Mom to Angel Baby
Lost January 11, 2010
My husband and I were married for just over two years when we decided it was time to start a family. I had just finished graduate school and had been ready for a baby for a while by that point. We were pleasantly surprised when we got pregnant on our first try in November of 2009. At first everything seemed okay, but I really wasn’t having any pregnancy symptoms, other than the need to pee all the time. At my first prenatal appointment the midwife confirmed that I was indeed pregnant, but it was a “weak positive” on the test. I was only about 4.5 to 5 weeks along at the time and was set up for an ultrasound about a week later.
The day prior to my first ultrasound I started spotting. It wasn’t a large amount, but definitely enough to be concerning. The ultrasound nurse went ahead with the procedure and even got a little blood on the probe. I was so worried that she wouldn’t see anything at all, but then I saw a tiny little blob on the screen. She commented that everything was really small and asked me about my dates again. I had been charting for a while and we did the ovulation testing that month, so I was pretty certain of my dates. I panicked when she said things were small, thinking, “What on earth does that mean? Is everything okay? Is there a problem?” But then she showed me on the screen a tiny little flickering speck – our precious baby’s heart beating away strongly. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen to this day. I was so relieved! She printed out a picture with a tiny arrow pointing to and labeled “baby.” We were so excited to get a glimpse of our first child. It made it real.
The baby was measuring behind schedule and the gestational sac was also really small. Neither was a good sign, especially in light of the spotting I was having. The nurse couldn’t give us a due date or tell us much that day and we left very confused, upset and without much information. We met with the midwife the next day and she started off the conversation saying, “This is the hardest thing I have to tell people.” She explained that because the baby was measuring behind schedule and that I was bleeding there was a very high chance that I would lose the baby. My heart sank. We were still not given a due date, which was very disappointing. She told us to come back in one week for another ultrasound and we would see what was happening. Until then it was a waiting game. I was having a “threatened miscarriage.”
We had already told my in-laws we were pregnant, and I had been looking forward to breaking the exciting news of their first grandchild to my own parents. Instead, I called my parents in tears to tell them we were pregnant, but it looked like we would lose the baby. That was a heart-wrenching conversation. Something that should have been a joyous, happy thing was instead morbid and sad. All we could do was pray and wait. I continued to spot and bleed every day. It was torture.
We went back in one week. I was 7 weeks and a couple of days along by that time, and still spotting. I was terrified for this next ultrasound, worried there wouldn’t be a baby anymore. I had never been pregnant before, so I didn’t know what the baby was supposed to look like at this stage. Once again the nurse found the baby and much to everyone’s surprise and amazement the baby had grown! It was still measuring small. The baby was still measuring small, as was the sac, but it too showed growth. We were thrilled, and once again we saw that tiny little flickering heart! What an amazing blessing it was and we were once again relieved. I had read that once you see the heartbeat your chance of miscarriage is significantly reduced, which comforted me at the time. We were given a due date of August 5, 2010, but I continued to bleed daily.
They noted a bleed behind the placenta on the ultrasound that time, which was the presumed source of the bleeding. Another doctor tried to explain things to us, but he had no bedside manner and it was very confusing and upsetting. He told us it could possibly be placenta accretia, and that there was an 80% chance of a “normal” pregnancy and a 20% chance of miscarriage. We were happy about those odds, but still very concerned about our baby. However, there wasn’t much we could do about it. I’d asked about bed rest or if there was anything that we could do to help prevent a miscarriage, but there wasn’t anything to do except wait and pray. I was still bleeding and still didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms to speak of, which in and of itself was very frustrating. Everything I read told me all those yucky pregnancy symptoms were a good sign and indicated adequate hormones and a healthy pregnancy. The midwife just told me I was probably “one of the lucky ones” and not to worry about it. Easy for her to say.
I continued to bleed for another couple of weeks, but had no cramping. It was still just a waiting game. We prayed and prayed for our precious child. We celebrated Christmas and announced our cautious pregnancy news to our families. I was just over 8 weeks along and we took a “baby belly” picture in front of the Christmas tree. A few days after Christmas the bleeding finally subsided and we thought we were out of the woods. I still didn’t have any symptoms or sickness to speak of, but the bleeding was gone, thank the Lord. Our little baby was going to be just fine. I had another ultrasound scheduled for January 19th and I couldn’t wait to get another look at him or her.
