In July 2012 Chris and I discovered that we would be welcoming our fifth baby into our family around March 2013. By my calculations I was pretty sure my due date would be March 17th. We both liked the idea of a little St. Patty’s Day baby! We quickly got to work discussing baby names after we got over the initial shock of having another baby. It wasn’t what we had planned, but we believed God had other plans for us. We already knew we wanted Milo Samuel for a boy, but it took a little more time to come up with a girl name. Finally we both agreed on Ruth Juliet! I had my heart set on a little Milo, but once we had a girl name picked out I knew that I really didn’t care. I loved both of the names and I knew that I loved my baby already and I couldn’t wait to get to hold a newborn again. As the weeks progressed I started feeling pregnant. I was tired, bloated, having random cravings, all the normal stuff that I have come to accept and expect as a part of pregnancy. We even bought a few items specifically for this baby! I set up my first doctor appointment for August 30th. I would be almost 12 weeks then, and I knew that there was a really good chance of getting to hear the little heartbeat. As the weeks before the appointment went on I started feeling very nauseous. A good sign I thought! By nine weeks I already had a tiny pooch. No one else could see it, but I could. It was exciting to know that there was a little person in there growing happily. The whole week before my appointment I noticed all at once that my nausea seemed to disappear overnight, and I no longer gagged when I brushed my teeth. I thought it seemed a little odd, but otherwise I felt normal still. I just assumed it was because I was almost in my second trimester. However, I still had an uneasy feeling in the days leading up to the appointment. I just knew deep down that I would not be hearing a little heartbeat. I tried telling myself that I was being silly, but still I was dreading the appointment. When Thursday finally came I went to the doctor and the whole checkup was going so well! I started thinking I really was being silly, but then I saw my doctor get out the Doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat. As I lay down on the table I felt my heart begin to pound. My doctor tried for what seemed like ages to find that tiny flicker. There was a heartbeat, but it was mine racing anxiously. Finally he said he would go get a different Doppler, one that was newer and better. He left the room and I closed my eyes and prayed. I begged God “Please let my baby be Ok, Please!”, but I already knew my suspicions were correct. When my doctor came back into the room he tried again for what seemed like ages. My heart was no longer pounding, it was breaking. He told me we could just try again at my next visit. He said maybe we were just too early, but I knew that wasn’t the case. We finished with the appointment, had blood drawn, and then we talked a little bit. My doctor said he wasn’t too concerned about not hearing the heartbeat, but told me we could set up a sonogram for that day and I said yes, I wanted it as soon as possible. I just needed to know and see it for myself. I couldn’t bear the thought of waiting for another week. Thankfully Chris was able to go to the sonogram with me. I was so nervous and anxious, not excited like I had been with previous sonograms. I tried to make small talk and be positive. I was hoping, praying for the best, but I knew deep down that I was already prepared for the worst. The tech was nice, very professional. She didn’t say much really. She muttered to herself a bit as she measured my uterus and ovaries and printed off some pictures. She quickly scanned the baby as she continued to press buttons on the machine. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire duration of the scan. Every time I could see my tiny baby I searched for that tiny heartbeat, but I could not see it. It was so still, so lifeless. At one point I could tell that she was trying to find a pulse, but there were no little blips on the screen. I could see her measure the baby, but still she was silent. She didn’t tell us anything and then it was over. She turned off the machine and said she was going to call my doctor to find out what he wanted her to tell us. She left the room and I looked at Chris. I told him the baby wasn’t moving. I told him I didn’t see a heartbeat. When the tech came back she said we should go back to the doctor’s office and he would talk to us there. We walked across the hospital parking lot to the doctor’s office, got signed in, and waited the dreaded news. It seemed like an eternity that we sat there waiting to be seen. When my doctor finally came into the room he asked if the tech told us anything and we said no. I just sat there staring at him, feeling numb as he explained that my calculations were correct. I should have been about 11 weeks and 4 days pregnant. The baby measured 11 weeks and 1 day, but had stopped growing; its tiny heart had stopped beating. He told us we had options and explained them to us, but we didn’t have to do anything right away. He wanted me to come back on Tuesday to have my blood drawn again so they could check my pregnancy hormone levels. If the baby truly was gone, then the levels should be dropping. He then asked if we had any questions and then I lost it. I just couldn’t speak. Emotion and tears swept over me. This just couldn’t be happening. He gave me some tissues and left the room so Chris and I could have some time to process this horrible news. When he came back I apologized for crying as the tears started falling again. I recomposed myself as well and as quickly as I could so we could get out of there. I didn’t want to be crying when we got home. I didn’t want the kids to worry. They didn’t even know about the baby yet. We had been waiting to share the news until after the sonogram. I was looking forward to having a picture to show them. But when we walked through the door I lost it again and again I remember apologizing for the tears. My parents were there with the kids, so we talked a little about what had happened. Mom and I hugged and cried together. That night I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep. My head hurt so badly and I had dreams about the baby. I cried and I tossed and turned