- When Hilaria Baldwin, wife of Alec Baldwin, opened up about her second miscarriage in a year, author Amy Klein was brought back to the period in her life when she was dealing with recurrent pregnancy loss.
- Klein had four miscarriages, saw 10 specialists, and nearly gave up on ever becoming a mother.
- Four years later, she gave birth to a daughter, and her book about the experience, “The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment And Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind,” will be published in April.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When I saw Hilaria Baldwin’s heart-wrenching post about her second pregnancy loss in a year, it stopped me in my tracks.
The wife of Alec Baldwin and mother of four shared on Instagram on Monday that she lost another pregnancy at four months, noting, “we are not OK right now.”
Like Hilaria, I too know the devastation of repeat miscarriage – four pregnancy losses, to be exact. The shattered dreams, the burning shame, and the dark sadness I wasn’t sure would ever disappear.
When Hilaria Baldwin opened up about her second pregnancy loss, I was reminded of a dark period in my life
The first time I was pregnant, I saw blood in the toilet the day I was supposed to see my gynecologist to confirm a pregnancy that was about six weeks along.
“Oh well,” I thought. ” I guess it was just a late period. Maybe I wasn’t pregnant after all.”
Even when the doctor told me I actually had been pregnant, and had suffered a “chemical miscarriage,” – one not confirmed by an ultrasound – I still didn’t feel like it was really a loss at that point.
“Try again after waiting a month,” she said cheerfully.
So I was cheerful too.
The second time I got pregnant, after waiting a full cycle,although that advice is outdated, I was ready.
I had the doctor lined up. I’d stopped doing yoga after having learned last time that side twists are verboten during the first trimester. I’d stopped drinking. I wouldn’t be on the fence about being pregnant I would not treat this pregnancy cavalierly. I would not mess it up.
I had 4 miscarriages and saw 10 specialists
And I didn’t. We went to the doctor right away, and often. She confirmed a pregnancy at five weeks. We saw a yolk sac at six weeks and she had us listen to the heartbeat at seven weeks,badump bump. A more beautiful sound there never was.
I was so confident when the time came for my 10-week ultrasound, I told my husband not to come with me. We had nine more months of this, I reasoned, while shoving crackers down my gullet to stave off morning sickness. We were spending nights bandying about baby names, stymied by the boys’, overwhelmed by the girls’. We didn’t both need to lose our days, too.
I was so blasé about the ultrasound appointment that I was actually scrolling through Facebook while the OB jellied up my then-flat belly. It was only when she cleared her throat that I looked up.
That was The Moment. The Before and After. The One that will always be frozen in mind. Before her “ahem” I was just another mum-to-be, nothing to look at here, people, move along. But then time stopped. For a long, long while.
The second loss, after hearing a heartbeat, was the most painful
“I’m afraid there’s no heartbeat,” she said. Upbeat tone gone from her once-confident voice.
“Wait. What?” I asked.
“I’m sorry. I don’t hear a heartbeat,” she said.
“But I just – we just – we heard it! I didn’t bleed! There was no blood!” I said, voice rising.
“It’s a missed or silent miscarriage,” she said, explaining how a foetus can just stop growing without the mum having any symptoms. I missed my own miscarriage.
I can’t tell you how, through hyperventilating sobs, I explained to my husband on the phone that what we imagined for our lives was not going to happen – not now, possibly not ever. Or how I got dressed and made it into her office to, no, not collect my ultrasound photos but discuss the dreadful next steps for what I thought was going to be my baby.
I somehow made it to my New York apartment, where my cushiony olive couch embraced me. And then I did not leave.
“Maybe I’m too old to be a mum,” I thought.
I was 41.
“Maybe we’re just not meant to be parents. Maybe we should just work on being happy alone,” I thought, which was interspersed with: “How am I going to miscarry this baby? Will I just let it bleed out, take a pill or have surgery? Who would perform this surgery?”
The perseverating thoughts in my mind were relentless.
“How will I tell everyone I had told I was pregnant that I’m not? Stupid, stupid, stupid, Amy,” I berated myself. “Did you really think it would be so easy? How could you tell anyone?”
I came to almost expect the losses, and was losing faith
Seconds and minutes and hours and days and months of this loop in mind continued on, even as I had the surgery.
I chose a dilation and curettages, or D&C, a procedure that clears the uterine lining. This way, I could have the foetus tested to see if it was chromosomally normal.
It wasn’t painful — only my empty womb was. I went to a family party where I pretended everything was fine since they hadn’t known I was pregnant anyway. I started fertility treatments, despite the fact that getting pregnant wasn’t the problem, staying pregnant was.
I was in a daze. I didn’t realise my pregnancy could end. And then I did.
Over the next two years, I suffered two more miscarriages. They were all kinds of awful.
Nothing was like my first “real” miscarriage though, where I heard the foetus’ heartbeat and then it was gone. She was gone.
And yet nothing was like recurrent pregnancy losses either. I was no longer shocked that a pregnancy could end — I would come to expect it, actually. But I was losing hope that I would ever birth a baby. That I would ever be a mum.
My tenth doctor – a repeat pregnancy loss specialist – thought he could stop the recurrent losses. That fifth pregnancy proceeded past the heartbeat, past that fraught 10-week mark, and into unknown territory of the second and third trimester, and finally the fourth trimester: Birth.
Some nights I listen to our daughter breathe, and in the darkness, I am back there in that ultrasound office, inattentive, happy, cold jelly on my belly, waiting for a badump bump that never came.
- Read more:
- Fertility clinics are offering ‘add-on’ treatments to desperate couples that are expensive and potentially dangerous
- A model didn’t realise she was pregnant until she was giving birth, but ‘cryptic pregnancies’ happen more often than you might think
- It’s not just Rock n’ Plays – any inclined sleep product could put a baby’s life at risk
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