I seriously never thought this would happen to me.
I know a lot of women who have had miscarriages and my heart broke for each and every one of them. When I was younger, I thought my body was a bit of a tank and could handle pretty much anything. I was never part of the statistic for something crazy bad to happen. Something happened though, something bad. Something that made our baby’s heart stop beating without me knowing.
We went for an ultrasound at 12 weeks and the baby was great. It was really active and swam around while we watched on the monitor, it even made a waving motion. It looked like a little fairy dancing away in my belly. Thankfully the doctor captured those amazing moments on a photo, because that is all we have to keep from that little soul.
Around 15 weeks I started feeling really depressed and emotional, but of course I attributed that to being pregnant and also being stuck indoors in this cold and snowy Chicago winter. A week later we went in for the 16 week appointment. Thank god my husband came with. I assured him it would be a boring appointment so he waited in the waiting room while I went back to see the doctor. Once in the room, the physician’s assistant tried to find my baby’s heart beat, but all we could hear was mine. I wasn’t worried. She told me sometimes the placenta is in the way and went to get another physician’s assistant to try. The second could not find the heart beat either. She told me the doctor would come in and try. The doctor came and could not find it either. For some reason I still was not worried. I thought I could feel the baby moving.
They moved me to the room with the ultrasound equipment and the technician had me wait for a few minutes while she wrapped up whatever she was working on. I was still not worried. Finally she scanned me and I immediately saw my baby on the screen, but it was not moving. F’n move, I thought to myself for a second. Then I remembered scans I had with my previous pregnancies where the babies were not moving much. I assured myself everything was okay. Until the tech looked at me and said, “I’m not getting a heartbeat.” It was then that I realized my baby was dead. I lost it. Oscar-worthy-ugly-cry lost it. Unfortunately I wasn’t acting. Thank god my husband was in the waiting room.
They told me the baby was measuring at only 15 weeks, which means it was gone about a week before I found out. My doctor went over our options to take care of the situation. We received info on forced labor or a surgical procedure called a D&E where they remove everything with a kind of vacuum. Our baby had bones so a less risky D&C was not an option. Having gone through a miserable forced labor with my first son, I immediately decided on the D&E. I will do another post in the near future about that that was like. I know there are a lot of women out there who unfortunately are faced with the same situation and hopefully it will help some people get through it easier.
What happened in the hours and days after finding out was hard. I knew miscarriages were sad for women, but I never realized how devastating they actually are. At moments I would be positive and look forward to getting my body back and not feeling sick anymore. Then I would remember everything I was expecting and so excited for was just ripped away and I would feel lost. I had spent the last three months planning and revolving my life around that growing baby. I felt like I didn’t know who I was, what my life was supposed to be, or where I was supposed to go next.
I was able to keep coming back to gratitude for the healthy and amazing boys that I have. I feel so thankful that they are still here, that it is not one of them that I lost. I have always been terrified to lose a child. I have noticed in my life that whenever I am afraid of something, eventually I have to face it. I absolutely pray that this is the only taste of losing a child I will ever experience.
My husband has been amazing. I know we are meant to be together because he has some magical kind of way to make me stronger. When I wallow in my sorrow he can (painfully) snap me out of it. That kind of love is not for everyone, but for me, it saves me. This kind of experience can really bring people together if you do it right. We shared our feelings and any attempt we could think of to rationalize what happened. When I started to feel hard and cold and began to shut down, he got me to open up. Through him I realized there was nothing left to be miserable about, what was done was done. We have two boys that need me to keep a grip on things. I processed our loss, found beauty in the pain (our healthy kids, amazing family and friends and hope for the future) and have made it through the last few weeks with very little tears.
It has taken me a few weeks to be able to even sit down to share this. When I was going through it I was too angry and mopey to want to acknowledge what I was feeling and thinking. The stages of grief are so strange. When I first found out I cried a lot, but I would yo-yo between despair and positivity. I would think about how I can work out again and that now we can take on that major house project we have been thinking about. Then I would realize what I lost and I would be back to crying. My mom was amazing at listening to me. So were my sisters and friends. They kept checking in on me no matter how negative I was and it meant a lot to me.
I kept searching for reasons why this could have happened. I was analyzing everything I ate and did the prior three months. I know that this is not the cause, that drug addicts deliver healthy babies full term. This was something beyond me. I tried so hard to be healthy, I didn’t even wear nail polish the whole time. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter. It’s good to try hard and be careful, but it can’t prevent God’s plan.
I was trying to imagine which exact day and moment the baby passed. I know I was feeling really emotional around the days they told me it stopped growing. There was one day I was playing with my youngest on the floor in our living room. He had two toys in the corner that went off on their own, a roaring dinosaur and then a cat shaped keyboard that meowed. It was one right after the other. Neither of those toys have ever made a sound on their own except for that moment. The dinosaur toy was put away. The keyboard was out and the power was on, but I pressed a key and it was on a piano setting, not on the meowing sound. It was super strange and at the moment I knew it was something, but I didn’t know what it meant. Now that I know my baby died sometime around then, I tell myself that was the baby saying goodbye to me. When you are faced with grief, I think it is more than okay to try to find crazy things to comfort yourself and make it seem a little more beautiful than just rotten pain and bad luck.
Eventually I transitioned to anger that things did not work out the way I wanted to. Now I am just a little scarred and working on getting back to normal. We are going to try again, probably after summer. I am kind of mad about this because I was excited to have our last baby and be on the road to getting a life back. The kind where I have a job and do things outside of the house. My kids are getting older and need to be out of the house too. I wanted things to go my way. But I know from experience that the ride I didn’t plan and instead am forced to follow always leads to far better things than I could have imagined. So here I go down the road laid out before me. I’m really hoping it’s going somewhere amazing.