Today is October 15.
It’s a day that is near to my heart.
Today is the day we recognize pregnancy and infant loss.
I usually don’t share personal stuff like this, and I wasn’t sure that I ever would.
But I had some beautiful inspiration from some pretty amazing women who’ve been through the same thing I have.
And until four months ago, I was blissfully unaware.
But now I know.
So here goes.
I had no reason to believe that I’d ever be telling a story like this. My first pregnancy came very easily and was smooth and uneventful. Textbook, if you will. Our daughter was born healthy and beautiful, four days before her due date.
Fast forward to Spring, 2011. I suspected that I was pregnant and two home pregnancy tests and a blood test at the doctor’s office confirmed it. I scheduled my first ultrasound for a few weeks later.
On the morning of the ultrasound, I was about 9 1/2 weeks along. My husband had something at work come up that he had to take care of.
”Don’t worry. I'll take a video on my phone and ask for lots of print outs. Besides, we’ve done this before and there will be much more to see at the 20 week ultrasound,” I told him.
I arrived at the appointment and hopped onto the table. The technician got started and then said, “This is taking a little longer because I don’t think you’re as far along as we thought.” I crooked my head to see the screen and she turned it so that I could see.
”There it is. There’s your baby.”
Then the technician’s forehead wrinkled a bit and she studied the screen. “That’s the baby’s chest and I’m looking for a little flutter, the heartbeat.” Another few seconds passed.
”I’m going to have to get the doctor. Just relax here for a minute.”
I knew. They only go get the doctor if something is wrong.
She grabbed a few printouts from the ultrasound machine and left. Minutes later, she returned with my doctor. Normally I would be comforted to see him – Shawn and I both love and trust him - but he gave me a weak smile and took over the ultrasound.
”Have you had any bleeding or cramping?”
I hadn’t. Until this moment, I had no reason to believe anything was wrong. As far as I was concerned, my pregnancy had been progressing just as it should.
After another minute, he took my hand, helped me to sit up and said, “I’m so sorry. There’s no heartbeat, no movement and your baby is measuring smaller than it should for how far along you are. The most important thing for you to know is that this is not your fault and was not caused by something you did or did not do.”
I just starred at him, not knowing what to say, so I whispered, “thank you.”
At that moment, I became a member of a club which I never wanted to join: moms who’ve lost their babies far too soon.
”Take what time you need, call your husband and the nurse will walk you to my office. I’ll meet you there to talk about what will happen next.”
I called Shawn and through sobs, I managed to get out, “Ilostthebaby. No. Heartbeat.”
“I’m on my way,” he said and I heard the familiar sounds of the hustle and bustle of the airport in the background.
Our gentle breeze of pending parenthood had just become a hurricane.
The kind nurse ushered me down the hall to the doctor’s office, hugged me and told me how sorry she was. Again, I managed a meek, “thank you” in between sobs. She left me to wait for the doctor.
The doctor returned and in his gentle, yet matter-of-fact way explained my options to me. We decided to not make any decisions at that moment. Shawn and I thought the best thing at that time was to just be still and wait. We scheduled a D&C for a week later, but hoped that during that time, my body would do what it needed to do.
I had no idea how difficult it would be to live those nine days, knowing that there was a baby inside me that I would never get to hold.
Early in the morning on the day of the scheduled D&C, my body began to let go of the pregnancy. It was unrelenting, painful and traumatic. Just as painful as labor, to be honest.
Shawn took a quilt off of the bed in our guest room and wrapped it around me on the bathroom floor, trying to hold my shivers still.
Then he drove us to the hospital where we met my doctor. I would still need the D&C.
The procedure was quick and I woke up feeling better than I thought I would. The sweet nurse who had started my IV and walked me to the OR told me that she also had a miscarriage. It was 26 years ago and she still thinks about it. I read somewhere that once you see that second pink line on a pregnancy test, you set a place at your table for your baby. So true.
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5
So, now it’s been four months and my heart is healing.
The sting isn’t so harsh.
There are days that I don’t even think about it.
But there are reminders.
At a wedding a few weeks ago, as I helped my husband into his tux,
I thought, “I should be wearing a maternity dress to this wedding.”
I don’t know why this happened to us, or what God has planned for our family.
Will we try again?
Maybe. I don’t know.
Hannah may be the only child we are given to raise on this earth.
I am completely honest when I say that I am fine with that.
Because if I only have one, I’m so glad it’s her.
So I snuggle a little closer, giggle a little longer and hug her a little tighter.
Because God is good.
Even when it hurts.
And I know He’s holding my other baby until I can.