Our Hospital Stay

I still get emotional when thinking about our time in the hospital. It was perfect and beautiful. Recovering from a c-section is no joke, and there were times that I couldn’t wait to be home and away from the constant vital checks and nurse visits. Yet now that we’re home, I realize how beautiful that time was, and I’m so nostalgic for those days. Here are some photos from those first few quiet hours to the day we put them in their “going home” outfits. Now excuse me while I go cry my eyes out.

Twin Pregnancy Belly Photos - Weeks 8 to 38

Well here we are. 38 weeks pregnant with twins! Looking back, I’m so glad we took these belly photos throughout the entire pregnancy. I love seeing not only how much my belly changed but also how much our backyard changed during that time. The first photo was taken on August 4, 2018. I was 8 weeks. We took a photo every two weeks until we reached 35 weeks, at which time we started taking one every week.

All photos, with the exception of week 12, were taken in our backyard in roughly the same spot. I had Danny stand in front of the lens while I set my camera and then we switched places. (We were on vacation during week 12, hence the beach photo). Some photos were taken during the morning light, others right smack in middle of the afternoon, and some during the last light of the day. I’m freezing in many of the photos but only caved and wore my coat on the day when the windchill was in the negative digits.

I’ve gained 40 pounds during the entire pregnancy and boy did my belly grow quickly!

August. 8 weeks

August. 8 weeks

August. 10 weeks

August. 10 weeks

August. 12 weeks

August. 12 weeks

September. 14 weeks

September. 14 weeks

September. 16 weeks

September. 16 weeks

October. 18 weeks

October. 18 weeks

October. 20 weeks

October. 20 weeks

November. 22 weeks

November. 22 weeks

November. 24 weeks

November. 24 weeks

December. 26 weeks

December. 26 weeks

December. 28 weeks

December. 28 weeks

January. 30 weeks

January. 30 weeks

January. 32 weeks

January. 32 weeks

February. 34 weeks

February. 34 weeks

February. 35 weeks

February. 35 weeks

February. 36 weeks

February. 36 weeks

February. 37 weeks

February. 37 weeks

February. 38 weeks.

February. 38 weeks.




My Miscarriage Story

Baby M-4.jpg

Let’s talk about miscarriage. Let’s talk about it because it’s so common and so life changing and yet so little talked about. Let’s get into what it’s really like to experience one, for it’s nothing like I thought it would be. Let’s talk about it until it’s no longer so taboo and uncomfortable to talk about.

My story is not unique. Women experience miscarriages every day. And like with pregnancy, every miscarriage is a little different. This is my story. It may be similar to others. It may be nothing like others. But the point is that it is not special. It is far from unusual. Medically speaking, it is completely normal.

I will try to avoid too many gross details, but I will be explicit. When I realized what was happening to me, I searched the internet and read as many first hand accounts as I could. I wanted to understand what was happening to my body, beyond what my pregnancy book could tell me. I wanted to read real life stories. And so I’m sharing this in hopes it can serve the same purpose for others.

January 2018. About 4 weeks pregnant with Baby M. It would be another month before I heard the bad news.

January 2018. About 4 weeks pregnant with Baby M. It would be another month before I heard the bad news.

My Miscarriage Story

After struggling to conceive, in January 2018 I finally learned I was pregnant. I got four beautiful positive pregnancy tests. I was nauseous. I was exhausted. I was bloated. Everything felt as it should. I had no indication that anything was wrong.

My first ultrasound was at 8 weeks. We went in excited to hear the heartbeat. What we heard instead was my doctor say “I’m going to tell you right now that this doesn’t look good.”

I should have been two days shy of being 9 weeks pregnant. The ultrasound, however, showed that the embryo had stopped developing at 6 weeks. My body, on the other hand, carried on as if everything was okay.

My doctor checked and checked but there was no heartbeat. The pregnancy was over.

Looking back, I did have one sign. That morning of the ultrasound, I woke up feeling less nauseous. I barely thought anything of it. I was almost to 9 weeks, after all. I thought maybe the nausea was easing.

I sat in the exam room and felt numb. I could feel Danny gripping my arm, but I couldn’t look at him. If I looked at him, all the emotions would come. I just kept my eyes focused on my doctor.

She explained I had three options. Option 1: I could get a D&C, which is a minor surgery.  Option 2: I could wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally, which could take days or weeks. Option 3: I could take a medication that would induce the start of the miscarriage.

I immediately knew I didn’t want to do the surgery. That felt too impersonal, too clinical. Nor did I want to sit and wait for it to happen on its own. What if it happened at work? And so I choose the medication.

I continued to sit there in numb disbelief while my doctor described the process. Words floated through my foggy brain. Heavy bleeding. Contractions. All the while I kept thinking that this couldn’t be happening. There must be a mistake.

And then it hit me: we would have to start all over again. The blood tests. The fertility meds. All of it. I felt overwhelming exhaustion at the thought.

The ride home was silent. I tried to process my new story in my head. I no longer had a baby due in September. Though I was still technically carrying Baby M, I was no longer growing a baby. It was over.

