Maternal Instinct: The Empty Uterus
Editor's Note: We will be regularly following Cecile's journey as she becomes a first time mom to see what her experience is like after miscarriage. You'll find her posts on our blog once a month.
If anyone out there has miscarried, then you understand. Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you can imagine the heartbreak. For my husband and I, it wasn’t so much the loss of the pregnancy as the loss of the idea, the excitement. It seemed like we had just come to terms with the notion of being parents and bringing a life into this world when it was snatched away from us. I’m not gonna lie, I cried in the shower… a lot.
We’re very fortunate to have conceived so quickly in the first place, really, considering how many years some couples have to endure. I’d been on birth control continuously since my first year of college (14 years ago!) and only stopped taking it in January, so I had prepared myself for a long wait until my body had readjusted itself. That first pregnancy was really early and I regret now having not waited longer to take that first test. If I’d waited just another couple weeks, I would’ve thought it was a intense (albeit very late) period and would’ve remained blissfully ignorant. I’ll spare you the details of the miscarriage itself, which took about a week, except to say in hindsight I wish I’d asked more questions about what was going to happen and how I would feel afterwards.
I had an ovulation test kit in a drawer collecting dust and decided to finally use it about two weeks after the miscarriage, you know, just to see. I took a test every day for 6 days and nothing, which was what I was expecting. Then, on the 7th day, I ovulated!!! I called the hubby and got down to business! I had read that you are at your most fertile after an abortion or miscarriage (who knew, right?!) and there was a good chance we would conceive sooner rather than later. I was determined to be patient and not repeat history so I waited as long as I could, which turned out to be two days after I should've gotten my period, to pee on a stick again. Wouldn’t you know it? It was positive! SQUEE!
I went straight to Planned Parenthood to get a blood test and ultrasound. The results of the ultrasound were an “EMPTY UTERUS” just what you want to hear when you’re trying to get pregnant! They told me the positive pregnancy test was the result of hCG still left in my body after the miscarriage, because at the ER they didn’t do that thing were they suck all the hormones out of you. Needless to say I was deeply upset. It was like reliving the miscarriage all over again.
Weeks went by, we drank a few times, I smoked a cigarette (I quit over 2 years ago), and I kept feeling terrible. It was getting harder and harder to get out of bed, which when you work from home is really, really hard. I wasn’t being productive and starting to get seriously scared that I was slipping into a deep depression. Then the physical symptoms began. My boobs started getting HUGE and tender, I could smell everything and I was feeling nauseated almost every day. On Labor Day my sister remarked that I didn’t seem right and that she was worried about me, so I told her I’d go to the doctor the next day. I went back to Planned Parenthood for another blood test. I just wanted to know when this was going to be over and we could start trying again, I just wanted some hope… and my freaking period!
The pee test came back still positive and the nurse suggested we do another ultrasound. About half way through, she started sniffling, and I thought, oh god I have cancer or something! But no, I was 6 weeks 6 days and got to see that brand new heart beating away.
I've never been so happy, yet felt so terrible (this morning sickness is no joke you guys). It's real, it feels real, and I couldn't be more excited for the journey to come.
Cecile is a photographer and filmmaker living on Maryland's rural Eastern Shore. She specializes in artistic and highly emotional wedding coverage. Her husband and two dogs are expecting the arrival of their first human baby in April 2017.