That morning is vivid. I got dressed, brought my daughter to school and met my husband at Ochsner. We were going in for our seven week ultrasound to see baby number two for the first time. However, the appointment did not go as I had thought it would.
Immediately when the ultrasound image appeared on the screen it looked different than my seven week ultrasound with my daughter. My muscles tightened. I tried to keep a clear head. As the ultrasound tech performed her job, I began to ask her questions. She said that it did not look normal, that it looked that I was not as far along as I had thought. My response was, “You mean there is no heartbeat.”
After what seemed like an eternity, which was probably about 3 minutes, the doctor came in to bring the news. There is no heartbeat.
Finding Out Your Baby Has No Heartbeat
I don’t really know how you are “supposed to” respond in that situation. Do you break down in the tears that I was desperately trying to hold back? Do you listen intently to everything the doctor is saying so you get your questions answered? Do you crawl under the sheets and pretend like this did not just happen?
After the news, they sent me down for more blood work. Of course, you have to walk through the waiting room of expectant moms with their baby bellies with eyes gushing with tears.
In the middle of the waiting room, I tried to keep my composure, but it was just too hard. My mind was wondering. Did I do something wrong? What does this mean for us? How are we going tell our parents when I can barely form a sentence every time I think about it?
After they called my name and I got yet more blood taken, it was time to go. When I walked in my house, it was not the feeling that I thought I would have. I thought I would be holding ultrasound pictures of the little bundle of joy that was going to join our family. Instead I dragged my heavy heart through the door.
From there it was all about waiting. I had to wait for blood work to come back and wait another week for a follow up ultrasound. Maybe I am a week behind on my timeline and the heart beat will be here next week? Or, is it that I have miscarried? I didn’t know how I was going to make it a week, much less the two hours until I got the phone call about the blood tests.
After a week of additional blood tests, my numbers were dropping. It was not looking good. At a follow up ultrasound exactly one week after the first, it was confirmed that I had miscarried.
If you don’t know how it works, basically you are given three options. You can wait for nature to take its course, you can take a pill to force your body to miscarry, or you can have a procedure known as a D&C.
All of these choices have their positives and negatives, and it is different for each person. My hubby did not want me to have the D&C. Like any good hubby he did not want to see me in the hospital, and he did not want me to under go surgery.
However, I did decide that the D&C was the right option for me. I decided that I did not want to wait. It had already been a week, and I needed the light at the end of the tunnel for closure. I also liked that the D&C procedure was very surgical. For me, personally, it removed the emotional element of it as I was already emotionally drained. Plus, my biggest fear was being at home and “passing” it. I didn’t want to do that.
No one really talks about this aspect of a miscarriage. While people focus on the emotional element and the loss,there is a lot that goes into the physical aspect as well. Like when you have a baby you ask others questions as a way to familiarize yourself with the choices, the processes and other’s experiences. Not so much with a miscarriage. It is very lonely.
One of the hardest things about a miscarriage is telling people. I just wanted to be alone. I was trying to process and heal both mentally and physically.
Just saying that I had miscarried was enough. I mean, why do they even call it miscarry? I didn’t miscarry anything. That word makes it feel like I did something wrong.
My husband was the rock for both of us. He handled telling our family and friends. He also told everyone to just give me my space. This was the most helpful thing. I became a hermit and it was what I needed. After a couple of days, when I was ready, I started to venture out. I had dinner with family after my husband had given strict instructions for no one to talk about the miscarriage.
It was exactly what I had needed to feel normal again. I was through feeling sad and I was ready to resume life, but I wasn’t ready for everyone to want to talk about it. While people mean well, it is talking about it that made me feel worse.
I sort of feel like it makes others feel less awkward around me to talk about it. Please remember, that if someone is going through this and they don’t bring it up, then neither should you.
Everyone grieves in their own way.
Moving On From a Miscarriage
I don’t know what is next for us. I do know that I am in a better place now. I have been able to process my thoughts and my emotions, and I have come to terms with what happened.
Our daughter, two, was our anchor in this. When I picked her up from school on the day of the first ultrasound, she made it all better. She smiled at me, hugged me and said, “Mommy, I love you.” And, there was no better medicine.
20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. While I know it is not something that anyone plans for, it is in fact a reality.
Of course I worry that I will have another one and have to go through this all over again. But right now I am thankful that I have found peace with this and am even more thankful of the wonderful support team that I have in my friends and family.
I am sure that when the baby’s would-have-been due date arrives, it will be a hard day. But I know that this experience has brought us closer as a family and reminded us of what is important in our lives.
Author’s Note: I am writing this post for the readers who have struggled with miscarriage, as well as therapy for me. I ask you to leave this post as it is, a journal of my experience, and not as the subject of our next conversation. As it is still very fresh, I continue to prefer to not talk about it.
I am sorry for your loss. Its very hard to deal with. My 3rd baby was stillborn at 28 weeks. We had to plan and funeral and explain to our other children why baby sister didn’t get to come home. It was heart breaking and it also split my family up for awhile bc my husband and I didn’t know how to deal with.
That was in 2009. In 2012 I had my rainbow baby with no trouble. Now as of July 3 we are in Metairie starting a new adventure. 🙂
Just know you’re not alone although you will feel like you are sometimes.
Thank you for sharing your story. I “miscarried” a year ago and it did feel like such a lonely experience. My sadness kept me from reaching out and when I was ready I continued to feel isolated in my experience. I feel compassion for every woman who read this and could sadly relate and I appreciate your courage to start this conversation by sharing your story. Thank for helping me to see I am not as alone as I feel.
I was almost 12 weeks. This was back in the late 80’s and technology wasn’t like it is now. We were going to listen to the heartbeat for the first time. Me, carrying my “boom box” to record it for everyone. They gooped me up …. and began moving the wand all around. We waited in anticipation. First pregnancy…. so ready to hear that little patter of, what sounds like, hoof beats. Nothing. D&C followed a week later. Miscarried the 2nd pregnancy at 6 weeks. I couldn’t even look at a pregnant women without disliking her. In 1990, I finally had my first baby. A girl. Then in 1996 I was pregnant for twins and lost one. People just don’t understand if they have never experience it. God had a reason… and I may never know why. Thank you so much for sharing. Even all these years later… it’s a rough subject.
I just stumbled across your post while planning a PAIL event. My husband and I lost our first child at 8 weeks pregnancy almost 11 years ago. We had a D&C because we had 3 children at home and the weekend in front of us. We didn’t see it as a possibility to handle the weekend well with them if we were constantly waiting for the next step (I still struggle to put it to words). Thank you for your honesty in your post.