The emotions finally flooded out in hysterics when we reached my parents’ house. Telling each and every family member was painful and left us both an emotional mess each time.

This all happened on a Wednesday. For various reasons, we decided to wait until Saturday to take the medicine. And so for the next two days, I sat at home in a fog, constantly alternating between numb disbelief and hysterical crying.

Saturday morning came. We had specific instructions from my doctor. It would take several hours for the bleeding to begin. We were told exactly what was too much bleeding and other signs that I should go to the emergency room.

Danny and I tried to make the best of the day. We sat on the couch all day and watched old episodes of Friends and The Office. We watched Lord of the Rings and the winter olympics, which had just started the night before.

At first I felt nauseous. I got really cold. Then later diarrhea began. Later still the cramping and bleeding started. It wasn’t much at first. At its heaviest point that evening, it felt like I was peeing blood. Danny sat on the rim of the bathtub and held my hand through the worst of it.  

Then it was over. The bleeding eased. Blood clots continued but were much smaller. Everything had been manageable. I never felt like I needed to go to the ER. We were able to make the day as comfortable as possible.

The following Tuesday I had an ultrasound to check that my uterus was clear. My doctor could see what appeared to be some blood and tissue that hadn’t passed yet, but she said that it would over the coming weeks. In the meantime, I could go back to running and my normal life activities. The only other thing I had to do was get a blood test done every week so my doctor could monitor the hCG hormone level in my blood. (The hCG hormone is the pregnancy hormone that gives you a positive home pregnancy test. It takes weeks to drop after a miscarriage).

I threw myself back into running and strength training. It helped me cope with the emotions, and I was determined to get stronger for the next pregnancy.

Each week I got my blood test done and the hCG remained stubbornly high. My body seemed to be as reluctant to let go as I was. Finally, 4 weeks after I took the medication, I came home from a run to find I was bleeding heavily. I called my nurse the next morning, thinking this was the bleeding my doctor said would happen. My nurse instead said it was my period.

This is the part of a miscarriage that I was really unprepared for. The nurse warned me that the bleeding would be heavy and could last ten days. Any of the blood and tissue left behind would finally pass. Cramps would be worse than usual. Although I could wear a tampon if I wanted, she highly recommended using maxi pads so that I could easily monitor how much I was bleeding. I was once again told what was too much and when to call the doctor's office or go to the ER.

And so began the period from hell. I’m not one to usually take ibuprofen during my period, but I was taking it every few hours to deal with the cramps. One day the bleeding got so heavy that I had to call my nurse. She sent me to the hospital on my lunch break to get a complete blood count done to make sure my body was handling the heavy bleeding. Luckily it was. My body was managing.

I kept working. I kept running. I kept dealing with the blood clots and the cramping. About seven days after it began, I got home from work and realized the bleeding had increased again. That evening I was finally able to pass the tissue that had still been lingering in my uterus. It was both fascinating and horrifying and felt like going through the miscarriage all over again, except this time I was mentally unprepared for it.

After that the bleeding slowed. The hCG level in my blood finally started to drop significantly. The worst was over.

Eight weeks after my miscarriage, I got a call from my nurse saying that the hCG level was finally down to a negative level. Once we were ready emotionally, we could start trying to get pregnant again.

Although we did start trying right away, and I did eventually go back on Clomid again, it took a long time to heal emotionally. There were days I was okay and there were days I was not okay, and it took me a long time to understand it was okay not to be okay.

Five-ish months after my miscarriage, we got pregnant again. Although to this day the emotions from the miscarriage are still raw, this current pregnancy, more than anything, has helped me move on.

Looking back, I think that I was lucky. My miscarriage story could have been so much worse. I didn’t wake up in middle of the night surrounded by blood. I was never hospitalized. I was able to hear the terrible news from my doctor, who calmly and rationally explained what was happening. I was able to manage everything at home, and I had family in town who brought us meals and helped us through it.

At the end of that first ultrasound when we heard the horrible news, my doctor said, “I’m going to say this last because I want you to remember it. You did nothing wrong. There’s nothing you did or ate or drank that caused this to happen.”

It’s what I needed to hear and what every women needs to hear.

So let’s keep talking about miscarriage. Let’s keep sharing our stories.



A Look Back at the First Trimester

I’m going to start this blog by taking a look back at my first trimester (because now that I’m 34 weeks pregnant with these boys, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic).

First Trimester (Weeks 4 - 13):

What life was like when I got pregnant: When we got pregnant with the twins, it was about five-ish months after my miscarriage (and about a year and 2 months after we first started trying to get pregnant). I had worked my way back up to running about 15 - 20 miles a week and was doing strength training 4 - 5 days a week (which was honestly one of my coping mechanisms after losing Baby M). Earlier that month, I had just run a 10k, one of the only races that I did while trying to conceive. I was not in my peak running shape, but I was in excellent shape, nonetheless. I was on my second round of Clomid, a very common fertility drug that stimulates ovulation.

