I know my last post was not a happy one as I wrote a letter to the baby I will never hold. But this thing that happened to me, I have learned, will be something I carry for the rest of my life. Sure, the sharp, painful edges will blur and soften with time, but the wound will never heal completely. I feel compelled to follow up on my previous post after so many of you reached out to me. High school friends and acquaintances who I have not spoken with in years were sharing their personal stories of similar grief. I had no idea that so many women I knew had experienced what left me feeling so isolated and alone.
I found out I was expecting my third child on Wednesday June 4, 2014.
I was 4 weeks and 1 day. I was in shock, again. My second baby was a shock to me as well. Although, since I know where babies come from (as my OB asked for clarification when I expressed my astonishment), I am not sure why I was so surprised. But this baby was a complete and total shock because we had been consistently using protection. The fact that I conceived, although surprising initially, felt like a miracle. Like this little baby was surely meant to be. It took about 3 hours for me to stop looking like a deer in headlights. Later that night, my husband and I were looking up baby names and making a short list. We were contemplating rearranging bedrooms and looking at bigger vehicles to fit our expanding family. We calculated the due date and found out that baby would be due on daddy’s birthday, February 10th. Just in time for Mardi Gras. We talked about whether we would bring the baby to any parades or if George would just take the older boys alone. My husband and I are planners so it was only natural that we were planning this baby into our lives.
My husband called his parents who live out of state and I wanted to wait to tell mine in person. I was able to tell my mom the exciting news because we previously planned a visit for the following day. I never got to tell my dad because I would miscarry before I would see him in person. I woke up the next morning and called my OB who was just as shocked as we were. She even commented that this baby was “meant to be.” That is exactly how we felt. Things would work out because this baby was meant to be in our lives. I went back in forth in my head over whether I thought the baby was a boy or a girl. What would the baby look like? Would I be able to have another VBAC?
All of these thoughts and there was one that was nagging at me.
I did not feel pregnant. It was not the shock or disbelief; I physically did not feel pregnant. With my other two I had classic signs: queasy stomach, food aversions, tender breasts, fatigue, etc. For this one, I felt nothing. That struck me as odd but I dispelled the thought by rationalizing that I was just a cynical person, and I was too busy to notice any symptoms. I also continued to cramp far past the date of implantation. The cramps were not terrible, and I recall having some at the beginning of my second pregnancy, so I ignored those as well.
It all came crashing down on Wednesday, June 11, around 9:00 when I missed a call from my doctor’s office. The voicemail simply told me that I needed to get another round of blood work the following day. I started to worry because I did not have to do this for either of my other pregnancies. I needed more information. The nurse told me that my HCG level at 4 weeks 6 days, was a 70. She did not seem alarmed and just said they needed to confirm that my counts were rising. I had some spotting that morning, and the nurse assured me that that can be “normal.” I went about my business, but I knew something was wrong. Within two hours, the cramps came. I still denied I was losing my baby. Then the bright red blood came. I was in Hobby Lobby when it came. I walked out of there as fast as I could, fighting the knot in my throat and stinging tears in my eyes. I broke down in my car. I knew what was happening, and I was helpless to stop it.
I experienced what felt like emotional whiplash once I accepted in my heart what was happening.
Sorrow and heartbreak were mostly what I felt. I feel so ashamed to admit that I also had moments where I felt some relief that I was no longer pregnant. That feeling was always always always followed by severe guilt. Miscarrying, for me, is a vicious cycle, of emotions. Even almost six weeks later, I think I am doing just fine, and then bam, I hear an innocent comment or see a sweet picture of a new baby and the lump in my throat returns. I know I will carry this for the rest of my life, and I will always wonder about the life that could have been. I encourage mothers who have experienced this loss to talk about it when you are ready. In sharing my story in an extremely public way, the feelings of isolation were lessened. I was told by readers that I was very strong for sharing my very private story. I think that notion is slightly misplaced. Although loss of a child is personal, so many women experience the loss. I think the only way to heal is to come together and support each other. I truly believe that what has helped me heal is the support I have received from family, friends and through readers like you.