In honor of my angel baby, of all angel babies, miscarried, born sleeping, or lost right after birth, I give you my story. It isn’t an uncommon story, but it is a story that I have kept to myself because for some reason this subject is taboo. No longer, 2 years is too long, my baby lived, if only for a short time, my baby had a heartbeat and a life, my baby waits for me in heaven.
Please read all the way through. I have shortened the story to the best of my ability.
May 2013: I’m expecting, baby #5, a surprise blessing. My youngest is almost 8 years old. We are all so excited. I print fake plane tickets to Mexico to tell the kids. (An inside joke: my husband had always said if I got pregnant again he was loading up everyone that was potty trained and moving to Mexico). The kids were ecstatic, the house was filled with joy as we chatted and talked about the things to come. Would my only daughter finally have a sister? Would we finally have another baby with blue eyes? Names, oh so many names to choose from!! Has to be a first name with a J, middle name with a D, family tradition. I has misgivings, I was scared, something seemed off, but I continued to believe all was well.
1st doctor’s appointment, dating ultrasound, progesterone has been a little low, hcg isn’t rising quickly enough, but no worries, it is going up. Ultrasound, I should be 7+ weeks, we are going to see a gummy bear and heartbeat. I know my dates well. NOTHING!! an empty sack, small fetal pole, no heartbeat. Midwife prepares us for the worst, but also says, maybe your dates are just off, come back in a week. LONG week.
Two weeks later, Monday 5/27/2013, it is Memorial Day, I don’t feel right, something is off. I muse to my hubby that my boobs don’t hurt today, strange that my strongest pregnancy symptom has suddenly disappeared, that one usually sticks with me through the entire pregnancy. Hormones are off, I am furious with the hubby that evening for something very minor, over the top angry, feeling just weird, almost postpartum’ish.
Tuesday feeling a bit more normal this morning, ultrasound Friday, this is going to be a GREAT week. Getting ready to go to Sam’s Club, the car needs new tires, taking a few kids for fun’s sake, going to get Icees and pizza. On the phone with hubs, still quarreling because I was so mean to him the day before, (yes I was extremely ugly the day before). I apologize, I head to the potty before we leave, pregnant women have to pee a lot, chatting with the hubby, wipe, BLOOD!! What? that can’t be there, I’m pregnant, the phone hits the floor, hangs up, I’m freaking out, shaking all over. Hubby calls back, I tell him what is going on, it is just a little bit, it is dark, not fresh, everything is ok? Yes? He says yes, I go rest a minute, get my act together, check again, nothing there. Whew, I’ll call the doctor, everything is fine, I’ve had 4 healthy pregnancies and no known miscarriages (maybe an early chemical pregnancy or two, but none this late in the game, I’m 8+ weeks). I call the doctor, the amazing sweet nurse named Maggie (we have developed a kinship through this and through the next two healthy pregnancies, I LOVE my Maggie) reassures me that I should just rest, it could be old blood, probably nothing, but that they would bring me in first thing tomorrow and check everything out. Relieved, I head to Sam’s, going to eat Icee’s while the tires are changed and then head back home and put my feet up. Check again, all is well, no blood, all is fine, just a fluke.
Sam’s, taking it easy, relaxing, sitting in their lawn furniture displays sipping Icees while waiting on the car. Restroom break, pregnant women have to pee, uh-oh, there it is again, this time bright red and more. I cry, in my head I know, in my heart I cannot accept, I thought I would never have this chance again, I can’t lose my chance, this baby is already so loved. We head home, the doctor is closed for the day, I’ll rest, it will be ok, no cramps, not heavy, nothing to worry about.
Night brings some cramping, some more blood loss, more sadness, tons of prayers, not much sleep.
Wednesday morning: getting ready, bleeding has slowed, no cramping, google has been telling me this sometimes happens, no worries, I’m optimistic. Hubby has to work, my mom is going to be there, my mother-in-love prays over me and the baby as we leave, the children and I join hands and beg God for the life in my womb to be saved. The ride is LONG, the wait LONGER, they call my name, the moment of truth. There it is, tiny and small, but there, my baby, only measuring 6 weeks 4 days not 8, but a strong heartbeat is seen on the screen. RELIEF!! The ultrasound tech shares that the baby has implanted very low in my uterus, and is way behind on growth. I don’t care, I see my baby’s heartbeat, life is ok; for the moment. Midwife sees us, her words “impending miscarriage” don’t get your hopes up, this doesn’t look good. I smile, I thank her and I keep my optimism. We are to come back in two days and measure progress with another ultrasound.
