The First One...
When Lucy was 10 months old I found out I was pregnant again. I hadn’t had a period yet since she was born (my body is super slow to respond to hormonal changes) so were were VERY shocked that I was pregnant. I had been taking the “mini pill” since I was breastfeeding, but it gave me terrible migraines and mood swings so I decided we would try the natural method so I stopped taking the pill that month. I was also weaning Lucy from breastfeeding that month, and I think the combo of the two threw my body back into ovulation. So once again we were pregnant unexpectedly. (Lucy was also an unexpected pregnancy, in case you don’t know) At first I was freaked out, because I knew they would be less than 18 months apart and I wasn’t really sure if my body was ready for another pregnancy. But after a week or two I started to get really excited, and realized how thrilled I was that Lucy was going to have a sibling so close in age.
From the beginning, something just didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it any other way. I guess a mother just knows. Exactly the same way you “know” when you’re pregnant, even before you’ve taken a test, I just “knew” something was wrong. I didn’t have any of the same symptoms I had with Lucy, which I know can be normal, but it was just one more thing that made me a little uneasy.
Our first prenatal appointment was at 5 weeks, and everything looked great. We didn’t have an ultrasound because the doctor said it would be too early to see the baby. To this day I regret not demanding an ultrasound anyway. But I had already had a health baby, I had no reason to worry, right? Everything would be fine. After all, we had to be “super fertile” in order to get pregnant twice without trying, right? That’s what I told myself. By 8 weeks I was in complete denial. The few pregnancy symptoms I did have had disappeared completely. I never got nauseous at all, and by this point with Lucy I was vomiting atleast twice a day. We had an ultrasound at 9 weeks, our second prenatal appointment. I felt really uneasy in the parking lot before we went inside. Mark prayed for me and for the baby, and prayed that God’s will be done no matter what. We went inside for the ultrasound. No heartbeat. They said it looked like the baby either stopped developing or died around 6 weeks. No words can describe that moment.
Because I hadn’t had a period before that pregnancy, there was no “day of last period” to base the due date off of, so the ultrasound tech and nurse practitioner decided that perhaps I had calculated wrong and I wasn’t as far along as I thought. But I knew I had lost the baby in that moment. I had a positive pregnacy test in the middle of May. This was the end of June, there’s no way I could have tested positive if I was only 5 or 6 weeks now. But, to appease them, and because I didn’t have the energy to disagree, I went in every other day for bloodwork to test my hCG levels. It only took 3 times for them to agree that yes, my levels were dropping, which meant I was indeed miscarrying, even though I hadn’t had any cramping or bleeding. We waited about another week, still monitoring my hCG levels, and I still wasn’t bleeding. My doctor decided that if we waited any longer it could be dangerous for me to miscarry on my own because I could hemorrhage pretty severely, so we had a D&C on July 9, 2009.
The hardest part was the week after the ultrasound, but before the surgery, walking around knowing I had my dead baby still inside of me. I felt so empty. The surgery went fine. I don’t remember any of it. I don’t even remember Mark driving me home that day. I was numb. I can’t even remember crying about it.
One thing I want to mention, a way that the Lord just wrapped me up in His arms during this loss, was through a bible study. My friend had just started a bible study literally the same exact day that we found out our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. Obviously, I missed the first meeting. But I went to the second one, and learned that those girls (some of whom I had never even met) had been praying for me since that first day. I also learned that one of the girls had miscarried twice before having her son. She was a wealth of knowledge and comfort to me. I have thanked the Lord for her many times. I can’t stress the importance of finding someone to talk to who has been through it. More on that later...
Other than the girls in my bible study, no one talked to me about it. Not my family, not even my doctor. When I went in for my post op visit, she said, “this happens a lot, and there’s no reason to think you won’t have a healthy pregnancy next time. Call us when you get pregnant again.” That was it. Umm, okay? So apparently I was just supposed to go home and get pregnant again. We had to wait 3 cycles before we could try again because of the surgery, and because I STILL hadn’t had a period since Lucy’s birth, so they wanted my body to get back to “normal”. It’s strange how an unexpected pregnancy can make you realize how badly you really do want another child. After those dreaded 3 cycles passed, I became obsessed with getting pregnant again. At this point, I hadn’t really grieved. Other than a few short outbursts of tears at night or during bible study, I hadn’t really acknowledged that I had lost a baby. I kept the hospital bracelet from my D&C, and I kept all the notes people had written me after, but there was never a moment where I sat down and grieved and cried out to God. I think I assumed I would get pregnant again quickly and the pain would disappear, so if I could just get pregnant, I wouldn’t have to accept that it happened.
Something I never thought would happen did....my due date came....and I wasn’t pregnant. That day was one of the hardest days of my life. A good friend delivered her baby the day before my due date. Our babies were supposed to be playmates. Mark and I had just joined a small group, and they had been anticipating my due date. I got countless text messages, emails, written prayers, and cards. 95% of these came from people in our small group who didn’t even know me when I had miscarried. The Lord used them in a powerful way that day. I grieved and cried, all day long. I cried out to the Lord in pain, I asked Him why, and I prayed for healing. I had done none of this before. It was a turning point for me. It was like I went through every step of the grieving process in that single day.
We conceived one week later. I do NOT think that was coincidence. I think I was suppressing stress and fear and guilt, and it all came out in one day. It was like my mind let it all go and my body said, okay, you’re ready. That sounds all new age, but you know what I mean. Obviously the Lord was Sovereign over my body, and He knew I couldn’t handle another pregnancy until I fully let go of the one I lost.
I wish that was my happy ending, and that my story ends there, but it doesn’t.