I’ve never been good about keeping secrets. If it’s someone else’s secret, its no problem, but when they’re my own, I’m an open book. When I was pregnant with Ryder keeping it a secret for the suggested 12 weeks was incredibly difficult. I remember the night I told Lou. We decided we were going to hold off on telling everyone – even our parents in the event something were to go wrong with the pregnancy, but by the next morning, we were already planning a BBQ in which we would invite them over and share the exciting news. We lasted 48 hours with it being only our secret. We had been trying for months and it didn’t really feel like a matter of if as much of a matter of when. Thankfully, I had a healthy pregnancy and after our first ultrasound and blessing from the OB, we shared with all our friends and shortly after, made an announcement on social media.
We all share the highs of our life on social media platforms. We like and comment when our friends get engaged, graduate from school, get promotions and travel the world. And it’s so exciting to stay in the loop on what’s going on with those acquaintances from high school so that when we finally do run into one another while picking up dry cleaning, we can congratulate them on their new home!
But what about when we struggle – why don’t we share the difficult times the same way we do the blessings? You don’t see too many posts of people admitting they were fired, got a divorce, suffer from a health concern or are faced with a challenging life event. Why is this? Who created the rules on social media ettiquette?
I say this because very recently, Lou and I went through a disappointing experience that we really had never heard much about before. We feel very blessed to have a strong spiritual foundation and realize a higher power is in control here and we can only accept what has happened. This doesn’t mean it comes without pain. I’d like to say there are good days and bad days, but truly we have good minutes and bad minutes in each day. We are surrounded by close friends and family who have supported us and made us feel so loved these last couple weeks, but none of them have experienced it themselves and I feel a bit lost about who I can talk to about my grief. I’ve joined some online support groups, but it’s hard to get vulnerable with a screen and a group of women on the other side of the world.
So I post this in hopes to hear of other families who have gone through this and hear about their experience and hope for the future.
We love being parents and the joy Ryder has brought us. Although, we have more than either of us had ever dreamed up, we hope to continue to grow our family. Ryder would make a wonderful big brother and I imagine our future to be filled with a household filled with children laughing and playing together as they make lifetime memories. And of course, we expect plenty of bickering, too. A sibling bond is a wonderful connection and I want Ryder to have what I had with my sister, Lauren.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, we recently moved into a larger home to support a large family. We had hoped to have another child close in age to Ryder. When we decided to put our house on the market, we decided we would begin trying for another baby. We figured even if I got pregnant right away, we would be well moved in to our new home by the time baby arrived.
Well, it didn’t happen right away. Or the next month. Or the following. At first, it was easy to brush off and think timing wasn’t right or enjoy all the extra 1 on 1 time I would get with my little Ryder. Though, with every month, it got a little more frustrating when I discovered it wasn’t our time.
Fast forward several months to the morning of May 6th, when I finally got a positive test. I was ecstatic! Lou was in his office and in the time he sent out a couple emails, I had taken two more tests to confirm I was, in fact, pregnant. Because it’s not official until three brands of pregnancy tests confirm the news, right? I pulled out the “Big Brother” shirt I had been hiding from Lou for months and could hardly contain myself as I woke up my sleeping toddler to get him dressed. Lou took a minute to pick up on his shirt, but when he finally did, we were celebrating and couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces.
We had been asked by the Fashion Island Peloton store to do an in store ride that day and I’ll never forget the feeling of how ridiculous I must have looked as people walked by. I was riding in the front of the showroom taking a 45 minute ride with a huge grin on my face the entire time. I wanted to shout out to everyone who came in to let them know how great I thought the bike was and even a pregnant woman could do it! I didn’t.
The first couple days, we kept it under wraps, but then we made a decision to share our excitement. I distinctly remember the conversation we had in the kitchen. “Let’s just tell people.” “Screw the 12 week wait.” “If god forbid something were to go wrong, wouldn’t we want to let our friends know what we are going through?” “Why would we wander down that rabbit hole solo?”
