There were very hard times that followed that first experience. I was still nervous about trying again and afraid of what might happen. It was hard to escape the sadness of my situation and the feelings of emptiness and loss. My sister had her second baby boy that December and I got to be in the delivery room for that amazing experience! As thrilled as I was then and as much as I adore that 5-year-old and his big brother today, it was hard not to feel that same old pain.
In February of 2003 I found out I was pregnant for the second time. My fears came true when things progressed much like the first pregnancy. We knew for sure that things weren’t going well when the ultrasound at 11 weeks didn’t look good. This time I scheduled a D&C (in March, 2003) after I started bleeding the next day. I didn’t want the trauma of what had happened to me before. I definitely don’t feel that the surgery is an easy way to handle it. You still have the emotional pain and sadness, and you have to recover physically but for me it did take out the guessing and saved me some physical pain.
Of course, the worst part about miscarriage #2 was that now we realized we might be dealing with a problem. I’d had two very similar first trimesters and it seemed unlikely that it was just a coincidence. In August of 2003 we started seeing a fertility specialist. We live near a big city, but we were glad to find a good place that was just 15 minutes from home in our smaller town. We really liked our doctor and immediately felt a connection with her. My husband and I both had lots and lots of tests run to see if there was anything obvious that might be causing us problems. The tests revealed nothing “bad” – in fact they showed that my husband’s fertility was fantastic. Sure, that’s great news, but it did make me feel… well, crappy. I was pretty sure already that the problem was with me and it was really easy to let the guilt creep in. Fortunately, my husband reassured me that this was our problem and we would get through it together, no matter what any tests showed.
The next year was really hard. It hadn’t taken us long to conceive either time before but now it didn’t happen until a year later, in September 2004. I’d spent the whole year counting cycle days, using progesterone supplements, having blood drawn twice a month, and taking pregnancy tests. This time, however, the pregnancy didn’t advance very far. I was only 6 weeks along and the HCG levels never got very high. I had the miscarriage at home and the next week we decided to go on a vacation. It was definitely time to get away. We spent a wonderful week in New England that October, making good memories in the midst of very difficult times.
After we got home we began talking to our doctor about having exploratory surgery. She thought it would be a good idea to have a look at my uterus and see if I had any kind of “structural” problem. We scheduled a hysteroscopy for that November, and the doctor did find that she could not see both of my fallopian tubes with the scope at the same time. This suggested that my uterus had a different shape than normal, but to be certain she wanted to do an MRI. The two possibilities were either a septum (or division) in my uterus or what was called a bicarnuate uterus. We set up the MRI for the next month, in December, and also did an IVP test – where dye is injected while they watch your kidney function by x-ray. Apparently some women with developmental problems of the uterus may only be born with one kidney, so the point of the IVP was to test my kidney function. My internal organs checked out fine and the MRI showed that I did have a septum, like a wall, dividing my uterus. We actually felt relieved. At last, an answer! The doctor reassured us that it was a fairly easy thing to correct. She was pretty sure that it may be the cause of our miscarriages since the septum creates concave areas in the uterus where it can be difficult for a baby to implant or grow.
(*By the way, I’m writing this based on notes I took in my journal at the time and am not going through the trouble of looking up all the official medical terms. Please excuse me if I’ve muddled it up too much!)
We began 2005 with a renewed hope and I was just sure it would be the year we’d have a baby. In January I had the laparoscopy/hysteroscopy to correct the septum. The doc said everything else looked fine – she didn’t find any signs of endometriosis or any other problem. We were feeling pretty good at that time that after I recovered we would be able to have a healthy pregnancy. I even had my wisdom teeth pulled a little while later so I could take care of that before the baby came along!