We found out mid-May that we were pregnant. We were thrilled! A little nervous, I admit, but thrilled. Lilleigh was over the moon excited, and Adeline just got clingier by the minute at all the baby talk going on.
I had all the pregnancy symptoms - nausea, exhaustion, a growing baby bump...
At 12 weeks, the day before Brendon's and my 8 year anniversary, I confidently went in for my midwife appointment. When it came time to hear the baby's heartbeat, my midwife could not find one. When she switched to a sonogram, the baby only measured 8.5 weeks, no heartbeat. Apparently babies start to break apart after the loss of a heartbeat. Our intact baby meant that this loss has happened fairly recently.
To say we were shocked is an understatement. Stunned. Spinning. Baffled. These words don't do justice to what we were feeling.
The next immediate feeling - heartbroken. This was our baby, and we will never meet him or her on this earth. For so many weeks we had envisioned this baby as a part of our family, and suddenly it won't be, not physically.
Because we needed to leave for Houston a week later for Brendon's sister's wedding, I opted to take the pill to make your body miscarry. This seemed less intrusive than a D&C. And I didn't want to wait to naturally pass the baby only to be in Houston during that time. (Naturally passing is still incredibly painful, for anyone who has not experienced a miscarriage. Take my word for it.)
To explain in detail the next few hours would be a bit lengthy, incredibly painful, and too much information for the blog world. The gist is that I had a strong reaction to the medication. (Mind you I normally only take half the recommended amount of pain killers, so I'm not sure what I was thinking. As if I have any medical knowledge at all.)
I lost a lot of blood very quickly and passed out. Thankfully Brendon caught me, saving me from what could have been a terrible fall. Since my midwife had warned this could happen when we had talked earlier in the evening about some concerning signs I was experiencing, Brendon wasn't nearly as panicked as I was at the loss of blood. However he did understand that I need medical attention ASAP. While I was still not fully conscious, he called for an ambulance. Thankfully SMom was here and able to stay with the girls so that he could be at the ER with me. (So thankful!)
An ultrasound revealed that the tissue had mostly passed, though an OB did have to assist with removing a bit. I was able to avoid a D&C, though I had my share of invasiveness.
I did not particularly care for my ER experience. It was sterile and cold and rushed. (Just like an ER is supposed to be?) The fact that I was in pain and bleeding like crazy didn't help, I'm sure. But nonetheless, they helped me out tremendously, and I'm thankful for their expertise.
Initially the trauma of the ER overshadowed the actual loss of our baby so much that I really couldn't even think about grieving without being completely overwhelmed. Plus the physical recovery- sheesh. We left for my SIL's wedding a little over a week after all this. (That's a much happier topic that will hopefully make it in another post- soon!) Though the wedding was fun, the timing was less than ideal, following such a rough week. I think we were all ready to be back home. It had been so emotional for all of us (and physically hard for me) that we are really all now starting to process our grief.
I want to say that a miscarriage is a loss, no matter how far along you are. Your baby is gone, and so are your dreams for him or her. However, for me, this miscarriage has been much harder for me than our first. (Refresher: We miscarried between the girls at 8 weeks, though the baby never actually formed. The sack measured 4 weeks.) The sure-pregnancy signs left us shocked and bewildered. I also was in what so many refer to as the "safe" zone at 12 weeks, making the shock that much more prominent. Lastly the ER trip clearly is a defining point of this miscarriage. Last time I passed the baby naturally without complications. It was awful, but I was home and knew what was happening.
We are thankful we had told so many people about our pregnancy early on. Since I was 12 weeks and this was baby 3, people pretty much knew I was pregnant, as I had a bump, but still, most friends knew our news because we had told them. Our thought is: It's hard to expect people to grieve with you if they haven't celebrated with you too. And our friends really went above and beyond in this area. More on that later.
Because of the difference in timing of the two miscarriages (8 weeks - really before then - and 12 weeks) and the fact that they were different types ("blighted ovum" aka no baby vs a baby who once had a heartbeat, most likely a chromosomal issue), my midwives seem to think they are unrelated and should not happen again. I will have blood draws early on in future pregnancies. Typically more testing isn't done until you've had multiple miscarriages in a row, so that's where we are now. Hopeful this is the end of our miscarriages.
As far as lessons learned, I have had to acknowledge my own faulty thinking. As it turns out, I'm way less in control that I thought! Who knew? ;) It really is crazy to think that I'm not in control of my own body. That child bearing is really not in my own hands. I have the mindset that if I eat well (read: foods with ingredients I know and can pronounce), get some exercise, stay away from harsh chemicals, all should go well with me physically. How humbling it is to realize there is so much (virtually everything..) outside my control.
The Lord has brought me to a sweet place. A bible study friend shared with me Isaiah 26:3-4 --
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. "Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. (Isaiah 26:3, 4 NASB)
I have a peace knowing God is in control. I don't know what tomorrow brings - more miscarriages, more children - but I can trust the One who has planned my tomorrow. It's been eye-opening. Humbling.
Also this has been another great lesson in how to love others well. Friends, you are amazing! We had so many cards, meals, flowers, phone calls, and texts. Wow. We have felt so cared for and so loved. It's a good reminder to me to step up my game when crisis hits a friend. I've also been reminded of times I haven't loved others well when they needed a friend, and it has prompted me to seek forgiveness. This is by no means my first experience with loss or grief, but oh how the Lord is still showing me how to love others in a similar place!
Thanks for bearing with me as I share our story. Our hope is that in our story you might find friends who understand. I was surprised when I shared about our first miscarriage how many people told me they had a similar experience. This doesn't have to be a burden you bear alone.
Wishing you all peace in your hearts. That you would seek first God's kingdom and not fear tomorrow (Matthew 6:33).