Friday Morning: hubby is off work, we are going together, bleeding has nearly stopped, haven’t passed anything suspicious, all should be well. Arrive, wait, nervous laughter, unspoken fears, they call my name. There it is again, there is my baby and the little heartbeat is stronger than ever, he or she has grown 4 days worth in 2 days and is now measuring 7 weeks and 2 days. LIFE IS GOOD!! My baby is STRONG and will survive. I am still optimistic. My midwife is shocked, the doctor too, they tell me to be cautious, it still doesn’t look good. I’m not listening. Scheduled to come back in 1 week for a follow up ultrasound and measurements unless something changes.
Friday Afternoon: bleeding has stopped, no cramping, life is good, all is well, my baby is growing, I just know it.
Saturday is a great day, I am encouraged to rest and relax, the family brings me all my needs. I feel good, but I feel off. Either way, I am excited to know my baby is growing. I stare at the ultrasounds, at my sweet jelly-bean, I can see his/her face in the picture, sweet baby.
Saturday night: painful dream, in this dream I am sitting on a floating dock with many mothers, we are letting our babies swim out into this huge ocean, it is crystal like in appearance, turquoise blue, no bottom, no shores, just beautiful warm water full of splashing playing babies that are the happiest I have ever seen. I feel mixed emotions, I know that I must somehow leave my baby here but I don’t want to, but it is going to be ok, my baby needs to be here. I have a little tiny girl, I believe she is a girl anyway, she is beautiful, dark hair, the sweetest most perfect baby I have ever held (I can still see her face) she is a newborn, but strong, she swims to me, I pull her to my breast, she nurses and gazes into my eyes, we are there forever, just staring at each other, locked in a moment of intense bonding that I do not have the words to describe. Finally she looks at me and I know it is time, it is time to let her swim away, I can’t stand the thought, but I have complete peace also, I cannot describe that feeling either. I hold her for a moment longer, I kiss her sweet head, her cheeks, her tiny finger, her toes, I just inhale her, I snuggle her, I nurse her again, I cuddle her and kiss her all over. Finally, it is time, I place her in the water and she coos, then swims away, I watch her as she swims into the beautiful rainbow of light at the horizon, I want to swim after her but I know I cant, I can’t enter that light yet. My heart-breaks, I’m lost, I want her back for just a moment more, I wake up. The pain was so real, my heart was breaking, I just cried, I don’t admit it at that time but I know what has just happened. My baby’s heart has stopped.
I have told that dream to no one but my husband, even now I can barely type it through the tears. I am now certain that that is the moment my angel left me, it wouldn’t be confirmed for another week, so of course I held onto hope that my dream was wrong, but inside, I knew, I had known from the moment I found out I was pregnant that something was amiss, however I am an eternal optimist and I pushed those fears aside. Looking back I see that the dream was my baby saying goodbye, telling me that all would be ok, that she would be ok. I held her for a moment in my arms and at my breast and someday I will hold her again.
Friday morning 6 days later: Ultrasound starts up, I am praying, hubby is praying, the ultrasound begins, there it is, NOTHING, no heartbeat, nothing……………………………………………
The ultrasound tech tries and tries, she has been on our side cheering us on at every ultrasound, she keeps searching. There is the sac, there is the fetal pole, there is what was once my baby, there is NO heartbeat anymore. Gone, my baby is gone, just like that, NOTHING………………………………………… this is the biggest, fattest, hardest nothing I have ever had to endure. I was shocked, this couldn’t happen to me, I have had 4 healthy pregnancies with no complications not even morning sickness, surely something is wrong. Tears, I’m crying, I can’t stop, I can’t breathe, words won’t form, I just want my baby. PLEASE PLEASE tell me where my baby is? Look again!! There has to be a baby there, a live baby with a strong heartbeat. This was my last chance, I am nearly 40, we weren’t trying, we weren’t planning, but we were blessed and excited. What kind of cruel fate is this, to be surprised with such a blessing only to have it yanked away? I was out of denial, I was now ANGRY!! FURIOUS!! HURTING!! MAD!! I would pray, then I would scream, then I yelled at God, begged Him to give me my baby back, angry that my baby was gone. I wanted answers, but more than that I wanted my baby.
We went to eat, we went driving, we rode in silence, I cried, my hubby cried, we held hands, then we laughed and chatted, then came the tears again. How would we tell everyone, so many were praying for this baby, the baby still in my womb but no longer alive. What about the children, how could we tell them? I can’t break their hearts, how do I tell them they will never meet their sibling? We went home to wait for the inevitable…….and wait…… and wait……… how bad was it going to hurt? What would I see? Could I handle it? We told the kids, they cried, they hugged me, they prayed, they cried. My heart broke even more, how had I failed them so? How had I broken their hearts like this? How could my body rob them of their sibling? They love each other so much, a baby would be spoiled rotten and loved like no other. They would not experience another sibling like they wanted. I cried and cried and cried; I slept and cried. My heart was ripped from me that day, a hole that has never been filled, a pain like none other I have ever known. Then there was denial again, maybe they just missed the baby, maybe it was hiding, I read story after story of misdiagnosed miscarriages, yes that must be it, then the tears again, I knew that wasn’t it. The wait was long, the pain was real, yet somehow life was still happening all around me while I felt so dead and numb inside. How could there be so much life where there was also death.