July 8. About 4 weeks pregnant. On this day I got a second positive pregnancy test. After going through a miscarriage during our first pregnancy, I was afraid to get too excited. I felt at peace, though, and ready for whatever was to come.

July 8. About 4 weeks pregnant. On this day I got a second positive pregnancy test. After going through a miscarriage during our first pregnancy, I was afraid to get too excited. I felt at peace, though, and ready for whatever was to come.

When and how I found out I was pregnant: On June 28th, I had a progesterone blood test done, which is a standard test when on Clomid. The amount of progesterone in the blood signifies whether ovulation occurred. I finally got a good call from my nurse saying that my progesterone levels were excellent and, if I missed my period, to take a home pregnancy test. I had no idea how I was going to wait a week to find out.

A few days later, I was out on a morning run. It was a hot and very humid morning. I had to stop twice to take walk breaks, which is something I never do. I knew it could just be the high humidity, but there was something else I noticed. My heart rate felt different. It felt different in a way that I had only experienced once before, and that was when I was pregnant with Baby M.

The next morning, even though it was still a little early in my cycle, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Two faint pink lines appeared. Several days later I took another one, and the two pink lines were much darker. I was definitely pregnant. My doctor’s office had me do another blood test, just to check my hormone levels, which turned out to be, to use my doctor’s word, “fabulous.” I finally started to let myself get excited.

July 25. A selfie Danny and I sent my parents right outside of the doctor’s office.

July 25. A selfie Danny and I sent my parents right outside of the doctor’s office.

When we found out it was twins: My doctor knew we were nervous and offered to do an ultrasound at 6 weeks instead of the normal 8 weeks, just to give us a peace of mind. On July 25th, we went in hoping to hear a heartbeat. I’ll never forget that moment when my doctor moved the ultrasound wand and two tiny embryos appeared, and we heard two heartbeats. By far one of the best moments of my life.

July 25. 6 weeks. The day we found out we were having twins. Danny took these photos of me when we got home from the ultrasound. I was so nauseous but so excited.

July 25. 6 weeks. The day we found out we were having twins. Danny took these photos of me when we got home from the ultrasound. I was so nauseous but so excited.

Pregnancy symptoms: My earliest symptoms were sore breasts, and I was very bloated. Then, part way through week 5, the nausea set in. Weeks 5 through 8 were the worst. I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t even stand the smell of my spice drawer (especially the garlic powder and smoked paprika). I had to miss a day of work during week 8 and spent the entire weekend on the couch while Danny brought me food. The nausea started to ease a little during week 9 and went away completely during week 11.

Food aversions/cravings: Once the nausea set in, I couldn’t eat any of my normal foods. I couldn’t stand the smell of cooked vegetables or meat. All I wanted was bagels and cream cheese. And not packaged bagels. I sent Danny out on many trips to Panera Bread and Bruegger’s Bagels. I’m pretty sure that during those few weeks, I ate more bagels than I had in the past ten years combined. The only other things I could stomach were pasta, potatoes, fresh fruit, smoothies with yogurt, and oatmeal. Once the nausea started to ease, I was able to stomach some meat again, as long as Danny cooked it outside on the grill where I couldn’t smell it cooking. I also started to crave salads with lots of olives, crispy chickpeas, and vinegary dressings. By week 12, I was finally able to ease back into my normal diet again.

When I felt my best: I felt my best when outside walking. With the exception of the few days when my nausea was so bad that I was stuck on the couch, I tried to go outside and walk or run every day. The fresh air and exercise always helped the nausea.

When I felt my worst: At work. Being stuck inside with all the various smells from coworkers’ breakfasts and lunches made my nausea so much worse. Plus I was exhausted and struggled to stay awake at my desk.

September 2. 12 weeks. An iPhone image that my mom snapped of me during one of our daily walks on vacation.

September 2. 12 weeks. An iPhone image that my mom snapped of me during one of our daily walks on vacation.

Exercise: I noticed a change in my heart rate immediately. Starting as early as 4 weeks, my normal “easy” running pace slowed and I had to take walk breaks. At first, I was a little nervous about running too hard, especially in the heat and humidity. I cut back my miles significantly and kept an almost constant eye on my heart rate. But at my first ultrasound, my doctor encouraged me to keep running and even told me that I didn’t have to worry about my heart rate. She said to just stay hydrated. So I stopped wearing my heart rate monitor and just started going by feel. With the exception of the week when my nausea was at its worse, I was able to keep running or walking two or three miles almost every day. By week 12, I could once again easily run a mile without stopping but always had to take so many pee breaks during each run or walk.

Body changes: My body started changing immediately. By week 10 I had to start wearing loose tops at work to hide the tiny bump that was already starting to form. By week 11, I had a very noticeable bump. Luckily that coincided with my vacation, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to hide it from coworkers. When I got back home, though, there was no more hiding it. Despite how much my body changed, I only gained 3 pounds during the first trimester.

8 weeks.

8 weeks.

12 weeks.

12 weeks.

12 weeks.

12 weeks.