Four weeks ago I woke up feeling unexpectedly positive. I fell asleep feeling anxious because I knew the next morning held our 16 week ultrasound. After 3 weeks of stressing about what could be wrong and if our baby would be ok, I tossed and turned fretting about all of the worse case scenarios. In case you missed the original post of what happened at our NT screening Here it is. However when I woke for some reason I just felt like it would be ok, I felt that maybe the genetic counselor was right to be more positive on our last call. In fact I lay in bed and browsed gender reveal ideas on pinterest and even pinned a few since I knew there was a good chance we would find out that day.
Me and Julio arrived at the ultrasound and I lay back on the bed as the tech explained what she would be looking for. She placed the wand on my belly and there on the screen above the bed was my baby. I knew as soon as I saw the image, I just knew in my heart that our baby was gone. However the tech kept taking measurements and explaining what she was doing and I just hoped I was wrong. I searched desperately for a spasm of the arms or legs, or a flickering of the little heart beat. The tech removed the wand and said the doctor would be in soon. Voice shaking I asked if she had seen a heart beat and was told she was sorry but no, she could detect no heart rhythm.
I sat in that room and cried as my husband held me and we heard from the room next to us the sound of healthy babies heart beats on the monitor. It was such a sad reminder of how we were supposed to be spending our day. We waited for what seemed like forever for the doctor to come in and reconfirm that yes our baby was gone and that growth had stopped about 2 weeks ago. I thought of the hours I spent unsuccessfully trying to find the baby’s heartbeat on the home Doppler. I had just written it off as user error since I had promised myself when I ordered it that I would not let it stress me out. We went over our options and set an appointment for the next morning, and I went home and spent the day in a fog of tears and fears.
Grief over a miscarriage is such an odd and lonely grief. Even though others around you grieve for you, it seems that you are the only one that can grieve for your baby. You are the only one that feels the loss of what actually was instead of just the loss of what could have been. You are the one who wonders if it was you or something you did, or wonders why your body fails you. And people come along side and support you and they are wonderful to you but yet it feels like you are the only one who truly lost someone. I was so blessed to have so many to think, pray and take care of us but yet I felt so oddly alone in my utter sadness. I remember that night as I rocked Evelynn I was thinking about the baby I still carried inside of me and thinking that I never got to rock him in my arms, but only inside of me. It was just than that I got a text from my sister Wendy telling me that my sweet little baby was rocking in the arms of Jesus. That was such a heartbreaking but beautiful thought that maybe he never got to feel my arms, but wow! He was rocking in the arms of the savior, what a lucky kid.
The next morning I walked into labor and delivery, passing crying babies and laboring moms pacing the hall. I went into surgery and we were so lucky to have an amazing nurse and my doctor was incredible. However there is nothing worse than waking up after a D and C and I hope that this will be my last. At least this time I knew what to brace myself for. To wake up in such pain and feeling so empty with no baby to hold and nothing to show. My recovery was rough and it was quite a few days before I felt normal physically and I still can’t quite say I am back to my normal self emotionally.
The last few weeks have been hard, especially nights. I get plagued with doubts that maybe I should have passed the baby naturally, it was such a violent way to have him removed. I know these thought are irrational because the baby was gone by than, it was just a shell, but yet it still causes many sleepless nights. And oh, the anxiousness I have had over my children, checking on them many times a night, and not able to relax when I leave them. I wondered if something was wrong but a quick google search confirmed that heightened anxiety is a very common side effect of pregnancy loss. I feel fine most days but at night when Julio is working and I lay in bed alone my mind just won’t shut off. And there is nothing that echos in your mind and heart more than having your 3 year old tell her auntie, “Mommy’s belly hurts because our baby went to be with God.”
Today I got the call I have both been waiting for and dreading. The test results were in. We found out that our baby had a condition called Trisomy 18. This is a very serious and almost always fatal chromosome disorder resulting in a 50% still birth rate for those who make it to term. And less than 10% who survive birth make it to their first birthday. We also found out that it was a baby boy. This was hard for me, not because it would have been less sad to loose a girl, but because now we didn’t just loose an unborn child, we lost a son. It feels so much more real and reminds me that it was a baby we lost, not a fetus but a child, born of me and my husband and knit together by God. I also had just felt my whole pregnancy that it was a boy and so that is what I had connected to and dreamed of.
And so tonight as I lay in bed images of what could have been filled my head as well as so many conflicting emotions. From pain that we never got to meet or hold our son and relief that God never asked me to continue to carry a child I could never keep. And than guilt over that relief, because I feel like it is selfish. And worries over what if this happens again even though the genetic counselor was very positive it wouldn’t. Could I bare it again? And painful reminders of that day surface again, and I am so glad that the test results took so long to come in. I needed that time to process this one step at a time. For now I am going to go back into bed and fall asleep in my husbands arms, picturing my perfectly beautiful baby boy rocking safely in the arms of Jesus, who loves him more than I ever could have.