July 5, 2017
I had an entirely different post planned for July. I was so excited, I had already ordered the onesie for Riley’s big sister announcement photoshoot. This new life inside me was already so naturally accepted into our plans for the new year, it was hard not to share the news.
Everything was pretty similar to Riley’s pregnancy: I had a UTI which led to me suspecting another baby and I grabbed a test. It was so soon, I wasn’t even sure how it could be possible so I ended up waiting almost a whole week before taking the test. And yet on May 25th, a blue cross showed up announcing BabyO #2. Excitement. Nervousness. Joy. All sorts of emotions flooded me. I let Alex know immediately. It wasn’t easy. I knew we hadn’t planned for this. And I wanted our baby to be something we planned together, sharing that adventure of new life.
Because our little bean was a complete surprise, we opted for bloodwork to confirm. Oh how I loved getting stuck with needles in the early morning… but thankfully the numbers were good so I didn’t have to go back after 48 hours to recheck the levels. Everything was on track. We went in for an 8 week appointment and got to see our little bean, hear the heartbeat and start getting everything together and ready for BabyO #2.
And yet. June 28th 2017 put my whole world in a tailspin. That whole day is still surreal. We had our 10 week appointment that day, but I went alone since it occurred during Riley’s naptime and everything felt good and normal. It was all good at first. The nurse and I chatted while she took my vitals. She was surprised to see me in, asking if I had delivered with them recently because she remembered me and asked if I was excited or nervous about having kids so close in age. Turns out she and her sister were less than a year apart and she loved it. I told her I was so excited and didn’t mind the close age gap. I finally went into the ultrasound room, finished the oh so pleasant pap smear and then got ready to see our baby. Dr. Beatty was quiet. She zoomed in several times. No one said anything. I got uneasy. She finally spoke and I’ll never forget what she said in a quiet sad tone, “I’m looking for cardiac activity … and unfortunately I am not seeing anything.”
She did another test to check. She told me it would be really obvious at the stage for the heartbeat. At some point, our baby had just stopped growing. She told me she’d give me a minute to change and we would talk options. I simply nodded. It was shocking, stunning. I didn’t know what to think or feel. The nurse led me to another room and I waited for what felt like forever, unable to stop the tears as everything crashed down on me. I was alone. I didn’t know what would happen next. All I knew was our baby had died and all the excitement and plans for the new life were suddenly ended.
The doctor came in, and she told me not to blame myself, that these things happen. I want to be honest. In that room, I had several thoughts and only once did I feel like I had failed somehow. I knew that searching for blame or what-ifs wouldn’t help or solve anything. All I felt was sadness, loss and disappointment. I have spoken with different friends who have experienced this same loss and respect how they handled it, their feelings and am grateful for their advice. I am most thankful for not struggling with feelings of blame.
In fact, I have realized a lot about myself over the past week or so. I struggle so much with being a control freak. Nothing about this pregnancy and miscarriage process has remotely been what I wanted, or how I wanted it to go. I cried in the car coming home from that appointment and told myself that I should just feel what I need to feel. There is no right way to think or feel during this time. Another thing I struggle with is wanting to be what I think others want me to be. I didn’t know what Alex would think of me or how he wanted me to handle it. That day I came home, I just cried and he held me. That is what I needed and wanted.
I felt a new connection to him through this loss. I felt very vulnerable when I talked to him about my fears and desires for the future. We talked and agreed that we would try again later, sharing that adventure of planning for another child. Those couple of days were exactly what I needed during this time. Both our parents knew, and we shared the loss with them as well as my best friend.
The following days of waiting and knowing started to really drag on me. Having the knowledge that I was carrying our dead child inside really weighed heavily on me as well as the unknown of the miscarriage process. I decided to take the holiday time to try and get things started. I felt grumpy and emotional. I felt more distant and alone from Alex. And again, that control freak inside me started to panic when nothing was happening like it should. Right now, I’m still waiting. I’m still in this process. I’m still fighting how to process this because there is this internal pressure to be someone I’m not. To live up to this perceived notion of how I should handle this. I understand worry and stress will not help the situation. It doesn’t stop the fears from drifting in and out. My hormones and emotions are high. I don’t know what I want or need. I hope that writing and sharing will help me in processing everything.
I do know these truths. Life should be celebrated. I will never forget this baby and all the joy it brought in the 10 weeks we knew about it. That’s over 2 months of growing this little one in my body, experiencing the joy of pregnancy again. Riley is such a joy and I am so thankful for such a healthy beautiful child whose personality is spunky and full of life. Alex and I will grow stronger together through this and I know I can count on him to be that rock I need. There is the promise of the future together and the possibility of a sibling. As Alex put it, our family plans are just simply pushed back not destroyed.
So yes, I am okay. I will get through this. I will do what is necessary to finish this process. I don’t always feel like I am strong. I don’t always feel like doing my normal routine. I feel alone sometimes. But I have hope and I have a wonderful family with me. Always.