Mom to Baby Anthony
August 25th, 2011
In July, I started suspecting I was pregnant. I suspected because my body felt… different. I was unsure, since my periods are so erratic. I don’t get my periods every month, or around the same time, so I figured it would start up at any time. Since June, I had some spotting here and there. Occasionally, I would see some spotting, and think maybe I was getting my period finally. It never came.
Eventually, in beginning of August, when it still had not come, I checked the calendar. My last period was June 12th. I didn’t believe I was pregnant, but I knew that’s the way my body was acting. I was putting on some weight, constantly hungry, very sick in the morning, and bad headaches every so often. The usual pregnancy symptoms. I decided I had to get a pregnancy test. I was anxious to take it and see what it would say, scared, nervous, happy, I was a train wreck of emotions. And, three minutes later, there it was, POSTIVE. I was pregnant. I went and told my boyfriend, who also couldn’t believe it. We were not actively trying for another, so, we were surprised. After the shock wore off, I called the doctor. I couldn’t get an appointment for over three weeks. As we waited for the appointment, I noticed that I started to feel not-so sick all of a sudden. I had previously felt ill all the time, especially if I had not eaten. Now, I was starting to feel ok. Maybe I was farther along than I thought, and the morning sickness was subsiding, because I was in my second trimester?
Then, on August 23rd, I woke up early for my sons dentist appointment. I felt fine, up until the appointment. When the appointment came, he went in, and I watched from the window. As I was watching him, I started feeling cramps. The cramps started moving to my back, and eventually I had to sit down. I sat down in the hallway, getting up every other minute, hunched over, making my way to the window to make sure he was ok. I could barely stand up, so I had to keep going back and forth to the chair. It felt like he was in the dentist chair for three hours. When we got home, I took some Tylenol and laid down for a nap. When I woke up, I went into the bathroom, to find my underwear had blood in it. I was worried, but not too worried. I was always under the impression that if you had a miscarriage it was horrible pain and a ton of blood. But, it was not like that. I mean, yes, I had cramps, and it was bad pain, but as soon as I took the Tylenol, it was gone. And the bleeding was not a lot. So, I took it as the “implementation bleeding”, and round ligament pain, which I had with my daughter, and it felt the same.
The next day, it was the same thing. I had some cramping, a little bleeding, nothing crazy. I did notice that the bleeding never stopped since it started the day before. I went about my day, starting to think something might be wrong. I got on the phone to the two people that knew I was pregnant (my boyfriend and mother), and explained what was going on. I had decided if it got any worse, or was still happening the next day, I would call the doctor.
The next morning, the 25th, I woke up, and things were different. I started the day with worse cramps, and a lot more blood. I realized I had no pregnancy symptoms at all anymore. I got scared, and instead of calling the doctor, I went straight into the hospital. After putting all my symptoms together, and doing some research, I knew at that point what it must have been, a miscarriage.
Once I got there, and was actually seen by a doctor, they decided to do blood tests. They did a few, including my HCG levels. They also decided to do an ultrasound. After being in the er for hours, the doctor finally came in to give me an exam, and explain what was happening. He had never led on before as to what was going on, even though I had an idea. At that point, I had my mother there with me. My boyfriend was there, and had to leave because no one would cover his shift at work. After the exam, he stood up, and crossed his arms. He could barely get the words out, and it kind of made me more upset. After a few seconds of saying, “the tests showed, uh, uh, um, uh..” he finally said, “the ultrasound shows no heartbeat. We are estimating you are about 10 weeks along. You had a full and complete miscarriage. Im sorry.”
But as he was saying all this, all I could mutter out was “ok”. I felt numb. He discharged me home, said to just follow up with the doctor. I got in the car, and immediately called my boyfriend, and the second I heard his voice, I broke down and lost it. I never thought anything like this would happen to me. I don’t know anyone that has ever had a miscarriage, and no one close to me that has lost their child in any way. Then I called my sister, whom had no idea at all what was going on, and I explained it to her as well. I composed myself, getting prepared to go home and take care of my two children I had at home waiting for me. I got home, and pretended all was ok, and put the kids to bed. Then, I cried. And cried. Waiting for my boyfriend to get home. When he got home, we cried together. I felt, like something was missing. Even though I never got to meet or hold my baby, or get to know him or her, I felt like a piece of me was missing. I didn’t sleep well that night.
After that, I made the follow up appointment with the OB. I couldn’t get in there for a week and a half. So, I waited. While I waited, I had bleeding, and was discharging parts of my pregnancy. I was wondering how the ER doctor could say I had a complete natural miscarriage, and me be home, losing my pregnancy, in the toilet. I was very unstable, crying randomly, always thinking about what could and should have been. I would think where in my pregnancy I was supposed to be at that point. I tried to keep my experience under wraps, not because I didn’t want anyone to know, but because I didn’t want the looks. The “I feel sorry for you” looks. I felt like that would make it worse. I wanted to grieve and experience this with only the people closer to me, my boyfriend, mother and sister. Everyone else I put a big smile on for. Nothing was wrong to them. I tried to keep myself busy all day every day, which wasn’t hard because of the kids, and the goings on of life. But, the night always came. They always went to bed and I was always alone until my boyfriend got out of work, and it was tough. Everything reminded me of my baby that was gone. I had to know everything I could. Eventually I started reading others stories of losses. That helped. One of the things I read was about naming your baby, even if it was an early loss. So, after talking with my boyfriend, we decided to do just that. I was desperate to do anything that would help. We feel in our hearts that our baby was a boy, even though we had no confirmation. So, we decided on “Anthony”, for the meaning, priceless. It wasn’t about the gender anyway, it was about the meaning. That helped, to know that our baby was up in heaven and was not walking around nameless. After all, I gave my other two children a name, why not this one?
