My husband, Dan and I have been preparing and planning to start a family since fall of 2013. I have always been one to be prepared, for everything. Whether it was for an assignment in school, talking about a certain topic, buying a house, planning a wedding, or anything you can think of – I researched and gained as much information on the subject so I was prepared as best I could be. It is just in my nature. So, doing the same for our first child was expected.
Now, I don’t know too many people who prepare this much or for this long, so it may seem silly to some. But its natural for me. I read a number of books on natural child birth and home birth, a healthy veg diet during pregnancy, methods of parenting for inspiration, and earth friendly standards to consider when choosing all the baby gear we would need. And besides being mentally prepared and ready to be a mother, all these resources really did help me feel more comfortable with my choices and the whole experience, not to mention tons of knowledge I am happy I now know.
This past May I had to have neck surgery, which put baby time on the back burner for awhile. But of course it was on my mind.
We both agreed to start trying after I healed and was really hoping for a Spring baby. The main reason for this was how much I wanted our child around nature his/her first year. If they were born in April or May, they would be introduced to the world during its most beautiful blooms. Then, transition into the warmth of the sun during Summer, and soon after witness the cool breezes and color of Autumn. Having the coldest season come last just makes so much sense to me. Again, it may sound silly, but this was really important.
Photograph by Lauren Elle Photography
So, after a month of trying, we found out I was pregnant on our 6 year anniversary. This was such good news and to learn it on a day that was so special was amazing. And just like I wanted, it would be a Spring baby. All was good and we were both happy and excited. I just couldn’t wait to share the news with our families and friends. We decided to tell everyone around the 9 week mark even though it was a bit early. I was having a great pregnancy so far, no nausea at all. Everything was figured out with our midwife, which we met with months earlier, and we were on our way to planning a much anticipated home birth.
12 weeks, the day before our first sonogram
Then, it was time for our 12 week sonogram. On October 3rd, Dan, my mother, and I all drove to the appointment together. Finally, we would see our little one. That day, the walls came crashing down and my life changed forever. Seeing no baby on the screen put me in shock. When the tech left the room to get the doctor, my Mom chose to break the sad news to us. She is a retired ultrasound technician and has been in the field for years. She knew right away. She stood up, and told me that the baby stopped developing. I had a blighted ovum, or a missed abortion as its also called. I was still in shock. Dan just stood there and looked at me. My Mom hugged us both and was very upset. The only words that came out of my mouth were what, how, and why…
Soon after, the doctor came in with two techs and explained the situation. Nothing is wrong with you, they all said. This is so common, they told me. It just happens…
All of a sudden I felt sick to my stomach and felt like I was going to throw up. They all came closer, with my Mom and Dan to my left. I was getting very hot and sweaty and then I passed out. It is all kind of a blur but I do remember them giving me orange juice and candy when I was more coherent. Still in shock. I was told development stopped about 6 to 8 weeks. I wasn’t having a baby after all.
I just couldn’t understand how this all happened. The next few days was really hard. Telling people over and over was not fun. I would cry at different times throughout the day. I felt bad for Dan because there wasn’t much he could do. It was what it was and I just wanted it to all be over. But the worst had yet to come.
Since that ultrasound, I had started to bleed lightly. It seemed at the time that my body has started the process to miscarry naturally. And even though I said I wanted to get the D&C procedure to end it all quickly, I really just wanted my body to do its thing. That next Tuesday, the 7th, I saw another doctor and had another ultrasound. This, again, confirmed the baby had not developed. All there was inside me was the empty sac. It was no surprise this time so I just went along with the appointment to get it over with. The doctor said I had the option to get the procedure but it did seem like my body was doing its thing so giving it time was something to consider. I chose time. Now, if only someone had prepared me for what was coming.
The next day came and I was still bleeding with a few clots here and there. It was a very strange feeling to just wait and see what would happen. I feel this is when I started to really feel disconnected from my body. It’s just not a healthy feeling. That night while I was sleeping, the cramps started. Now I have always had horrible periods with really bad cramps so I was somewhat prepared. But these weren’t period cramps. They were painful enough to keep me up all night. This was truly the beginning of my trip to hell.
