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Never give up

by Jennifer Clark

Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999

I married my high school sweetheart in November 1994. In June of 1995, we decided to start trying to have a baby. I was so excited! I had always dreamed of having children (I wanted four), and couldn't wait to have a family. It took us nine months to finally get pregnant. We were beginning to wonder if something was wrong. I was so naive, I thought I would get pregnant within the first couple of months. We found out we were pregnant the second week of March 1996. Everything was going fine - I had a little morning sickness but nothing major. I was scheduled to see my doctor the first week in April. They told me to bring a blank tape so we could tape the ultrasound. I could not wait for the day of the appointment. My mom went with me because my husband couldn't take off from work that day. I went back for the ultrasound and everything seemed okay at first. Then the nurse looked a little concerned and said she couldn't pick up the heartbeat. She said not to worry, that wasn't unusual. She scheduled another appointment for the following week for a second ultrasound. I really wasn't too concerned. I really thought everything would be okay. When I went back the next week, I had so much confidence I actually went by myself. The nurse started the ultrasound and said she thought she could see the heartbeat, but she would get the doctor to look at it just to make sure. The doctor came right in and said she thought she could see the heartbeat. As she looked closer, she changed her mind and said there was no heartbeat. She told me to get dressed and come in to her office so we could talk. I was in a state of shock. I didn't cry, just got dressed and went in. She told me that the baby was dead and I would need to schedule a D&C. That was it - she never said she was sorry, or even tried to break it to me gently. I was numb. She told me to call the next morning to schedule the D&C. I got to my car as quickly as possible and cried my eyes out. I don't think I've ever cried so hard in my life. My husband was still at work, so I drove straight to my mom's house. I never called the doctor's office back, instead I made an appointment for a second opinion. I didn't get in to see the next doctor until May 1. He confirmed that the baby was gone. He told me that the baby had stopped growing around 6 weeks, but I had never miscarried. We scheduled a D&C for the next morning. That was one of the most awful days of my life.

My doctor suggested we wait 3 months before trying to get pregnant again. It seemed like an eternity, but by the time 3 months had passed I was scared to try again. I found out I was pregnant for the second time in November 1996. Again, I was so excited and just couldn't wait to finally have a baby! I scheduled an appointment for a pregnancy test because I had taken a home test and gotten a very faint positive result. I went in for the pregnancy test and they called me later that afternoon to confirm that I was pregnant. I was so happy, but I could tell that my husband was more reserved this time. I woke up the next morning with cramps and bleeding. I couldn't believe that I was losing this baby so soon. I called the doctor and he told me that I would have what seemed to be a heavy period. He told me to call back when all the bleeding had stopped and they would do another ultrasound to make sure everything had passed. Once again, I was so heartbroken but determined that I would have a baby someday.

We then decided to wait a while before trying again. I found out I was pregnant for the third time in May of 1997. Again, we were thrilled but very cautious. I had an appointment to see the doctor at 8 weeks, but never made it that far. I started bleeding around my seventh week. The bleeding started pretty light, so I thought maybe I would be okay. The doctor said this was normal - just to take it easy and not to worry. Then I started cramping. I remember standing in the bathroom crying. My husband walked in and we hugged each other. There were no words left to say. I just remember thinking "What is wrong with me?". This miscarriage was so hard because I had to miscarry on my own and actually pass the baby. I just wanted to die. I didn't care anymore. All around me people were having babies and it just made me sick. My doctor referred me to a reproductive specialist at a nearby hospital. It took me 2 months to decide to go see him.

I first saw the specialist in August of 1997. He promised me that I would have a baby. I really wanted to believe him, but it was so hard to. He ran several tests on me, but couldn't find any problems. He finally said there was just one more test to run. He drew blood from myself and my husband and sent it off to be tested. We waited a month for the results to come in. We got the test results in January of 1998. It turned out that the antibodies in my blood were killing my babies. When I got pregnant, my antibodies would fight the pregnancy off by sending clotted blood to the placenta. He prescribed a blood thinner for me. They taught me how to give myself shots (I would have to take 2 a day for almost the entire pregnancy) and I had to take one baby aspirin a day. I was so excited!

We started trying to get pregnant with the next cycle. I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time the very next month (February 1998). Again, we were thrilled and had a little more hope for this pregnancy. I adjusted easily to the shots - I would have done just about anything for this baby. My pregnancy went great. I felt wonderful, my belly started getting bigger and I just can't explain the joy I felt. I first felt the baby kick in May. I was so in love - there wasn't a minute that went by that I didn't think about that baby. When I finally made it to 28 weeks, I began to relax a little and really let myself dream about being a mother. I delivered my baby girl on November 6, 1998 (9 days overdue) and she was the most beautiful baby I've ever laid my eyes on. She weighed 8 lbs, 10 oz and had a head full of hair. She's now one year old and the absolute love of my life!

The pain has dulled with the birth of my daughter, but I will never forget the pain of losing my first three babies. I hope this story will bring hope to someone. I had almost given up on having a baby, but I'm so glad I didn't. Please don't give up hope!

Jennifer Clark

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