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...I will forever be haunted by my losses...

I had two babies at 20 and 22 with no problems. When I was 23, I got pregnant again and just assumed that positive test meant a baby in eight months. I had my first prenatal appointment and was excited for the next one, when I would hopefully hear the heartbeat for the first time. Around nine weeks, I suddenly had the urge to take another pregnancy test for no explainable reason. A week later I began spotting pink. I called the OB, expecting to be told it was normal and to take it easy. Instead, I was told to go in for an exam, and was sent for an ultrasound because my uterus felt small for dates. I learned that day that my baby had passed, and I went home to miscarry alone. Words can't express the range of emotions I felt when I passed that tiny baby whose little body was already recognizable to me. My husband tried to be supportive but fell very short. In fact, everyone fell short. I was told, "Things happen for a reason. You didn't need another baby anyway."

A few months passed and I became pregnant again. My OB had assured me the first loss was just "bad luck" and my odds of losing again were slim, and yet a few weeks later, there I was again. Yet again I was told "bad luck." It took a lot of effort to suppress my grief, but I finally came to terms with only having two children despite my lifelong feeling that I should be a mother of three. Nine years passed and I was suddenly and unexpectedly pregnant again. I reminded myself that my previous losses were "bad luck" and that this was a totally new pregnancy. I initially stayed away from the doctor's office because I was afraid it would be bad luck. I made it to the eleven week mark and, as I was about to leave work after a night shift in ICU, I started heavily bleeding. My nightmares had returned. I was whisked to the ER where I was examined and sent for an ultrasound that determined my baby had passed a few weeks before. It was happening all over again. There was a different OB at that point, and she was the most kind and compassionate doctor I have ever encountered. She told me she felt that I needed to undergo a series of tests to attempt to determine the cause of my losses. Someone finally cared! The testing showed that I have heterozygous Factor V Leiden, which is a genetic clotting disorder that can potentially cause miscarriage. The plan for my next pregnancy was daily injections of the blood thinner, Lovenox. We tried again and I got pregnant immediately, though the pregnancy ended up being a blighted ovum, which meant the Lovenox couldn't have prevented the loss.

Devastation set in and my husband could take no more. He said there was no way he could go through another loss with me. My heart was broken. I was so thankful for the two children I had, but my heart still ached for the babies I lost - for that missing third child I had always dreamed of. A couple months later, a strong urge to take a pregnancy test overwhelmed me one night. I wasn't even due to start my period for six more days. I took the test, and to my surprise, it was positive. I was too terrified to even attempt to get my hopes up. I had left over Lovenox so I started the injections and called my OB. She also put me on progesterone as a "can't hurt might help" measure. Today I am the proud mother of a 16 year-old son, a 14 year-old daughter, and my sweet sweet rainbow baby, three-year-old Jackson. It was a very long and difficult road to my complete family. I am beyond ecstatic to have my dream come true, but I will forever be haunted by my losses and what could have been. I don't think I will ever get over that tiny pang of jealousy whenever I see women who just get pregnant and stay pregnant without ever having to worry. Recurrent pregnancy loss has become part of who I am, and I freely share my story whenever anyone tells me how crazy I was to start over, or asks if all my kids have the same father.

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