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Natalie's Pregnancy After Loss Journal

~ Meet Natalie!

James and NatalieHi, I'm Natalie. I'm 32, and my husband James is 27. Yep, much younger than me! We had a beautiful two year old daughter, Chaynee, whom we absolutely adore. She's wild and willful and has been that way from day one! The doctor's notes following her birth say "very vigorous"!

We are now expecting our second child. I'm only five weeks along, so I'm "barely" pregnant. This is my fifth pregnancy. It seems so strange to say that . . .

When I was 29, I became pregnant for the first time. It was so exciting! This was the first grandchild for my husband's family, and it had been awhile since there had been a new baby on my side. I was such a health nut once I found out I was pregnant. I ate all of the right stuff and avoided all of the stuff the books say to avoid. I wouldn't even eat cookies!! At my 12 week check up, the one where you get to hear the heartbeat, I was so anxious. The doctor gave me my exam and then began trying to hear the heartbeat. She couldn't find one and did an internal exam to check the size of my uterus. This being my first pregnancy, I didn't have any idea that I should be worried at this point. The doctor questioned me about my dates, but I knew I was right; I'm very regular. She suggested we pop in the other room for an ultrasound. Yahoo, I was going to get a sneak peek at the baby! I was so unprepared for what happened next. When the doctor ran the wand over my tummy, all we saw was an empty sac. So naive, I still didn't understand . . . The doctor gently told me that I had a blighted ovum; there was no baby . . . I was devastated and absolutely shocked! I had never heard of such a thing!

Almost immediately after my D&C, I decided to try again. It took us almost nine months to conceive again. Thank God, everything worked out just fine, and my daughter was born on her due date! She surprised us all by weighing in at 9 lbs. 1-1/2 oz. I'm not a very big person (but gained 60+ lbs during my pregnancy), and the first thing my doctor asked was, "How much did you weigh at birth?". She had estimated Chaynee to be 7.5!!

I nursed Chaynee and after her first birthday, I began researching the possibilities of getting pregnant (my periods had returned) while continuing to nurse. I found a lot of positive support and decided to "go for it". So, not long after Chaynee's birthday, I found out I was pregnant again. I was so happy that my kids would be close in age! They were going to be 22 months apart. Perfect! But . . . at eight weeks, I began bleeding quite heavily. Since I didn't experience any bleeding with my first miscarriage, I was trying to tell myself, "some women bleed, it's normal". But I knew . . . We went to the ER, and I was told that my cervix was still closed. It was a threatened miscarriage. Go home, rest, blah blah blah . . . The bleeding was so heavy by the next evening that I went back to the ER. My cervix was open and there was really nothing they could do. I was given the option of a D&C, but I decided to let nature take its course. This was the beginning of the New Year, 1999.

After my second miscarriage I thought, "Wow, that's some bad luck, but the odds have to be in my favor now!". As soon as my body would allow, I was trying to conceive again, and it happened rather quickly! I was pretty optimistic this time around, but at seven weeks I began to have spotting. I called my OB, hoping this was the "normal" stuff, and asked for an ultrasound, just for peace of mind. The ultrasound showed a small fetus with a heartbeat! I've read that if you see a heartbeat that you have a 95% chance of carrying the baby. I was so relieved. But, the bleeding didn't stop. It was Father's Day, and I went to the Immediate Care. The doctor told me that my cervix was still closed, but that my uterus felt too small. It felt the size of a woman who had recently given birth, not the size of a woman who was almost eight weeks. My optimism was waning. He sent me for an hCG count and called me that evening with the news. It was only 4000 ~ too low for someone who was six weeks, and I was eight! It was just a matter of time. Two days later I passed the sac. Gruesome I know, but we had something to test. The baby, as it turned out, was abnormal. This was June 1999.

Because of the three miscarriages, my OB and RE (reproductive endocrinologist) ran several tests on me, as well as chromosome testing on me and James. Everything came back normal. Progesterone, FSH, Estradiol, Lupus, Diabetes, Prolactin . . . you name it, they tested it. And everything was normal! That was probably one of the lowest points for me. If you have something wrong, they can try to fix it, right? I desperately wanted them to find something wrong.

And then . . . pregnant again! I am so pessimistic this time around. I find it terribly sad. I want to be excited, but I'm kind of waiting for that twelfth week. I've heard other women say that before and I thought, "How can you not be excited?". I guess I know now. The RE told me, before I became pregnant again, that I have a 60% chance of having another baby based on my history. But, since she really couldn't find anything wrong with me, I'm just going to try and ignore those odds for now.

I have taken five, (yes five), home pregnancy tests, just to convince myself. And I even look at them in the drawer now and then. I'm hoping next week will bring morning sickness! Isn't that a sign of a healthy pregnancy? Only for a day or two anyway . . .

My first OB appointment is on the 25th. I'm not sure why so early; it's not as if they can change the outcome. I laughed and figured they wanted to get my $15 co-pay before I hit the eight week mark! What a crummy since of humor!

We're waiting to tell our families. I've always thought we should tell so that there will be support if something goes wrong, but now I think the surprise will be a great Christmas present!

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