It’s been over 6 months since I found out I was pregnant with our “surprise” baby #3 and about 5 months since I lost our sweet angel. I’m not the first woman to ever suffer a miscarriage, nor will I be the last. I also know I’m not alone in the feelings I have, this I am certain of after countless conversations with friends, doctors, and family about their own experiences with losing a child, but it still doesn’t make the pain any easier or less intense. It’s amazing though, after experiencing a loss such as this, how my heart has softened ten fold towards others who’ve suffered a loss of any kind. It’s not that I was hardened before, but somehow a damn was broken and I just can’t keep the pieces in any longer….something I’m actually grateful for.
It’s such a surreal experience, learning about a pregnancy. Regardless of it being planned or not, the wave of emotions that fly through my body when I see that “pregnant” sign on the test is nothing short of a tornado. The first 2 times, with Ava and Mac, we were planning each one, excited every month we tried, waiting for that positive test result. Every time we got a negative, I would well up with tears, thinking that once again my body failed me. But I know now that is not true. My body has never failed me, it just simply wasn’t the right angel for God to bless this world with, using my body as the vehicle. But the 2 times previous to this time that I did see a “positive” light up on the test strip, I was giddy with excitement, scared with fear, overjoyed with what was to come and how our lives would change with each one. And when both Ava and then Mac was born, I was overcome with emotions so strong I had no idea how my heart could hold all of that in. I wanted to shout from the rooftops and leap for joy at these little miracles we had created. It’s truly a magical moment in time, from conception to birth.
We always talked about having 3 children, that just seemed to be our number. I come from a large blended family and my husband from a small one. We both adore children and just wanted to have a big enough family, and to be kept on our toes- lol. Well, after back to back babies born 19 months apart along with a huge international move, we decided that we were already being kept on our toes and that #3 could wait a while. Neither of us were ready to go down that path quite yet as we were all, as a family of 4, finding our groove and life was trucking along just fine. Well, as you all know, you want to make God laugh, you tell Him your plans.
1 week after the start of 2016, I realized I was late. So I took a test and low and behold, there was that infamous “positive” sign on the test strip. I was beside myself with emotion. I remember running dow the stairs bawling my eyes out and throwing the test at my husband, with our kids watching in wonder. You see, this time it wasn’t planned and I wasn’t ready. I was distraught. How was I going to handle this? How could my body possibly survive another back to back pregnancy, with this baby to be due a mere 19 months after Mac, just like Mac was with Ava? My husband was like a dear in headlights himself so after some tears, we sat down and chatted about it all. Sure it wasn’t planned, but boy oh boy would we love this little nugget to pieces and do everything in our power to give this baby a happy home to grow up in. It looked like although we weren’t ready, God had other plans for our family, so we began to get used to the idea. Soon after as we sat in the doctors office and we saw our little nugget moving and heard its sweet little heartbeat, we were head over heels in love with our surprise #3.
I was feeling great, well as great as one could be while going through the 1st trimester. I’d been blessed 2 times before with minimal sickness and once again I was blessed with just a slight nausea and plain old tiredness. When we went into the doc the first time, I had calculated myself at around 8 weeks, but the baby was measuring closer to 7, so they wanted me to come back in and be checked out again in 2 weeks. Over those 2 weeks I continued to feel the symptoms of pregnancy and was mentally planning the nursery, excited at what was to come. So at my calculations I was about 10 weeks, and we were beyond excited to see our little nugget on the ultrasound again.
Because this was such a surprise, everything flew out the window and we began telling our families and close friends way earlier than we had with our previous 2, mostly out of pure shock! Everyone was so supportive and so excited for us. We began to receive cards in the mail and all this momentum just had us getting more and more thrilled about our family expansion.
Sadly they did not find a heartbeat, nor had the baby grown not one cm in 2 weeks. They definitely did their due diligence checking and rechecking everything with “the wand” but sadly, no proof of life was found. We were in shock. Complete and total shock. How could this be? I didn’t believe it and my husband wouldn’t believe it, demanding further tests. But the doctor was certain, and so began the numbing pain of realizing our baby was no longer alive inside of me. Through the rest of the doctor visit, as they explained my options to me, all I could hear was a buzzing in my ears, and both the doctor and my husband were blurring objects through my tears. We were told that we had only 1 week to allow my body to rid itself naturally of the baby, otherwise medical intervention would be necessary to make sure the baby came out so that my body could begin the process of healing, physically at least.
