Mom to McKenna Rowan
Miscarried at 8 weeks pregnant
(October 2008 –November 2008)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
When my husband and I married in October of 2006, we decided that we were going to start trying to conceive right away. Maybe I just knew deep down that something was wrong, maybe it was just luck, but I thought that it made more sense to try earlier than later. A month went by, then two, then 6, then a year. Even though I had no diagnosis, I knew that something was wrong. “We are in our early twenties; we should be pregnant by now!” I sobbed to my husband. Another year passed and our second anniversary approached, still childless. I had just resigned myself to the point where I was getting ready to admit defeat. Then, one night, while waiting for our staff meeting, I randomly broke down in tears. While the last two years had been emotionally rough, it was not at all like me to just randomly break down like that. I thought it was weird, but I brushed it off and went to the meeting. The next morning, I woke up and was getting ready for work and broke down again. My husband walked by and asked if I was ok, commenting, “It’s not like you to be so emotional.”
Then it hit me. With shaking hands I opened the package and tested. Sure enough, a second pink line quickly appeared. I literally screamed and started jumping up and down. My husband ran into the room and I couldn’t even talk to him. I was pregnant, finally, I was pregnant! Shortly after I told my best friend our good news, she announced to me that she was pregnant, too! We were due literally within days of each other. How storybook perfect, being pregnant with my best friend.
The next couple of weeks went by without issue. I called my OB and was surprised that they didn’t even want to see me until I was 12 weeks, but that didn’t matter, I was pregnant and everything was perfect.
Around 8 weeks, I commented to my husband that something didn’t feel right. Everything was perfect, too perfect. No morning sickness, no energy drain, no signs and symptoms everyone else kept complaining about. I took another test and sure enough, pregnant. He reassured me that some women never get those miserable side effects and have perfectly normal pregnancies. I convinced myself he was right and I was just worried for no reason.
One day, at work, I was having lunch and suddenly felt a sharp burning pain in my abdomen. It ended as quickly as it began and I brushed it off as one of those random pains people talked about. That afternoon, shortly after the pain, I began spotting. I called my OB, who requested I come in for an ultrasound as soon as possible. My husband joined me and he kept telling me, “It’s fine, it’s fine, don’t worry,” but I could tell that he was convincing himself as much as he was convincing me – which was not at all.
They called me in for the ultrasound and as soon as I saw the screen, I knew. While at 8 weeks I knew there wouldn’t be much there, there should still be something there. I immediately started crying and the tech kept reassuring me that it was likely still too early to see anything, but having charted and temped for 2 years, I knew exactly how far along I should be. The OB told me that I must be wrong and that he’d see me in for a follow up ultrasound in a week.
That same night, in my bathroom, I miscarried. My husband tried to be supportive, but it was hard for him to help me when he was just as heartbroken. It was painful and messy and I cried most of the night. When it was over, I knew. I felt so empty. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, see anyone or be touched by anyone. For the next week, I kept trying to process what had happened. Having had a blighted ovum, it was particularly hard for me to process. I kept telling myself that my grief wasn’t real because I hadn’t really been pregnant. I felt guilty for mourning the loss of a baby when the baby never existed in the first place. It was such a difficult time for me to wrap my head around my grief and around how I should cope with what I was feeling. My follow-up appointment showed that indeed, I had passed the “material” (God, how hearing him say it that way made me mad) and that everything was “fine now”.
In the following months, I went through the stages of grief and one day as we approached the holiday season, I saw a display of angel ornaments. It was a moment that I’ll never forget, I accepted the fact that while perhaps I never actually had a physical baby, I had a baby in every other sense of the word…a very real child that I had lost and I had every right to mourn their death. I purchased an angel ornament in my angel’s memory and that night I went home on a mission to name my lost baby.
It was hard finding a gender neutral name that felt appropriate but I kept finding myself drawn to Hawaiian names.
Then I found it. Makanaakua, (MA ka NA a KOO a)…gift of God.
Makanaakua. I dwelled on that name and on Makana (simply, gift) for hours. Every time I looked on further, I came back to that name. Makanaakua. I practiced saying it and then it hit me…I had the more common name that I could link to that: McKenna.
I asked my husband if he could come up with a middle name. He thought for only a short time and came up with one: Rowan. I asked him what inspired him and he didn’t know, other than it just fit (in his opinion). I wanted him to have an opinion so I stayed with that name.
Then, this evening, I looked it up to see what the actual meaning of that name was. Ironic enough, it was a gender neutral name, also Gaelic (I’m sensing a trend) that means “little red one”. Little red one. How damn ironic. The only thing we ever really saw of this child that we fell in love with was a little red line. Little red one, gift from God. It’s amazing how things fall in place, isn’t it?
Later, upon a consultation with a specialist, we were told that the fact that due to our (at the time, unknown) medical issues we got pregnant on our own at all was a miracle. Look at my best friends little boy, even four years later, it’s hard not to wonder why and what if, but each day it grew easier. Just because I never got to hold or even see my baby, doesn’t mean that I don’t love them and think of them often.
You can contact Mandie at firstname.lastname@example.org.