‘We’re still kids and we’re having a kid!’ In shock, I took six pregnancy tests to be sure.’: Young couple miscarries twice, has to advocate for mom’s health, is now pregnant with a healthy baby

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“Finding out I was pregnant in January of 2019 came as quite a shock. Thinking about it later, it should have been expected. I had just graduated from college with an associates degree in December, and my husband and I were staying with his parents while on break until the following semester. I always had a very regular cycle, so I was alarmed when I noticed a tampon wrapper in the bathroom trash can from my sister in law. She was the only other person in the house who used them and my cycle was always the week before hers. I knew in my gut I was pregnant. In shock, I still took six pregnancy tests to be sure. Luckily, my husband and I were home alone to get over the initial shock, but I FaceTimed my mom and my best friend, Sam.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

I think the hardest thing for me to process about being pregnant was, ‘We are still kids and we are having a kid!’ But we weren’t kids. We were married and 20 years old. My husband couldn’t be any happier about the baby…until I told him he had to tell his parents.

When they came home, we had the test in a ziplock bag ready to present it to them. He handed it to his mother who looked at it and became absolutely ecstatic! As did his father! I was taken by complete surprise, still processing we weren’t kids anymore. That night, I got no sleep as I stayed up googling everything I could think of and downloading a pregnancy app which tracks the baby’s size and told me all kinds of fun facts. According to the app, I was 6 weeks along. The next day, we scheduled an appointment and got the ball rolling.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

On February 6th, we headed over to our first OBGYN appointment and got all my blood work done. I was scheduled for an ultrasound on February 14th at 4 p.m. I was so excited and couldn’t wait!

My husband would be a goof and cup my flat belly, making a ‘bomp bomp’ noise to mock a little heartbeat at least twice a day. We called the little one ‘blueberry’ and already became obsessed with him/her. His family was so excited, they wanted to burst and tell everyone. I declined at first, saying we should wait because I was only 6 weeks along, but I eventually gave in and we told a big portion of the family at a retirement party for his aunt.

However, on February 10th when I had just hit the 7-week mark, I woke up at 4 a.m. with spotting and sharp pains in my stomach and lower back. My husband and I decided to head to the ER. I knew something was wrong and wanted to figure it out. They were quick to get us into a room, where they did blood and urine tests. We had to wait for the ultrasound tech to get there, which felt like an eternity.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

We finally got into the ultrasound room. It was dim and cold. The lady proceeded with the Doppler routine, which was all new to me, being my first pregnancy and ultrasound. It was very uncomfortable having her insert a weird probe. The only thing covering my lower half was a paper sheet. It was a quiet process with only the noises of the machine beeping as she moved the Doppler around and took pictures. I couldn’t understand anything on the screen. It was all black with some white and gray areas. When she was done, she withdrew the Doppler. I looked at her expectantly for results, only to be informed, ‘I am just an ultrasound technician. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give you a diagnosis.’ We were escorted back to my room where we waited for 30 to 40 minutes for results.

A doctor finally came into the room and introduced himself. He had a thick accent which was difficult to understand. But when I pulled out the words ‘missed miscarriage’ from his thick accent, I looked at my husband and immediately started crying. The doctor lingered in the room a little too long before finally leaving. Shortly after he left, a nurse came in to give me my rhoGAM shot since I was a negative blood type. She was the sweetest person and kept saying how sorry she was. I wanted nothing more than to get out of the hospital and deny what I was just told. The hospital gave me a 3-day note for work which I brought in to my manager after the hospital visit around 8 a.m.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

My coworker hugged me. ‘I’m so sorry and I hope you will be okay,’ she said. I thanked her and left as I no longer wanted to be there in the store crying in front of regular customers or hear questions and apologies.

I denied the miscarriage until I could get another ultrasound to make sure. I kept telling myself, ‘I just spotted, I haven’t bled a lot. There’s no way I’m having a miscarriage.’ I kept denying what the doctors and my gut told me. We had gotten into the OBGYN office quickly after the hospital visit for a follow up where I requested another ultrasound. She obliged my request and also ordered blood work to check my hormone levels.

