Though Nadine Young’s most recent break up had been an amicable one, it left her single and without a child. Rather than attempt another relationship and possibly risk the chances of not having a child, Nadine decided it would be best to pursue parenting on her own. Little did she know, that decision would take her on a stressful, scary, but beautiful journey.
“I thought about throwing myself back into the dating game, but that didn’t’ have much appeal,” Nadine said on the Jewish Chronicle Online. “Imagining my life without a child was unthinkable, and in the end, I wasn’t willing to risk it. I decided to go it alone.”
She would go through three months of artificial insemination before seeing that faint pink line on a home pregnancy test. She was ecstatic, to say the least. But when she went in for her first prenatal visit, accompanied by a friend, Nadine’s joy would turn into despair. The baby didn’t have a heartbeat; she’d miscarried.
“When the doctor gave me the bad news, I felt as though I had been slammed into a wall,” Nadine said. “Everything blurred around me while my friend ruffled my hair and held my hand helplessly, clearly not knowing the right thing to say. I returned a week later, and the diagnosis was confirmed.”
Though the diagnosis was difficult to accept, Nadine scheduled the D&C recommended by her doctor and underwent a first trimester termination.
“I had no reason to doubt my doctor, who was absolutely definitive in his diagnosis…There was no clear reason for the miscarriage. The loss of that baby girl was, according to my doctor, ‘just one of those things.’ It made it harder to accept.”
Still heartbroken but ready to try again, Nadine went through several more rounds of artificial insemination before finally moving to IVF. It took two more years and five rounds of IVF before she finally heard those wonderful words again – “You’re pregnant!” This time, she decided to keep the pregnancy to herself, at least until she had some positive news from the doctor.
“When I finally got the news I was hoping for, I kept it to myself,” Nadine said. “I was scheduled to go on a family reunion in Israel during Rosh Hashanah, and my plan was to show my parents the ultrasound picture I would surely have in my hands by then. I wanted to let them know in person that their first grandchild was on the way.”
But instead of an ultrasound photo, Nadine received the same heartbreaking news with her second pregnancy as she’d received on her first.
“Three days before my flight, at six weeks and three days pregnant, I went to the clinic for a check-up – alone this time,” Nadine said. “A different clinic, a different room, a different doctor – but the same long silence as he looked in vain for a heartbeat and pronounced the verdict: ‘Miscarriage.’”
This time, the heartbreak was too much to bear. She just couldn’t come to terms with the diagnosis. She tried to reason with the doctor, find out if there was any way he could be wrong.
“It was hard for me to believe it could happen again,” Nadine said. “I still couldn’t quite accept it. Why did I feel so nauseated? Why had my blood test shown that my pregnancy hormones were increasing? Surely these were both good signs?”
But the doctor assured Nadine that she had, in fact, miscarried. She was told to come back the day before her flight to the family reunion; they would confirm the results then. Again, she was told that she’d miscarried. The doctor encouraged her to schedule a D&C after her trip to Israel. But even then, Nadine just couldn’t accept the diagnosis.
Rather than scheduling the D&C, Nadine decided to go to another fertility expert after the trip. Unfortunately, the diagnosis would be the same. Rather than sending her for a D&C, this doctor gave her a prescription that would help induce miscarriage. But because of the holiday, Nadine was unable to get the prescription filled, so she waited until after the holiday was over to see her regular doctor for a D&C. Before performing the procedure, he checked for a heartbeat, yet again.
“I took a deep breath, or perhaps it was a long sigh – I’m not sure. I remember thinking that if my life were a movie, this would be the moment he’d exclaim, ‘There’s a heartbeat!’” Nadine said.
And that was exactly what happened. Everyone, including the doctor, was shocked.
“He tried to hide his shock as he spoke,” Nadine said. “One of the nurses started to cry, one of them clapped in amazement.”
But the doctor was still skeptical that Nadine would carry to term. The baby was measuring so Nadine was given an order to undergo some chromosomal testing to check for abnormalities. That test came out to be normal, but it wasn’t until Nadine hit her 25th week of pregnancy, when she was told that her baby wasn measuring where it should, that she would finally have any hope of a normal pregnancy.
“The baby was measuring so small that until I was 13 weeks pregnant, no doctor would say anything positive about the pregnancy,” Nadine said. “Even once I was given the all-clear, I didn’t dare hope too much. At 25 weeks, I was finally told that the baby was measuring what it should…[I] finally let myself love my unborn baby with no restraint, a love that has grown stronger with each passing day.”
Now, with a healthy eight-month-old baby boy, she says she can’t help but think of all the delays that had stopped her from following the same path with her second baby as she had her first.
“I think of the string of coincidences (or are they miracles?) every day – of the first and only time our family decided to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Israel, thus delaying my scheduled D&C long enough for a heartbeat to be detected. Of the closed pharmacy where my sister was unable to fill that dreadful prescription. Of my own doctor who did not call in a prescription, but instead talked me back into the clinic. I think of all this, and I wonder if some higher power was smiling down on my son, keeping him safe that Yom Kippur eve,” Natalie said.
But she also wonders if the misdiagnosis with her son meant that her first pregnancy was also a misdiagnosis. Though she says she tries to avoid dwelling on it too much, she points out that one in 200 miscarriages confirmed via ultrasound are misdiagnosed.
“I try not to dwell on what might have happened had I waited an extra week before having a D&C following my first miscarriage,” Natalie said. “Because if I do, I find myself consumed by a cold fury toward a profession that is indeed fallible, but also made it possible for me to have my son. It’s an uncomfortable irony. If my story had unfolded in any other way, my son would not be with me now, and that, I simply cannot imagine.”
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