Photo Credit: Molumen
When he realized what the card meant, a huge smile broke out on his face.
“Really,” my voice smiling.
The next week or two were surreal. The gravity of what had occurred and how our life would change slowly started to sink in. Little by little, I let myself read articles and download apps and look at magazines…I let myself absorb that this was really happening.
We were going to have a baby.
We decided not to tell anyone until after the first sonogram. Then, we would tell our immediate families. Everyone else, we would tell after the first trimester.
We didn’t decide how to tell my parents, but we were going to email his parents this picture (they live in Tennessee):
Well, that was the plan.
J. couldn’t come to my first sonogram (in retrospect, I see that was a bad idea), so I went alone (also a bad idea). I figured it would be standard procedure, and all it would do would just actually confirm that I really, really was pregnant. Even to this point, I was still in disbelief…even though I had taken yet another test, after the doctor’s appointment, one of the more expensive tests…ya know, just in case the one at the doctor’s office wasn’t right (I know, I know….neurotic).
I can still remember my first sonogram. There was the embryo and there was the heartbeat. There really was a heartbeat. I really was pregnant. According to the size, I wasn’t as far along as they had thought I was, and they moved my due date to July 7, 2013. This should have been the first sign to me that maybe something wasn’t right.
I went upstairs to talk to the nurse practitioner, expecting to get glowing reports about how perfect my baby was, even at this early stage.
She was a little stiff and awkward, which I thought was strange for such a happy appointment. She explained to me that the yolk sack was enlarged. I had a confused look on my face as she talked. Yolk sack? What? What did that even mean?
She explained. An enlarged yolk sack is usually an indication of an impending miscarriage. It wasn’t certain, but pregnancies like this rarely come to term. Miscarriage is usually just a matter of time. She didn’t want to give me false hope, but she said that we would continue to monitor and see what happened. She ordered some blood tests, and we would take another sonogram in a week.
I walked out of the office numb, totally unprepared for the news. I thought I would just feel relief that I was actually pregnant. I had no idea this would heap a whole new level of gut-wrenching anxiety on me.
God, please, no. Please don’t do this to me. Please. Heal this baby. Let this baby live.
It was all my heart could get out.
James came home with a smile and an expectant look on his face, anticipating a good report. I was standing in the kitchen.
Immediately, after one look at my face, his expression dropped.
I could barely get the words out. Somehow, I did.
It wasn’t good. We would likely lose our baby.
J. was my rock in that moment. He was full of courage and faith and trust in the outcome. He knew God gave us this baby, and God had a plan for us and this baby, whatever the outcome was. We all were in God’s hands, and he was at peace with that.
I, on the other hand, did not have such faith – or peace. The next week was agony. I was torn between wanting God’s will and submitting this baby to Him and begging Him to let my baby live.
At this point, we decided to tell our families. Our parents had a right to know about their grandchild. We also decided to tell some close friends too, because we wanted all the prayers we could get.
And our family and friends were amazing. The prayers, phone calls, the text messages and support came flooding in, and certainly it carried me through. And I had no idea that so many of my friends had experienced miscarriages, too…I guess it’s not always something people talk about. Their empathy, however, had an enormous depth to draw from, and I felt it.
Teaching was torture; I was only half-present, a zombie. Anytime there was a gap in my thoughts or activities, my mind instantly reverted to this little life inside me fighting to survive, somehow hoping that by sheer force I could will him to survive.
Because of all the hurricane aftermath, J. was mandated at work again, and for my next sonogram, my mom came with me.
As I got up on the table and the tech began the sono, the waiting and tension were awful. She didn’t say much this time around, and I knew that wasn’t a good sign. But there still was a heartbeat, she said.
This little guy was hanging on. He was a fighter. (I’ll explain the ‘little guy’ reference in Part 4).
My mom and I met with the doctor, and the report wasn’t good. He told us that there was a heartbeat still, but it wasn’t at the rate it should be. And there hadn’t been much growth. Not the growth there should be.
Could anything happen? Yes.
But it wasn’t likely this baby would survive.
We scheduled another sonogram for the next week.
I don’t remember what happened next. I don’t remember saying goodbye to my mom, I don’t remember driving home. I just remember laying on my bed crying when James came home. He was so good and supportive and encouraging. I was a wreck. The distinct memory I have was that I felt like I was just waiting for my baby to die.
I knew God could heal. I didn’t know if He would.
By now, this was Thanksgiving week.
I remember being at my aunt’s for Thanksgiving, trying to smile and enjoy the day, no one knowing that inside of me, my baby was dying.
The day after Thanksgiving, I started to spot. The first stages of miscarriage.
And I continued to spot until the next week, each day a little heavier.
I went for my sonogram the following Wednesday. I remember asking God that if this baby wasn’t going to live, to please take him home sooner than later. Please, just decide. I couldn’t deal with these half-way hopeful reports. If it was going to end badly, then please, just let it end.
This time, James was with me.
I was at a different office, with a different sono tech. She was silent during the sono. She didn’t comment, she didn’t point out anything to me. I knew what that meant.
‘Is there a heartbeat???’ I squeaked out, with every last ounce of hope wrung out of my voice.
“I’m not finding a heartbeat.”
I just closed my eyes, and J. squeezed my hand.
Our first baby was gone.