off and on all night. The next day I felt a little better after I got a shower and drank some coffee. I cried a lot that day. We finally told the kids what was going on. I think it was good that we told them. They were very sweet about it and they asked what we would have named the baby. They did want to know why the baby died and we just told them we didn’t know. It’s hard to understand, but it’s the truth. The rest of that day I searched Google for answers. I wanted, needed to know my options. I needed to know what to expect. My doctor told us if we chose to wait and the let the miscarriage happen on its own it could take several weeks. He told us it would be very painful just like any labor and delivery and that there would be a lot of blood and tissue loss. But I needed more. I needed to read other mom’s experiences. I also looked up D&C, which is where I would be put under anesthesia and they would use a tool to actually empty the uterus so that I wouldn’t have to go through the pain and agony of waiting for the miscarriage to happen and then to endure the pain and emotional trauma of the miscarriage. Neither option sounded good to me. There were risks either way. I was confused and didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run away and scream, but there was no escaping this nightmare. Saturday came and went and I felt surprisingly calm and peaceful about losing the baby. I was accepting it and felt ready for what was to come. On Sunday I started having some signs of miscarriage, but nothing was happening very quickly. I expected that the worst was yet to come, but I was feeling relieved that finally something was happening. Not a whole lot happened after Sunday. My emotions were all over the place. I was sad, angry, depressed, and then I would have moments of feeling complete peace and calm. I also had moments of feeling like I had failed somehow. I felt guilty and ashamed. Tuesday I had my appointment with lab to check my blood and it was yet again confirmed that my hormone levels had dropped drastically, so we knew for sure that the baby was dead. The lab tech was so sweet. She hugged me and whispered that she was lifting me up in her prayers. We talked to my doctor and I chose to get some pills to use at home to try to induce the miscarriage, so that I could avoid having the operation. My doctor wanted me to come back to see him on Thursday to check my blood again. I used the pills at home and waited. Nothing happened. I cried some more and prayed that it would end soon. I just needed some closure. I did my best to keep up with the housework and the kids to keep my mind off of the miscarriage. Thursday at my appointment I got another dose of pills to try again to induce the miscarriage at home. I was told that if nothing happened by Tuesday then I really needed to consider the D&C. I had been having a low grade fever and my blood results showed that my white blood cell count was slightly elevated. I was worried about an infection. I was told that if I got a fever above 101, or I had any other complications then I needed to call right away. So again I used the pills and waited at home for something to happen. Again nothing happened, so Friday, September 7th around 11am I called my doctor and said that the pills hadn’t made any change and that I just didn’t want to wait anymore. Honestly part of my decision was fear of what would happen if I miscarried at home and also the timing. Lily’s birthday was coming up and I didn’t want to remember this loss along with her birthday. I needed them to be two very separate events. The D&C was scheduled for that evening. I prayed that I had made the right decision. I was a little worried, but when we got to the hospital I was very well taken care of. When I said I was cold they gave me warm blankets. It felt so wonderful! The man who came to draw blood was so gentle; I didn’t even feel the needle! When the nurse put in the IV I hardly felt the pain. After that I felt like the worst was over. I was wheeled to the operating room where I was given antibiotics and a sedative through the IV. I remember scooting across to the operating table. I remember them strapping my arms down and putting a belt around my waist. I remember them putting an oxygen mask on me and telling me to look up. The next thing I knew I was in recovery. Tears were rolling down my face as I woke up. When they told me that the procedure was over I thought they were lying. I couldn't remember much and I was just sure that something had gone wrong! The nurse brought Chris in and he held my hand and rubbed my forehead as I just cried and cried. I had no pain or cramping and very little bleeding, but my head hurt so badly from the anesthesia. Chris told me that my doctor had talked to him and told him that everything went well, but that there was a lot of blood and tissue and he thought it was really the best decision for me to have the D&C. I felt glad to hear that, I knew I had made the right decision. I was moved to another room for a while before I was sent home. They just wanted to make sure that I could eat and drink a little something and use the bathroom before they let me go home. They checked my vitals many times and said that I was very stable and I had no fever. I was grateful. Honestly I could have slept in that bed all night, but I was also just ready to get home and put this part behind me. When we got home my parents were there waiting and the kids were in bed. After my parents went home Chris went and got me a salad because I was so hungry and nothing else sounded good. I think I basically ate and fell asleep right after. I remember telling him I still felt hungry. I joked that I would need a hamburger in the morning! I finally felt like I could really smile for the first time since August 30th. I felt such a relief. I am still and always will be sad for my loss, but I am blessed. I have a good and loving God and I have wonderful friends and family who are praying for us and supporting us.
My heart and love go out to all who have been through a pregnancy loss. The pain, the grief, the loss that you feel is very real. I find great comfort and peace in the Lord through all of this. I know that He will give me the joy and strength to carry on.
You can read my 2 week update here.
You can read my 2 week update here.