Hard Things, Miscarriage

What Might Have Been: Our Second Miscarriage

On Wednesday, I will say goodbye to our baby that should have been born in late August, at the peak of flower season. The baby I found out about just two days before Christmas.

Obviously, this is not the post I wanted to write. The post I wanted to write was one I was going to publish in 3 weeks or so, the one that would share our happy news. The one where I’d already planned out the cute little announcement photo we’d take, and the one that would share how we told our kids.

Instead what happened is that I went in to the doctor’s office on the last day of January — my first in-office prenatal visit this pregnancy — at a little over 10 weeks pregnant. I’d been admittedly nervous this entire pregnancy because, although I couldn’t quite explain it, something just didn’t feel right.

I’d even gone in to our small local hospital at around 7 weeks pregnant to get my HcG levels checked, just to see if they were still increasing at a normal rate. Although they were definitely on the low side of what was normal, they were still within regular limits of both quantity and growth, so I tried not to worry about the fact that my symptoms still felt much more mild with this pregnancy, or the fact that I was experiencing intense cramping frequently (both of which were how I was clued in to my first miscarriage 5 years ago).

At my regular prenatal and ultrasound appointment at 10 weeks pregnant, I met both of the doctors who run the practice we chose to go with, which is located over an hour away from us. Because of my complicated history with past childbirths, I needed to make sure we were being seen by an actual OB (not a general doctor, which is usually the case here in our county) and that we were set to deliver at a major hospital with full amenities, including a NICU.

While I’d had some misgivings about this pregnancy, much of my fears had been resolved with the HcG level check, as well as the fact that my morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms had finally really started to pick up around 9 weeks pregnant.

However, when the doctor started to get much quieter than he’d been just before as he moved the ultrasound transducer around, and when I couldn’t immediately detect a moving heartbeat on the screen, I just knew. When the doctor said, “That’s a very tiny baby,” my heart seemed to settle somewhere in my navel.

Our baby’s heart had stopped working somewhere around 7.5 weeks along.

Although the news didn’t completely blindside us, we still had expected other news. Still had (obviously) wanted other news.

I thought of all the visions I’d had of the baby being born in the height of flower farming season, of being surrounded by sunshine and blooms and vigorous life and energy everywhere. I thought of how excited the kids would have been to find out about another brother or sister, about how I knew Raven would start coming up with all sorts of baby names and how the boys would want to keep giving the baby hugs through my tummy.

And in that one moment after the doctor’s quiet pronouncement, the bleak view of flat white and gray and brown outside the doctor’s office matched exactly how I felt inside — bereft and desolate.

Matt and I both shed a lot of tears together, both in the office and later that night at home. We’d had to try longer for this baby, and I could certainly feel with this pregnancy that I am no longer a very young mom. Even with the pregnancy symptoms being much more muted overall, everything still felt much harder. I am acutely aware that I am now considered “geriatric” in the world of pregnancy, and that my risk of miscarriage and problems is much higher.

Honestly, the thought of having to start the process all over again is excruciatingly hard.

But we feel strongly that we’re not done. We know at least one more child is supposed to join our family.

For now though, we have to face the immediate road ahead. Because of my complications with my last miscarriage, when my body essentially registered elevated HcG levels for 9 months, we are opting to have a D & C procedure performed, which will give my body the best chance at “resetting” faster.

Every time I think about the procedure, I start tearing up. While I know the procedure itself will be painless and over quickly, it is such a hard goodbye. One minute, you have your tiny undeveloped baby still in you, and the next, you don’t. Even though it’s been really hard in many ways for my body to still be experiencing a missed miscarriage (meaning that my body still thinks I’m coming up on 11 weeks pregnant now), it feels like a precious privilege to have given this little soul a home for the past few months. To have known that we are literally bound together.

And while I do still believe that this baby is mine forever, I wish I would not have to be dealing with this earthly parting right now.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this loss with the world. With my first miscarriage, I felt the intense need to write about it in order to process it. This time around, the bitter disappointment of it has often made me want to simply retreat further into myself.

But I know that in the past when I was struggling with my first loss, it helped me to hear that I wasn’t alone — that so many other women have faced this and do face it regularly. It fortifies me when I hear YOUR stories of strength and courage and healing, and it reminds me that I am strong, that my support system is solid, and that my Heavenly Father will never leave me comfortless.

So I share today to let you know this part of our story in the hopes that if any of you need it, it will help you feel less alone. And if you are going through the same thing or have gone through it, I’m so deeply sorry for your loss, and I hope you’ll reach out if you just need someone to talk to about it.

Thanks so much for being here, for simply showing up, for listening. I love you all <3

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