One of the single happiest moments of my life occurred in the early morning hours of October 27, 2011. I woke up, went straight into the bathroom and took the first pregnancy test of my life. After waiting three minutes, Stephen went in to read the results. He grabbed the test, smiled and told me we were pregnant. I squealed and jumped on him.
That night, we called our families and closest friends and told them the good news. Every one was excited for us and I loved being able to tell everyone about our baby. I called the doctor the next day to schedule my first appointment. They recommended coming between 6-8 weeks, so it was set for November 14. The next few weeks were like floating on air. The two biggest dreams of my life were coming true: to be a wife and to be a mother. I got gifts for our baby from friends immediately. Like purchased within an hour of my call.
The first appointment did not go as expected. They did an ultrasound and the doctor found the yolk sac and the fetal pole, but no heart beat. She said it could just be too early and that I might not be as far along as we thought. She recommended that we come back in a week and we would check again. She did say that this could be a sign that we would miscarry. Of course, that’s the one word that sticks in your head. I was nervous and scared, but Stephen, as always, took excellent care of me. I talked to a few friends and family who had a similar experience with their first appointment and got to feeling better.
After the longest week of my life, we went back on November 21. They used a much fancier ultrasound machine this time and within seconds we could see Baby’s little heart fluttering on the ultrasound. Right away, I felt all the anxiety go away and felt secure in our pregnancy. The ultrasound tech was even able to find Baby’s heartbeat with the doppler and we could hear it! There’s nothing like that feeling. Baby measured at 6 weeks, 2 days, which was about 11 days younger than we had estimated based on my last period. The heartbeat was at 90 beats per minute. They said that was a little slow and asked us to come back in a week to check to be sure it would speed up.
That week was Thanksgiving and we spent it with my parents. We were all happy and loving the fact that a new little member of our family would be born in a few months. I posted our ultrasound picture on Facebook as we were happy and confident that our little one would be okay.
November 28, 2011 will always be one of the worst days of my life. We went to the doctor again and they did another ultrasound. When Baby’s little heart wasn’t fluttering on the screen immediately, we both knew. Our baby was no longer alive. The ultrasound tech tried very hard to find it, but the heartbeat was not there. Baby was still measuring at 6 weeks and had not grown since our last appointment. The doctor talked us though our options and we chose to let my body miscarry naturally instead of inducing it with medicine or having a D & C. We walked to the car and even though I held it together in the office, I couldn’t hold it together once we were alone. Stephen comforted me and prayed for us. I swear I’d be lost without him.
After the new longest week of my life, we lost our Baby on December 4, 2011. The doctor said that the baby was so small, I probably wouldn’t even notice when it left my body. I can assure you that was not the case. I saw our baby. It was a surreal experience to know what was going on but to not believe it. Thankfully Stephen was home that day and took the most amazing care of me before, while and after it happened. Exactly a week earlier we were watching football with friends and showing off the picture of our baby with such joy. And now that joy was gone.
I took the next day off of work because I wasn’t ready to see people. I know my coworkers are amazing and would comfort me and love on me and care for me. But I wasn’t ready for that. I knew a hug would bring tears. I didn’t want the kids to ask why I was sad. I didn’t want to have to lie to them or try to explain it to them. Sitting at home wasn’t really that fun, either. But at least when I went to Chipotle to get food, I didn’t have to explain anything. They didn’t know I was ever pregnant, so they wouldn’t know I lost our baby.
The emotions have been so crazy. One minute I’m sad and can’t hold back the tears (right now). The next minute I’m angry. How could this happen to us? How is it fair that this happens to us, after we did everything right? We waited until we were married. We waited until we had established ourselves as a married couple. We planned for this baby. I had been taking prenatal vitamins for three months before we conceived. I started drinking milk, which is one of the things I dislike most. I was eating better. How is it fair that people who don’t intend to get pregnant, who never wanted children or who don’t love their child’s father get to have perfect, healthy babies and we lose ours? Then comes the self-pity.
If I try not to think about it so that I don’t feel these emotions, I feel like a bad person and that I don’t care enough. How can you NOT think about the loss of your child all the time?
And then, I feel embarrassed. I feel so stupid for putting it on Facebook and telling the world and then having to un-tell them. And I feel like a failure. I feel like a bad mom because I couldn’t even keep my baby alive long enough to be born. The doctor said it’s not my fault. That there’s nothing that I could have done differently. They say that 50% of miscarriages are chromosomal and the other 50% are unexplained. Well I can tell you that they 100% suck.
People don’t know how to react when something like this happens. I can tell you I wouldn’t have known how either, so I can’t really blame them. People say they’re sorry and I know they mean it. People ask what they can do to help… there’s not really anything. Some people don’t say anything at all because they don’t want to make it worse. Some sent wonderful, heartfelt cards.
But the most helpful responses were from people who had experienced this themselves. I can’t tell them thank you enough for opening their hearts (and possibly their own wounds) to talk me through this. You know who you are. Only they can understand the ridiculous range of emotions you feel in a single hour when you’re dealing with this. Only they can understand the physical symptoms you’re going through, no matter how gross/upsetting the details are. To those people, thank you. It helped more than you know.
The doctor said that the most important thing to take away from this experience is that we CAN have kids. I CAN get pregnant. This is not a fertility issue. And yes, that is HUGE. I would be even more crushed if we could not have kids.
But, I think the biggest thing that I can take away from this is how blessed I am to have the husband, family and friends that I have. Stephen has truly gotten me through this, while dealing with the loss himself. He held me when I cried (on many occasions), got me food, kept me from making stupid decisions (like going to a friend’s house that Sunday to watch football– he knows I would have powered through it for him but if I had lost the baby in the bathroom of a friend’s house we’d have had to move and never contact those people again), heated my heating pad through the cramps, and was just there. He prayed for us. When all I could do when I opened my mouth was cry, he went to God for us. I had two people close to me offer to fly out and be with me when I was told that I would lose the baby. That’s love. I had people texting me constantly to check on me and tell me they love me.
I’m obviously still dealing with this. I don’t like to talk about it. I’m still emotional when I think about it. I still cry, heck, I’m doing it right now. And I still don’t think it’s fair and I still don’t understand why it happened. I feel a little twinge of pain every time I see a pregnant person, or a friend has a baby or I hear that someone is pregnant. But I don’t stop being happy for them. I know the joy they are feeling. And I pray that they never feel the pain that we’ve felt.
The last month has had the highest high and the lowest low. We’ve felt the purest and most amazing joy and the most profound pain.
But God is still good. God will bless us again and we will have a perfect, healthy, amazing baby (or two… or more). But we won’t stop loving the Baby we lost. But for now, Baby is in heaven hanging out with Jesus and getting to work on our mansion up there while we continue to live down here.