I am going to share with you the story of our babies short life. I can only do this after support of family and friends and time. I have researched and read many stories online so I hope this story finds someone who needs it on their search. I am known for my internet research (Getting a Doctorate in Educational Technology now) so as soon as I found out I went all over the internet including reading medical references and just stories from people. There are many numbers out there but 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
This has been a long emotional week for my family and I. After 12 weeks of a hard pregnancy, we found out in an ultrasound that the baby did not have a heart beat. Not only the heart was not working we later found out but there was also a lot of fluid in the baby. Meaning that the baby was most likely something that would have never survived or had a healthy life out in the womb.
But the world did not know this until this ultrasound. I was having a very hard and tiring pregnancy. Since I had a hard pregnancy with my first child, I hoped it would not be the case but it happening again was not that surprising. Looking back at it now I think it was much harder. But that is what Moms do, just keep going. Even last week I could barley stand for all the songs at church and put my head down for the sermon.
So the three of us (husband, daughter, and I) went in for our normal 12 week ultrasound on Thursday. She started measuring and we saw our baby at correct size. Then they told us sadly that our baby did not have a heart beat. At first it registered as a fact. This first stage neither of us were that sad. It was like almost hearing news on tv. Like it did not apply to us.
They let us sit in another room while a Physician Assistant (PA) (Doctor was out that day) came to talk to us. Our little girl was squirming because she was bored. We hugged and kissed her and felt extra blessed to have her and her there with us that day. After the PA talked to us it felt a little more real. She said she recommended a D and C -Dilation and Curettage Procedure). We were asking what happened next because both of us did not even look into this possibility before. We left and went home. No ultrasound picture and apparently no viable baby.
The first hour was hard. Who do we tell? Are they sure they are right? How do we tell people? I then went into all the things that won’t happened as planned. No summer due date. No sibling for my daughter. Not having kids 2 1/2 years apart. It does not matter who takes our daughter when I deliver or who goes with us to have the baby. I found a quote online that said something like “We were not expecting a baby we were expecting a life”. I thought we had so many years to grow and learn together.
I have to admit we were very open about telling multiple people at an early time. I am still glad we did. We shared on facebook, Charlie The Cavalier, and others. I even wrote about my first pregnancy that became a book with 3,000 download and over million blog views. This time we even took video of how we told people which I will always have now. So you could imagine a little more how hard it was to tell these people one by one.
But in my faith I realize that this baby had a life. The baby has brought us love, joy, patience, and kindness. Us as in the world. Every person who reads this. Every doctor, nurse, and helper we saw at the hospital yesterday. Every person who read the message on facebook because they are close friend or someone we have not seen for years. Our second baby touched many lives. People felt emotions that they will never be able to take away. I hope these emotions will help them in the future in their own walks of life.
After calling a few people, and my husband was there every step of this process I went to the internet. I read and read. So many sad stories but helpful stories in our journey. What was the next step? After much thought and a decision from both of us we decided for the D and C. There was really only two options. I could have my body naturally birth the baby (which could be a long process, and all the stuff may not come out so we would have to do a D and C anyway.) Or a medical procedure in the OR. Since I am not a medical doctor I will define a D and C here: Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a brief surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining. I did not bleed at all even the day before surgery so I knew a natural birth would take while. My water did break the night before but still no bleeding. But we decided on the D and C.
This is where it got weird for me and I will share this part of the story for others (may get weird here). So they scheduled the D and C for Monday. 4 nights and 3 days away. I got really upset. I am going to have a dead baby in my body for all this time! I live in America people, why can’t you take it out right now? There were so many emotions at this point. The next morning was a Friday so I called to have it done that day. No openings, and no willingness to let me go somewhere else. The baby was in there until Monday. At this point I started to lose my pregnancy nausea and sickness. After 2 months of it I started to feel physically better. Energy again and wanting healthy food for my body, but still too sad to actually cook for myself.
Looking back this time was good. We got to morn and say good bye. The baby was not hurting me and for thousands of years and still now woman’s amazing bodies can do a great job of releasing the baby itself. But I had to go though the entire weekend with a dead baby inside of me. That night I ground my teeth so hard that my jaw was in more pain then I ever felt. I took pain medicine for the first time in months, because I could now, and was still in jaw pain all day. My husband said it was a physical manifestation of the pain I was feeling inside. We told our daughter that there was no more baby but we knew she did not fully understand in the beginning so it was ok. Later that week she did mimic my sad cry and I felt bad for that. But this is part of life and I am sure she will sad cry herself one day. That weekend we became closer as a family getting pictures with Santa and going to church. But Monday was coming and I was scared and relieved.