I rested, I waited, almost 2 weeks passed, still no bleeding, still no cramps, still nothing, were they wrong? I have an appointment tomorrow for a check, we will find out. No, we will find out today, a quick trip to the restroom and there was my baby, still in the gestational sac, nothing I could see much but there it was, no pain, no blood, just all that was left of what had held my baby had finally passed. Honestly, at that immediate moment I felt relief, relief that it was over, that I knew the final outcome, and that I could finally begin to heal. I called the doc, I went in for an ultrasound and to take the gestational sac, (my only regret I did not request it back so that I could bury it myself) they confirmed, my womb was now empty, completely and totally empty. Mixed emotions, pain and tears that my baby was certainly gone, no optimism left, relief that I could move on, loneliness that my arms were so empty aching for a baby to hold, knowing I would not hold one in January. Could time possibly fill this void? Could I ever be whole again? I doubted it. I went home, empty and alone, I cried.
That day went smoothly, shock, disbelief, and a sense of relief too. It was over, then reality … IT WAS OVER!! My pregnancy was over, no more planning, no more names, no more wondering, nothing .. there it was again.. NOTHING……………………
The next day was the worst, hormone drops, spotting, and an empty heart to go with my empty womb and empty arms. I was an emotional wreck, everyone was having a big breakfast, physically I was fine, mentally I was breaking. Everyone was laughing, talking, the day was perfectly normal, they had all moved on at least it appeared that they had. Probably not really but they were strong for me, and they didn’t know what to say, how to react, so they held onto normalcy. Of course they were also less attached than me, they never held that baby, it wasn’t as real to them, that is just fact. They were still hurting I am sure of it, but they were processing differently, they were being normal. How could everyone be normal? How was the world still turning? The news is on, the world is normal? Everyone is moving around, life is continuing…but HOW? Don’t they know my baby died? Can’t they see my baby is gone? My heart is missing a part of it, my body is missing a part of it, my soul has been ripped from me and my baby is DEAD! How can everyone in the world just keep going. I wanted to scream. In anger I left breakfast and went to the barn, there I cried, and I cried, and I cried.
That night I had a meeting, I had been invited to attend an essential oils class, I couldn’t cancel. I went, my sweet friend Susan brought me some oils to help with my emotions and hormones. I left there still hurting. On the way home was the final breaking point, a turning point before I began the healing process. While driving the song “Praise You in the Storm” was playing on the radio, the tears started to flow, could I ever praise God again? I lifted a hand, I prayed for help, then I screamed at God, I yelled at Him, I begged Him for my baby, I told Him all I wanted was my baby. The next song to play was “What if Our Blessings Come Through Raindrops” ? The lyrics say :
“Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”
I cried, and cried, I prayed and prayed, God was healing me through my tears at that very moment; suddenly, I knew I would heal, I knew I would move on and I realized I would never lose my baby because the baby once carried in my womb is now carried in my heart.
Mothers carrying babies in your heart!! I LOVE YOU!! YOUR BABY IS IMPORTANT!! YOUR BABY LIVED!! YOUR BABY LIVES ON!! SPEAK UP!! Tell your story, do not be a statistic, do not be a number. CHANGE THE TABOO!! SPEAK UP!!
My story doesn’t end there, for a few weeks I grieved, but I healed, I moved, I breathed, I cried, but I lived. Just a few short weeks after that I found out we were expecting our rainbow baby. I was terrified, surprised and ecstatic. That was by far my hardest pregnancy ever; loss has a way of breaking you, of taking with it all innocence you once had.
Below you will find my announcement for rainbow baby number 1, a little boy born in March of 2014. Then, when he was just 4 months old, we learned that a second rainbow was on the way a sweet girl born in June of 2015. 🙂 A double rainbow, born 14 months apart. I am now a mother of 7, 6 on earth and 1 in heaven. I am the 1 in 4.
I am not sure how, but I forgot to add the most beautiful gesture done for me was by my mother. The day after we learned that our baby had no heartbeat she came to visit and she brought me a plate and a statue. She too has angel babies in heaven, my siblings. I will cherish these gifts as long as I live. THANK YOU MOM!! I LOVE YOU!!
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