“I’m sorry but we don’t see a heartbeat.”
These are the word I hear in my dreams, that haunt me everyday and bring waves of grief and sadness to my days.
Our journey all started in the early months of 2013. We finally decided we were ready to start adding to our little family- and this time a baby as Bella is no where near ready for another dog friend! My first month off birth control had a scary story in of itself. My heart literally stopped. Our biggest fear to the cardiologist was, “Can we still have kids? Like soon?” And he reassured us this may have just been a one-time occurrence and that pregnancy may actually help it to resolve.
So the next month I didn’t think it odd that my period didn’t come after the expected 28 days. I took a pregnancy test and it was negative so I waited a few days and took another. Still negative. So I just chalked it up to my periods trying to regulate now that I am not on birth control as I heard stories of this happening.
A few weeks later we were getting ready for Marcus’s best friend’s wedding in Colorado and I just thought I should take a pregnancy test. So one day before work I took one and was shocked it said pregnant. I walked out of the bathroom with my eyes wide and made Marcus read it to be sure. We were both in shock. Then fear rushed over me as I recalled all the pregnancy no-no’s I had done in the past month: painting, wine, sushi, ibuprofen, and crazy workouts with pre-workout drinks. Eek! I quickly made a doctors appointment for the next week when we returned for vacation, as I had no idea how many weeks along I had been. But we were still so excited to share our news with all of our family and close friends!
At our first ultrasound they measured the baby at 7.5 weeks and saw a strong heartbeat- and we were given a due date of December 24, a Christmas baby. They told us that the chance of a miscarriage after seeing the heartbeat are <5% so we were very relieved, though the thought of a miscarriage never crossed our minds. We were so excited and so in love with our little peanut already.
The next month was very hard as Marcus was working a lot and I was feeling pretty miserable. Pregnancy hit me in full force. I am usually a pretty healthy eater and avid workout fanatic and these were two things that were nearly impossible. We had a little scare around week 9 when I had another vaso-vagal/syncope episode but my Cardiologist and OB said that everything was fine. I started to feel better towards the end of my first trimester and we went in for our next ultrasound, our 12 week appointment.
We were so excited and ready to announce our happiness to the world! We even were prepared with how exactly we were going to announce it- I had already prepared a chalkboard and taken pictures of Bella next to it. But that day in June did not turn out as we had expected.
The nurse practitioner was unable to find the heartbeat on a doppler, explained that this is common, and had us go down the hall for an ultrasound. The tech pulled up the picture of our little peanut and my heart immediately sunk. I just knew the news wasn’t good.
“I’m sorry but I don’t see a heartbeat.” Everything else just went black and the tears started to fall. We were in shock. Why did this happen? The doctor assured us that things like this happen frequently, in fact, 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage in their first pregnancy. They gave us a few options, but recommended we have a D&C, a surgery in which the doctor goes in and removes the fetus. I just couldn’t handle walking around knowing I was carrying my baby who was no longer alive so we were scheduled for the next morning.
We left the doctor’s office unable to breathe. Instead of calling our family to tell them they could share the good news with the world, we had to tell them that it was over. That night Marcus and I lay numb in our bed just crying and praying for God to help us get through this. We felt completely worn down and weak and knew that we would never get through this on our own, but that we needed the love and strength of God to carry us through.
The next morning we went in for my surgery on autopilot. The nurse asked if we had an “abortion gone wrong” and I about died that she would say such a thing to us. Being a nurse I know you are supposed to be empathetic and this nurse was anything but. When we explained the situation she moved on to say, “Oh I had a miscarriage too but now I have four kids.” Unfortunately these words meant nothing to me. We wanted this baby, our Christmas baby. Then we had to sign a form on what to do with our fetus’ remains. My response was simply this, ‘WHAT?! I have NO idea!” And the tears began to fall even harder. When I look back on our experience this had to have been one of the hardest parts.
After surgery I had to wait in recovery for a few hours because my heart rate was too low and was taking a while to stabilize. And after that we drove home, without our baby. That night we just cried and held each other praying for strength and to see the good in this situation.
A few months passed and we were ready to try again. After months of no luck, we finally went back to our OB and he explained that my body wasn’t ovulating. We did a month of fertility treatments and in March 2014 we found out we were expecting baby #2! We were so excited and hopeful! We told all of our close family and friends again and asked for prayers.
But around 6 weeks I started to feel different. My symptoms would come and go and the panic started to set in. Were we going to lose this one too? Is God preparing us now so it doesn’t hit as hard as last time? After days of worrying I finally called the OB and they stated this was perfectly normal and we again had another ultrasound that showed everything was progressing as normal. Then at our next ultrasound, we were shocked that everything wasn’t progressing as it should. We were almost 8 weeks, but the baby was only measuring 6 weeks and the heartbeat was very, very slow. Our hearts were again broken. We were to come in the next week for another ultrasound, of which I already knew what we would find. The tech was so great, she even told us she had hope and would pray for a miracle because they do happen, but I knew deep down that it was over, again. A long week passed and we found out for sure- “there’s no heartbeat”.
This time I was more prepared with questions. Why does this keep happening? Is something wrong with me or am I doing something wrong? Our doctor was so great, but he explained that in 70% of couples, multiple miscarriages like this are just by chance, and they have no idea why it happens. Maybe the follicles just aren’t good or maybe it is God’s way of ending the life of a baby that was not going to have good outcomes. But he also shared with us that insurance does not cover any fertility diagnostic tests until 3 miscarriages. WHAT?! One was bad enough, two was just as miserable, but we may have to have another one just to find out why?! We left frustrated without answers. And this time instead of having a surgery, we decided it would be best to take medications that stimulate labor and would cause me to pass the fetus on our own at home. The weekend was very long and I am so grateful Marcus was there because I had another vaso-vagal episode and almost passed out but he was able to help me get to the floor and stay awake.
Now weeks later, it still hurts so deeply. We don’t understand why, and we know God may not reveal his reasons until much later, but this is why we are using this blog as a means to cope and also to help others find comfort in Him who are experiencing the same thing. Our hope is that you will share our story with someone you know in need of His love and comfort or for someone who may not understand what another loved one is going through.
We also ask that you continue to pray for us during this journey. There are still many times our sin gets the best of us and we fall on our knees asking for strength.
We have also been blessed with the most wonderful family and friends who have been a huge support and for them we want to say thank you! We are so grateful to have such amazing people by our sides!