Written by Stacy Noskowicz, Guest Blogger
Sharing my journey has been the best therapy I could provide myself, so when I was given the opportunity to put it down on paper, I knew I had to do it. Writing is not my thing, but I knew this would help me and potentially others.
I always thought waiting would be a part of our journey, so I tried to prepare myself and my husband for the waiting game we were bound to be a part of. Many of the woman in my family have had trouble getting pregnant, so naturally I thought I would be next.
Waiting has been and still is a part of our story, but not in the way we expected.
April 28, 2018, our wedding day! May 1, 2018, our honeymoon begins! June 1, 2018, if it’s going to take some time to get pregnant, let’s start trying! And that’s exactly what we did.
That first pregnancy test in June was negative, exactly six days before my period was due (the box says you can test up to 6 days early– who can wait?!). I took a few more pregnancy tests over the next few days, until I finally saw (read: imagined) a very dull, hardly visible second line. I was pregnant. I woke my husband up at 7:15 on a Sunday morning to share the news with him. He took one look at that pregnancy test, looked at me and said, “Where do you see a 2nd line?”. I assured him it would become more visible over the next few days. In typical male fashion, he gave me a kiss, rolled over and went back to sleep.
Full of emotion I didn’t know what to do with myself and decided to go on a long walk through Central Park. On that walk, I saw more than a few baby strollers and thought, “that’s going to be me in nine months”. Feelings of happiness, excitement and fear ran through my body. My husband and I went out for breakfast that morning and discussed baby names, logistics (where in our 700-square-foot apartment is this baby going to sleep?), and how we were going to share the news with our families! My husband started believing that maybe we were pregnant and the excitement was visible. We returned home and there it was … my monthly visitor. I wasn’t pregnant. That was the first of many cries I have experienced throughout our so far eight month journey.
So, life went on with the “we’ll try again next month” mentality. Next month came, we tried, and it was time to test. This time I had the self-control to wait to test until the night before my period was due. It was positive. I was pregnant. I decided to wait to test again the next morning before bringing my husband in to it. I woke up the next morning (let’s be honest, I hadn’t slept) and tested again. There was a clear second line. I was pregnant.
I had big plans of how I would tell my husband, but when he woke up about 20 minutes later, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut for long enough for him to open his eyes. I had to tell him. Rather than telling him, I showed him. I showed him that VERY POSITIVE pregnancy test and we celebrated, just the two of us.
My gynecologist is not an obstetrician, but had instructed me to call her after my first missed period, at which point she would bring me in for a confirmation ultrasound and refer me to an OB. At 4 weeks 3 days pregnant we had our first ultrasound. What we saw on that screen was no bigger than a poppy seed, but it was our baby. We couldn’t be more excited. Each week that followed I went in for another ultrasound and my gynecologist said she would refer me out when we could see/hear a heartbeat. At our 5 week 3 day and 6 week 3 day appointments our poppy seed looked slightly larger– even more excitement! There was no heartbeat yet, but the ultrasound technician assured us that we would see it the following week, “it’s just early” she said.
After our 6 week 3 day ultrasound, we had a trip planned to visit my family in Florida. It was early, very early– we hadn’t even heard a heartbeat yet– but I wanted to have the opportunity to tell my family in person. This was going to be my parent’s first grandchild, my grandma’s first great grandchild and the excitement was palpable.
When we returned to our home in New York City, it was time for our 7 week 3 day ultrasound. (I should mention that many people have asked why I was getting so many ultrasounds and the honest answer is, I don’t know. This is what my doctor was recommending and I didn’t think much of it). My husband and I could not wait for that appointment. We were going to get to see our growing baby and hear its heart beat! It was also at that appointment that I lost all my hope. There was no heartbeat and we were once again told, “it’s still early”, let’s draw some blood and see what those numbers look like”.
I went home that night convinced were having a miscarriage and I cried and cried and cried. My husband didn’t really understand me jumping to conclusions, but I’ve heard it said before, and it is so true, woman know their bodies. The fetus was measuring behind based on my last period and there was no heartbeat at 7 weeks 3 days. Google, both your best friend and worst enemy, was pointing to a miscarriage too. The next day, my phone rang at 9:15pm and it was my doctor. My HCG levels had increased, but not nearly as much as they should have. She was confirming what I already knew, but recommended I have another ultrasound that Monday (4 days later) to confirm what we were suspecting.
We had a wedding to attend that weekend. We tried to put a smile on our faces, but we were counting down the hours until our appointment on Monday. It was finally time. I informed the ultrasound technician that we were just there to confirm there was no heartbeat, so she knew she wasn’t breaking the terrible news to us. Before starting the test, she informed us that she could not tell us anything, but she would bring a radiologist in afterwards to review the results. The ultrasound was taking what felt like forever and the ultrasound technician said “I want to bring the doctor in while I scan you”. In walked a radiologist who introduced herself to myself and my husband and then became glued to the screen.
