It was August 8th .
My husband I have two beautiful children, a Son who was almost 3 and a daughter that was 14 months at the time. I have always wanted a big family with lots of children but in my mind, I settled for the number 3. My husband was perfectly content with just 2 children.
We were not trying but also not preventing either. I had an overwhelming feeling that I was pregnant. It had been consuming my thoughts for weeks. I took several pregnancy tests that were negative. That morning felt different, and even though I had taken a test the day before something told me to take another. I had two left. My husband began making breakfast for our babies and I snuck away to the bathroom to take a test.
I peed on the stick and patiently waited for what seemed like forever, so I sat the test on top of the trash can and washed my hands and brushed my teeth. I paced back and forth waiting for the impending negative so I could return to my family and join them for breakfast. Then… there it was… a solid second line. Even though I had such an instinctual feeling that I was pregnant, I still could not believe it.
I began shaking, I felt almost nervous to tell my husband because he LOVES being a father, but a third baby was not in the plan for us in his mind. I sat down quietly at the kitchen table and took a few sips of water before the words could exit my mouth. My husband was in disbelief, however, he shot up from the table with joy and said “oh my goodness we are going to have three babies.” I was elated. We were so excited. We called our immediate family members that day and told them all the good news. They all laughed and cried with us in joy.
Covid-19 hit the ground running in March and it had been a long lonely several months for us. We enjoyed being together as a family, but we missed being with our big family, it was a beautiful quiet summer, just not the summer we expected. We did not go on vacation, and we chose to forgo big gatherings with friends etc. So, this blessing from God, of a new baby was exactly what we needed. It was bright light in a world that seemed a little dark and uncertain.
The next several weeks were a little rough. I never had a lot of morning sickness with my two previous children so being very sick and taking care of two toddlers was pretty rough. I work a full-time job from home which I am beyond grateful for but it was hard to take care of the children and work while my husband was at work while I was fighting nausea, headaches, and exhaustion all day. However, my father-in-law always says the sicker the mother the stronger the pregnancy so I welcomed the feeling and knew it would pass eventually.
September came and we celebrated my sons 3rd birthday. We had a very small family party for our son. Shortly after his birthday we decided that we should go to the beach in late September. We were still afraid of being in a hotel because of Covid but decided that visitors would probably be low during that time because children were back in school and it was fall after all.
We go to Ocean City, Maryland every year. The Hilton is a gorgeous hotel that sits oceanfront at the end of the boardwalk. I have always dreamed of staying there,but it is just so expensive. We checked the price for a room during the dates we would be staying and it was half the price of what the hotel would be during peak season. We decided to splurge and stay there. September 13-17 we would travel to Ocean City for what we thought would be the perfect getaway from a crazy year and also to celebrate the news of the baby. My mother-in-law and father-in-law, sister-in-law and her three children decided to make the trip as well.
I realized that I would be 10 weeks pregnant at the end of our vacation and we decided it would be a beautiful idea to announce the gender of the baby to our families while at the beach. We did the early gender test for our other two children and it was correct both times. We both felt very strongly that the baby was a boy. A name came to me before I found out I was pregnant and I thought that if I ever had another baby boy it would be his name – Leo. We found out about him in August (the month of the Leo) and I am a Gemini. I always said that a Leo is a Geminis best friend so it just made sense. Our children have three letter names so it was the perfect complement to the trend we had created for our babies names.
I ordered the blood test and it arrived a few days before we were leaving for the beach. I pricked my finger and sent away our sample and we waited. About 48 hours later I had an email with the results. If you know me, you know I can’t stand waiting, so my husband agreed that we could find out and then surprise our families with the results at the beach the next day. My sister took my son into the next room with the results and he came running out yelling “It’s a boy” and my husband and I were moved to tears. We were so excited. We thought he was a boy and the confirmation felt surreal. We agreed in that moment that his name was Leo. We celebrated all evening and talked about a future with two sons and a middle daughter. We left the next morning at approximately 5AM and headed to Ocean City.
We arrived around 10AM, it was so beautiful. The smell in the air and the warm sun on our skin, if you have ever been to the beach you know what I mean. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we ventured to my in laws condo to visit and have lunch. We could hardly stand being around our family knowing the gender of the baby and could not wait to reveal it to them.
We headed to our room shortly after lunch where we were able to check in. We cleaned and sanitized the whole room (because I am a germophobe even before covid) and then we all started getting ready for the reveal. I had ordered our children adorable matching shirts that said “big brother” and “big sister” to wear to the reveal. I wore a blue and white maxi dress and my husband wore a blue and white baseball Tee and blue shorts. We ordered large smoke bomb style gender reveal sticks that included blue or pink powder. We brought two of them so that my sister and my niece could stand on either side of us and explode the colored powder around us. We grabbed our reveal items and headed to the ocean to meet our families.
