There is so much about the story you are about to read that I, as a reader, find harrowing, heartening and fascinating. One woman’s way of expressing what her pregnancy losses did to her and for her, how her relationship with her partner and friends was made different, and bravely sharing her experiences in the trust and knowledge that information shared is empowering for all.
Despite the loss, there is so much life throughout this following story. A vitality about the way Natalie writes this that speaks to my survival instinct. It knows. It always recognises another who has walked the path. And Natalie is so descriptive that you can’t help but be drawn in to this incredible journey and witness her faith and resolve through miscarriage and a D&C that can only be described as an horrific ordeal.
It is not light reading. But it is invaluable and real. It happens.
Please join me in welcoming Natalie to Sunny Side Up as she opens up with a vitally important story. And, as always, please share this on your social networks. You never know who needs to read it today and will be grateful you did.
There are times, in the face of greater loss, I feel that my story is minor compared to the stories of others. My husband and I have always agreed that we are grateful that God has not asked us to walk the road of losing a child born or having a child born silent and still. There are other times I feel that a loss is a loss and every life, no matter how short, has value and is worth remembering. Here is our story of losses, blessings, and a deeper faith from the road we’ve walked.
Our first pregnancy was a miscarriage. On October 6th, 2004, I took a pregnancy test and was thrilled to find it positive. I had my first appointment on the 12th and we were so excited we really didn’t want to wait to tell family. We planned a trip to surprise our parents and Jonathan made this cute website with all the different terms for “pregnant” and a baby due date count down. On October 18th and 19th I noticed some off-colored discharge and, of course, investigated online to see if I should worry. Strangely, one of my first thoughts when we found out we were pregnant was, “what if I miscarry,” so I was worried. I also called our doctor to plan another appointment to see if all was well. On the 20th I had traces of fresh blood and that set my heart to panicking. I went to see my midwife and she did some blood tests and told us a few things it could be, including a miscarriage. On the 23rd the test came back and showed no increase in numbers and low overall numbers. It was heartbreaking. I miscarried that weekend.
Through this experience, we discovered that we are a great team when faced with sad and trying times! Our marriage was stronger. The miscarriage also brought along a sense of hesitation and suppressed happiness with each new pregnancy. My friends who haven’t experienced a miscarriage thought it silly of me to not want to tell others early on. They just don’t get it. After the first loss we agreed to tell only those we’d want to explain another loss too.
I wasn’t uncomfortable talking about loss but I hated the sad looks and pats on the shoulder…the “you can have another” statements. I wanted to avoid it if possible. After that cycle I got pregnant again. I was so worried. We didn’t pass the word along until much later this time. I held my breath until 8 weeks passed, walked on eggshells until 12 weeks and then felt freer to settle in and enjoy. Our firstborn child, a boy, was born a week ahead of his due date on August 24, 2005.
I got pregnant again in 2006 and had spotting in the 7th week. I insisted on an ultrasound this time and there it was… a tiny blob with a beating heart… All was well! We again waited to tell people. We nervously anticipated our little one and at his 20 week appointment I knew that no matter if he made it to term or not, this little boy was forever in my heart. It was time to enjoy pregnancy and celebrate life. Liam was born 2.5 weeks early on May 9, 2007. What a blessing!
I became pregnant again in September of 2008. Again, I had that sense of hesitant happiness. I waited a little less in terms of time to tell others with this pregnancy. I mean, I’d had two babies and a first pregnancy loss wasn’t that uncommon so I thought I was good to go. My doctor even asked if I wanted an ultrasound to check (she couldn’t find a heartbeat at the 9 week appt) but I declined. It wasn’t uncommon to not hear it so early. I wasn’t worried.
“Here we go again”
The next week while shopping at the beach on a short break I noticed bright spotting. Hardly any at all – not enough to even say spotting – but my heart fell and I just knew… I was 10 weeks along and had already felt my body changing. I KNEW the pregnancy got beyond the blighted ovum stage. I knew a life had really started, that a heartbeat had been there. I called my doctor in tears. She tried to convince me that it was probably nothing and reminded me that I had spotted with Liam too. But I knew. I just had a feeling.
I made it through the next 24 hours at the beach and then went straight to an ultrasound appointment at the hospital. The tech was nice but as soon as she found the baby I looked at my husband and said, “That is not a 10 week baby.” She couldn’t find a heartbeat. Time slowed down as the realization of what I already knew hit. She said something about a “spontaneous abortion” and I remember thinking, “She is crazy to say that word to me.” We sat for awhile and waited for the doctor to call. It seems the baby died at about 8 weeks. The spotting had also stopped. More worrying, by now it had been 2 weeks and the doctor was concerned that I wasn’t bleeding at all. She wanted me to go into an OB/GYN to be examined. I met with the OB/GYN who was very kind but insistent that a D&C was necessary. I was running a temperature by now and still had no bleeding, almost 3 weeks now since the baby died. Granted, she said, it could take longer but we were coming up on a long holiday weekend and there was a very real chance that if I did spontaneously miscarry I’d lose too much blood and face an emergency situation where I could not call the shots as effectively.
I went home and talked it over with my husband. We agreed that we’d rather not risk an emergency. The fever was also worrisome. So the appointment was made and we both headed in. The doctor said they wouldn’t give me a general anaesthetic but they’d give me so many drugs I wouldn’t feel or remember much, and that they had these special earphones so I wouldn’t hear anything. I had been having my moments of panic about this. I’d had both of my boys naturally. I was a natural sort of girl and this was so… unnatural. This ripping/sucking the baby out. What if the first ultrasound was wrong? I mean, I still wasn’t bleeding. I asked for another ultrasound to be sure. She seemed a little irritated that I’d ask. I remember thinking to myself, “And who the hell do you think you are to tell me I can’t be sure?! Just put my mind at ease that I’m not killing my own baby and do it fast.” Instead, I asked for a picture too. She zipped through it and then gave me the drugs. I felt woozy but decided that there was no way I was going to put my husband through this. I insisted he wait in the waiting room. To this day I am very glad I did.
Addendum: Part 2 may now be read here.