The Loss I Felt on My 'Due Date' After My Miscarriage
March 6, 2017 marks the day you would have been born, Baby G. How time has flown since we found out about you at four weeks, heard your heartbeat twice at seven and a half weeks and at almost nine weeks. We found out at the 11 and a half week ultrasound your heart had stopped beating two and a half weeks earlier at about nine weeks, shortly after that last heartbeat was heard. I felt the loss as you were taken from my body during what should have been the last few days of the first trimester.
Back on June 27, 2016 when we found out I was pregnant, the due date seemed like such a long time in the future to have to wait to meet you. The first thing I did after telling your daddy and calling the fertility clinic, and after my whole body finally stopped shaking so hard, was to look up your due date. Wow, you would be born in 2017, probably late February or early March. Maybe even on your uncle’s birthday, February 22, or your maternal grandparents’ anniversary, February 27. We would find out your gender close to our anniversary in September. Christmas would be so fun as we prepared for your arrival. Data and timelines have always been my thing. I don’t know how many times I sat and stared at that list of approximate dates.
I was so impatient for all the milestones of pregnancy and for the day we would see your little face. I continued counting down the remaining 28 weeks in my head, but besides the due date being carved on my heart, now it’s really just another day. No birth announcements or new family photos, no date of induction or contractions and a hurried trip to the hospital. We never got to have that ultrasound where we found out whether you were a boy or a girl, never got to feel you kick, never had a baby shower. We just had a date and a strong love for you in our hearts.
I have watched on Facebook as others who were pregnant at the same time have gone on to have healthy babies, and others to announce new pregnancies. Life has flown by, but in a way, mine and your daddy’s lives have been on hold since then. Sometimes those almost three months of pregnancy seem like a dream, so surreal.
August 19, 2016, we were so excited that day. It was our first appointment with the OB-GYN who would deliver you. It had been two and a half weeks since we last saw you on the screen and heard that precious heartbeat at the fertility specialist. Everything had gone great so far and they had released us to the care of the OB. I had finally let down my guard a little. My HCG and other levels were good, we had seen your picture 3 times and had heard your heartbeat twice. I thought we were almost to the end of the first trimester and things seemed to be going so well.
We were scheduled for the ultrasound first before meeting the doctor, and we talked with the technician for a while as she explained about the practice and answered our questions, “when will we do the gender ultrasound,” and “which hospital should we deliver at,” so many exciting details. Then it was time to take a look. I remember seeing you and knowing right away something was wrong. The technician was quiet and solemn as she performed what she would later explain to us was a test to see blood flow. In the most compassionate voice, she showed us where the blood was flowing in my body but none to you. Your heart was so still and so silent. She hugged me and told me how sorry she was. She left us alone for me to get dressed as she went to tell the doctor. She came back, moved us to another room, and told us the doctor would be in shortly.
Your daddy and I just sat there in that quiet and still exam room. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t really talk. Your daddy kept asking me if I was OK, and all I could really tell him was how numb I felt inside. Not even really shock, because even though I thought things were good, after we found out, it seemed like I already knew it would happen. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. Your daddy felt so helpless and was so concerned about me. It seemed like we sat there like that for hours. It was a fairly long wait because the office was busy.
The doctor finally came in and she was so understanding and I absolutely loved her, even though our first meeting was at such a sad time. We discussed options. Really, I had two. Because I had a missed miscarriage, with no symptoms, my body had yet to realize what it needed to do. It had already been two and a half weeks with no signs. I could either wait on my body to finally do what it should whenever that would be, or I could have a D & C. She recommended having the surgery because it had already been so long, and because you were already fairly well-developed. No miscarriage is ever easy, but when a pregnancy has progressed even that far, it would be physically more traumatic than an early miscarriage.
People had to be told the sad news, and especially since we had told everyone early on, we dreaded it. But we ended up being glad we did share so early. We needed support and prayers. Everyone was so kind. They surrounded us with love, prayers and food. So many people privately shared their own struggles with us, of infertility, miscarriage, loss. I hope by telling your story, and about our journey with infertility, that others will also know they are not alone. One in four women will experience miscarriage in their lives. I want them to know I understand, and that it is OK to grieve. You are not just a mass of tissue. You were knit together in my womb. You had a heartbeat, you had fingerprints and unique DNA. You matter.
Surgery was scheduled for 5 days later, August 24. I never did have a single sign the miscarriage was going to happen. It was a rough five days knowing I still carried you within my body but you were no longer alive. I had watched all the videos and read all the descriptions of your weekly development. I knew that at nine weeks you were a fetus, no longer an embryo, and all of your major organs should have been developed. I imagined you were perfectly formed, but your little heart had just stopped. I wondered when it had happened, what I was doing at the time. It seemed like I should have felt it, should have known somehow. Then the questions: Did I do anything wrong? Did I cause this? Why? My body seemed to be holding on to you so tightly, even after you were gone, so why couldn’t you have lived?
At my surgery follow-up, the doctor explained test results showed there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to have a healthy pregnancy next time. Also, because your body had not been alive for over three weeks, they were unable to test for your gender. We will never know, at least while on this earth, if you are a boy or a girl. I so wanted that closure so I could give you a name, but for some reason it was not to be.
There has been grief and will continue to be, but I also believe God has been and will always be with us. There are reasons that only He knows as to why you went to Heaven so early. I no longer question if it was my fault. I can’t wait to meet you one day, to know your gender, to maybe even say your name, a name perfectly suited to you. I hope I can look in your eyes and compare your features to mine and your daddy’s, to your grandparents and uncle. Will you have Daddy’s reddish-blonde hair or my green eyes? Will you know just how much you were loved from the moment that pregnancy test showed two lines, and how we prayed for you for long before that time?
Will you one day have a brother or sister, either biological or adopted? Only God knows at this point. But no matter what happens, thank you for making us parents. Our lives are forever changed by you, and our love for you will continue all our days and into eternity.
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Thinkstock image by AntonioGuillem