by Marsha S

To fully understand my story, you have to travel through my pregnancy journeys. Each experience helped pave the way to the next.

In November 1990, my husband and I got married. We were both 25-years-old and wanted a family -- but we wanted to have some "couple" time together first. After waiting about two years, we decided we wanted to start our family. It took us three months to become pregnant with our first daughter Sabrina. We found out we were pregnant November 1992, and she was born on August 28, 1993.

Our first pregnancy was fairly normal. The only concern the doctors had was that I was not gaining as much weight as they would have liked. I stopped working in August, three weeks before my due date (August 18, 1993). I had only gained 19 pounds. In the three weeks I was off before Sabrina was born, I gained another 10 pounds. I had been through 5 ultrasounds (one in March, two in June, and two in July) to monitor the baby.

Finally, 10 days after my due date and nine hours after being induced, my daughter Sabrina was born. She was beautiful and weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long. I was 28 years old. After giving birth, I was crying and upset. My husband and I swore we would never have another child. It was such a traumatic experience. But we knew we'd have more children.

My first miscarriage, second pregnancy, happened one year later. In June 1995, we found out we were pregnant on Father's Day weekend. I had taken a home pregnancy test and saw the '+' sign. I then proceeded to go to the lab to have my blood tested. I did this without my doctor's consent, as I have a friend in the doctor's office and called her and she called the lab and got me in. We were so excited, we told our family on Father's Day.

Monday came and I went to work and started to spot. I was very nervous and called the doctor's office and they said to come in. I left work and went to the office where they proceeded to take blood. I was informed the next day that my HCG level was at 161. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, HCG is the pregnancy hormone in your blood. When you go in to get your initial blood work, the HCG level will be tested. Most women don't ever know about this because they have not had any problems with past pregnancies or the HCG level is high enough to not be concerned about.

My doctors said that I should come in again and have the level checked on Wednesday. I was still bleeding. After having blood taken, I found out that the HCG levels were falling. When HCG levels fall, there is no way to bring them up so if this happens, you are miscarrying. I continued coming in and having levels checked until they fell below 10, which they did about a week later.

I continued to bleed for about a week, just as I would have had with a period. My doctors said that is exactly what was happening. I was experiencing what doctors say so many women experience: being pregnant, without knowing it (but I did know it) and then having their period and miscarrying. -So I had my first miscarriage in June 1995.

My second miscarriage, third pregnancy, occurred in January 1996. This was just 7 months after my first miscarriage. I decided to try to conceive right away after my first miscarriage and got pregnant soon after. I started to spot a little and went to the doctor. I was very nervous, since this was the sign of my first miscarriage occurring. At six weeks, I was sent to have a vaginal ultrasound. We could see my baby and the heart beating. I was very relieved.

But two weeks later, the weekend of the Super bowl, I went in for another ultrasound due to continued bleeding. The baby's heartbeat had stopped. I was scheduled for a D and C because my doctor said that the baby was too big to pass on its own. I was so disappointed. This was now my second miscarriage, third pregnancy, and my hopes for a brother or sister for my daughter Sabrina, were beginning to seem as if they were just hopes. I went in for the D and C, a painless procedure, physically. Emotionally, I was tired and upset. This was all out of my control and that made me angrier. I was more determined then ever to become pregnant again and have another child.