January 16, 2015

A different kind of announcement

This is a mind dump of the past week. It was not a post I was intending to write, and I'm not sure where to begin. My brain keeps telling me it's too soon to share this, that I should wait, but wait for what? Waiting will not change anything so I have decided that, although I prefer to keep my thoughts and feelings tucked inside, the best way to move forward is to move them from my head and heart and put them here. After all, this is our family record, for the good and the bad.

In early November we found out we were expecting!! Although we wanted and were trying for this baby, it was still a surprise. After the 5 years it took to bring home Sophie, we didn't think pregnancy without fertility treatment was possible, but it was! I took several pregnancy tests to confirm and each showed two strong pink lines. I was pregnant, due in July.

Our excitement was tempered a bit by the morning sickness that started around 5 weeks, but we continued to happily make plans for our future as a family of four. Just like my pregnancy with Sophie, I was nauseous almost morning to night. Dave was a champion and took over most of the cooking, cleaning, and Sophie duties while I spent my evenings laying on the couch.

I had my first OB appointment at 9 weeks and the sonogram showed a strong heartbeat and a perfect little baby the size of a gummy bear. Since Christmas was not far off, we decided to wait to tell our families the exciting news so we could surprise them on Christmas morning. We made Dave's family a photo to hang on the family picture wall, announcing our "little firecracker", and for my family we dressed Sophie in a big sister shirt and gave my parents a little poem. It was a fun, exciting day and we were glad to finally be able to share our big secret.

After the holidays, things settled down and we went back to work and school. On January 8, I went in for my 13 week OB appointment assuming all was well. It wasn't. I knew immediately that something was wrong when the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat after trying for a few seconds. He asked the nurse for the portable scanner, and again found nothing. He then moved me across the hall for an ultrasound, but I already knew what he would find. The baby was gone.

The ultrasound confirmed that there was no heartbeat. The baby measured 12 weeks 1 day, meaning it's heart had only stopped days ago. I was devastated, but numb. He told me it was nothing I did, and that there was nothing I could have done. Miscarriage is common, although the risk drops to only 2% after 9 weeks. He explained my options, and then I took Sophie and left. I didn't cry until I got to the car and called Dave with the news.

The next few days were a blur of sadness over our loss. It was amazing to me how much the thought of this baby had changed our future, and now it was gone. As we worked to pick up the pieces and build a new future, we decided the first step would be to schedule a D&C. My mom flew down Sunday night, and Dave took me to the hospital for the D&C on Monday morning. The procedure went well and I left the hospital feeling better than when I went in that morning. It was if a magic wand had been waved and the past 13 weeks had been erased. My nausea was gone, my pants fit again, I had no cramping or bleeding, my energy and appetite returned - it was if the pregnancy never happened and a baby had never been there.

So how are we doing now? Good, I suppose. Family and friends have been very supportive and we really appreciate all the kind thoughts and prayers on behalf of our family. Physically I am fine, and emotionally I'm moving in the right direction. It's just the quiet moments, when I'm alone with my thoughts, that I find myself overwhelmed with the desire to have my baby back. I miss that baby terribly. I have also spent lots of time thinking and reflecting and have come to realize that, as horrible as a miscarriage is, Heavenly Father has been watching over me and blessed me in small ways to help me cope with this loss:

> I was planning on announcing this pregnancy to the world the week we got back from vacation, but then felt a need to wait a couple days until I had my appointment. Although it's hard to announce a miscarriage, I was grateful to be doing it on my own terms, rather than trying to backtrack and undo a pregnancy announcement that would have been made only days before.

> A family friend's baby had been diagnosed with a genetic condition and they knew she would not survive. Her baby was scheduled for delivery the day of my appointment, and while I was in the exam room waiting for the doctor,  I received an email update from my mom that the baby's heart had stopped before she could be born. While I don't want to compare our situations, reading this moments before put me in the right mindset to receive my own news. This young mother's strength over the past few months was a great example to me and her situation brought some peace to my mind to know that I was not alone in my loss that day.

> Not many people would choose to bring a 1 year old to a doctor appointment, but I was so glad to have Sophie with me that day. While the doctor delivered the news I stared over at her sweet face as she sat in the chair next to the exam table. She was so good that day and I felt so blessed to be her mama. I was also so grateful that I didn't have to leave the doctor's office alone. I had her small body wrapped around me and she let me hold her tight.

> Although the ultrasound showed I had miscarried, I was grateful to be able to see our little baby one more time. I was amazed at how much change had happened since the last ultrasound at 9 weeks. I could clearly see a head, arms, and legs. It was no longer a gummy bear, but a baby, and confirmation that this child had been real.

> The day after my appointment I began to cramp and bleed. At the time of my appointment I had felt no signs of miscarriage, so while the news was a shock, I only had the emotional impact to digest on that first horrible day. The physical symptoms didn't begin until I had already had time to acknowledge and begin to understand the loss.

I hope that by writing this (very long post) I will be able to look back in months or years and see the blessings and growth that come from this trial. I have already witnessed several tender mercies through this experience and know that there are more to come.  We are thankful for Sophie and feel so grateful to be her parents. We trust in our Heavenly Father's plan for our family and have hope for more children in the future. Thank you to all who have supported us, We love you all.


Jane Anne said...

Love you Mel!!!

Littleshortstacks said...

Reading your post was like looking back at my life a year ago. New Years Eve was the one year mark of my D&C. I learned about the kids off or baby at the 10 week gender check. My girls and James were there. I was actually grateful. Reading about your tender mercies was almost eery because they were so close to those I experienced. The whole way through I have seen more. Tender mercies then I can count. I know. More now than ever before that the Lord loves us and is ever mindful of us!
My most sincerest sympathies. It gets better, I promise. And that baby is yours, eternally. That I know.

R*R said...

I am so sorry to hear this Mel. We also had a miscarriage, a year ago Monday at the same week along. It gets better, but never feel bad for grieving. Will be thinking of you.

Heather Curtis said...

Thank you for sharing that. You inspire me strengthen me in so many ways. Love you!