March 24th, 2021: After trying to become pregnant for 5 months, we finally were able to celebrate and start planning for our prayed upon little sunset baby. Five days past ovulation, I tested positive. Tracking my cycles and ovulation dates became an obsession for me, and little did we know this was just the beginning.
April 28th, 2021: Our world came crashing down on us. A regular nightly routine of our pelvic floor exercises followed by mom and dad to be books, with some mild cramping that I tried to sleep off. I woke up on April 28th, cramps were gone, so I was good to go (or so I thought). Got ready for work and proceeded to the medicine drawer, where I gulped down my prenatal vitamins and folic acid.
After 2 hours at work, I started to feel those same cramps again, but getting stronger and stronger. I took a quick bathroom break (because if you work with children, you know how quick those bathroom breaks are). But this time, it wasn’t so quick. I sat down, clenching my stomach in pain, seeing blood dripping down my legs. I froze.
I eventually gathered myself together and kneeled on the bathroom floor, praying for my baby to be ok, rocking back and forth in sheer panic, with tears streaming down my face. I called my doctor and left a voicemail. I called Brandon, who immediately told me to come home. How? How can I just leave the children I am caring for to come home? I told him NO, hung up, wiped the smudged makeup off my face, put my masks back on (thank god for masks), and went back into the room as if nothing had happened. If I ignored it, I would be fine. Right? Wrong. After an hour (which seemed like days), something clicked in me and said, “you have to care for yourself before you can care for these children.”
I took an early lunch, and Brandon and I headed to the emergency, where we begged and pleaded to allow Brandon to stay with me (covid restrictions). Blood tests, urine tests, ultrasounds, etc. Just to be told, “your sac is empty,” here is a miscarriage pamphlet. Jeeze, thanks, as if a purple pamphlet is going to help heal this wound. Our hearts were shattered. And this was just the beginning.
September 5th, 2021: We were pregnant again. 1 year to the date of our wedding anniversary. We had spent the weekend at our favorite spot in prince Edward county- sandbanks provincial park. It was pure bliss. We connected so well with each other, truly enjoyed every moment of our weekend away. Swam in the ice-cold waters of Lake Ontario, sunbathed on the beach, walked some trails, went to some local breweries, read some books, camped out inside a magical dome overlooking a bird sanctuary, laughed so hard at our crazy adventures, and created our beautiful rainbow baby. I was obsessed with tracking my cycle and ovulation. However, for some reason, I actually ovulated twice during the month of august- this pregnancy was somewhat of a “surprise.” I took the test after my husband said, “we haven’t tried in a while” (as I laughed at him, knowing exactly what that REALLY meant). We were heading to a family dinner, and I knew drinks would be offered. So I thought I should take a test just to make sure I could have a drink.
Within 5 seconds, I was looking at a positive pregnancy test. “No, this doesn’t make sense. I didn’t ovulate when we BD”. So I drove to the store down the road and grabbed two more pregnancy tests (why are those damn things so expensive). And again, positive. I was now starring at three positive pregnancy tests. Not sure if I should cry in happiness or cry in fear of another pregnancy loss. So I got on my knees on my bedroom floor and cried out so many emotions. I was excited, of course! Little did I know I would spend the next eight weeks constantly wiping and inspecting the toilet paper for blood.
September 20ish, 2021: (days are a blur) My dad had been admitted to the ICU. Brandon and I had conversations around when we would tell our family again- it’s hard when you’ve been thru a pregnancy loss prior, but it’s ten times harder when your dad is trying to grasp onto every last moment on earth. We decided to tell my parents. It just seemed like the right moment. My family and I had been bombarded with shitty news, and my dad’s health was declining rapidly. “How can he die not knowing he had another grandbaby on the way?!” So we told him while in the ICU. We hugged, we cried, we laughed. But my heart still felt heavy. I couldn’t get to the point of feeling excited. I was angry with myself. “Alicia, be grateful. Be f*cking grateful”. And this is where gratitude came into play. For the next seven weeks, I would spend my days covering up my painful emotions that were too hard to feel with insincere gratitude.