When the Dr Appointment finally came, I was thankful. I just wanted to get this all over with and wanted my body to go back to normal so I could try and get past this. She came in with the blood tests I had done, and said that my HCG levels were rising. I asked what that could mean, and she said, “I don’t know”. How could a doctor not know?!? I was angry. She was not helpful to me at all. She said she wanted to get another ultrasound, and have me come back in for another appointment.
So, as I waited for that, things didn’t get better. My son and boyfriend came down with viral meningitis, and my daughter had roseola. I felt as though I lived at dr’s offices and hospitals. I was sick of taking care of people when I felt like I needed the taking care of. But, it didn’t matter, my family needed me. During that time, I did a lot of reading. I read the book “Heaven is for Real” and that helped, a lot.
After about two weeks, everyone got better, and it was time for my ultrasound. During that, the tech told me that there was no baby. Which, I knew. She also told me that there was still a sac. I went to the OB appointment, where the doctor again was unhelpful. She told me there was still a sac, and that she wanted to wait to do anything and see if a baby would grow. I questioned that statement, and asked what she meant. She said that the sac was measuring 7 weeks 5 days, and maybe a baby would grow. I tried to tell her that was impossible, because my last period was June 12th, I had pregnancy symptoms more than 7 weeks ago, and they had already told me my baby had no heartbeat. The timeline didn’t make sense. She didn’t explain anything, just kept saying, “I know, let’s see if a baby will form.” She said to come back in a week for another ultrasound and see if there is a baby there. That was probably the worst appointment I ever had.
I left there, and I felt like the grief was replaced by anger. I was angry at so many things, including the doctor. I started lashing out at people, for no reason. I was fed up, and questioning how she could tell me that my dead child was going to come back from heaven. It hurt, and it hurt bad. I still, don’t understand how a doctor can say that to someone, and let them hold onto that. That week was hard. I knew my baby was not coming back, but I also didn’t want to do anything that might harm my baby that was already gone.
At the next ultrasound, the tech, a friend of mine, told me that there was no baby. Just a sac, distorted. I went right up to my appointment after that, where the doctor came in and finally had a plan. I was a little better, knowing something was going to happen, and I was not going to bleed like this forever.
I would go in a week later for a d&c. So, Tuesday morning, October 4th, over a month after I had been first initially told my baby died, I went into get the rest of the remains out. I was incredibly nervous. I tried my hardest to hold back the tears before the procedure. After the procedure, I cried, and cried. I screamed for my boyfriend and mother before I was even awake. The day of the procedure, I went home and rested. I felt ok. Until that night, when it started to hurt again. I knew that everything was gone. I still had that feeling of emptiness, that something was missing, and I don’t know if that will ever go away. But I knew I had to be strong, for my children. I still had two living children, and they did not need a mother drowning in her own sorrows all day. After that, I had some cramping and bleeding.
There are so many emotions. Anger, defeat, heartache, guilt, etc. I felt stupid to be so upset at times because I knew there are other woman out there would have it worse than I did. There are woman who got to know there babies, hold them in their arms, feel them kick, got to buy things for them, start their lives with them, even hear their heartbeat. That, right there, has got to be harder than what I went through. But I also look at it like I got shafted, cheated. I didn’t get to hold my baby, hear his voice, feel him kick, or get to know his face. That to me is hard. I want so badly to know if he were a boy, or girl. What color hair did he have, did he have my toes, or his father’s eyes? I felt slighted, and that made me angry. But, I realized after reading more, and grieving more, that, it didn’t matter what age the baby was. 10 weeks gestational, 10 weeks old, 10 months old, or 10 years old. It’s a loss, and it hurts, nonetheless.
It’s been a little over a week since my d&c. I am still bleeding, and hurting. But, the days are getting better. Still feel the need to be busy, constantly, and right now, that’s ok with me. Nights are getting better too. Anthony still is in my mind everyday, but I am more at peace now. I laugh more, cry less. I do have a fear. A fear now of losing. A fear of losing what I have, or don’t have. I know this; I don’t want to be pregnant again. That may sound selfish, but I don’t want to ever go through this again. Maybe someday, I will be ready, but right now, it’s the last thing I want. This has been a tough, long process, and it broke me down, to a point I never thought I would be at. It’s the fear. But, then there is a sense that I don’t want to miss what could be again. I have the feeling something in my life is missing. I have a hole that I don’t know will ever be fulfilled. But I am learning to work around that hole with every day.
This experience has made me want to get more out of life. I don’t know if it is the feeling to take life for all it’s got, because I understand now how easily we can lose it, or if it is just a need to make my life so incredibly busy, that I don’t have time to think about anything or dwell on the loss of life. I think it might be a combination of both. I feel more comfortable now with people knowing. One way or the other, people started to find out. People that were not in my little “3 person only” bubble. And its ok. I still don’t want to go through the entire process of telling my entire story to everyone, and I would rather not shout it from the roof tops, because it still hurts, but I think it always will. But if people know, that’s ok. Im not going to try and keep it a secret, and I don’t want people to think what I thought; that it happens, but only to people you don’t know, and never yourself.
I have realized I virtually cant dwell on this, I have to be happy. I have to move on, in the best way I know how, while still remembering. My baby is in heaven, waiting for me and my family. I have so much to look forward to. I have my two growing, wonderful, loving children. I have 9 beautiful nieces and nephews, three of which are newborn triplets, so we have so many upcoming exciting moments in our lives. With all those kids, there is not enough time for grown-up tears taking over. And I know I will meet baby Anthony someday, up in heaven, and that’s fine. Its worth the wait.
Rachel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org