My doctor and nurses were beyond amazing through this all. Not once did I feel like they didn’t hurt right along with me and over & over again they all assured me that “it wasn’t my fault”, that “I didn’t do anything wrong” and that “this embryo just wasn’t meant for life outside of the womb”. I mean seriously I cannot even tell you how often they repeated those words to me over the course of the visit and in the coming weeks. It was so comforting and soon enough I began to believe them. Now months later I am even more certain- there is nothing I could have done differently to produce a different outcome.
3 days later, on the morning of Valentine’s day and as we were driving to church, I began to feel some extremely intense cramping, but I told my husband to keep going, I would be fine. You see, I had no idea what to expect. We made it to the service and sat through the entire thing, and although the cramping came in waves and with intensity, I was determined I was ok. Well, at the end of the service I rushed to the bathroom and there in a stall I will never forget I lost my sweet angel. How could I tell might you ask? Oh, I’ll spare the gory details but trust me, I lost our baby then and there. The drive home after was a complete blur. All I wanted to do was go home and shower and crawl in bed. Thankfully we have amazing friends who helped to care for Ava and Mac while I rested and David cared for me. It was a long month but finally after the 3rd blood test in as many weeks, the doctor gave me the best news that my hormone levels had returned to normal and all looked healthy and healed in my body. Now I could begin the process of healing emotionally
It’s definitely taken more time than I thought, having never gone through something like that. We began the process of telling family and friends we had told that we had lost the baby. That was so hard, and so emotional. I just couldn’t even deal with it all. But with every call and every text and every email, I received countless words of encouragement and prayer and positive & healing thoughts. Cards came in the mail with support and love, and we felt so much love from our “tribe” that I was once again overcome with love and peace. Someone told me my body had quite literally given birth, so I shouldn’t expect to bounce back- both physically and emotionally, after such a devastating loss. After hearing that, something sort of clicked inside of me. You see, I had lost a child, a member of our family, and we needed to honor that. So as a family we had a memorial service of sorts; the 4 of us huddled together saying prayers, wiping tears, and holding on to one another with fierce love.
These days the hurt doesn’t come hourly and daily as it did the first few months, but I still think about it from time to time, although I am healing emotionally very well. Sometimes I think, oh wow, I would be 7 months pregnant right now, and I get sad, of course I get sad. But then I realize our angel baby is in heaven with our maker and one day I will meet our sweet angel and we will be reunited again. I can’t even wait for that day! I know come September 21st I will be overcome with emotion yet again as that would have been the day our sweet angel baby would be due. (However knowing my children our 3rd would make us wait weeks past just like big brother and sister- lol!!). I’m also incredibly thankful and grateful for a couple of things- that I found out via ultrasound about the miscarriage and wasn’t surprised by intense cramping and not knowing why and secondly that my body responded by naturally birthing the baby, without medical intervention.
So now I’m at peace with it, and I know that God has a plan for us. Our little baby just wasn’t meant for this world from the get go, but that doesn’t mean we won’t meet our sweet angel in heaven one day and for now the idea of expanding our family is still shelved. We just haven’t gotten back to a level playing field with the emotions and until that day happens, neither of us want to do anything too drastic one way or the other. So for now we wait, we love on Ava & Mac, we enjoy life as a family of 4 and we never ever take anything for granted. The gift of life is too precious, and too sweet, to waste even a second of it.
Finally I want to end with this- I’ve been so hesitant to speak openly about this personal loss, but I also know that there has been such a stigma & darkness surrounding miscarriage that I hope by being open I can chip away at this deeply wounding experience and give others some light and love to hold onto. It is so important, especially as women, to stress that the fault does not lay on yourself, that these embryos are destined before we even knew of it’s existence. We are all in this crazy ride called life together and if we don’t have love and support and encouragement towards one another, what do we have to hold onto?
Until next time, count your blessings my friends, and thank you so much for the outpouring of love & support!
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