This is the second installment of a new series where I let you my readers encourage each other by telling your stories. The Learn with Jenny community has proven to be incredible and diverse. We are here to learn and celebrate with one another. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Michelle Bostinelos. I have enjoyed following along with Michelle and her family at her blog. She has such a lovely spirit and deep love for her family. Here’s Michelle’s story…
My dream, like many other young single women, was to get married and start a family. I never imagined that things would happen the way they did.
Just four months after I married the love of my life, we found out we were pregnant. At my first OB appointment, the ultrasound showed my 7 week old baby’s little heartbeat beating away. The doctor told us not to worry, but she said that the baby looked a little small and that we should come back in two weeks. The doctor’s concerns didn’t resonate with me because I never figured anything was going to go wrong. I had no fear, no worries, nothing but joy. Two weeks later at the 2nd ultrasound, the baby’s heart was no longer beating. I cried… A LOT. I didn’t understand. I felt like my body failed me. I wanted to know why. The worst thing was that I had told EVERYBODY about my pregnancy and I didn’t want to face all of them with the terrible news.
Since I hadn’t shown any signs of miscarriage and my HCG (pregnancy hormone levels) were on the higher side my doctor recommended a D&C. The doctor told me that they would do some tests to see if they could figure out what happened. A week later I found out I had a partial molar pregnancy. This meant that I would need to have weekly blood draws until my HCG levels fell to zero. My doctor told me that if my HCG levels didn’t fall to zero on their own that I would have to go through chemotherapy because molar pregnancies can spread cancerous-like cells that produce HCG hormones even though there is no baby. This is called Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD), which is a type of cancer. Because of the risk, she recommended that I wait at least a full year to try to get pregnant again.
So there I was, a 25 year old newlywed that just a week earlier was getting ready to start my family. I had just had a miscarriage and I was told that I might have cancer.
The following weeks were unbelievably difficult. Not only was I mourning the loss of my baby, but I was worried about my own health. News spread fast that I lost the baby, but my health issue was difficult to explain. Most people told me “You are young, you can try again”. Those words broke my heart, because I felt like I couldn’t try again with what I had just been through and with GTD hanging over my head. I worried that my dream to have kids was fading away. My heart was heavy. Tears came easily. I just wanted a baby.
Luckily my HCG levels fell to zero after 3 months, which meant that I didn’t have GTD and wouldn’t have to go through chemotherapy. Just to be safe, the doctor wanted to continue testing my blood levels for a year before I tried to get pregnant again. Of course we were pregnant six months later.
Again we went to the doctor at 7 weeks. Learning from my last experience I didn’t celebrate. I held my breath. I didn’t tell anyone. Two weeks later, I went back for my 2nd ultrasound and was devastated when there was no heartbeat. This time it was a normal miscarriage, but just as heartbreaking. We went back to the weekly blood draws, just in case.
Two months later, I would have to start holding my breath again when we found out I was pregnant again. My husband and I were not trying to get pregnant, but we were not very careful either. The 1st ultrasound showed a baby with a heartbeat beating strong. Same routine. We came back in two weeks holding our breath. The heartbeat was still there. Two weeks later, holding our breath, we saw a heartbeat. Nine months later, at the age of 27, I gave birth to my son, Ethan (now 7). 22 months later I gave birth to my second son, Owen (now 5).
I had one more miscarriage a couple of years later early in my pregnancy. After that, I didn’t know if I could go through another pregnancy mentally. The first part of my pregnancies were so difficult for me. So stressful. But my heart told me I wanted one more. After I finally convinced my husband that we should try just one more time, we had a baby girl (now 21 months old).
Today our family is complete. Because of the trials we went through I try to celebrate my family every day. At 25 years old, I was scared there would never be a family. Now, in the chaos and the craziness of my family, I feel blessed to have each of their smiling faces.
I also know that I couldn’t have gotten through the tough times if I had given up hope. Hope is a powerful tool to keep moving forward when things seem difficult and bleak. Holding on to hope is why we are the family that we are today. And to the babies I lost, I know that they are looking down from Heaven and I will meet them one day.
Thank you Michelle for sharing your heart and your story. I’m honored you chose to share it with us.
Blessings sweet friends – Jenny
I am currently accepting submissions for Sunday Stories. Please limit your posts to approximately 800 words and include at least one picture. Please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tweet