The day after the appointment, my husband, mother-in-law, and I went to the second ultrasound. The technician had the screen turned so we couldn’t see anything. Right after, we went over to the OBGYN office to talk to the midwife, where she confirmed there was no cardiac activity, and I was expected to miscarry within the next few weeks. She told me I was young and should carry through the process normally without needing a D&C. Of course, I cried and cried some more. I was hoping she would say they saw a heartbeat and the baby was okay. She hugged me and told me, ‘None of it is your fault. It could have been chromosomes. That’s nothing anyone can control.’

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

We waited and waited for the awful process of miscarrying. But, it never came. I wasn’t spotting or cramping. I continued to have pregnancy symptoms: constipation, smell aversions and puked frequently. It had been weeks since I was told I would miscarry. My mom, who lives in Syracuse, insisted my husband and I come down to their hospital. They had amazing women’s health and I was guaranteed answers, so we went. My mom, my stepdad, my husband, and I all went to the ER, where I explained what was happening. When I tell you I barely had time to sit and take a breath, I mean it! Within 25 minutes, I had peed in a cup, had a pap smear, had blood drawn, and there was ultrasound in progress. I was amazed and satisfied with how quick they were. They made me feel important.

My mother and I returned to the original room where we had waited about 10 minutes for the doctor to come in. When she entered, she was with an on-call OBGYN as well. They also told me I had a missed miscarriage and the baby stopped growing at 6-weeks and 6 days. I cried yet again. False hope was all which had kept me going and now I had no hope. They were so exact and told me everything I needed to know. The baby was measured at 6 weeks, and here I was supposed to be 10 weeks. There was no denying it. It was time to figure out what we were going to do next, which came down to getting a D&C, or a dilation and curettage, which removes the remaining tissue.

For the next 3 weeks, my husband and I traveled 4 hours to Syracuse to get to appointments with Upstate Women Health. The first appointment was about a week and a half after my ER visit. I had informed them I was 12 weeks but lost the baby at 6 weeks. The OBGYN was concerned with how long I was carrying and not processing the miscarriage on my own. She did a blood test and a pelvic exam, as well as went over my medical history, the whole process of the D&C, and what to expect after the surgery. She got me in as soon as she could, which was a week later.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight, and we had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m., 2 hours before the surgery was supposed to start. My mom, stepdad, and husband all came with me as I prepared for surgery. They gave me a gown and socks to change into and started an IV they would use later. The anesthesiologists and the doctor performing the surgery came in to ask questions about my medical history and double-checked everything. A nurse came in to give me a shower cap that I had to wear into surgery and two pills that I had to put on either side of my mouth at the top of my cheeks. I had to let them completely dissolve and take in the cardboard taste slowly, and not drink anything after. It was absolutely disgusting but nothing compared to the result of the pills. The purpose of the pills was to expand my uterus to make the surgery easier for the doctor. Within 20 minutes, my stomach had grown to look as though I was 6 months pregnant and I was in a lot of pain. Finally, they came into my room to wheel me to the operation room. I waved goodbye to my family.

When I got into the operation room, I saw the doctor, anesthesiologists, and at least four nurses, who were all absolute sweethearts for the 3 minutes I spoke with them. One covered me up with a heated blanket on my upper half and told me everything was going to be okay. I was told I would start feeling sleepy but to put my right foot up in a sling followed by my left foot. I’m not quite sure I made the left foot in, because I don’t remember anything after just lifting my leg.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

When I woke up, I heard nurses talking to me but I was so drowsy, I fell right back to sleep. I woke up again and stayed awake at the time. I could tell I was bleeding and immediately started to cry as I realized my baby was truly gone.

After the surgery, there was a lot of emotional healing for us. The hardest part about the miscarriage were the people around us. We still lived with my husband’s family because we just graduated from college and weren’t stable yet. After we lost a baby, it was really hard to be around any other babies. Hearing them cry, giggle, or even talk was really hard and made me want to break down.

My husband’s sister insisted on babysitting a one-year-old, even after we requested not be around babies. Bringing the baby around ultimately made it feel like the house was no longer our home, so we would leave a lot. After we realized she wouldn’t respect our wishes, we asked to be warned when the baby was going to be there. It ended up causing a lot of fights and I said things I probably shouldn’t have, but then again, I was still raging with hormones.

