Today we would have been 10 weeks pregnant. Please note the would have been part that I still can't believe is true.
On July 4, a pink and white stick told us we were pregnant. Though, I'm pretty sure I knew a few days before as the pregnancy symptoms I read about were already making their debut.
Kevin and I had been praying for this babe and were so very excited.
From that moment on, my mind was filled with all things baby. I downloaded multiple baby apps on my phone, calculated that our little love's due date would be March 11, skimmed through long lists of baby names, read up on things to eat, things not to eat, and started thinking of fun ways we'd tell our family and friends our exciting news. I even ordered cookies from my favorite local bakery for our family - little baby onesie cookies with mint green writing that would say, "Auntie," "Uncle," "Gramma," "Grandpa," or "Cousin."
It's amazing how much you can dream up in just a few short days and weeks.
Everything seemed to be going as it should. The fatigue had kicked in, the nausea was minor, I found myself talking to our baby a few times as I drove about town, Kevin would kiss my pre-bump belly and say, "Hey baby." He even gave me two votes - one for me and one for baby - on which Netflix shows we'd watch and what we'd have for dinner. It was oh so sweet. And I was really starting to enjoy this whole pregnancy thing.
Thursday, July 27 started out like any regular morning. I got up, ate a little something to ward off sneaky nausea, and decided to attempt one of my runs from my training app before I started work. I got about a mile and a half in when I suddenly felt like I was about to pee my pants. I stopped, squatted down, and then realized it felt more like a period sensation... something I should not be feeling. I walked home as quickly as I could and came to find bright red blood all over my underwear (sorry if this is overshare). Something wasn't right.
We were supposed to have our (almost) 8 week ultrasound the very next day - a day we were SO excited about. We were going to see our baby for the first time! I called my doctor and they moved my appointment up so they could see me that afternoon. Kevin came home from work early and we headed to the doctor's office filled with excitement, a little bit of concern, but mostly excitement. I hadn't had any other trouble leading up to this day, so it just had to be a fluke thing, right?
At the office, I filled out the stack of intro paperwork, looked around at the pretty photos of lavender fields hanging on the walls, had my blood pressure taken, peed in a cup. All normal things. The nurse brought us back to a room and chatted casually about how my pregnancy is going, what I do for work, what Kev does for work, what I should stay away from during pregnancy, and that another nurse would be in soon to do the ultrasound.
The next nurse came in and she routinely talked through similar things, just more in depth, and then I told her about the blood. The mood in the room shifted. She then said she wanted me on two weeks pelvic rest - no exercising, no grocery shopping, just rest - and I knew something wasn't quite right. This seemed more serious than some fluke spotting.
She pulled out the ultrasound machine, squeezed that cold blue gel on my belly that I'd always wondered what would feel like, and started rolling the wand around. I had one hand behind my head, the other in Kevin's, and I just kept looking back and forth between the screen and the nurse, hoping she'd tell me what she was seeing. She wasn't saying anything.
"Oh my gosh, why isn't she saying anything!" I thought. I pinched my fingers together to try to distract my tears, and stared at that screen so hard to try to figure out what I was looking at. It was my first ultrasound, after all, and I didn't really know what the different shapes were quite yet.
She took the wand off me, turned to look at us and said, "I don't see a heartbeat."
My heart stopped.
"Is there a baby?" I asked.
"Yes there is a baby. I'd like to try one more way to try to see the heartbeat, just to be sure," she said. So she tried again.
And again she said, "I don't see a heartbeat."
Everything else after that was pretty much a blur. I held it together long enough for her to say she wanted me to do one more ultrasound at a fancier ultrasound place. That this is very common. That I did nothing wrong. That I could still get pregnant again and have a baby in the future.
And then the tears started.
But I want this baby! Why did this have to happen? I don't want this to be my story. I don't want to be part of the miscarriage club. I want to keep on going with my normal pregnancy, take bump pictures, decorate the nursery, and hold this little baby in March.
The following days we prayed so hard. We prayed that our baby's heart would start to beat. That the doctors were wrong. That God would work a miracle and save our baby.
It was a precious time with Kevin. A time of deep, deep sadness, and yet a time we grew even closer together. Our friends and family filled our home and hearts with sweet flowers, and texts, and gifts, and we were so very thankful.
Oh how I wish this was where miscarriage stories ended. But now we faced the next stage of pain - how my body would actually complete the real "miscarry" part.
Since I had what is called a "missed miscarriage" (which means my body keeps thinking it's pregnant, even though the baby is no longer alive) we saw the doctor again about a week and a half after our first appointment to talk options. Option 1 was to continue to wait and see if my body recognizes what's going on and miscarries on its own, option 2 was to take pills, and option 3 was surgery. Honestly, none of these options are great, and my heart breaks for all of the women and couples who have to face these miscarriage options. They are just horrible, and I am so sorry :(.
Our plan was to wait a few more days and see if my body notices it on its own. That same night, after praying that God would have this happen naturally and quickly and as pain-free as possible, it officially began. I had about 6 hours of cramping and bleeding and passing tissue, and an even more intense 3 hour episode of that the next day. I'll spare you the details, but if you are reading this and going through a miscarriage yourself, please reach out to me and I can share more with you (Vitamin Water, heat pads, music, and someone to be there with you were essential for me).
Today our wonderful doctor (he really is so, so great) confirmed with one last ultrasound that "everything is out." Now hopefully this crazy roller coaster is over and the healing process can begin - both physically and emotionally.
And so, most importantly, to the sweet little babe who made us parents: we love you so very much. It was an honor to carry you, and I hope you're having fun in Heaven with your great grandparents and great uncles. As you peek down on us, your daddy and I hope we can make you proud to be ours. We'll think of you always and can't wait to meet you someday sweet baby.
your mommy & daddy
Please note: I share all of this (which is more than I had set out to share) not for pity, but to remember our first sweet baby, to honor that there is LIFE this early in pregnancy, and to help give voice to the experience of miscarriage. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, and even though this is so incredibly common, it's still the loss of a life, and sweet mommies and daddies going through this - celebrate your little love, give yourself time to grieve, and lean on each other. My heart is so deeply with you.