If you are just joining in, this is Part 2 of my Unexplained Infertility Journey. You can read part one here.
We returned to the hospital the next day. My name was overlooked and for over 2 hours we patiently waited until I finally approached the front desk asking if I would be seen. I was quickly taken back into a patient room where a nurse performed an ultrasound.
The room was silent. She finally turned to me and without an ounce of emotion said, “you need to terminate your pregnancy immediately.” “What do you mean? What’s going on?,” I asked. She quickly responded with the same cold sentence and simply said you can talk to the doctor and abruptly exited the room. We were shocked, confused, blindsided, hurt, and these are just a few of the emotions we felt in that moment. How could she just drop what felt like a ton of bricks on us with no explanation and with what felt like zero compassion.
We were guided to the doctor’s office where the news was delivered… Our first child no longer had a heartbeat. The exact thing that I had mentally questioned the day before was the exact thing that had now disappeared. I had a missed miscarriage. It wasn’t until tears began to stream down my face that the doctor softened her demeanor. She apologized and gave me a moment to gather myself. I looked over at my husband who looked helpless as he couldn’t find the words to say or a means of fixing it all and saving the day. He was just as deflated as I was. The doctor went over my options with me… I either wait for my body to naturally release my growing uterine line and fetus or I opt for a dilation & curettage (d&c) where they would surgically remove both. This all happened so quickly and within an hour of being joyfully pregnant, I was being told that my pregnancy was no longer viable. I had to make a huge decision… Essentially how do I “terminate” my pregnancy. I asked if we could go home and think about how we wanted to proceed. The doctor let me know that was perfectly fine and that I could call the hospital to let them know what I decided for an immediate emergency surgery if I opted for that route.
A few days later, I called back with my decision. I would opt for the d&c because it would be final and a fast resolution. I wouldn’t have to worry about possibly miscarrying while sitting at my desk at work or while I was at the grocery store, or any other myriad of undesirable places. The natural option did not come with a timeline and it could take weeks. With the surgery, I would know it was complete and could start the healing process, or so I thought. At this time I was roughly 8 1/2 weeks pregnant. When I explained to the receptionist why I was calling, she quickly retorted with “your doctor won’t be available for 2 weeks, so you’ll have to wait.” “But she told me to call back and the surgery would be scheduled immediately.” “You’re going to have to wait 2 weeks. She’s busy.” At which point I lost it. I gave her a piece of my mind for how she handled the conversation. It didn’t change her stance unfortunately.
At that point I knew that I needed to find a new doctor. We found a new hospital closer to our home. While most women chose to wait to see a female ob/gyn, I advised that I did not care and if the male doctor was available I would gladly see him which got me in his office almost immediately. He completed an ultrasound to confirm that nothing had changed and reassured me that I was in good hands. We scheduled my surgery for a few days later as I inched closer to 10 weeks. My body hadn’t recognized the delay in our fetus’ development and my uterus continued to grow at a normal rate in preparation to carry a baby.
I had emailed my bosses immediately following the notification of my missed miscarriage to request a few days off. When I returned they both sat with me in their offices and just let me have a moment to cry and comfort me. I am forever grateful to those 2 women for giving me a safe space to cope and process my emotions when work was the last place I wanted to be and for their kindness and understanding. I remember those moments very vividly.
After some discussion, Ryan and I decided before we walked into the surgery, that this was the beginning of the end of our time living abroad. This loss was emotionally taxing, mentally and physically exhausting and on top of that I had to deal with it away from the support of my family and it was difficult. This was in August and our goal was to be back home by October.
My surgery went well. Everything looked great and I spent a few days resting at home before I returned to work. When I went to my one week follow up, I thanked the doctor again repeatedly for his compassion and how quickly he made sure to assist us. I will always remember him for that reason.
A few days later I let my bosses know I would be leaving to return home. There were many attempts to convince me to stay, but I knew that I needed to be home to give myself time to heal. I needed a new start… I needed my family.
On my last day of work as I tied up loose ends, my coworkers did something that to them may have seemed minor and I’m not sure they’ll ever truly understand how monumental this moment was. I walked back into the office and they were all waiting and gathered with a cake, well wishes and a gift. I was speechless and cried pretty heavily I remember as my boss gave a speech and as people hugged me goodbye. I attempted to give a quick speech, but it was probably muffled in between my sobbing. I want to say thank you to all of you who were there. I can’t begin to tell you how much pain and sorrow I had been dealing with unbeknownst to many of you and in that moment my heart was filled with so much love and joy. I made so many incredible friends from around the globe in that office. It is where I kind of found myself again after not working for 7 months during our time abroad. It is the place where I found my independence again when I knew that I couldn’t thrive being in our apartment all day . You guys gave me a sense of normalcy again and I can’t say thank you enough for that. It was incredibly hard to walk out of that door for the last time, but I’ve managed to keep in touch with so many of you. Some of my greatest friendships were formed in that office. So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.
I spent the last few weeks we had in Doha packing up our belongings. We had gained so many possessions and so many memories in that short 14 months. Although, Doha marked the first major mile marker in my infertility journey, I can’t help but think that being there was pivotal in this journey for me. It gave me a lot of strength that I didn’t know that I had. I gained some supports systems that I didn’t know that I needed or that I would eventually be heavily dependent upon years later. It prepared me for the road ahead.
We left Doha and headed to Spain for 2 weeks before heading home and with that I began my journey to healing.