Miscarriage, Pregnancy Loss, and the Military

Before I experienced my first miscarriage the thought of losing a pregnancy seemed like a far away thought.

Of course I knew it could happen and I know it did happen, but at the time I didn’t know anyone who had experienced a loss. It was one of those things that you think, “Yea, but it won’t happen to me.” Before becoming the one of the 1 in 4 I was naive to the fact that so many women around me had experienced such terrible pain in their lives. I wasn’t privy to the conversations- not because I wasn’t “allowed” to hear them, but because no one was talking about it.

My first daughter was a textbook pregnancy and birth. No complications, each appointment was routine, and birth was uncomplicated. She came out beautiful and perfect with her tiny ten fingers and ten toes (and now I have come to learn, her huge personality). My husband left for deployment before she was even 3 months old, and he didn’t return to us until she was 10 months old. An 8 week training course took him away 2 weeks after his homecoming (because, military,) so we didn’t feel like a real family again until she was over a year old. At this time we decided to start trying for another baby, and we didn’t think anything of it because we had conceived our first fairly quickly.

A few months later, after a trip across the country for the holidays, I discovered I was pregnant. It was seemingly odd, however, because I had just had my monthly visitor the week before. I didn’t put much thought into it though. We were just excited that we would finally have a little sibling for our oldest.

Our joy was soon shot down when I discovered that I was not actually pregnant- my “period” had actually been a miscarriage but my HCG levels were still high enough for a pregnancy test to detect. We were devastated.

Six short weeks later I found out I was pregnant again. This time we were a little more cautious, but my husband and I both thought that we had “done our time” and that it wouldn’t happen again. Because of a gut instinct about a week after we found out, I took another pregnancy test. The line was lighter and it took longer to show up than it had the week before. Although this is not a scientific or reliable way to test for the viability of a pregnancy I knew that I was losing this baby, too.

It was months later that we learned we were pregnant again. We had just moved across the country and into a new home, and I felt like it was the perfect time for a brand new beginning. I was ready to shake off everything that happened in the first half of the year and prepare our home for our new bundle. But at our first appointment the doctor couldn’t find a baby.

Nothing was there – no baby, no heartbeat.

I was technically “pregnant” according to my HCG levels, and my body continued to act as though I was carrying a life. After 12 weeks of waiting I finally went in for a D&C.

Three miscarriages. Three times we made phone calls to tell the good news, and three more times we had to make phone calls to take it back. Three doctor’s appointments where they said, “I’m sorry. You are having a spontaneous abortion.” Three lives we hoped would come into fruition that escaped us. Three times we argued with doctors about why nothing was being done to figure out why this was happening. Three times I cried sitting on a cold exam table wondering what was next.