group after that successful seven-week heartbeat reading. And I also knew that it didn’t seem likely something bad would happen again … to me … when I do everything I can to be healthy.
I had wavering pregnancy symptoms throughout the 10 weeks, so it was hard for me to tell if my symptoms were coming or going, but I had definitely felt pretty bad for a while, which made me think things were good. In fact, two days before my 10-week appointment, I had told Dave I was feeling pretty nauseous, which while I didn’t enjoy that feeling, was something that let me know my body was doing what it needed to do to keep growing this baby. I guess it wasn’t. Because my strongest pregnancy symptoms peaked, apparently, after the embryo had stopped growing.
During this 10-week appointment, I truly wasn’t prepared or expecting bad news. And that bad news hit me hard. And I was alone. It was rough.
The midwife came back in and gave me a hug and told me I could take off my mask, which was really nice of her. She talked to me about my options again, and said she’d call me the next day to schedule the surgery, because I knew I would go that route again to take away the if/when/wonder of how the tissues would leave my body. She said I could come back for some fertility testing in a few weeks, because this was my second unexplained miscarriage in a row. Then I left.
I went to my car, sobbing under my sunglasses and called my mom to share the news. She said she would pack her things and drive up the next day, which I’m so grateful for, even though she had just driven the 12 hours home to Florida two weeks earlier.
After I told her, I sat there for a bit, got a smoothie for lunch and went home and sat in my room on the floor in my closet — I didn’t say hi to Brady or the sitter and let her stay another hour playing with him in his room. I didn’t tell Dave right away, because he was as a work event, and I didn’t want to derail him. But he texted me to ask how the appointment went, and I didn’t give a clear answer, so he called, and I told him the news. I told him to stay doing what he was doing and that I would be alright. But obviously … I was far from alright.
It’s a weird thing finding out you lost something you thought you had … but then still having to carry on with normal life while you’re still processing, and before it’s really gone. Once the babysitter left, I had Brady in my face wanting to play and chat do things, and it was tough. I ended up taking him out for an errand (returning maternity leggings I bought from Nordstrom), and it was an okay distraction, and I kept hugging him and tearing up. I had a couple big breakdowns, and he had never seen me cry like that before. It made him cry. And it was the saddest scene … the two of us, alone in our big house, bawling together. And him being so confused that I was sad. I blasted Miranda Lambert music in the kitchen and just let it all out.
That very night, I actually started to have some spotting, which progressed until my surgery, accompanied with minor cramping. Once again … funny how things work out, because had I not already had my appointment, the spotting would have worried me. But now I knew exactly what it was. The spotting, and some minor cramping, continued until I got the surgery three days later.
During the time between the news and the surgery, I had a lot of trouble focusing on the task at hand, but I carried on. I actually taught three classes in the span of two days, with a visible bump, breathless, and knowing that the pregnancy I thought I had was about to be sucked out of me. Graphic, but true. Someone came up to me and asked me how I was before class one day, and although I had been pretending like everything was okay, I started tearing up like one minute before getting on the mic and beginning the workout. Good thing I had the lights off, and hopefully no one noticed or saw. I didn’t do my best work in the studio those days, and I’m sorry for that. But I also hope that no one really felt it, like I did.
Much like last time, with the news of this second miscarriage, I immediately did a few silly things to move forward. I scheduled a nail appointment. I confirmed an upcoming hair appointment. I got sushi. I ordered some dresses online and a piece of decor for our playroom. These are surface-shallow-unimportant things, but I did them, because I had to keep doing things. During all of this, we still had workers coming in and out of our house finishing up our kitchen, and I felt so annoyed having them in my space. (But because we really wanted the last pieces to be functioning, I let them finish.) And yes, it’s done now.
I also had to tell all the people I had already told about the pregnancy that I was having a miscarriage. I had told at least 10 people, and that’s because I really wanted to share the news. I was less than thrilled to go back to them with this update … again.
