Grieving The Loss Of My Unborn Child
Back in October, I received the news that I was pregnant AGAIN! I will never forget the day I found out, it's a moment that will forever be ingrained in my mind; my husband and I were at the hospital because I was suffering from severe stomach pains. My period was late a few weeks and after the fourth straight day of feeling a lot of discomfort it became a concern; time to start researching online to figure out what's going on. The at-home diagnosis hubby and I came up with was that I was suffering an ectopic pregnancy. And if this was the case, it was necessary for me to see a physician immediately as I was at high risk of internal bleeding, which could be fatal.
At the hospital we didn't wait longer than an hour to see a doctor (which was fantastic) and the tests began, to find out why I was having chronic stomach aches. The first of which was a pee test, that came back positive for pregnancy (eek!). The doctor then decided an ultrasound would be the best way to determine if the baby was in fact in my uterus and not in my fallopian tubes, to eliminate the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. There were four of us in the room looking at the ultrasound and all four of our reactions were priceless, when a little white heart started beating on the screen. The pre-med intern was speaking in a fluttery voice saying "awww it's a baby", the doctor in a very factual but slightly indecisive tone saying "yes, that does look like a little heartbeat doesn't it" and hubby subtly pulling his hair out of his head in a cringing tone saying "another baby?!". I was awash of emotions with just finding out that I was pregnant (as it wasn't planned) and now a tiny heartbeat in my womb... AMAZING!
On the ride home from the hospital a discussion began about how the big news would be shared with everyone when arriving at my parents' house to pick up the children. It's kind of funny because hubby and I were nervous that my parents would think it's crazy and anticipated a not-so enthusiastic reaction from them. We were very wrong... they were ecstatic! During the ride hubby also began to express some concerns. He was worried we were getting too old to have anymore little ones and our lack of energy would be an issue. With him being 48 and me at 41, our hands already being so full with three joys, he was really not enthralled with the idea of having another child. He told me he thought we should abort, and I quickly expressed my disapproval with his suggestion. I couldn't even bear the thought. 'I'm a good Catholic, yes?We have a great home, a loving family with already three children in it. One more would be a terrific addition. Why would we deny this child a chance of a good life in a good home?'. He soon came around and began to embrace the idea of another blessing in our little nest.
The reason for this unplanned pregnancy; neither one of us had a procedure to prevent it from happening. Hubby has always been afraid of getting a vasectomy, even though he's been told a few times that it's very standard, easily done and takes no time to heal from. The idea of that kind of surgery makes him queasy. He considers himself a pretty tough guy so it seems odd to me that he would feel this way, but we both respect each other's wishes. I have never been 100% sure that I was finished having more babies anyways, which is why I never got a tubal ligation. Hubby is more afraid of having another baby than going through 'scary' surgery however and has an appointment booked to 'get fixed' next week.
Now, sharing the news with everyone else. Who do we tell? How long do we wait to make the big announcement to everyone? Ever since I started blogging three years ago I've pretty much been an open book, stepping a little bit out of my comfort zone. I decided to share my happiness publicly and knew that I could very well be writing about my experience of having a miscarriage. At least I could bring awareness to the fact that miscarriages are very painful mentally/physically and very common amongst women. One in every three (when accounting undetected) pregnancies will end in a 'spontaneous abortion' and the risk goes up for those over 40. This was not an idea I was willing to wrap my head around nonetheless, being an optimist and all. Even my pessimistic husband would say to me "there's no way you'll miscarry. Not you, you're healthy and strong as an ox". The idea of adding another blessing into our lives was the best news and I had never encountered problems with any of my three other pregnancies, so I convinced myself that this was it... we would now be a family of six! Maybe my healthy habits would be beneficial (once again) and help me during this exciting time? Bring on full pregnancy mode and sharing my joy with all!
I only knew friends and family that had experienced miscarriages and had never been through it myself. I had an idea that it was pretty tough to deal with but WOW is it ever a traumatic and devastating ordeal. Right to the very bitter end when your stillborn baby has to leave the womb. Not to mention that you look like you're pregnant for a while after and strangers come up to you and ask about your baby bump. Mother nature can be pretty cruel. How can my baby come so far after three months but then just give up and be too weak to continue? What is it about the first trimester that's so hard to push through? From the very beginning it's tough to survive in this crazy world which we often don't understand, I guess?
It's really hard for me to write about negative or sad emotions. That's the only time that I seem to be at a loss for words, when someone needs to be consoled or I am confronted with conflict. It was shortly after my third month that I went in for another ultrasound to find out that my fourth little seedlings no longer had a heartbeat. My heart sank to the floor. I didn't know how to react, where to look. I didn't even turn around to face my husband and hug him. I kept staring at the doctor, listening to his words in disbelief, thinking to myself 'try to keep it together' as streams of tears rolled down my face. This is so hard to write and collect my thoughts without breaking down (I took a few breaks before finishing). Was it something I did? Why is this happening? Did I lift too many heavy things that I wasn't supposed to? Did I have the laptop on my lap for too many long periods of time? Why am I feeling so much doubt and sadness and guilt?
I am now left an empty shell. I just found out I was going to have a baby girl to soon after find out that I won't be holding her tiny body in my arms. My heart is broken. How different would my family's life have been? It honestly feels like this was my last chance of having another child. But I know that I can't grieve too much or for too long. I have to pull myself together and heal from my pain for the sake of my loved ones. It's important that I stay positive and carry on in a positive light. I have three wonderful healthy children and a lot to be grateful for. They need their mom to be strong and carry on.