I found out today, I'll be having a miscarriage soon. I'm going to be 43 years old in a few weeks.
The first prenatal check up is usually scheduled at week 8. It's a long wait between getting the positive pregnancy test and getting confirmation via ultrasound. I wish there was a quick intermediate test other than blood work to give a pregnant lady some peace of mind.
The waiting game in general is anything but pleasant. Whether it be to get a response from an interview, a date... a result on a test, waiting causes anxiety!
Although it's best not to share pregnancy news until 3 months, I was so excited about being pregnant at my age, I shared my news with whoever I saw. I'd pass a neighbor on the street and they'd say "Hey Jen, how are you?" I'd respond with, "I'm pregnant!"
I had a constant mental checklist of how I was feeling. Am I nauseous? Do I have cravings? Food aversions? Bloating? Fatigue? Do I feel pregnant?
I was excited to be a cute, fit, fashionable preggo lady this time instead of the frumpy, gained 50lb preggo woman I was in my 30s.
Although symptoms vary by individual, it's helpful to hear about people's experiences, especially when we are unsure. Interestingly, my internet searches about pregnancy in my 40s did not result in much useful information other than generic bullet points about whether it's possible to get pregnant at all.
Below is a List of Symptoms Which Led to Concern that I May Have a Miscarriage:
I started to spot.
Although light spotting is common in the first trimester, mine came on each morning around 5 weeks of pregnancy for a few days and then again at 7.5 weeks. It was not bright red which would indicate a problem, and it usually occurred only first thing in the morning.
I had NO morning sickness.
With my two boys, I had severe morning sickness for about 7 months. It was debilitating. This time, I had none. People told me it may be because I am much older and my hormones may be different.
I had strong food cravings but no food aversions or sharper sense of smell.
With both of my previous pregnancies, my taste buds changed and I became very sensitive to smells.
I started to have a lot of energy.
I started off this pregnancy with fatigue. I would fall asleep in the middle of the day and then again at 8 pm for the night. Then at around 6 weeks, this fatigue disappeared.
But my breasts became and stayed engorged.
Even after the baby stopped developing around 6 weeks, I still had this. I was hanging on to this symptom as the reason I must still be pregnant. Also, I had gone to my primary doctor at week 5 to get my hormone levels checked via blood test to confirm the strength of the pregnancy. My HCG levels were strong.
My Thoughts About Pregnancy as a 43 Year Old
Dave and I started talking about trying for a 3rd child last Thanksgiving. I always wanted to have a girl in the mix of our family. I felt this year was probably the last chance we had to give it a good shot.
My personality can be pretty neurotic. I could tell I would obsess for 9 months about the health of the baby due to my age regardless of a clear CVS test. So I thought if we are going to try, we need to get the show on the road!
I wished we had planned for another pregnancy a year or two after my second son Jake was born. But at that time, I was in baby hell with 2 littles, 18 months apart. Perpetually in a dirty t-shirt with cargo pants and pony tail, I was frazzled. Dave and I swore we were done having kids.
It was hard to imagine how we would feel years down the road.
Finding Out I Was Having a Miscarriage
As I sit here reflecting on my visit with the doctor (who squeezed me in for an appointment 1 day early due to my concerns), my mind keeps going back to the minute or so where the picture of my uterus came up on the ultrasound screen and the doctor was silent, moving the camera around and around, examining the picture.
It was such a long 60 seconds. Slow motion, actually. I imagine it's the same when you are going through an accident or having a life altering moment where time almost stands still and things seem surreal.
Finally, she told me the baby was not viable. The baby should have been measuring an inch and a half or so, but there was nothing. The doctor said I was definitely pregnant because my uterus was showing as pregnant (I wish I asked more questions about what exactly this meant) and I had pregnancy hormones, but the baby never developed.
As I processed my thoughts and feelings with this new information, I instinctively knew I was going to be okay. Is it age that helps us put things into perspective? Or is it because I subconsciously prepared myself for this news all along? It may have been that I was satisfied before pregnancy and knew to be grateful for the life I already have.
Immediately I thought, if it was going to happen this way, I am glad it happened this early. I am sure much of this reaction is due to the fact that I am blessed with two children already. Although it was disappointing to learn I will not be having a third child, I was practical enough to realize that this time, it was not meant to be.
I smiled at the doctor, asked a few questions, and left to meet my friend Julie for lunch. I called my husband to update him and then sent a text to some of my girlfriends, letting them know the news. Within minutes, a few of them showed up at the restaurant.
As I wait for Dave to come home from work to talk about the lost baby, I feel peaceful. Will we try again? Hmmm, today, I say no. But who knows what tomorrow will bring. For now, I think I will just BE. No regrets. No what ifs. Just live in the moment.