I was so relieved when my mom arrived the day after I had the news. She not only helped with Brady, but it just felt good to have her there. Finally, Dave came back from his work thing, and he took me to the surgery the next day and has been taking care of me since.
My second D&E surgery
My second surgery went way better than the first back in October, and I’m so thankful for that. I was not as anxious about going to the hospital and having anesthesia like I was last time, because that was my first time having any sort of hospital procedure outside of childbirth. This time I was completely calm.
On the morning of the surgery, I put on some comfortable clothes, put my hair in a loose braid and hopped in the car with Dave, with no makeup on my face and no food in my belly. I brought my lipgloss and vaccination card, but for some reason, I forgot my wallet. That meant, when we got to the hospital, I had to go in to get registration started, and Dave had to make the 15-minute drive home to grab my ID and more. Once he arrived, I was able to complete registration, and they took us back to the surgical waiting area, and eventually I went back to my unit.
Unfortunately, my sweet nurse had trouble putting in my IV, so she had to have someone else do it, and that meant not only two pricks, but having it in the side vein of my wrist (a less-than-comfortable choice). And every person who stopped by to talk to me, asked me the same questions, and then I waited. And waited. And waited, until they brought Dave back to sit with me.
While I was laying there, I kept hearing a baby lullaby play on the loudspeaker, which didn’t happen last time I was there. I quickly learned the lullaby meant to signify every time a baby was born in the hospital, and it played to brighten the mood. Those little jingles didn’t brighten my mood though, and I didn’t enjoy hearing them, while waiting there for my second miscarriage D&E surgery.
I was not into the waiting, and then this happened: My nurse gave me some antibiotics to make sure I didn’t get an infection (which I took last time too), and they must have upset my stomach. I was lying there and thinking my stomach was grumbling from being hungry, and I told Dave I was feeling lightheaded and super hungry. But next thing you know, I had to vomit — over and over again. Dave thought fast, because the nurse wasn’t around, and he quickly emptied my belongings out of the plastic sack they had given me, and I barfed in there. Emptying my-already-empty stomach. I felt so atrocious at this point, and had been waiting in my same-day-surgery bed for almost two hours. I was so ready to start feeling differently, or nothing, so when the nurse anesthetist came to take me back, I was relieved. After he started administering the drugs, I must have quickly been out. Then, I woke up in recovery, in tears … once again, just like last time.
I was out of it, crying, drowsy and had some cramping, and I immediately asked for some more pain medication, which they gave me. I had told both the doctor and the nurse anesthetist that the last time I had this surgery I woke up with heavy, heavy contraction cramping. They said they’d give me something to help with that this time, and they did. It was not at all as bad as last time when I woke up — other than the emotional part.
Soon after that additional dose of medicine kicked in, I was feeling way better, and my cramping was only minimal. It didn’t take me as long to wake up, get more energized and feel like talking and sitting up. Dave appeared, and he noticed right away that I looked better than last time. I ate some graham crackers, and they were so delicious in that moment.
I don’t know how or why this D&E surgery could have been so much less painful after-the-fact than the first, especially since I was further along, but it really was — in the beginning. I had very little pain on the day of (and moderate pain the day after), and I was more with it, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that. Because last time was so bad, I was expecting the worst, but it wasn’t the worst. Now, don’t get me wrong, the whole ordeal was not pleasurable or fun at all, but it was better than before. And that lessened the blow for that part, for sure.
Here I am after the surgery in recovery …
Eventually I got dressed, wheeled out to the car, and I went home and slept for a couple hours. And when I woke up, my spirits were somewhat lifted. I will continue to heal physically for a few days before I return to teaching my classes. And I will continue to heal emotionally every day after that. I’ll also return to my doctor a little over two weeks from now for a follow-up.
As I write this, on the day after the procedure, I’m feeling stronger and more normal, although I’m still having some lingering moderate-to-heavy cramping and very minimal bleeding. But I am also bursting into spontaneous tears at the drop of a hat, so crossing my fingers that goes away. I look forward to being 100 percent back physically, and that should happen soon. Until then, I’ll be laying low with a heating pad.
