I have been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now, but every time I sit down to start, I can’t seem to find the right words. First of all, I feel like I have to share a big confession with all of my readers. When I first started allgrownupwithJRA.com, last March, we had already begun the process of trying to start a family. My main reason of starting this blog was to share my experiences of being pregnant with JRA. However, I quickly realized that trying to conceive caused a lot of anxiety and I did not want to add to that stress by fielding questions. As a result of this I have been “secretly” blogging somewhere else throughout the past year and I will share those posts when the time is right.
However, I realized how many women have miscarriages and suffer in silence and I wanted to share my experience so others wouldn’t feel so isolated. We had been trying to conceive for over 6 months and had recently met with a fertility specialist to begin preliminary testing to see if there was a reason why it was taking longer than expected. I was shocked and thrilled when I took a positive pregnancy test on New Year’s Day! 2016 was already shaping up to be a fabulous year! I had my pregnancy test confirmed by my primary care physician and I was beginning to feel some pregnancy symptoms.
Growing up with JRA, I am used to things not going as planned and I have learned to expect bad news at doctor appointments. As a result of these learned experiences, in the back of my mind I was constantly worried about having a miscarriage. However, I did not truly believe it would actually happen. I was young and healthy! I had researched Rheumatoid Arthritis, fertility and pregnancy extensively as well as talked to all of my healthcare professionals and no one had any reason to believe that I had any greater chance of a miscarriage then anyone else. However, any woman still has a 15-35% chance of a miscarriage depending on their age.
Regardless of all of this scientific research and rational thoughts about what to expect, I was still completely unprepared for the outcome of my 7 week ultrasound appointment. The ultrasound tech who was initially perky grew eerily quiet as she called in the doctor to review the results. The doctor frankly stated that there was no heartbeat and the baby stopped growing about a week ago and then they left us in the dark, ultrasound room to process this news. We were devastated and I realized as much as I had tried to protect myself from this news, I was heartbroken. The moment you get a positive pregnancy test you begin to envision the future for the baby and your family, and all those dream becomes shattered in a “heartbeat.” It doesn’t matter if it happens at five weeks, eight weeks or 25 weeks, it is still a loss.
It has now been almost four weeks since that appointment and the pain and grief has subsided. I can now watch commercials for diapers without becoming teary eyed and I am no longer avoiding social media for the fear of yet another pregnancy announcement. I will be pursuing more testing and further guidance from my fertility experts about the next steps. I know there is a baby in our future, but like many other aspects of Growing Up with JRA, it may come with some more unexpected hurdles to overcome.