I bled for 2 weeks following the d & c, and the torture of the beta testing began just a week after. When we found out we lost the pregnancy, my beta came back over 100,000. Unfortunately, at around 10 weeks, the HCG levels are at their peak. Since we lost the pregnancy at this “peak” time, the doctor told us it could take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for my levels to reach 0 again, or a non-pregnant state. What that equated to was at least 8 betas. Fantastic.
It was now mid-February, also known as “crunch time” in the world of teaching. We had our state writing exam coming up in within days, with reading and math not far behind. Both physically and mentally, I was spent to say the least. I had been pumping my body full of hormones for 10 long months. We had been pregnant 3 times in just 9 months. In total, we had been pregnant for 21 weeks with only broken hearts to show for it.
My doctor recommended I take a medical leave from work. With the help of my mom, I started investigating what the process would entail. I met with my principal and assistant principal who supported me 100% throughout this whole process. They secured a long-term sub for my class, and helped me get all of the tedious paperwork started.
Even though almost everyone I knew (my husband, my mom, our doctor, close friends, and co-workers) all thought I should take the time off, I was still hesitant deep down inside. Taking a leave from work was a huge deal to me. People who know me well know that I am an overachiever, and at times, a workhorse. Over the years, I hated getting subs probably just as much as my students hated having one. My class ran smoothly, and the thought of handing it over to someone else frightened me. I had worked so hard to get it the way it was. But at the same time, I knew there was no way possible I could give 100% to my students through this loss like I did the other 2. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think straight. I was a total mess.
So in the end, I took the advice, and put in for a month’s leave. Soon after my leave started, I went to a grief counselor. I learned that what I was feeling was normal, anger included. Slowly, I began to open up about what we had been going through the past several years. We couldn’t keep it a secret anymore, nor did we want to. When we started sharing our pain, an enormous weight was lifted off our shoulders. And I started talking to God again. I knew he knew my heart, even though I wasn’t able to pray to him like I had been before.
When I was pregnant, I was scared to death to do anything. I decided it was time I started doing things for myself again that I hadn’t done in months. This was not an easy decision by any means. Most days, I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. And for a few weeks, I didn’t. When the time was right, I got myself up and ready and out of the house. I got a manicure and a pedicure. I bought a tanning package. I cut my hair, and got bangs. I got back into yoga. I did some retail therapy. I cleaned my house, and walked my dogs everyday. I had a glass of wine and ate sushi. I took hot showers and bubble baths that I hadn’t been allowed to take. I even carried in the grocery bags after I went grocery shopping!
While I was off, my husband & I did little things to honor the babies we had lost the past year. I got a Pandora bracelet, and we picked out all of their beautiful birthstones as charms, one for December, May, & September. I soon decided that it was time to have a scar on the outside like the one we were carrying around silently in our hearts. I searched for a few weeks, and finally found the perfect design for a tattoo… the pregnancy loss awareness ribbon shaped into a heart.
We were starting to heal little by little, day by day. But no matter how hard I tried not to dwell on things, my mind continually went back to getting the results from the d & c. We wanted some type of closure, and prayed it might provide us with it. Finally, a little over 2 weeks later, the doctor called with the results. The tests showed that our baby had no genetic anomalies. In other words, our baby was genetically healthy. I was speechless. This was a huge blow. Everyone, especially the doctors, believed that the loss would be due to genetics. According to statistics (HA!), over 60% of early miscarriages are caused from genetics. We were actually at the point where we chuckled at these ridiculous statistics comments. What a joke they are.
We had a really hard time swallowing the results. In our eyes, it meant that my body just terminated the pregnancy for no apparent reason. I was devastated even more than before, if that was even possible. My hubs tried to focus on the silver lining, pointing out that at least we knew we had the ability to produce a healthy child. After the 3rd loss, we started thinking that maybe all of our embryos were just plain bad or something. These results proved that wasn’t the case, which gave us a tiny flicker of hope when we thought about our 3 remaining embryos. Now, we just had to figure out what was wrong with me.