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Little One

January 13, 2019

I lay there with Jason holding my hand. His eyes still bright. Me– Vulnerable. Unsure. Waiting. She scanned and searched. Over and over again she ran the ultrasound wand. With each rotation and swish around, my heart began to sink lower. The brightness in his eyes began to dim. I wanted to curl up into a ball. This couldn’t be happening. No. Not our first child. No.

“I’m so sorry, but I cannot find a heartbeat.”

Today is a special day. Well, it was supposed to be a special day, but I believe it still is special. January 13th marks the due date of our first child.

I will never forget the gravity of her words. They weighed me down. The air was knocked out of me. I wanted to melt into my chair and hide. A wave of shame overcame me. What had I done? Why is this happening? My poor little baby! No. This can’t be happening.

Losing a child is never easy, even when your child has yet to fully develop. The sense of loss is great– so many could haves and should haves. Empty hopes and promises.

Leading up to that moment, I had started to feel an urgency to see the doctor. I woke up the morning before and felt extremely sad. Hormones maybe. But it was different. It was a heavy sadness that I could not pinpoint a reason for it. I rolled over to Jason, waking him up, “I have to see a doctor today or as soon as possible.”

We were in Victoria and had just celebrated the news with Granny, Aunt Mary, and my sister and her family. Living overseas, I do not have local doctors in Victoria and we were leaving that day for San Antonio to stay with friends before flying up to Boston. Seeing a doctor right now did not seem to fit into our plans. But the urgency would not leave me. It was as if God was whispering to me, “See a doctor, my dear child.”

Finding a doctor who would take me so soon. Impossible. I asked my friend, Sarah, if she knew any good doctors in San Antonio and divinely enough a friend of hers had just recommended a doctor to her. She recently moved to San Antonio so she was also on the lookout for a good doctor. We made a call, and a little miracle happened. They scheduled an appointment for me the following day!!!

We made our way to San Antonio where we continued to share the good news of our pregnancy and celebrated with friends. The sadness continued to sit on me, however. I had had some spotting, but everything I read said that some spotting can be normal. So I tried to stay positive. But the sadness would not lift.

The next day we went to see the doctor and heard those damning words. Those heavy, life-changing words. “I’m so sorry but I cannot find a heartbeat.”

We walked in to see the doctor after the ultrasound. My steps were weighted and slow. The door opened and I held my breath. Maybe the ultrasound technician was wrong.

The doctor stepped in and greeted us. Then she continued with delicate care, “I’m sure you know since there was no heartbeat, but your child has passed. You are having a miscarriage. I want you to know,” she looked me directly in the eyes, “this is not your fault in any way.”

Tears burst forth.

The burning feeling in my throat that I had held onto. The guilt that was simmering. The shame. Her words washed over me and were like honey to a sore throat. They coated me. They restored my dignity. They comforted me. They also broke me.

I never knew how incredibly excited and expectant one could be until I was expecting a child. Now, I felt empty.

The hollow feeling inside, knowing that a little human is in you but is not alive anymore. It’s a very horrific feeling. On the one hand I wanted to hold my baby and on the other hand, I wanted it out and out fast. The thought of something decaying inside of me was not easy to swallow.

“I know this is hard, but we need to discuss options.”

Options? Options for what? I had no idea what happens when someone has a miscarriage. I just assumed everyone passes the baby. Be informed: this is not the case. There are pills you can take to induce the miscarriage, you can have surgery, you can pass the baby naturally (which can take hours and hours and involve a lot of pain and blood which can ultimately be very traumatizing for a woman).

My baby had not grown to the proper size for his age and the doctor believed that my baby might have been dead for a few weeks. My knees weakened. My shoulders slumped. “Because your body has not passed the baby yet, I’m concerned and recommend surgery. Since you are flying to Boston tomorrow morning, I recommend that you see a doctor as soon as possible in Boston and take care of everything there.”

Once I was in Boston I was supposed to go to New York the next day for Reading and Writing Workshop training. Everything was interrupted. Everything was sad.

We flew into Boston and once we settled in we sat down with mom. This was one of the most agonizing parts. We had waited. We had waited to share the good news so we could tell our family in person. Now we do not even get the joy of celebrating our pregnancy with them and have to share the tragic news. Through tears we shared everything. Mom embraced me. I needed her hug and her love. I wept.

Thankfully I already had a doctor in Boston from former visits. She saw me right away and she, too, recommended surgery but first wanted me to get another ultrasound. When we went in for the ultrasound, the technician explained, “I recommend that you have surgery. There are pockets of blood vessels and you might have a molar pregnancy. If you have surgery then you can ensure that everything is cleaned out and tissue can be taken to a lab for testing.”

Jason and I deliberated over what to do. I really did not want surgery but we have now had three people recommend it. Due to concern for my personal health and possible dangers of what could happen, we chose surgery.

The whole process of surgery was scary, but every step of the way I was cared for and comforted by the nurses and doctors. To keep it short, the surgery went well and I had tissue sent to a lab for testing.

The following weeks, I was to treat my body as if I had had labor. No heavy lifting. No excessive activity. All the trouble of labor with nothing to show for it. Another side of miscarriage that many people do not think about. I certainly had not until then.

Not many people discuss miscarriage and I believe it is unfortunate since the number of families who experience loss is quite great. When I began sharing about our miscarriage people came out of the woodworks, “Oh I’m so sorry. So and so and I also had a miscarriage. I know how hard it is.”

I was thankful for the support and also puzzled at why more people do not talk about it. However, like any tragedy, it can be difficult to discuss. I, too, did not want to discuss our miscarriage with anyone but family and close friends or those who needed to know.

Often times miscarriage comes with feelings of shame and guilt, especially for the mother. I know for me I immediately had thoughts racing through my head, “Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten this….the flight was just too long… there must have been something that I did.” I am thankful for all of the doctors who reassured me that it was not my fault.

Weeks passed and the results came back. I had indeed had a Partial Molar Pregnancy. A what? I have never heard of this! And you probably haven’t either, so here’s a link to learn about molar pregnancy. Apparently, it is extremely rare but can be very dangerous and if not taken care of can cause cancer! Yes, you read that right. To add to the grief, there is now a concern for cancer! I had to now be monitored for three to six months to make sure that no molar tissue grows. Be put at ease– I have been cleared each month.

Why does the community not talk more about miscarriages? I did not know anything until it happened to me. This is why I am sharing my story. I want to inform others about miscarriage. I want others to know that if they are going through a miscarriage they can come to talk to me. You are not alone in your pain. Some statistics say that 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage! That is a lot of women and men out there who have experienced loss.

I am thankful for the friends who reached out to Jason and me and some friends who even sent me books and a necklace. I want to share two books that helped Jason and me walk through the grief of our loss.

Unstuck: How to Grieve Well and Find New Footing by Danette Johnson

and

Losing You Too Soon: Finding Hope After Miscarriage or the Loss of a Baby by Bernadette Keaggy

There is also a documentary that some friends made that addresses the topic of losing a child. Their story is called A Brave Lament.

I am not writing this post for pity and condolences, but rather to educate others, to join the community of those who have lost a child so they know they are not alone, as well as to celebrate this special day– the due date of our first child.

So, Happy Birthday, little one. I know that your Papa in Heaven is taking care of you. One day I will hold you.

june 2, 2018 1st sonogram 8 weeks

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 24, 2019 9:17 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I had a miscarriage in early 2017 and can imagine what you went through…what you continue to go through as you never forget such a loss. You’re not alone in this. I feel your pain and sorrow. Sending you hugs.

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