We stood together with our children as our family members watched. My niece and sister stood to either side of us and twisted the tubes. Blue powder shot from the tubes and our family cheered in excitement. Everyone thought the baby was a girl so to their surprise it was a BOY! A baby boy! Most likely to be the youngest grandchild and grandson on my husband’s side of the family. Nine and a half weeks pregnant with our third child and second son…standing on the beach with my toes in the sand and the light of the sun shining down on us. I thanked God for such a beautiful moment. Even now, I hold onto the treasured memory of that moment.
We returned to our rooms to get ready to swim and return to the beach and pool. We spent the next few hours enjoying the outdoor pool area. We returned to our room once again to shower and have some dinner. I wore my bathing suit into the large tub with both children and gave them a bath. After they were clean, I passed them off to my husband and I proceeded to undress to take a shower myself. When I removed my swim suit I noticed a small amount of blood. I had no bleeding with my two prior pregnancies so this seemed concerning to me. I called for my husband and told him what I had discovered. He said it was probably okay and that I had most likely overdone it the previous few days with packing/traveling etc. We agreed to call the doctor just in case. I finished my shower and contacted one of the nurses who works at the office of our midwives. She said that light spotting was probably normal during my first trimester and to just keep an eye on it. We returned to the beach that night to let the children play a little more and I tried to paint on a smile to cover the worry that filled my mind.
I went to sleep that night and hoped that by the morning the bleeding would have stopped. I woke up in the morning and it seemed to have gotten a little worse. I couldn’t continue on with my day knowing what could be possibly happening. I needed to know. Around lunch time we took a ride to the local hospital. Our oldest two children fell asleep in the car and my husband and sister drove around the parking lot as I walked into the emergency room alone. They explained that I could have one person in there with me but we decided it was best for my my husband to stay with the children. I felt scared but hopeful. They took some labs and then I waited for quite a while in the emergency waiting room. They finally took me to a room and then shortly after they took me for an ultrasound. I work in the medical field so I know the technicians are not allowed to give any insight to what they see, but I asked anyways. She gave me the answer I knew she would and declined my request. As she took the probe over my lower abdomen she paused for several seconds and I thought to myself “there it is… she found the heartbeat.”
They wheeled me back to my room and then I had to wait for the doctor to come in and give me the results. After about 30 minutes a pretty young black-haired female entered the room. She asked me a few questions about my pregnancy and they she delivered me the worst news I have ever received.
“There were no fetal heart tones detected”
I couldn’t speak at first because it took me a few seconds to process what she had just said to me. Looking back I think I was in some kind of shock.
She stared at me with a blank expression as I said “I’m sorry can you say that again”
She looked at me again and said “there is no heartbeat” “like a fetal demise”
She talked to me like I was stupid, as she sat there emotionless… not even laying a hand on my shoulder to comfort me as I sobbed uncontrollably in the hospital bed alone.
She explained that they would now check my cervix to see if it was open or closed and that would determine if I would pass the “fetal tissue” naturally or if the possibility of a “removal procedure” could be in the future. She refused to refer to him as a baby and just kept calling him “fetal tissue.” She said… “this happens more frequently than you think” and “within a few days you will hear a plop in the toilet while you are using the bathroom and you will just flush it”
Now I know that this does happen very frequently and sadly and for 1 in 4 women this will be the result of their positive test, but no matter how frequently it occurs for all women, this was the FIRST time this occurred for me. This was not a “frequent” occurrence for me. This was a child to me… my son… my baby… and she refused to acknowledge that.
Days later, I found her Facebook page (a creeper, I know) and I saw that she is a mother… how could another mother be so cold, knowing the love only a child brings and then watching that gift stolen from a woman who sits in front of you in total despair. Either she has experienced the same thing and she has become numb to the process or maybe she never has and working in emergency medicine for so long has made her cold. You don’t know what you don’t know, and I never realized until it happened to me how utterly devastating a miscarriage could be, and maybe that was her problem. I forgive her for the way she treated me that day and I prayed for her that she never had or has to experience what I was going through.
Before I left the hospital, they checked my cervix and told me it was closed and then I asked why this could have happened and she told me once again that I needed to follow up with my doctor and it was very common and before entertaining anything else I had to say she was gone. It was over. I sat there wondering how I would find the strength to stand up and walk out of that hospital alone. The only reason I did is because I knew my children would be waiting for me and I could not wait to be in my husband’s arms. I had called him with the news before they checked my cervix and we sobbed together on the phone. Hearing my husband cry is a very rare occasion. I felt like I had failed him, like my body had failed the both of us. He pulled our vehicle to the front of the hospital and explained to a security guard what had just happened and why he was parked there waiting.
