Miscarriage happens every day to women around the world. I am not new or special for having had one, but I am writing my story in hopes of letting other women know they are not alone.
I have had three miscarriages. The first was a surprise pregnancy. I did not want to be pregnant because at the time, I only wanted two children. I gradually warmed up the idea, and it was about that time that I miscarried. I was sad, but okay.
The last miscarriage was what is referred to as a “chemical” pregnancy. I got a faint positive and was over the moon about it. The next day, it was gone. I hadn’t even told my husband yet. Again, I was sad, but okay.
The loss I want to tell you about today is my second loss. This one was by far the most difficult for many reasons. I prayed for and planned this pregnancy. We had already been bouncing around baby names and decided that Emory Blake would be a great name for a girl. We would call her Emmy.
I had seen the heartbeat a few times on ultrasound. I had told all our friends. I even bought a doppler to hear my baby’s heartbeat at home.
I listened to our baby’s heartbeat the morning of my last ultrasound. It was a little slower than normal, but still there. I loaded up my son and daughter and took them with me for my appointment. They sat in the waiting room coloring and playing.
During my ultraound that morning, the doctor looked at me and said, “I can’t find the heartbeat.” I never for a second thought that our baby had died, so I just smiled and waited for her to keep trying. I didn’t realize that she was trying to tell me we had lost the baby.
After a few more minutes, she told me that our baby had passed. She immediately went into our options. I could take a pill to make me pass the baby. She said it would be painful and there would be a lot of blood and tissue. My second option was to have a D&C. I chose the second option. She asked me to bring my husband back later in the day for a higher level ultrasound before scheduling the procedure. I just sat there crying and in shock.
I had to walk through the office looking at all the pregnant women with their beautiful bellies. I had to see the staff look at me and quickly look away. I had to go get my son and daughter from the waiting room and hear them excitedly ask how our baby was. I took them to our van and told them our baby no longer had a heartbeat, and that they would not be meeting their baby brother or sister. They were so young, but understood and both started crying.
I called my husband and asked him to come home from work. We were able to take our kids to a friend’s house. This friend had four miscarriages and knew exactly what to say, which was nothing at all except “I love you.” We went back for the second ultraound. The technician was very cold. She told us that our baby had “demised”. I think she said the word “demised” about ten times. Is that even a verb? Did she make it up to avoid saying our baby had died?
I will never forget how our baby looked on ultraound. I could see a perfectly formed baby. We were beyond the beginning stages where you can’t tell what is what. Our little one looked so perfect and measured exactly where we expected to be. Our baby had died between me listening to the heartbeat that morning and 9AM when we met with the doctor. I had listened to its last heartbeats.
On ultrasound, there was fluid surrounding the baby. Not amniotic fluid, but swelling. Our doctor had never seen this before and asked permission to send our baby for testing after the D&C to find out what had happened. That would later prove to be difficult to explain to my son when he asked where our baby was and why he couldn’t see it.
I remember sitting at her desk in my dark blue jeans and a blue flowered shirt working out all the details. I later donated those clothes because I couldn’t look at them without feeling helpless and sad.
We went home that day and tried to call our close friends and family to give them the news. It was that afternoon that I learned my new least favorite words were dilation and curettage. The doctor’s office called to confirm my procedure. Then the insurance company called to do the same and to notify me that I would owe a thousand dollar deductible. Then the hospital called to schedule. They all said “dilation and curettage” like it was the most fun thing a girl could do. They all told me to have a wonderful day when we got off the phone.
The next morning I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink because of the procedure. This was especially hard because I still had morning sickness from the pregnancy. I waited in the surgery waiting room with all the older people who were there for cataract surgery and other procedures common to old age. When I got called back, the nurses and anesthesia team added a new phrase to my procedure- “with suction”.
They made me repeat it back to them like I was having a leg amputated and they didn’t want to remove the wrong limb. I had to say “dilation and curettage with suction” aloud several times. They were all very cheerful about the entire thing. No one told me they were sorry for my loss. No one was calming or reassuring even when I kept crying.
The last nurse I saw as I was being wheeled back to surgery said to me, “Let’s get this party started!” After the procedure, another nurse came in and asked me if I had other children. I told her yes, and she told me how lucky I was to already have two and that I could try again for more.
I’m a nurse. I get that you cannot feel the pain of every patient who comes through or you might just never be happy again. I know that even horrible things become another day at the job, but PLEASE, if you are in the healthcare profession and you are reading this, have a heart. Try to consider the emotions of the person in your care. If you are a mom who has lost part of her heart and experienced these same things, I am so sorry for what you went through.
Life went on and we conceived again. This time, I didn’t dare tell anyone I was expecting. I tried to remain unattached to the baby I was carrying. I didn’t want to experience that same kind of hurt ever again.
Seven weeks into my pregnancy, my doctor called me and told me the baby we had lost had Turner Syndrome. That meant our baby was a girl- Emmy. She told us the good news that Turner Syndrome isn’t something that is passed down. There wasn’t a higher likelihood that another baby would have it, and there was no reason our current pregnancy wouldn’t be perfectly healthy. This was wonderful news and heartbreaking all at the same time.
I was so happy to know that my pregnancy wasn’t at risk, but now I knew I had lost a daughter, a precious baby girl who I wouldn’t meet until Heaven.
We lost our baby girl many years ago, but it is still quite painful. I know that if it wasn’t for losing Emmy, I would not have my youngest two children- that is how God works all things together for good. God brings beautiful things from grief and loss.
I pray that you don’t experience a loss like mine, but if you do, you are not alone. There are so many of us out who have gone through the same thing. It gets better with time and with prayer.
Please reach out to others who have been through the same thing. You don’t have to grieve in silence. If there is anything I can do to help you, please reach out to me. You will find my contact info at the top of this page.