I now truly understand grief. It hits you in the worst moments and in ways you can’t see coming.
Three days ago, at our 16 week appointment, my husband and I found out we had lost our little child. The appointment could not have been more opposite of what I had expected. I had been drinking water all day in preparation, reading and re-reading tips on how to trick your little one into exposing themselves for the perfect gender reveal. Thinking all the while that the worst case scenario involved a return trip to the OBGYN for a follow up U/S if the little one was shy.
At my 12-week, they weren’t able to hear the heartbeat. Because it’s still so early, this can happen when the baby hides inside the pubic bones. In an attempt to make me feel better, my MD pulled up an image on a hand-held sonogram of the flickering heartbeat. Bummed, but feeling better I left. 4 weeks later, the scene was recreated with my husband sitting next to me, concern growing on his face.
This time, my OBGYN seemed unsure why she wasn’t finding the heartbeat. She again pulled out the sonogram to establish where the little one was and held no confidence. She mentioned that she’d rush our scheduled U/S “to make her feel better.”
Again, thinking nothing of this, my hubby and I walked down the hall, still chugging my water and OJ holding my bladder in preparation for our big reveal.
Things became more odd when we arrived as the APRN and MD both made their way to the Ultrasound desk, which is not regular practice. We were taken into a room and jelly was rubbed onto my belly for the first time, and I saw what looked like an empty sac. The tech and my APRN both seemed to be searching and slowly I noticed their nerves. The tech asked me to empty my bladder for a vaginal U/S. At this point, I knew something was wrong. I had to walk alone to the bathroom and that was maybe the longest 3 minutes of my life. When I got back to undress I told my hubby I was really scared, that I knew this was not normal. I could sense his fear too.
My OBGYN came in with the tech and they put my baby back on the screen. I saw the tech measure my baby, and the words “7 weeks” popped up on the screen. At this point, I spoke up and said “what’s going on?” This is when it was explained to me that there was no heartbeat and it looked like my baby had died.
There are still questions to be answered, maybe they never will be, but we understood that this was the end of my pregnancy. We crumbled into each other, and did what we could to get out of the office quickly. (In the process scheduled a D&C suction for the next day.)
Horrifyingly, about a week and a half before I had one of the worst nightmares of my life, where I miscarried my child and saw the tiny baby. When I awoke, I was confused because I knew my baby would be much bigger at this point (15 weeks) than the one I saw in my dream. Looking back, I wonder if this was a God moment, helping to prepare me for what was to come.
The surgery was a horrifying idea to me, who has studied maternal health. I knew too much about the procedure, what it did and how it worked. Further, I knew it was often used, horribly, as a means to terminate a healthy pregnancy (abortion.) The idea that my baby would be subjected to this terrified me.
My mom and husband protected me during the wait before surgery. The hospital (where I work) is staffed with the most fantastic staff who gave me peace, and even some joy while I waited and recovered. I learned that I bled a lot during the procedure, and it was harder than expected. My OBGYN was thankful I didn’t try to do it at home, concerned about the danger I would have been under with blood loss. My recovery has been ok so far though I’m not sure I’ve lost the hormones that come with pregnancy and it’s possible as soon as that happens I will be extremely emotional. As it is, I feel slightly numb.
My husband and I are clinging to each other and the faith we have in a Christ who protects and loves us, especially in our darkness. I have been listening to this incredible song by Bethel worship which has helped me to heal. I’ve also thought long about this scripture:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
God is there for us even in the darkness, in fact it is during our lowest and darkest moments that He wraps His arms even tighter.
Prayers for peace and joy in our lives would be appreciated. We know there will be a time in the future where we do not hurt as much, but we will always remember this child we will not know on earth. Our future kids, God-willing, will be a blessing and will be cherished.
I loved every moment of pregnancy, and wouldn’t change it for anything. It is the closest I’ve ever been to being a mother, my dream, and I hope to experience it again one day.