When I finally walked out of the room I didn’t even know where I was going. I had never been to this hospital before and the discourteous doctor didn’t even ask if she could escort me out. I started walking down a small hallway where I was met by a security guard. He asked me my name and told me he had been speaking with my husband and knew what happened. He offered me more comfort during my walk to the door than all of the trained medical professionals that I had encountered that day. He saw me as a grieving mother. We talked about our faith and how we agreed that God has a plan for everything under the sun. I still think about his compassion that day. What a kind person to seek me out and then walk beside me the whole way until I was greeted by my husband’s arms.
My husband and I stood together and cried for what seemed like eternity to me. We eventually got back in the car and made our way back to our hotel. We didn’t speak much on the way home, I just cried. When we got back to our room I took a shower. The bleeding was still very light and I thought maybe there was a chance they were wrong and that the bleeding would stop. The next morning we took our children for a bike ride on one of those large family pedal bikes. We strapped the children into the front and made our way up and down the boardwalk. It was nice to escape the reality that I was refusing to face. Our son was singing and people passing by laughed and smiled at us and it made my husband and I smile for the first time since we received the news. It’s weird to grieve when you are a parent because sometimes you can’t help but to feel the pain you are experiencing, but you try to hold it together the best you can for your children. We returned home and my daughter fell asleep for her nap so we were sitting on the balcony enjoying the breeze. I began to have some cramping and the bleeding had become worse. As the night progressed, I started to slowly accept that this was real. The next morning, we woke up and it was pouring down rain, it stormed that entire day. I will never forget walking out onto the deck and looking at the ocean. I felt as though the whole Earth was grieving with me. I said that the ocean that day was exactly how I felt… dark and gloomy where the sun is supposed to shine, and the rain fell from the sky like tears on my face.
We didn’t do much that day. Shortly after lunch time I started having heavy cramping and bleeding. There was a very large jet tub in the bathroom. I didn’t realize when we checked into the room how beneficial that bathtub was to me during such a difficult time. The cramping and bleeding got pretty severe. I sat in the bathtub for 4 hours with what felt like the early stages of labor. I could tell I was dilating and I prepared for my body to pass my baby. My husband kept coming to check on me. I just kept sobbing and asking to be alone. When I forced him out of the bathroom he was just sitting on a chair outside the door. I didn’t want my husband to see me like that, I know it was so hard for him to see me in such pain and not be able to take it from me. He felt so helpless.
I was so thankful to be in a hotel where there was ample hot water. 4 hours of hot water would have never have happened if we were at home. I would fill the tub up a little and then once the water was red I would drain it and refill. I was so afraid to pass the baby and him go down the drain. I also could not have imagined flushing my baby down the toilet. My husband and I agreed that if I passed him at the beach we would take him and release him into the ocean. My in-laws all came that evening. They brought food and they kept our babies happy and entertained so we could deal with what was happening. I am forever thankful that they were there to support us that day and for the entire trip.
Wednesday night, the 16th, after the long 4 hours in the bathtub I finally took some ibuprofen and the pain subsided a little. We were supposed to leave the next morning but my husband wanted to leave that night instead. He said he could not bear to be there any longer so we loaded up the car and drove home. It was our quickest trip home from ocean city but it felt like the longest. It was hard to rest on the way home. I was still cramping, and every cramp brought a subtle reminder of what was happening and I would begin to cry. My husband and I didn’t talk much on the way home, he kept grabbing my hand and that said enough.
When this all happened, I thought how unfair it was that we decided to take one vacation and we finally got there to this beautiful hotel on this beautiful beach only to experience the worst thing that has happened to us as a married couple. Why would something that was supposed to be so enjoyable and relaxing be replaced with such a painful memory. I quickly stopped myself and thought that it happened like that because we were all able to be together surrounded with loved ones in one of our favorite places. No one had to go to work the next day and our children got to still make memories and enjoy time with family at the beach. And even though Ocean City will forever hold a painful memory, the ocean has such strong healing powers. You can really feel Gods presence when you stand with your feet in the sand facing the ocean with the wind against your face.
When my baby left this Earth, I wonder if he got to see the ocean before he was met with the Lords arms. If he did, I know he thought it was as beautiful as his mama does. I’m so glad I could take him to the beach just that once.
We arrived home late on Wednesday and we went straight to bed upon arrival. That morning my cramps began again. I knew my body had proceeded with the miscarriage the night before and that I was probably going to pass the baby sooner than later.
It was Thursday September 17th around 1:30 in the afternoon. I stood up and felt a gush and I knew.
I ran to the bathroom without saying anything to anyone.