The next thing I heard her say plays over and over in my head to this day, “ok, now go to the other one”. The other one? I sat up as much as one can while undergoing a transvaginal ultrasound and said “I’m sorry, but what did you just say”. She looked at me and said “I’m thinking you are pregnant with twins, but please let me finish and we will go over everything”.
When the test was finished, she sat me up and the scariest conversation of our lives began. “What I am seeing on the ultrasound are monochromatic/monoambionic twins, also known as momo twins, or identical twins in the same sac. This means they are sharing space and nutrients and this is going to be a VERY high risk pregnancy”. She asked for my doctors information so she could call her right away and instructed me to head to my doctor’s office (this ultrasound was completed at an imaging center). My husband and I Googled during the entire 10-minute talk to my doctor’s office and what we were finding was even scarier than we thought: bed rest in the hospital at 25 weeks, C-section at 32 weeks, cord compression, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, birth defects, lower than normal survival rate, a long NICU stay. I didn’t need to read anymore. Again, Google can be your best friend or your worst enemy. At that moment, we were not a big fan of Google.
When we arrived at my doctor’s office, she tried to reassure us and referred us to a high-risk OB. I could barely get out of her office before I was on the phone making an appointment with the high-risk doctor. Our appointment was 48 hours later, possibly the longest 48 hours of our lives thus far. I was half excited and half nervous, but 100% ready to make a plan and set us up on the best possible path we could take to TWO healthy babies. Forty-eight hours finally passed and we were ready for yet another ultrasound. The ultrasound technician did her thing and called in a doctor. The doctor walked in and asked me a few questions, which had me suspicious, and I finally asked (maybe screamed), “what is going on??”. She informed us there was no heartbeat, or no viable heartbeat at least. A possible 60bpm heartbeat, but not a healthy one. How could this be … Weren’t we just in this same position (with the exception of the possibility of twins) one week ago? Why did I have to be told TWICE that there was no heartbeat? Why did it feel like we experiencing 2 miscarriages in one week? What do we do now?
The high-risk doctor gave us a few options and told us to sleep on it. I could be scheduled for a D and C or I could be prescribed a pill that would help my body pass this pregnancy on it’s own. I didn’t want either of those options, I wanted a baby.
We went home and talked about where to go from here. The following weekend was Labor Day Weekend, and we decided that I would take the pill at home and give myself the three days to recover, both mentally and physically. I called my doctor and asked her to prescribe the pill. She called back a day later (Saturday night at 7pm) and informed us she was not satisfied with how the high risk doctor had written her note and was therefore not convinced this was a miscarriage, considering the 60bpm heartbeat they noted. She wanted to scan me again (?!) before she felt comfortable prescribing. I will never forget how she said it. She said “if you want to terminate this pregnancy I can prescribe, but I recommend you come in for an ultrasound”. If I want to terminate this pregnancy? I want nothing more than for this to be a healthy pregnancy and to hold my baby in 9 months. I couldn’t shake those words and had to have an ultrasound before proceeding.
It was the Tuesday after Labor Day and I was at my doctor’s office at 7am for yet another ultrasound. As we suspected, the ultrasound showed no heartbeat and it was clear the fetus had stopped growing. There was a weird sense of relief, like we could finally move on.
My husband and I took that day off of work so I can take the medicine to help pass the pregnancy and he would be by my side the whole time. I went home and took the first dose and waited, and waited and waited. Four hours later, I was instructed to take a second dose in the slim chance nothing had happened yet (and up to one more dose after that for a total of 3 doses). So dose 2 went in and we waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Dose 3 went in and we waited and waited and waited. Nothing. I was in contact via text message with my doctor throughout the day and she told me to see what happens overnight. Nothing.
I went to work the next day and the doctor wanted to see me to confirm it hadn’t passed. Again, insert Google, which had prepared me for intense cramping and bleeding, none of which I had experienced. I knew there was no way it had passed. So 2 days later I was in her office for another ultrasound and there was our answer in plain sight on the screen. She recommended a different medication, followed by the same one I had taken a couple days earlier. FINALLY, on September 7th the pregnancy passed. It was more than an emotional day. In fact, I thought I was done crying about it, but here I am crying as I type this. For me, the mental pain was worse than the physical pain.
My period returned about a month later, and I could not have been more excited. We could start trying again! However, we were once again told we had to wait. We had to wait for my HCG levels to bottom out before it was safe to start trying. Weeks went by with many blood draws and my levels were dropping ever so slowly, until couple months later, I finally got that 0 I had been waiting for. We were given the all clear to start trying, and that is exactly what we did.
So here we are, 8 months after this journey began, still waiting for our bundle of joy. Somehow I have stayed positive through most of this experience. I know our rainbow will come when the time is right, but I never imagined how hard waiting would be. It was not the kind of waiting I thought we would experience. One thing that has never changed throughout this whole journey has been my belief that whatever happens, it will be WORTH THE WAIT!