So, we began. We told our family. We told our friends. We told the nosy woman in the grocery store who eyeballed Ryder and asked when we plan to have another. We basically shouted it from the roof top that Ryder was gonna have a little pal. I even took him out a couple of times wearing his “big brother” shirt.
On Saturday morning May 20th, we walked to the park nearby. I felt strange and I could just feel something was off. I told Lou I thought Something was wrong and we headed home to call the OB. There was blood – a lot of blood. She said I was probably having a miscarriage and told me what to be on the look out for to head to the ER. I was in shock. I didn’t really know what to expect and had to spend the rest of the weekend in bed while Lou took care of Ryder. I wanted to go play with my family, but instead I was bed ridden with full access to Google, my doctor until I could be seen on Monday morning. I’m not sure why, but I was scared to go to the ER. IF I was going to hear bad news, I wanted to hear it from my doctor, not some Dr. Stranger I’d never see again.
By Monday morning I went in for an ultrasound and visit with my OB, but they couldn’t find the baby on the ultrasound. I immediately wondered if I was one of those women who had Pseudocyesis: a condition in which a women wants a baby so bad, she has pregnancy symptoms, but isn’t actually pregnant. I literally asked if that’s what was going on with me. But it wasn’t.
That week included a series of daily blood tests and ultrasounds. Ryder was so brave and wonderful spending so much time in waiting rooms, doctors offices and labs. I think he picked up on my energy and knew I was scared. One night as I was putting him to bed, he started to rub my cheek and said, “oh mama.” I knew that whatever happened, I was so blessed with this loving child I am beyond lucky to call my son.
My hcg levels, which is the pregnancy hormone, were continuing to rise, but at 7 1/2 weeks, they should be able to locate a baby in the uterus or at least the sac and this baby was still hiding. I was pregnant (and technically, I still am as I write this), but the baby isn’t inside my uterus. When a baby grows outside the uterus, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy. At this time medicine is not advanced enough to be able to transplant the baby into the uterus and a baby growing in another area isn’t viable. Not only that, but as baby grows, usually inside of the Fallopian tube, it will rupture. This is incredibly dangerous for the mother and requires emergency surgery to stop the internal bleeding, and possibly remove the tube.
There are a couple treatment options for ectopic pregnancies – surgery to remove the baby or methotrexate shots, which is a very tiny dose of chemotherapy. It works by stopping the growth of rapidly dividing cells and therefor prevents baby from continuing to grow. Since we couldn’t locate where the baby had implanted, they chose to give me two shots of methotrexate. I have continued to get blood tests and they monitor my hcg levels as they go back down until they eventually return to zero. At that time, we can then begin the 3 – 6 month wait before we can try again. So far, my doctor is pleased with the decline in my hcg levels and while I’m not completely out of the woods yet, things are looking good.
I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. Partially, because this is a loss. Even though I was still in the first trimester, I still lost my baby. And just like any loss, that comes with feelings of grief, sadness, confusion and fear. I’m also experiencing a drop in hormones, similar to that which occurs postpartum. Unstable hormones don’t make this any easier.
But the worst part is, I’m not suppose to talk about it. It occurred within my “12 week secret” window so according to pregnancy etiquette, I should process this independently. Just isolate myself from others and keep it to myself (and Lou, of course, who I Know has been hit just as hard by this). It would be super awkward now if I called a friend and said, “I was pregnant, but now I’m not and even though I never mentioned it, I’m experiencing sadness over it.”
So I ask again, Why are we taught to share the good and keep the bad? I’m just looking to connect with others who have experienced the same.
Because the big picture is, I didn’t die from this. I survived it! We have a beautiful, kind, loving toddler, who fills our hearts with so much each day. Our lives are filled with incredible people. Our support system jumped in and carried us through the hardest part. (A BIG shout out to my parents for spending so much time with Ryder the last few weeks and all the close friends who sent love and support from near and far.)
While we didn’t chose for this to happen, it happened. Our higher power chose us to experience this and I can only believe it was meant to bridge us to others who have and will experience the same.