The morning came. I ate breakfast as usual and then said goodbye to Dan as he was off to work. I had light cramps but nothing serious. I took a shower and laid down on the couch for a bit. My Grandmother called and said she was coming over to see me so I patiently waited. Then before I knew it, the contractions hit. And they were horrible! They seemed to last a minute and wound up being 5 minutes apart. When my Grandmother came she was timing them. For 5 hours, this continued. I was bleeding and passing large clots which was just more upsetting as it continued. Just thinking that these were bits of my baby. The baby that never was. The pain was so bad. Like nothing I had ever experienced before. It felt like my back was on fire, my skin was being ripped off, and someone was stabbing me with a knife all at once. Horrible.
After the contractions stopped, I thought I was in the clear. My day went on and I felt okay, besides the aftermath of all the pain I felt. I got some work done and then rested for the evening. Nighttime came and I feel asleep. But then around 1 am or so, the contractions started again. Waking me up, I ran to the bathroom. For the next few hours of horrific pain I had cold sweats and the shakes. It was then a bit of crazy overcome me. I swear I was in the Twilight Zone having a bad acid trip. Mentally, I felt unstable. There was just nothing I could do. Like I said before, hell.
Finally, after what felt like forever, the contractions subsided and I was able to fall back asleep. The next day I had light cramping and continued to pass large clots into the night. That night I was woken up again with cramps. They were kind of like the first set I originally had, not horrible but bad enough to keep me awake. I breathed through them as best as I could and eventually fell back asleep. This whole experience just seemed to never end. And honestly, I couldn’t take anymore. During these few days, I was getting work done when I felt okay to sit at my desk, which was just weird. Being busy kept my mind off of the reality I needed to seriously deal with.
Saturday and Sunday were about the same. Light cramping and bleeding, and many more clots. I stayed home the whole weekend and rested. I was tired and burnt out. I felt like I had something ripped out of me. My insides were sore and raw. My body was something I just wasn’t comfortable in anymore. As the end of Sunday came, I finally felt like it may all be over. Especially since I had a full night of sleep with no crazy contractions or cramps. It was evening. Dan was about to head out to get some food. I started having really bad cramps again but told him to go anyway. While he was gone, I went to the bathroom and waited to see if anything was going to happen. As I sat there, I felt a great amount of pressure moving downward. So I pushed. Then I pushed a little bit more. Well, to my surprise it wasn’t over yet.
At this moment, one I will never forget, is when I finally passed the sac. What would have, and should have been our baby, just came out of me and sat at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Like it was nothing. I realized what it was after the fact, while coming across a photo online. Again, no one prepared me for this. How would I have known?
I had another ultrasound that following Monday and it was confirmed that all was out except for a few small clots. The worst was finally over. Today I am feeling better physically but getting there mentally. After that whole week of hell, which included a labor that lasted for 3 days, the emotional side came to the surface and hit me.
I have always looked to writing as therapy so I wanted to share my story with the world in hopes it will help someone else get through a hard time such as this. There are so many women this happens too, so we are not alone. But honestly, that doesn’t make it feel much better. If I knew the pain would be that bad and it would last that long, I would have gotten the D&C. I’ve read women take painkillers! Geez. You don’t just have bad cramps. It’s horrible. I’m not going to lie. And there isn’t anything anyone can say to make you feel better, but having a good support system is crucial to keep you from falling into that deep dark hole. I went into this pregnancy with so much love and positive energy, not thinking anything bad could happen. But this can happen to anyone and for no reason at all. It’s just life’s design.
I know I will be okay and feel like myself again, eventually. I know I will get back in the baby zone and be ready to try again. I know I will be happy and excited to be a mom down the line. But right now, I am none of those things. I don’t want to be around many people. Seeing other parents with their kids only reminds me of the one I lost. And talking about it still gets to me. This whole experience really took a beautiful piece of me and tore it up. The pieces are still around, but I’m just not sure when they will be put back together. Only time can tell. Life will bring me a baby when I am ready again. For now, I accept reality a little more each day and hope for the best.