There is a label in this world that no woman of a family mind-set wants placed upon herself. It is a label that sounds shameful, that appears disgusting and vile, and yet, medically, it is an apt label.
What is this term?
It's a habitual aborter.
Now, this brings to mind the picture of drunken sexual escapades with any man in sight and then the quick, hurried retreat to an abortion clinic- but that's the furthest from the truth.
A habitual aborter is a woman, for any reason, who becomes pregnant and then spontaneously miscarries three times. If you miscarry once, it's a fluke- genetic abnormality, perhaps. If you miscarry twice- you are unlucky. If you miscarry three times- you are a habitual aborter.
I, Prudence, am a habitual aborter. I never expected to receive this label; in fact, in my early 20s, pregnancy seemed such an easy task. One did not fret when one received a positive home pregnancy test; you simply went out and purchased baby items and prepared for the baby to arrive.
Little did I know that less then 7 years later, I would have experienced three vastly different miscarriages and learned the hard way- that pregnancy is not to be taken lightly nor for granted.
Where does my story begin?
Let's start with the basics... In the year 2001, I found myself quite unexpectedly pregnant by the man I was dating at the time. I use the term 'man' rather loosely. Manchild is probably more apt.
Blinded by infactuation, I was in love with the idea of loving someone again, I decided that this child was meant to be for this world. The individual I was dating supported me, albeit rather oddly, and for 3 weeks- I really expected to have his child.
And then the day before Christmas, I began to spot.
Spotting, mind you, was not important. Read everything people write and post; brown blood is good! Red blood is bad!
The spotting was brown. And continous. The day after Christmas, I called my doctor and they had me rush in for an ultrasound. Which showed one fetus, minus a heartbeat.
I had a D&C that very week. The next week, the manchild I was dating left me at home for New Year's Eve and slept with a *****, unknown to him until that night, to mourn the loss of his child.
Thankfully, that relationship disintegrated eventually... Thank God for certain favors!
Fast forward to April 2004- my wedding to the man of my dreams. He might drive me crazy sometimes, but he is definitely meant for me.
We started trying to conceive right away. It took the dreaded six months, the average time it takes to conceive, to receive a positive pregnancy test.
I was over-ecstatic. I was so excited, I was so happy.
I bought a little card with the picture of baby feet next to adult feet and proclaimed my news within it. I then wrapped up a set of baby bibs and the card and placed it on the bed for my husband to find...
He, of course, was completely smitten with the thought of another child as soon as he heard...
And all was well... For a very short period of time...
Probably within the first two weeks, I started spotting. Brown, once again. The safe color, or so I'm still told.
I went to a doctor; she tsk tsk'ed me and told me I was worrying for no reason. I went to Urgent Care; they sent me in for an ultrasound and it showed a fetal pole and a sac, but no heartbeat.
I had a series of HCG draws taken; my numbers were rising, but they were not doubling. Once again, I called my doctor. She told me I was being silly.
This is when I decided, finally- I had to take control of my own life. I had to grab this issue and force someone to listen to me.
I called another doctor and asked for an appointment. It took speaking directly to the doctor, himself, on a Sunday morning, to get myself in to be checked out.
He immediately sent me for another ultrasound...
And there... Before us on that screen was that beautiful little heartbeat. It was a little slow, the embryo was a little smaller then it should have been according to my dates- but it was there.
According to Dr Google, my chances of miscarriage dropped significantly at that point. In the weeks to follow, we had repeat ultrasound showing appropriate growth from the date of the first ultrasound. My progesterone levels were low, however (13.5 at the first draw) and I was immediately given Prometrium to take.
I took it, faithfully, and each ultrasound allowed me to breathe easier...
After the nine week ultrasound showed that little heart still beating faithfully away, my doctor eased up on the exams. It was not until the 13th week that it started again...
The spotting... Except it began as brown and quickly turned to red...
I called my doctor's office, but they could not fit me in for an ultrasound. They recommended that I go to the Emergency Room.
So my husband and I, on that cold November day, bundled up and headed out... We were quickly shown into a room and although we joked- I knew the truth. Before the conclusive ultrasound was shown, I went to the bathroom and I wiped the red blood away and knew... There would be no miracle that day.
I had another D&C performed. This time, I had my faithful husband to hold my hand before the procedure and to hold me afterwards... I would love to say that I remained strong for the holiday season, but I often retired early and shut the door on the world. Thanksgiving, a mere week away, meant nothing to me... I spent each night with an Amaretto Sour in my hand and a cold chill in my heart.
The pain never goes away, but time marches on... I demanded answers; my doctor attempted to give them to me.
I had a HSG performed; I sat through an endometrial biopsy. The answer, I was given, was that I had a luteal phase defect and hopefully, taking progesterone would fix the problem.
That first cycle, after I received AF post D&C, I conceived again... Although I had HCG levels and progesterone checks, around week 6, I was certain that I had another miscarriage...
I have never been happier to have been proven wrong in my entire life. Each ultrasound, each blood draw, proved that my little one was safe and sound and thriving.
At 38 weeks, my beautiful baby boy was born...
About 9 months after his birth, my husband and I found ourselves still wanting another child to finish our family- male or female, it did not matter. Although I had a hankering for another little boy; I thought it would be nice for my little one to have a little brother to grow up with.
We tried on the spur of the moment and found ourselves rather unexpectedly pregnant once again! I tried unerringly to be upbeat. I tried to believe in myself and amazingly, it worked.
It worked. For 3 weeks after I received that positive pregnancy test, I believed in miracles. Then, I used the bathroom and found brown blood on my tissue.
I tried to reason with myself; this could not possibly be occuring again.
I had bloodwork drawn and when I called, the nurse told me, rather excitedly, that my HCG level was 30,000- that was good news indeed! However, my progesterone was a 12.1. She did not seem to believe this was an issue; I knew from that moment... This was not going to have a happy ending.
I listened to the platitudes people offered; I listened to their stories of 'this one lady who had a progesterone of 2! And then she took progesterone and everything was okay!' and I humored them.
And I waited... I could have forced myself into the doctor, but for what purpose? Until I miscarried, we would still have to wait and see... Therefore, I did my waiting at home until my 10 week appointment.
Immediately, there was an ultrasound and I told the tech not to worry; we had been through this before. True to the past, there was no heartbeat once again...
I refused the D&C this time. Instead, I stayed at home and waited... One week later, I began to bleed profusely. This time, I miscarried alone, in my shower, with the support of my husband nearby if needed.
This brings me to today...
We will be trying again in the near future. Of course, it brings its risks and its issues along with it. Once you are a habitual aborter, you can never look at a positive pregnancy test the same... It's not an easy 9 months after you receive that test- you don't even expect to see the end of the first trimester.