We did find condolence in some family members. One of Cody‘s cousin’s wives ended up being one of the biggest support systems for me, as she had struggled with infertility. Just talking with her and spending time with them laughing was really good for the two of us. I talked to my mom a lot after everything was done and over. The hardest part about talking to my mom was she lived so far away and I wanted nothing more than to just hug her and sit down and talk with her in person. My best friend, Sam, also played a big part in the healing process. When my husband and I were really struggling at home, we would drive the hour to her house and she let us stay there for a night or two, and it helped a lot. My husband and I never had the time to heal completely while we were living with his family. It was just a giant battle the whole time. By July, we were able to finally move out.

September of 2019 was when we were due for the baby, so I knew it was going to be a hard month. When said month came, we found out I was pregnant again! The day I found out, I instantly got worried. I stayed up all night, thought about every little thing going on with me. ‘Maybe there’s something wrong! What if I DO something wrong?’ I really tried to not get too excited about the baby, but at times, it’s really hard to hold yourself back. I immediately called an OBGYN, set up an appointment, and told them I had taken a pregnancy test and I got a positive. Their office likes to wait until after a missed period to set an appointment. That’s usually about seven weeks. However, I started to spot at six weeks again. I called their office, told them, and they got me in for an appointment quickly just to get the RhoGAM shot, in hopes that would help the baby. If the baby was my husband’s blood type, there was the risk that my body would fight the baby. He is O positive and I am O negative.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

Over the next few days, the bleeding and cramping got worse. I called the OBGYN and let them know a miscarriage was progressing. My mom was so helpful. She told me when I felt the cramping pain, to push, which ultimately felt good. When I wasn’t feeling well, I took a hot shower.

On October 8, while I was in the shower, I pushed the baby out. It was a clot about the size of a grape. After I realized what had happened, I cried a lot and then messaged my husband to let him know we lost the baby. After you lose a baby, it isn’t mandatory to get your blood checked until your hormone levels are back to normal. A couple of days later, my hormones were regular.

At this point, my husband and I wanted to know why. ‘Why am I having so many miscarriages? Why are they all so early? What can we do to stop it from happening?’ The OBGYN really didn’t have any answers for us. They said it wasn’t really a major concern until three consecutive miscarriages. But my husband and I pushed for answers and they were willing to try figuring things out and help us.

We went to an appointment at Malone Women’s Health on November 4th, where they decided that they were going to do a minor surgery where they had an x-ray over my uterus and they would put different color dye inside. It was to test the tilt of my uterus and a few other things I can’t quite remember. Before they would do it, they would take a urine sample and there was no sex allowed the days leading up to the surgery. Of course, we agreed. We wanted to figure out what was going on so we could have a baby! After the appointment, we went over to the hospital because that’s when my mother-in-law works, so we were going to go have lunch with her. I happened to check my phone and saw that I had a missed call and a voicemail from my OBGYN. I called them back and received the news that I was pregnant again! We were shocked. It took me a while to process the information because I didn’t think I could get pregnant so quickly after a miscarriage. Of course, being pregnant again, I was back on high alert.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

I started to spot about a week after we found out. We immediately went to the hospital in Malone, where they did a few tests and an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, we were able to see the screen and saw the little flutter of the baby’s heart. I immediately started to cry, knowing the baby was alive. Its heart was beating! The results from that visit told me that I had a subchorionic hematoma, which means there is a small tear in the placenta which could’ve been from implanting. It’s pretty common at the beginning of pregnancy but can lead to miscarriage if it grows.

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

I had called Malone Women’s Health to inform them of the news and they kept the same appointment, which was four weeks away. I was not happy. We expected to be taken seriously. However, Malone Women’s Health didn’t see me as someone who was at risk of another miscarriage, so we decided we were going to go to Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, where we have been completely satisfied with my care. They got us in for an appointment quickly and I got to have an ultrasound as early as seven weeks.

As of right now, I am 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I have been to the hospital five times, and I have an appointment with my OBGYN every two weeks. The baby is doing really great, and we are hoping for a healthy delivery and a healthy baby!”

Courtesy of Shayla Pickering

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shayla Pickering of Chateaugay, NY. You can follow her journey on TikTok. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear about your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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