In August of 2013 I gave birth to my beautiful little girl Olivia. She was a perfect little angel. I went through my entire pregnancy without one hitch. It was textbook perfect. Labor was long (26 hours long) but not unusual for your first child.
When I was pregnant with Olivia I already knew then that she would not be an only child so by the time she was just over 2 years old I was pregnant again with our second.
I was so happy. I immediately scheduled my first prenatal appointment with my family nurse and of course I told all of our family and friends that we were expecting a little brother or sister for Olivia. Usually I would wait until after the first 3 months to pass and the dangers of miscarriage are mostly gone before telling too many people but I remember thinking 'my first pregnancy was so perfect why would this one be any different.'
So, I went to my see my nurse, we started my chart and she scheduled me for my first ultrasound so we could find out exactly how far along I was. I was relaxed and happy as I left my appointment to go home.
My ultrasound was scheduled for about 9 weeks along. I was about 5 weeks when I found out I was pregnant using a home pregnancy test so I had about a month to wait to get in for my ultrasound. At first I was so excited to see my little girl or boy that I could hardly contain myself.
"I started to get this dreaded feeling deep down that something wasn't right. I ignored it, and of course blamed paranoia or anxiety."
After a week or so passed I started to wonder when the morning sickness would start. I hadn't had any signs or symptoms that I was pregnant, but it I thought it's still pretty early and everything is probably fine.
Another week passed and still no morning sickness. No sore breasts, no cravings for the usual things I crave when I'm pregnant. I started to get this dreaded feeling deep down that something wasn't right. I ignored it, and of course blamed paranoia or anxiety. How could I possibly know if something was wrong?
As time passed and it got closer to my ultrasound that feeling of dread just kept getting deeper in my gut. When it was finally time for my appointment I still had not felt any symptoms of pregnancy at all but I also hadn't had any symptoms of miscarriage either. As I laid on the hospital bed in the ultrasound room I tying to control my thoughts I studied the technicians face for any signs of good or bad that she might be seeing on the screen. It was taking an excruciatingly long time for her to finish her exam. Then she looked at me and said " I will be back in a minute I just have to check something with the doctor."
My heart dropped. I laid on that bed for what felt like an eternity waiting for her to come back. She came back with a senior technician who then proceeded to do their own exam moving the wand around my belly. She looked confused and would talk to the other technician once in a while but not saying anything that would give me any clue as to what was going on. I felt like I was going to burst! This was MY baby after all, in MY body so it felt very insulting to be left in the dark this whole time.
"I swallowed hard and then said "Is there a heartbeat?" Whatever she said to me at this point would..."
Finally they finished, she turned the screen towards me so I could see my precious little creation and there was that perfect little shape. I could see that tiny little heart beating on the screen and for a moment I felt relief. Then I took a deep breath looked at the technician and asked what she had talked to the doctor about. Of course I got the standard answer of "I'm not allowed to give you your results but your doctor will be in touch with you." She wouldn't tell me anything. I knew something was wrong.
I went home and immediately called my nurse to explain what had happened at the appointment. She was confused at why they wouldn't tell me any information but she pulled the results of the ultrasound that day and called me back. My babies growth was almost 2 weeks behind. I was 9 weeks pregnant but my baby was showing 7 weeks in size. The good thing was there was a heartbeat. She scheduled me for another ultrasound for the next week just to check to see if the baby had grown. The chances were 50/50 that the baby would grow or the heart would just stop, there was no way of telling which way it would go. So I waited.....in agony for a week.
When it was time for my ultrasound again I went in already knowing the answer. My baby was gone. I knew this time to trust my gut and my body. I still showed no signs or symptoms of pregnancy and I was 10 weeks along at this point.
The technician did her usual straight faced evaluation of my belly and baby. This time she didn't take as long before she left to talk to a doctor. She came back and said the results were being sent to my nurse, but she didn't offer to let me see the baby this time. I knew what she would say if I asked her what was wrong so I asked one very specific yes or no question. I swallowed hard and then said "Is there a heartbeat?" Whatever she said to me at this point would reveal the answer to that question unless she lied which I'm pretty sure isn't allowed. She actually answered me..."I can't see one." Then she very quickly left the room.
Although I knew that would be the answer to my question actually hearing those words were just as devastating as if I hadn't been expecting this to happen at all.
It took a week for the miscarriage to physically happen. The pain emotionally and physically was excruciating but thankfully the whole ordeal was over pretty quickly. Now all I had to do was tell all those people that I had told previously that I was pregnant what had happened. It was like reliving the entire thing over and over each time someone asked how my pregnancy was going. It was weeks of well intentioned comments and advise. People don't really know what to say but feel they have to say something so you get a lot of the generic "time heals all" and "at least it happened early on and not later". Although all of these things are true it doesn't help at the time when you feel like you are being swallowed into a deep dark hole in the Earth right beneath your feet.
Eventually though, time did pass and it did seem to get easier. I didn't ask myself the self blaming questions as often any more. Why did this happen? What did I do wrong? If only I hadn't done this or that. When in fact miscarriage is most often something entirely out of your control. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't my fault at all.
The Second Hurdle
This all happened in January of 2015. By the end of the summer I was feeling much better and had gotten back into the swing of things. Then in September I found out I was pregnant again. Of course I wanted this. I didn't do anything to try and avoid it happening. I was happy in the initial moment of finding out that I was pregnant. Then the fear set in and the what if's started to flood my mind. Could I go through this again? It would kill me if the same thing happened. These I'm very sure are normal reactions after one has had a recent miscarriage but the big one I wasn't expecting was the anger and guilt.
The day I had found out I was pregnant again was days before my due date from the previous pregnancy would have been. I was supposed to be meeting my baby now not starting over having another one like the last never existed or wasn't important enough. I felt so guilty and so angry with myself.
I didn't know how to feel excited or plan for this new baby without having the guilt in the back of my mind that I must be a horrible Mother to be able to feel so happy about this new pregnancy when I should obviously still be grieving for the last one. This was irrational I know, but at the time it was the overwhelming thought in my mind.
I wasn't until my husband stopped me one day and said..." Souls don't die...there was something not working with the body of our child and so God took back that soul and when there was a better body he sent that soul back to us." I believe my baby was born that September. She was born inside of me. My daughter is due in 3 weeks from the time I write this. I am so excited to meet her. The feelings of guilt have subsided and most of the what if questions are gone. I will always think about the one that was lost but I then think about what my husband said to me and it helps give me peace.