October 7th, 2021: Canadian Thanksgiving weekend approaching… 3 days before our families get-togethers, I entered the ultrasound room. A dark, cold place with horrible memories. But I tried to focus on my healthy 7-week old baby. The technician greeted me, a lovely woman with a soft-spoken voice. We went over my previous miscarriage, how far along I should be, and all the important medical “stuff.” I could barely answer her questions as I was focused on not peeing all over the floor after drinking three glasses of water an hour prior to the examination. She rubbed the cold jelly on my belly, and time went so slow. She was quiet. I was quiet. All I could hear was the machine taking pictures. After what seemed like an hour, she said, “are you comfortable with a”… and I didn’t even let her finish her sentence before knowing she needed to make an internal ultrasound. I ran to the bathroom, called Brandon, and sobbed. I knew what was happening. I’ve been thru this before. As wonderful as Brandon is, he tried to look on the positive side of things – meanwhile, my gut told me differently.
The technician proceeded with an internal examination. Again, the room was quiet. I wished Brandon could have been there to help ease the tension (covid restrictions didn’t allow him to be there). So I filmed it for him instead. After 25 minutes, the technician showed me the sac. She said, “your sac looks empty, are you sure your seven weeks along”… am I sure!? Am I ever f*cking sure. I had been obsessed with tracking my cycles for the last year. I’m pretty f*cking sure I know I’m seven weeks pregnant. She tried to look again. “Sorry, it looks you’re only 4-5 Weeks along”. And packed up her things and left the room.
I sat there, vulnerable as can be. “She has to be wrong. This doesn’t make sense,” I thought to myself. I gathered myself, walked out of the building only to find a parking ticket on my windshield as I had overparked for three extra minutes “mother f*cker,” I screamed as I got into my vehicle. With the music blasting all the way home, I sobbed. I knew what it meant but didn’t want to face it. I waited three days for my doctor to call me to discuss the results. I had started to have brown spotting.“Oh how fitting,” my body says …” let’s have a miscarriage on the exact day annually recognized as pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.”
October 15th, 2021: As a nice reminder that “f*ck silver linings” has become this year’s life slogan for me. I am sitting in the Emergency Department due to week-long bleeding during our 2nd pregnancy, while on my hands and knees praying for my grandpa, who is three floors above me, and my dad, who is grasping onto every last moment on earth. I ask myself, “what the f*ck, how do we keep ending up here”??? As if spending the last three weeks in the ICU with my dad wasn’t enough, I now get to endure the last bit of a broken heart that I have left to try to pick myself up off the floor and start over again… start over again. Those two words on repeat. But how? How do you “start over again” after having your heart ripped out of your womb…twice. I don’t know how, but in some way or another, I will find the faith and strength that my dad has modeled to us our whole life, and we will “start over again.” If you have a bicornuate uterus, it means that your uterus is heart-shaped. The uterus is the organ in a woman’s body that holds a baby. This condition is sometimes referred to as a “heart-shaped” womb because it actually looks like a heart.
October 15th, 2021: The doctor called again to discuss some things that were overlooked on the ultrasound from 2 weeks ago. She said it appears that I was born with a rare “heart-shaped uterus” in which the two sides did not completely fuse as they normally do. So many questions were running through my head. Why wasn’t this noted on my first ultrasound back in March during our first pregnancy loss?! Also, NOW they want to become concerned about my genetic blood clotting disorder. Ugh, so frustrating that we don’t look into things until they become a problem. Why can’t we be proactive with health care issues???
I am trying not to stress about things I can’t control. Not sure what this heart-shaped uterus means from here, but I’m off to do my Google research that will likely tell me I’m dying. Some days it sure feels like it. Tuesday, October 26th, 2021: I lost my hero. A true inspiration and the best role model a daughter could have. I could write storybooks about my father’s last 62 years. But words are simply not enough.