Much amazing love, stories, and food poured in to our house. My husband and I never felt this loved (even when we had our little girl). We were not alone in this journey nor are we ever. My husband and I have a good idea of our faith so it was not shook. We knew this was not done to us or our fault. We had close friends go though a similar journey last year that we tried to be there for. But each thought of a baby is unique and we will never get them back. That same friend said our children are playing up there in heaven together. If you think of the movie heaven, it would be nice to think that our grandparents are holding and playing with our little ones up there before we get a chance. While that is not my complete thought of heaven, it is still a good thought on earth.
D and C
Monday finally arrived. We drove to Danville, just the two of us, and as we always do on car trips we talked. When we got there it was very overwhelming. Big place to find a parking spot. Long walk since we did not know where we were going. A scary amount of people waiting in the Operating Room for loved ones. Even a beeper to tell when when to get started. I can’t even begin to tell you how strong and helpful my husband was though this entire process. I get back to the table and get bombarded by papers. Sign this. I get wired up. Sign this. More wires. Then the IV. I don’t have the best veins so I was praying for a good one. After digging around on my left hand they finally got it on my right.
This is when I got most scared. How did I get myself here (I am an internal person). This could have happened with our other daughter. How could I let myself do this to my body again? I could find myself in this situation again. There is where my anxiety really kicked in. Nurses, doctors and assistant kept introducing themselves to me. They would tell me their names and I would forget. Rushing around occurred for paperwork, and wires. Other patients were getting the same treatment around me. Other people were being rolled by on stretchers. What are they here for? Are they ok? Is there anyone else here for a similar procedure as I am today? When do I fall asleep so this can be over? Then they let me have a warm air blower on my bed which calmed me down. I told them it was the best part of my day so far.
In case you were wondering, again not a doctor, I had an IV in, a blood pressure cuff on my arm. The finger pulse thing. Three electronic things on my chest. Compression socks which this very nice nurse struggled to get on. And compression air bags around my legs to keep pressure while I was asleep.
The rest was a blur. They put medicine in my IV, rolled me in to the OR, I was bright light, and people chatting and giggling (in a positive way) in a room and I was out. I woke up pleasant but I still cried. Happy it was over but sad it was done.
They let me have more medicine and it was time to go home. Minimal bleeding was occurring and I was not in pain. I was wheeled out of the hospital as my husband picked me up in the car and we went home.
My parents were watching our daughter so it was nice to see them. I was not tired so we chatted, ate, and I got to see them interact with our little girl which is always fun. I was not in pain and very little bleeding.
I wanted to share how we shared the news with others. My husband wrote this and I appreciate it:
It has been a difficult few days for our family as we found out on Thursday that the baby did not have a heartbeat after growing for 11 weeks, 5 days. Our family has been extremely touched by all the love and support that we’ve received over the past few days (in the form of kind words, support, stories and food) from so many people. We know that this child was loved by so many even though the baby didn’t get to say hi. More than anything this child has left a lasting sense of love and hope on our family and while very sad for all of us, this will help us as we move forward.
Lisa is healthy and the doctor stressed that this will not put future pregnancies at increased risk.
After doing research on the internet there was not much from the subject. We got many likes and comments which made us feel not alone. Again, I am still happy we shared our babies life and journey with everyone, no matter how short.
I am glad that I got to do the D and C. I did not love the medical stuff but I am glad it is over now. The process could have been long and turned into the same procedure anyway.
I have read that some woman are able to hold their baby after giving birth at home. While I would have liked that, that is not part of my story and does not happen for all women.
The ultrasound results in our reading show the baby would not have made it to full term. It is nothing we did or could control. Well probably what the lucky sperm and egg did.
I realize that I was more sick that I probably thought I was in the beginning. I have energy and life again. We hope to try again in the future for a different child. We can never replace the one that we lost. But hopefully I will be less sick with the next with a healthy child. We called our first child the bell curve baby because almost everything she tested she was right in the middle. Even born on her due date.
We feel blessed to have a healthy child, be healthy parents, and have the love and support that we do. We will move forward changed people. I said I feel like I aged 5 years in one week. This time it was not from loosing sleep. We are grateful for the doctors, nurses, and support staff who helped us though this process. I know they do this every day but this is a very personal thing to my family that they were there to support and bring us though. We were strangers to them at one point but each one of them have made a difference.