It is always so incredible to us to read and see how much a woman will endure on the road to starting a family. To some it comes easy, to others it is a fight from start to finish. Read this eye-opening post with one happy ending to see what we mean!
John and I got married in September of 2006 and got pregnant for the first time in January of 2008. I will admit, this pregnancy was not planned but we were excited. Needless to say, I never made it to my first prenatal appointment. I lost the baby around 5 weeks. My OB/GYN would go on to call this a “chemical pregnancy” which basically means that your body says it’s pregnant but nothing really ever started to develop.
We got pregnant for the second time in July of 2008. This one was planned, but as I look back on it now I wonder what we were thinking We were young, in love, and eager to start growing our family. After a handful of positive pregnancy tests, we were ecstatic. However, I would go on to miscarry on Labor Day weekend. I met with my doctor the week following and she very kindly and gently explained that there was nothing I did or didn’t do but just something that happens sometimes. Although that was comforting to hear, it still didn’t ease the pain. My mind raced going over every last detail of what I ate, my activities, etc. I couldn’t come up with an answer, we had done everything right and I knew that I would drive myself crazy if I didn’t just accept the fact that sometimes it just happens and we can’t explain it.
So fast forward 4 years…..
I don’t want to confuse anyone, we weren’t trying to get pregnant. Life has an interesting way of working itself out. John and I would go through job losses, moving in with his parents, finding new jobs, finding a more permanent place to live, and so on. The timing just never seemed right to try starting a family again. To be honest though, when is the time ever right? We decided though that we would start trying again in the fall of 2012. Just a little disclosure, we have only ever tried for 1 month. The getting pregnant part has never been a problem. This time was no different. We got a positive pregnancy test at the end of September. Tears flowed down our faces but we were both cautiously optimistic. My first appointment was set for the middle of October. It didn’t dawn on me to have John come. In my experience, the first appointment always involved a lot of handouts and brochures and most likely no ultrasound. However, because of our experience last time, I got an ultrasound. The baby (but really just the sac) was measuring right on track at almost 6 weeks. It didn’t look like much but according to the experts it looked right. They wanted me to come back in a week for another ultrasound to make sure that things were progressing.
We went in on October 18th and already the baby was measuring behind which isn’t necessarily an immediate concern but they also couldn’t find the heartbeat they should be able to see at this point in a pregnancy. This obviously wasn’t good news but the ultrasound tech assured us that we could just be a little early, our dates could be a little off. They weren’t optimistic but still had a glimmer of hope. We went back in on October 25th for just one more ultrasound to see if anything had changed. Unfortunately, the baby was measuring way behind at this point and still no heartbeat. We were devastated. We thought that this time would be different. We were in a different place in our lives. I was healthier after losing almost 50 pounds. We had done everything right. I had been taking my prenatal vitamins, getting lots of sleep, eating lots of healthy food, and had cut out alcohol a month before even trying. All I kept coming back to was ” what did we do wrong?”
After meeting with our OB/GYN, I decided that I was going to wait and let my body miscarry on its own. It would be exactly 1 month before that would happen. I can honestly say I have never experienced so much pain in my life. Although I knew it was coming, it was horrible. At the same time, I was relieved it was over. After my recovery, we met with my OB/GYN who felt like it was just a fluke. Most miscarriages that happen that early are a result of a chromosomal error. Even then, it’s hard to know for sure. We did some pretty basic tests and everything came back normal. The funny thing about insurance companies is that they won’t cover any of the “in depth” testing until you have had 3 miscarriages. Since my first pregnancy was considered a “chemical pregnancy”, our tally was only at 2. My OB said to wait until I had a normal cycle and gave us the go ahead to try again. One thing we were going to try though was putting me on some extra Progesterone. Progesterone helps to sustain the pregnancy until the placenta takes over at about 10 weeks. Let me tell you, Progesterone suppositories are not fun. We will just leave it at that…
Come January, we were ready. Once again, I got pregnant right away. This time, we waited until I was almost 8 weeks pregnant for my first appointment. We went in on February 20th for our first prenatal appointment and ultrasound. We were SHOCKED when we saw a heartbeat and a baby that was measuring right on track. You see, we had come to expect the worst. We were more prepared for bad news than we were for good news. However, that bubble burst really quickly because the ultrasound tech was concerned about the heartbeat. It was measuring a little on the low side. We were instructed by the nurse practitioner to come back in about a week just to make sure the heartbeat had picked up. We went back in on February 25th and got the bad news, no heartbeat and a baby that was measuring behind. Seriously!? There was part of us that knew it was too good to be true but we had never gotten to this point before. We saw a heartbeat and a baby! What was going on!?
Instead of waiting this time, we decided that I would have a D & C. So now what?
Well, we were referred to the Center for Reproductive Medicine by my OB/GYN to meet with an infertility specialist. She explained that it wasn’t for infertility reasons because clearly we have no problem getting pregnant but for “recurrent pregnancy loss”. That makes it sound so nice, doesn’t it? She felt like it was time for us to go through some more invasive testing before we tried getting pregnant again. Luckily, our tally was now at 3 which meant that our insurance company would cover the appointments, tests, etc.
We met with the infertility specialist on April 23rd. She came up with a list of about 5 tests that she thought we should start with. A couple of them were simple blood tests, a genetic test, and a saline infused ultrasound to make sure that everything anatomically was fine. Everything came back normal, with the exception of the genetic test. We found out that I am a carrier for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA for short). I won’t go into detail explaining what it is, you can look it up if you want to, but it is a horrible, horrible genetic disorder and one of the most common causes of infant death. Children born with SMA normally don’t live past the age of 2. Now with most genetic disorders, in order for the child to be born with it, both parents have to be carriers. So, our next step was getting John tested. You see, they don’t test both of you at the same time because unless one of you comes back as a carrier of something, it doesn’t matter if the other one is or not. John went in for his test on June 4th and we got the news we were dreading on June 11th. John is also a carrier of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. What are the odds, you ask, of both parents being a carrier of SMA? I think they are about 1 in 4,800. As one of my dear friends put it, “we are a special breed”. Basically it means that we have a 1 in 4 chance every time we get pregnant of having a baby with SMA. We can also produce a carrier of SMA which means down the road they will have to go through the same genetic testing that we did with their future spouse.
The interesting thing about this though is that it doesn’t necessarily explain our miscarriages. All of the doctors I have talked to have said that there is no correlation between SMA and miscarriages. So that’s great, we get this answer but it’s not really an answer at all.
So all that being said and without writing another novel, we decided to pursue domestic infant adoption. It’s funny how life works out sometimes because adoption is something that John and I have always talked about and always hoped to do someday. To be honest, part of us had always felt God pushing us in this direction. I think part of me was just too scared to listen. We officially started the process in October of 2014, were home study approved in January of 2015 and were officially matched with our birth mom on March 11th. Our baby girl is due July 19th and we could not be more ecstatic. The journey to her has been long and full of many tears and doubts but it will have been worth EVERY single second.
More of the Rasmussen Family.