There’s a club that many women (and men) belong to, but no one wants to admit to their membership, let alone talk about it. Well, let’s break the silence and share our stories to help other people. Here’s the story of my babies…
Hubby and I tried for 4 months to get pregnant in the fall in 2009, after we had been married for over a year. We found out on Christmas Eve 2009 that our dream was coming true. At this point, I was about 4 ½ weeks along. We traveled out-of-state to see my family for Christmas, but had decided to not tell anyone we were pregnant until after our first doctor appointment and ultrasound. We hosted my sister’s baby shower during our visit even though I wasn’t feeling the best. I figured it was just morning sickness but I wasn’t nauseous, just feeling “weird”.
We came back home December 30th and were trying to simply celebrate our pregnancy. However, on December 31, 2009, when I got up and went to the bathroom, there was a sack/balloon in the toilet. I panicked! I screamed for Hubby grab my phone so I could call the doctor while I was still on the toilet. They told me to stay calm and to describe what I saw. DESCRIBE IT?!?!? I was horrified! They scheduled me an appointment for 11am that morning and told me to stay in bed as much as possible until I got there.
I had to call my mom to ask her what my blood type was. She thought it was a strange question to ask, especially since I was in tears. I told her that I was pregnant but that we thought we were losing the baby. She tried to reassure me and gave me my blood type. I asked her to tell my sisters (who were still visiting) so they could all pray, which she did.
After the hour drive to the doctor’s office that morning, I had an ultrasound that confirmed that I had been pregnant (my uterus was swollen) but that I had miscarried (my uterus was empty). I bawled on the ultrasound table. Hubby did all he could to keep me calm but there was nothing he could do. He cried too, which actually made me feel better. When I saw the doctor, she examined me and told us there was nothing we could do and that miscarriages happen more often than people think. She told us we needed to wait one month then we could start trying again.
I remember thinking that miscarriages may happen more often than people think, but NO BODY talked about it. No doctor warned you that this could happen when you start trying to get pregnant. I couldn’t believe it had happened to me. As much as she told me it wasn’t my fault, I kept trying to figure out what went wrong, what I had done wrong.
We decided to keep our plans for New Year’s Eve and go to our neighbor’s house for a party. We tried to act as normal as possible and not let on that anything was wrong. We stayed for about 2 hours and then went home, exhausted physically and emotionally. I was a teacher, so thankfully, I had the next few days off of work. I lay around and tried to make sense of everything.
When I returned to work, some of my co-workers asked if I was pregnant. A few close friends had guessed before Christmas break that I might be pregnant due to strange symptoms (acute sense of smell, namely). I had to tell them that while they had been correct that I HAD been pregnant, I had miscarried and was no longer pregnant. A week after the miscarriage, I took a pregnancy test as instructed by my doctor. I wanted to still be pregnant so bad and wanted to see a positive test, but I knew that I had lost that baby and that I needed this test to be negative in order to be able to try again. Thankfully (?), it was negative.
At our church’s women’s group that week, I shared my story. Thankfully, there were some women there who opened up to me and shared their stories too. Some of these women had babies after their miscarriages, but some did not. I was thankful for these Christian women who were able to pray for me and with me and to carry me through this time.
I’m not sure I ever made sense of it all. I know that God has a plan and that my baby is better off with Him. I trust His timing to be perfect and learned to accept it and move on. I still always remember the day I miscarriage and our baby’s due date (August 31, 2010). Those days are rough, even years later. But, they are also reminders to me of God’s perfection and love.
After my first miscarriage, we waited a month and started trying again. We knew that we wanted to have kids and decided to see if God would bless us with our own. We found out on May 20th that we were pregnant again. We were excited but scared. I called the doctor that day and scheduled our first appointment. My teacher friends at school figured it out, once again, and were very excited. I had already received notice that my teaching position was being cut for the next school year so I knew I wasn’t going to be returning to that school, which is why I was ok with sharing my news with them. I figured this was perfect timing to get pregnant.
After talking with the nurse at the OB/GYN’s office and explaining my nervousness, we decided to go in for some blood work to confirm the pregnancy. So, I went in and got the blood work. She told me to come back in a few days to get more blood work to confirm that everything was progressing as it should. So, I ate healthy, relaxed, prayed…I did everything you’re supposed to do. We didn’t tell anyone at church and didn’t tell our families. The only people that knew were people who I would most likely never see again.