Once I arrived in the bathroom, I pulled down my pants to see that I had passed him. I picked him up and my tiny placenta and placed him in the palm of my hand. I called out to my husband and he came running to me.
I have heard so many times where people said they “hit the floor” when something tragic happened like that, but I never knew exactly what that felt like until it happened to me. It was like my knees gave out and I remember thinking that I would never be able to get off of the floor. My husband and I sobbed together on the floor as I held our baby in my hands. He wrapped him in a white tissue and put him in a small white box and buried him next to an apple tree on our property.
The next day we finally got to see my midwife. After our terrible experience in the emergency room I was not looking forward to being in a doctors office. What would they say… how would they react… would my baby be another “fetal tissue” to them?
The first person I encountered was my midwifes nurse. Once I told her what had happened I began to sob. She did not even know me until that moment and she wrapped me in her arms and comforted me. I know this happens so often, and the news of a miscarriage is no stranger to an OB/GYN office. However, in that moment she made me feel like I was the only one, she saw me for the grieving mother that I was.
When my midwife entered the room, I was greeted with the same experience. I know how busy and overwhelmed they are and how crazy things have been with Covid but she sat there with me and my husband so peacefully. She never made us feel rushed. She answered every single question my husband and I had and gave us peace that there was nothing we could have done to change what happened. She explained that it is very common but it doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens. She said that our baby was only measured at 5 weeks even though my placenta and HCG levels reflected a 10-week pregnancy. To her, this painted the picture that it was most likely a genetic issue when the chromosomes came together that made our baby not compatible with life and he probably stopped growing around 5 weeks due to that same issue. She said that most miscarriages in the first trimester are due to the same genetic reason and that gave us hope and made us feel like we weren’t alone and that it was truly nothing that could have been prevented. I will never forget the way she made me feel that day, it was the first time I felt hopeful in days.
Then we went back home to continue on with our lives. We were showered by love from our families and friends. My goodness are we thankful for the people who love us. When you go through something traumatic it really shines a light on your real friends, the friends who celebrate with you in your triumphs and cry with you in your tragedies. We also felt so thankful for a God who picks you up when you are down and tells you to keep moving forward.
People picture their lives a certain way on a certain trajectory. However, sometimes something traumatic happens and sets your life on a course that you did not expect. When you fall off of your bike, I am a firm believer that you get back on and keep going and that is exactly what we have done. But, it’s like getting back on a bike and riding for a long time, and some days it storms, and some days the sun shines and it’s a beautiful ride. However, no matter the weather, you keep pedaling.
So many people told us that grief comes in waves. Some days the water seems so deep and then others seem like you are on a raft floating above. Each day brings healing. I am so thankful that we have two beautiful babies who bring us so much healing. A child holds the most healing power in the world and I know God sent them to us first because we would need them. It seems so unreal to have a baby in heaven. I know he is home in the Lords arms, and I would never wish this life away because I treasure this life, but I can’t wait to kiss his little face one day and tell him how he made me sick as a dog when he was with me and how I loved him so very much the minute I saw that second line.
People don’t talk about their miscarriages and that is something I have learned in the meantime as well. I’m not sure why. Sometimes I feel like I can’t talk about mine because the general public didn’t even know I was pregnant. Maybe that’s part of the stigma. But it feels good to talk about it, especially with people who have walked in your shoes before you and know exactly how you feel.
Now I am left with an ache in my heart and a void that I know only a baby will fill but also a worry in my soul that another pregnancy could result in the same tragic ending and I don’t know how my husband and I could handle another loss. My heart hurts for anyone who has experienced this no matter how many times. If you are a mother, you know the love a child and how painful it could feel to lose one, and if you are longing to be a mom then you know the pain of hoping for a love you have not yet got to experience. No matter the reason for your pain it’s okay to feel it, and I know now that we can’t control when we do.
So many people have announced their pregnancies since then. I think the April announcements hurt the worst because we would have been one of them. I would never wish something like this on anyone, but when I see a baby announcement, I can’t help but to wonder why our baby didn’t get to stay too. A friend of mine who struggles with infertility told me a long time ago that you can be happy for someone else while still being sad for yourself. That’s exactly how it feels. I feel such joy for other mothers-to-be but feel so sad for myself sometimes.
When we were sitting at the beach my sister-in-law kept reciting to me “God is close to the broken hearted” and even though I know that I said I couldn’t feel God with me. When I looked back, I realized how God was right there, holding me. I was never alone in that hospital, or in that bathtub, he was there with me and with my husband too. He knows our every tear and our every pain and he sees us through it all. He has a plan for our life. The presence of God in your life doesn’t mean the absence of life’s pains. God is close to the broken hearted and I know he will hold my baby in his arms until the day I am home to do so.