Mom to Baby Smith
Angelversary December 10, 2013
Fort Hood, Texas
Back in 2008 I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant with twins. At my 12 week appointment they found out that one of the babies had stopped growing shortly after my 8th week appointment and its heart had stopped. I was warned that this could lead to a miscarriage of the surviving twin, but nothing happened…no pain…nothing…and I went on to have a healthy little girl who is now four years old. I had lost a baby but I didn’t truly understand miscarriage. It didn’t truly feel like a loss. I went on to also have a healthy pregnancy of a now 1 year old little boy.
My husband just returned from a tour in Afghanistan and we decided to try for baby number 3. I got pregnant almost right away. Things seemed fine. I had totally different pregnancy symptoms as I had with my other two pregnancies. The baby was measuring okay at the 8 week appointment/ultrasound. I, like all pregnant women I’m sure, looked forward to that 12 week “safety” even though I really didn’t comprehend why. But a couple of days before I reached the “safety” of the 12th week, I started feeling this uncomfortable pressure in what I thought was my kidney area. When I wiped after I urinated, I did see pink on the toilet paper, but everyone told me that it was probably just a UTI and to not worry about it.
When the pressure turned to pain that was bringing me to tears, I had my husband bring me to the ER on the army base that we live at. After waiting a couple of hours in the waiting room, pain continuing to worsen, I went to the bathroom and found bright red blood and clots. I knew immediately what was going on. I walked back to my seat and my husband, crying hysterically. I told the ER staff what was going on. I couldn’t even stand up straight because of the pain of what I now know were contractions. All they did was hand me a couple of pads and ask me to take a seat, that someone would be with me in a moment.
Well that moment only came an hour and a half later after my water broke all over the ER chair. I didn’t even know there would be that much that early on. The pain was unlike anything I had felt before, but the ER staff still called my name like I was expected to walk across the ER waiting room. Patients around me were yelling at them to bring me a wheel chair, and when I stood up, quite a bit of what had been inside me fell down my pants leg to the floor. I couldn’t bear to look. I was terrified of seeing the baby. I had no idea what to expect. A few shots of morphine and I was still feeling the harshest of the contractions. Having had two c-sections before, I was totally unprepared for what I was going through. I had planned to have a vbac2c with that baby, but this wasn’t how I had imagined it. I went through two vaginal ultrasounds because at first they thought I was hemorraghing but then they could not tell if I had passed the baby yet.
When I left the ER, they gave me a pair of those paper thin throw away scrubs, a prescription for Percocet, and that was it. I had no idea what to expect…still don’t. I was in active labor and would continue to labor by myself at home in my master bathroom for the next six hours with my husband crying in the doorway. Two weeks later, cramps on and off throughout the days, I sat on the toilet to pee and actually had to push something golf ball sized out instead. It was the baby.
It has been almost five months [at time of writing] and I’m going through the motions but if you ask me each night what I did that day, I probably couldn’t tell you. My husband is the most supportive person in my life. My own mother has told me to get over it already and I’ve made all of my friends uncomfortable because they don’t know how to talk to me anymore. The smallest things make me cry and to make it worse I think everyone around me on this base is pregnant. I feel like my body let me down somehow, that I did something wrong. I shoulder the blame that everyone tells me doesn’t exist…the baby just wouldn’t have survived and I “should be thankful that I didn’t go full term only to have a stillborn”. There may be some truth in that, but there really aren’t words that make losing a baby, at any stage, any easier to deal with. There was still life inside me and now there isn’t and I don’t have the little baby to show for it. My first period after the miscarriage actually surprised me with how traumatic just seeing the blood again (tmi, I’m sorry) down there is…even though it’s perfectly normal right now. I’m sorry for the length of this. I just needed to let it out somehow and everyone around me is probably sick of hearing about it.
If I could say one thing to the ladies who have gone through or are going through the same thing it is this: It’s okay to grieve for as long as you need to. Never let anyone tell you any different. It’s okay to cry and scream if you need to. It’s healthy either way and the genuine people in your life will never judge. Everything everyone says to you is going to feel wildly inappropriate and awkward. Just be patient with them. They are going through their own process as a friend or family member watching you go through an anguish that no mother should ever feel. It isn’t easy for them to find the right thing to say in a situation where everything is wrong. Also never be ashamed to ask for help. I found the best friends from a support group for women who have gone through the same and were trying to conceive again. Never lose hope.
Lyndsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org