I’m grateful for getting such good care at the hospital, and I pray, pray, pray, that I will never find myself in this position again.
The night after my surgery, my sweet neighborhood friends stopped by and brought us dinner, dessert and flowers. And I also received from flowers from some other dear friends. Once again, I was blown away by the kindness and thoughtfulness of people that I love. Community, connection and friendship sure does matter in life, and when you’re really down, the little things like this help so much. I know I’ve said this before, but if you know someone going through something tough and you’re not sure if you should reach out or send a gift or even just call … I would go for it. Kindness matters.
Now let’s look at how it had been going, before it didn’t ..
Week-by-week recap of pregnancy with baby number two
Truthfully, I was hesitant to start these recaps in real time (meaning I was writing these recaps per week as they happened, week by week) so I didn’t get ahead of myself with this pregnancy, but I did them anyhow. And now I can look back at what happened … not really knowing what went wrong.
Week 3: I found out I was pregnant a little over half-way through this week, which is super early in terms of finding out, so that’s great. The first official sign to me that I was pregnant was when I was teaching my classes and felt a bit more out of breath than normal. I teach really hard classes and do most, if not all, of the workout with the class, and so I’m used to feeling tired. But it felt different. I remember thinking — hmmm — I wonder if I’m pregnant, because I felt this way last time. I knew it was too early to take a test, so I was waiting for other signs and none really came other than some extra fatigue and a slightly sore chest (both of which could also be the sign of a pending period).
Finally, I decided to take a test first thing in the morning over the weekend, once I hit the two-week mark from ovulation (yes, I’m a tracker, and I know all my dates), and it was positive. I didn’t really believe it, so I took another one the next morning, and that was positive too. So I was able to confirm that I was pregnant at just three weeks and five days, which is quite early.
I told Dave later that evening (yes, I waited all day, because I wanted to wait to tell him when Brady wasn’t around). He was excited, but I told him I still needed to process it all and was feeling unsure about whether it’s going to work, so I think that tempered his reactions. That positive test meant no more wine, no more sushi, no more afternoon lattes and the need to cook my eggs all the way through. I started all of those things the first morning I found out I was pregnant. (Baby is about to be implanted.)
Week 4: This week, the afternoon fatigue hit me hard, and my chest was very sore. I also had some spotting and cramping, which made me worried. I emailed my doctor, and much like my Google research, they confirmed this was very normal implantation bleeding and to not be too concerned unless it got worse. I felt very bloated, and in my leggings and tight tops, I felt like I already looked pregnant.
In addition to this, I was a little extra winded in my classes, and I was feeling unsure and not excited at all. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted desperately to be excited … but I wouldn’t let myself. I had a strong fear that I was going through all this again only to experience loss. I’m not a pessimist, but I couldn’t shake my pessimistic feelings this time.
I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy this week too, had an exam and scheduled my first ultrasound for a few weeks later. I talked to the doctor about my concerns about having another miscarriage, and he said that I could do a couple of blood-tests 48 hours apart to check my HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels to see if they’re rising properly. Although this wouldn’t give me a concrete answer on how the pregnancy is doing, it could cause some comfort if it went well. I decided to schedule those blood tests for the following week. Once again at this appointment, the doctor had to talk me through the fact that I was of advanced maternal age (38) and meant there was a higher likelihood of things going wrong. I did a deep-dive of this on Google later that night and it left me pretty anxious.
I felt incredibly emotional this week … up and down and unsure and just all over the place. I didn’t tell anyone at all about the pregnancy, except for my mom, of course.
One night this week during dinner, I had a complete breakdown and started balling my eyes out about the uncertainty of the pregnancy, the uncertainty about our future as a family and basically everything under the sun. Normally a big/good cry makes me feel better, but this one didn’t. Dave and I explained my state of being as a “bloated, tired, Debbie Downer.” And that sums it up. (Baby is as big as a poppyseed.)