I was at church, preparing for VBS, when I got the call from the doctor that my hormone levels didn’t increase the way they should over the 4 day period between blood samples. The nurse very rudely told me I was going to miscarry this baby, too, but that there was nothing they could do. I told her I wanted to see the doctor. I made an appointment for 2 days away. Those two days were agony. I cried and cried. I called my mom and sisters and told them that I was pregnant again, but that the doctor said I was losing this one too. They cried and prayed with me. My husband cried and virtually shut down.
When I saw the doctor, she confirmed that there was nothing I could do and told me there was nothing she could do. I didn’t think that was correct back then, and I still don’t think that was right even now. She told me that if I didn’t “pass” the baby in 2 weeks, they’d have to do a DNC to remove “it”.
Father’s Day, June 13, 2010, I was at church by myself (Hubby had to work) when I started spotting. I got home before I realized what was going on. There was no big sack in the toilet this time, just lots of big blood clots. I couldn’t remember how to page Hubby at work, so I called one of his co-workers that I knew would be there. He was so polite when I cried “Please tell my husband to call me”. He did…and then Hubby left work and came home. His coworkers were confused because he never left work in the middle of the day. He explained that I was miscarrying our second baby and they sent him on his way.
I called the on-call doctor who said to make an appointment in the morning and lay down the rest of the day. All I did was lay around and cry. I knew it was going to happen…I was going to lose this baby too. But I couldn’t believe it actually was happening now…on Father’s Day.
We went to the doctor the next morning and had an ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage. They found some tissue was still in my uterus so I had to make a follow-up appointment to have another ultrasound the next week to make sure everything was ok. My doctor was out of town when I miscarried, so I saw the on-call doctor. He gave me a pill to make my uterus contract to expel anything else that was in it. I remember questioning him about it being an abortion pill and what if my baby could still survive. He assured me there was no baby, so I took the pill. Even now, I wish I hadn’t. My baby may have been gone, but I regret trying to help it along. Again, I still remember the day I lost my baby and its due date, January 27, 2011. Those are now days that I praise God that I have Him to rely on.
When I saw my doctor for my follow-up ultrasound, she told me I had a polyp in my uterus. She recommended I see a fertility specialist to remove the polyp and to help us get and stay pregnant. So, we did.
While we waited for our appointment with the specialist, Hubby told me, “It’s ok if you can’t carry a baby. I love you now and I’ll still love.” I’m not sure he will ever know how loved that made me feel. Knowing that my worth in his eyes was not dependent on having his baby kept me sane.
After 4 months of trying to get pregnant with help from the specialist, we conceived and had a successful (high risk) pregnancy. Our emotions were fragile for the entire nine months I was pregnant. I remember telling Hubby that I wanted to make it to at least 20 weeks of gestation. When he questioned me about it, I told him that at 20 weeks, a pregnancy loss is no longer considered a miscarriage but is now a stillborn. That means you can bury your baby. If I lost this third baby, I at least wanted to bury him or her. Thankfully, our healthy baby boy was born in August 2011 at 39 weeks. Since then, I’ve had cancer and 12 rounds of chemotherapy, so we can no longer have any more children.
When people ask how many kids we have, I have no problem telling them that we have two in Heaven and one on Earth. Most people are shocked when I say that, and I can tell it makes them uncomfortable, but it’s the truth. Sometimes, it starts great conversations with other moms who have lost babies and we’re able to share our stories, feelings and grieve together. Sometimes (most of the time) people don’t know what to say. If more people would talk about it and share their stories, women would feel less lonely and have a better support system.
If my story is similar to a story you have, don’t be afraid to share. There are many more resources available now than there were when I walked this path in life. There are groups on Facebook and my friend, Sarah Philpott, wrote a book entitled “Loved Baby” that is releasing October 2017 where she lovingly shares her story, my story, and many other women’s stories in hopes of helping us all cling to Christ during this time and work through our grief. (Book review will be coming!!)
If this is your story, know that there is hope! You will see your baby someday! I can’t wait to meet mine when I get to Heaven!