However, on January 11, 2010, our lives changed forever. I was just shy of 11 weeks along. I was at work in the middle of a procedure and suddenly felt like I’d peed my pants. I ran to the bathroom and was shocked to see I was bleeding again, a lot. I immediately called my husband and my doctor’s office. They told me to come in for an emergency ultrasound. We just didn’t know what to expect. I could see it on the computer screen before the tech even uttered the words. A tiny, formed silhouette complete with arms and legs, much bigger than last time. I saw the tech’s measurements, which showed the baby measuring at only 8.5 weeks, way behind schedule. But worst of all the tiny flicker was gone. The tech’s words still ring in my ears clear as day, “I don’t see a heartbeat.” That was all she said and she left the room. There was nothing to say; we both knew what that meant. I slumped into my husband’s arms and sobbed. And just like that our baby was gone. Our hearts broke into a million pieces. The drive home was completely silent, as we both tried to process.
The doctor gave us the option to wait and let the miscarriage complete on its own, take misoprostol to induce labor, or have a D & C. We wanted to let things happen naturally, as God designed, and didn’t want to intervene. I bled for another week or so, but still never had any cramping. I just couldn’t take it anymore; carrying around a dead baby was more than I could handle emotionally. I couldn’t understand why my body was not completing this natural process.
Our doctor suggested we do the misoprostol in order to speed things along. He said it worked 95% of the time and I still really didn’t want a D & C. The misoprostol was awful and was the most excruciating experience ever. I spent hours having painful contractions, all the while doped up on Percocet. I went in and out of the bathroom, trying to determine just when the baby would pass. I wanted desperately to see her and have that closure (morbid I know, but it is the truth). But I never passed anything other than massive clots and blood. An ultrasound a few days later showed that the misoprostol had not worked and that the miscarriage was still not compete. The doctor told us we needed to do the D & C at this point. I was so disappointed, but we felt we had no choice but to have this awful procedure. Looking back I wish I had just waited it out and let everything pass naturally, but at the time it was a different story. I remember crying the whole way into and out of surgery. I continued to follow the pregnancy tracker I had on my phone each week to imagine what it would be like and how our baby would have been growing were they still with us. I tracked things right up to our due date, which ended up being a very painful day, and will always be.
My husband was amazing and I cannot imagine going through that experience with anyone else. He took such good care of me and was strong for both of us. I didn’t find out until many months later just how much he was affected by our loss and how painful it was for him. We started trying for another baby as soon as the doctor cleared us to. We have been trying ever since and we are now dealing with unexplained infertility. We have had a battery of tests and so far there is no medical explanation as to why we cannot conceive again. It is so heartbreaking; nothing can ever prepare you for this experience. Everyday I think about my sweet little Angel Baby and wonder if she will be our only child. I like to think she was a girl, even though we never found out the sex. We decided not to name her, as it was too painful, but she is still our angel. I often imagine how different our lives would be if she was still here and I know exactly how old she would have been at any moment. We are still hoping and praying for our rainbow baby and trust the Lord to provide in his timing.
My first and only pregnancy ended in loss. I never had the joy of feeling pregnant or being able to tell people enthusiastically about our big news. We had decided early on to keep our news secret until the end of the first trimester, even though I wanted to scream it from the rooftops. It was actually harder after the fact to tell people that we had been pregnant but lost the baby, as many people don’t know how to respond when they hear that. Dealing with infertility on top of the loss of our only child is a completely different kind of pain, and again nothing that you can ever be prepared for. I know that this is all part of God’s greater plan for our lives, but I admit I still struggle accepting that and being content. He is faithful and will continue to provide for us. We are heartbroken but still very blessed. I am very thankful for the community of women I have encountered over the past two and a half years who have experienced and shared their stories of baby loss and infertility. It is so helpful to know I am not alone. I am the mother to an Angel in heaven and I cannot wait to finally meet her one day and finally have our family together in one place. Blessings to you.
Kelly’s blog, “Pieces of a Mother’s Broken Heart,” can be found at rogersfamilybabydreams.blogspot.com.
Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.