Week 5: This week, I did the two HCG blood tests 48 hours apart to find out how my hormone levels were rising. I waited anxiously for the results to come to my inbox, and my levels measured 9,000 and 16,000 days, respectively, which was good. The doctor said it was great. I actually felt excited after hearing this and all of a sudden a rush of planning began in my mind about truly having another baby.
There was a glimmer of excitement that hadn’t appeared yet. I started to look at baby names and wrap my head around the idea, and I was definitely getting more hopeful. I started reading a book about what to expect with a second child.
This week, I felt so bloated and like I was already showing. I was extra winded (and sweaty) in all my classes. I slept okay. I had a sore chest. No nausea and no other symptoms though.
Also, I had my dip powder nails taken off and was rocking some bare weak nubs on my fingers, which always puts me in a bad mood. Basically, not being very pleasant at this point. (But I did find out later from my doctor that getting my nails done is totally okay, so that’s good to know.)
We also left for our trip to Pigeon Forge toward the end of my 5th week, and I was being very negative, to be honest. But also a bit hopeful. (Baby is as big as an appleseed.)
Week 6: Then things changed. I started out week six in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with our best friends, and we visited Dollywood Theme Park this day. I avoided the big rides, ate pregnancy-friendly food and mostly felt normal. But I definitely started to get worried, because my sore chest and fatigue completely went away — like completely — I felt zero pregnancy symptoms except for some bloating, and I had the best energy. Yes, I was excited to feel good, but then I worried about feeling good. Geez, pregnancy does some crazy things to your emotions.
At first I thought I was feeling extra good because of the change of scenery, but then this was accompanied by some brown spotting (TMI, but we’re getting into it, friend). I emailed my doctor to see if I could come in for an earlier appointment as soon as we got back, but they weren’t able to fit me in. So I waited. In my heart, I was convinced that my symptoms had disappeared again, because the pregnancy was not viable, but I needed the doctor to confirm it.
I was happy and carefree on our trip, but when we returned home, that went away too. And I feared I was heading into a long holiday weekend likely heading toward another miscarriage the following week. The waiting game continued, and in my mind I thought about how fast time flies and whether this one doesn’t work, will I try again or just take this as a sign that it’s not meant to be? We had Fourth of July with major mixed emotions, and did all I could do just get through the day. (Baby is as big as a sweetpea.)
Week 7: Then, some good news. On week seven and one day, I finally had my ultrasound. I had prepared for the worst. My mom was in town with Brady and Dave came with me. I told my ultrasound technician my thoughts on things not doing well, she started the process and literally said right away … “well, there’s the heartbeat.” I couldn’t believe it. Complete shock. I had convinced myself it was over, and yet, it was just beginning. This was amazing.
She continued to do measurements, and said I was measuring a bit behind schedule, but the heart-rate was good and everything seemed fine, and the ranges were all normal. And this was already better than last time, because my last pregnancy was a blighted ovum and never resulted in a heartbeat or fetal pole. I even had a due date of February 21, 2023 for this pregnancy. I would be pregnant for the holidays and my birthday.
During my midwife appointment, I expressed my concern for miscarrying and the fact that I really only had minor symptoms (like fatigue) and otherwise didn’t feel all that pregnant. She said it’s possible my symptoms will appear later, or it’s possible they won’t appear at all, which is crazy. I’m sure for women who were super sick, it seems silly to be concerned about no symptoms — but I think sometimes those symptoms let you know your body is working and doing what it’s supposed to do to grow a baby. I let myself really get excited after this appointment, and I told a couple more friends the news.
This week, I had seriously extreme fatigue though, and I was totally out of breath in my classes and quite tired throughout the day. My chest was not super sore, I didn’t have any nausea, and I didn’t have any weird tastes in my mouth or aversions. I had all these in my first pregnancy, so once again, so feeling a bit worried about that. But I really wanted to unleash and start making good plans. (Baby is as big as a blueberry.)
