I can’t believe I’m writing this post.
Last Friday, July 22, the whole family accompanied me to an ultrasound appointment I had at my doctor’s office. Spirits were generally high since we’d gone to an ultrasound two weeks prior — when I’d been 8 weeks and 2 days along — and everything looked great. Strong heartbeat. “Perfect baby,” as my OB said.
Our plan was to go to the ultrasound and celebrate after with fries and ice cream at our favorite restaurant, Leatherby’s.
Less than a minute into the appointment, my heart dropped down to the bottom of my stomach as the doctor struggled to find a heartbeat.
Because there wasn’t one.
I can’t say I didn’t have zero misgivings going into the appointment. Coming off a miscarriage back in January, it was impossible not to feel increased levels of anxiety about it happening again. And when I’d gone to my initial ultrasound appointment — an entire four weeks prior, actually — we hadn’t been able to see anything substantial on the ultrasound, and my doctor decided to reschedule another ultrasound appointment for two weeks later. I was convinced then that I’d had a blighted ovum miscarriage like my first one that happened several years ago, but the doctor was hopeful that perhaps my timing was just off.
He sent me after that first appointment at the end of June to go get my hCG levels checked, and rather than show low hCG levels that were lowering, the tests showed healthy levels that were multiplying right on track. Going back to get another ultrasound two weeks later confirmed that the timing was, in fact, about two weeks off of what we originally thought.
Matt and I were elated after that appointment.
My symptoms had, once again (and consistent with previous miscarriages), been very muted compared to the pregnancies I’d had with my three children I’ve given birth to. So even though my hCG levels had looked good, I still went into that second appointment with low expectations.
When the doctor quickly found a strong heartbeat then of 141 and showed a healthy-looking baby of 8 weeks and 2 days, I cried tears of joy. I just couldn’t believe it.
Almost right after that appointment, my symptoms started picking up drastically, too — I started getting very sick at night, and I was exhausted around the clock. I had far more symptoms than I’d had with my previous miscarriage, and I had finally gained confidence that this, in fact, going to turn out to be a healthy pregnancy.
Honestly, I still feel devastated by the news.
I didn’t know if I wanted to post about it. I didn’t know if I wanted to tell anyone other than people I absolutely had to (aka, the few people who already knew about the pregnancy and my mom, who I’d need to watch our kids during the D&C procedure again).
In some ways, I STILL don’t want to be posting about it. I STILL don’t want to talk about it.
But this is our life. This blog, with all of its reiterations and subtle changes and shifts over the years, still remains the only real record I’m keeping of my life right now.
And whether or not I like it, this IS part of my life right now. This IS my story.
I have definitely shed the most tears over this miscarriage, just because we felt so blindsided. I also shed more tears because all of our (born, living) children were in that ultrasound room with us, and they understood enough to know what was going on. My oldest daughter Raven, who’s 7, cried for two hours straight that night. She’s been praying over and over again about “our baby” and how she hopes that he or she is safe and happy in heaven.
My heart is broken. I’ve now lost as many babies as I’ve delivered.
We are not comfortless, however. I have felt the galvanizing power of my faith buoy me up, and the sweet, tender nature of the Holy Ghost grant me peace and comfort. I have had unexpected answers to prayers and pearls of wisdom from my children’s lips that amaze me with their ability to take on an eternal perspective.
This baby is ours.
The earthly separation is hard, and we so wish we could have held this baby in our arms.
But there is a plan in all things, and we go on.
The loss has brought up a lot of questions about our future, and Matt and I have spent hours trying to figure out next steps and future steps. The tenderness of my feelings right now has made me reflective on perhaps what else needs to be examined, on what can be done to increase the quality and amount of intentional, focused time we’re putting into our family right now. I’m reading a lot of scriptures and uplifting nonfiction, I’m praying more than ever, and I’m trying to find some amount of direction and clarity going forward.
Because of that, I don’t know if I’ll post much in August.
We still have a lot up in the air as we reconsider our plans for the future, and I’m definitely still needing to heal and rest and grieve our baby.
Thanks in advance for being so understanding.
(For the sake of history, the baby’s heart stopped beating the day after that second ultrasound. My body still thinks I’m pregnant, and I still have symptoms and show like I’m nearly 11 weeks pregnant. I’m writing this two days before I have the D&C procedure done. My doctor feels that surgery is the safest route because of my history with my first miscarriage and my body’s seeming inability to actually miscarry effectively on its own. My procedure is scheduled for this Wednesday, and any thoughts or prayers you could direct our way would be appreciated.)