Week 8: Well, a mixture of strange pregnancy-related symptoms emerged this week, of course. I was super tired, bloated, irritable, had a sore chest, and had some very mild nausea which was more like feeling hungover or anxious — like I didn’t need to vomit, but I was unwell. I couldn’t even really put my finger on how I felt — but it was just unwell. Thus, I did a lot of complaining this week. The mornings and afternoons were the worst.
I put on a brave face at the gym and while teaching classes, then let that fall away as soon as I was home. Also, I ordered some larger leggings and loose workout tops, because my crop tanks were starting to roll up on my bloated tummy — which isn’t always the look I’m going for when I teach classes in front of 40 people at a time.
We had a fun adult field day even with our friends during this week, and I told my whole group of neighborhood ladies the news and that felt great to do. This was definitely real now. (Baby is as big as a raspberry.)
Week 9: I had been anxious about this week for a while, because of my big trip to Las Vegas for the IDEA World Fitness Convention. I started out week nine feeling the peak of my nauseous, tired, unwell feelings, so was not looking forward to my trip like usual. I was okay on the day I left, but got a little nauseous and tired on the plane descent into Vegas.
Amazingly, I was able to rally during this fitness conference. I felt fairly energetic and normal (outside of an expanding waistline), and I made it through. Once again, I figured the change of scenery helped me to feel stronger.
I spent the conference with my roomie and friend, Giselle, and she was totally cool having some low-key nights with me, so I didn’t even miss the outings or drinking that we may have done had I not been pregnant! It was a HUGE deal for me to go get this conference done while in the first trimester of a new pregnancy, and I’m so proud of myself for pulling it off. I got all of my continuing education credits, I learned a lot, and I did it all with a little baby in my tummy, with lots of steps, workouts and movement.
And even though I knew it was still somewhat early, on this trip, I made the decision that this pregnancy was going to be successful, and I was going to have a healthy baby from it. Decision made. I was going to be a mom of two. I was happy to have this trip behind me and happy to get to planning for our future. (Baby is as big as a cherry.)
I didn’t start a week 10 recap. But as you can see, the last thing I wrote was that I had decided this pregnancy was happening. I had wanted to decide that from the beginning but was scared, but once I hit the 9-week mark, I was holding on to it tightly. Then … in one short 45-minute doctor’s visit, it was gone again. Yes, it does look like a roller coaster of emotions and wavering symptoms throughout the 10 weeks of this pregnancy, and that’s true. But behind all of that, I really did hold onto some hope for this one. I thought this was going to be my rainbow …
Concluding thoughts on my second miscarriage and D&E surgery
It’s impossible for me to say where to go from here after a second miscarriage, because it’s so, so early in the process of accepting and healing.
What I will do is press forward, stay busy, take care of my little family and let them take care of me. And only time will tell what’s right or not right. But I need to be clear that miscarriages, sadness and loss happen to everyone. And sometimes they make you question yourself and your fate, and that’s normal. And it’s not up to anyone else to let you know how to think, feel, process or plan.
If you’ve ever wondered what path your life will take, and if you’ve felt like maybe the universe is giving you some signs … well, I’ve been there with you. For those of us who like concrete, answers, detailed plans and timelines, it can be hard to live in the unknown or in-between. But that’s life, and we have to adapt and make the most of it. That’s what I’m in right now.
As I did before, I’ll keep you posted and update on how I’m doing. The best way I know how to get through tough times is to get back to my routine, so you can expect a lot of that from me. This seems like my third big loss in the span of a couple years, with my dad and the first miscarriage, so I’m a pro at handling it I suppose. (Which isn’t an accolade I’d like to be holding.)
That’s it for now, my friend. Thank you for being here to share this experience with me. And thanks for being here through the good and the bad. I’ll be back soon with regular content, until then … 🙂
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No questions to ask of you to end this post. Thank you for reading. Hug your people. Be well.