Loved and Lost: A Personal Experience with Miscarriage

8 Week Ultrasound Image

For many people, miscarriage is a personal thing that you don’t necessarily want to share with anyone other than your significant other or close family. However, John and I agreed that there are many people that go through this difficult experience, and we don’t want anyone to feel like they are alone. We wanted to share our sorrow and joy with you by letting you in on our experience with the hope that those of you who run into the same issue can be encouraged by the truth God has revealed and the peace and joy that comes from Him.

In early September, John and I found out we were expecting our second child. Much to my surprise, I was just as shocked/excited/nervous as I was when I found out we were expecting our first! We’ve always wanted to have our children close together, and were looking forward to having less than 2 years between Aza and #2. However, right from the beginning, this pregnancy seemed, well, interesting.

If any of you follow me on twitter, you may remember a few tweets about hives covering my body from neck to ankle. At first, I thought it was an allergic reaction to something. This started a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant. I started taking an antihistamine nightly, as the hives were unbearably itchy and were worse at night. After cleaning our house from top to bottom, taking my diet down to the basics, switching back to old tried and true shampoos and lotions, and washing our sheets multiple times, I could find no source of my hives. None, that is, until the positive pregnancy test. Apparently, a small percentage of pregnancy have an unexplainable hives that accompany it. And while the antihistamine I was taking is considered a safe drug to take during pregnancy, I was horrified that I had taken it in the early developmental phase of this child’s life and immediately stopped. The hives, however, did not stop. For 6-8 weeks I faced unbearable itching from about 7PM to about 1PM the next day. It would go away for a few hours then start all over again that night. The doctors had no explanation, and just told me to use all hypoallergenic soaps and lotions. Eventually, and without explanation, they went away. I still have no idea what exactly caused this, but I sure hope it doesn’t come back.

The next strange thing was that our originally calculated date was around mid May 2011. However, after the initial ultrasound at what should have been my 8 week appointment, the baby was only measuring 6 weeks 2 days. Everything else was normal and healthy, but the dates didn’t match. The doctors said it could be due to the fact that I had recently stopped nursing my first child (13 mo. at the time) and that could have affected the actual length of my cycle as opposed to my normal, pre-nursing 28 days. They told me to come back in 2 weeks to see if baby was growing correctly.

Two weeks later I had a second ultrasound. Much to my joy, baby was right on at 8 weeks 4 days. The little flicker of baby’s heartbeat was strong, and we even got to see some little legs! They moved my due date back to June 3rd. All of my current fears were relieved and I felt like I could actually relax and get settled into the remaining 7 months of the journey. I scheduled my 12 week appointment and was on my way. Over the next month I battled my way through morning sickness while trying to train a toddler and keep up with the rest of life. I was looking forward to the next appointment as it was going to be shortly before our trip to visit family for Thanksgiving and we were planning on spreading the word to family and friends from there.

My 12 week appointment started our normal, talking with the doctor about the entire process, discussing how I’ve been feeling, etc. After talking, she pulled out the heart monitor (for baby) and proceeded to search for baby’s heart beat. After a minute of her searching, but not finding, she told me she wasn’t picking it up and was going to go get the ultrasound machine for a better look. She told me not to worry as this is extremely normal when baby is this small. I knew, however, that something was wrong. I’m 5’1″ and very petite. It was always pretty easy to pick up a heart beat with Aza…

The moment she got baby on the ultrasound monitor my heart sank. Before she even said anything to me, I could see. The once flickering heart of my little child now sat motionless. I’ll probably never forget hearing her words, “I am so sorry, but I don’t see your baby’s heart beating at all. I am so sorry.” I couldn’t do anything except cry. Twice on an ultrasound picture I saw a healthy little child. Now, I was staring at the small lifeless body of this little person, the gender of which we didn’t even know. Why was this happening? What did I do wrong?

After measuring baby it was concluded that it had only been a few days since baby last stopped growing. I had brought Aza to the appointment with me, and was so glad I did. The doctor went out to get some things together, as I was going to have to have surgery the next day to remove the baby and relating tissue. While she was out, I hugged my little girl and just cried. In a matter of minutes I lost something that I hardly knew I had. And yet it still hurt, a lot. I called John and broke the news to him, he immediately left work and was on his way home. As we finished up the appointment and discussed the necessary next steps, questions were racing through my head. “Why God? Was it the antihistamines I was taking? Did I not drink enough water? Did Aza hit my stomach at some point accidentally? What made this happen?”

That afternoon my mother-in-law watched Aza for a few hours while John and I went out to collect our thoughts. At first, we didn’t even know what thoughts to collect. It all happened so fast. But as we talked through the why’s, what’s and how’s, we came to a few conclusions:

  • No Matter What, God Has A Plan. Constantly in our lives, things are happening that don’t seem fair. And usually, from our small view, they aren’t. But, John and I believe that our God is loving and all-knowing. His Word says that all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We had to realize the truth in that.  We don’t know why God took this child from us, it could be that God was saving us from a greater pain down the road. But we do know that it was for a specific reason, and that ultimately God is going to bring good out of it.
  • We Believe This Child is Now in Heaven. We believe our God to be just and that this child is now in His arms.  He or she is happy and smiling, and has never known anything but love. It never got in trouble, never had a skinned knee, never cried a single tear. How could we possibly not find joy in that? There is an incredible peace that comes with knowing that God is loving, and that your child is not only loved, but without pain or suffering. Isn’t that what we want for our children? Not only that, but when I get to heaven, I’ve got a son or daughter there waiting for me and, hopefully, with a really big hug for mommy 🙂
  • We Appreciate Much More the Things We Do Have. In all honesty, my daughter has never been more special to me than she is right now. I was thinking through the miracle of her growth and development, how she overcame her health issues at birth, and now she is a smart and healthy child. It seems like so much more of a blessing to me. They say you never know what you have until it’s gone, but losing one thing has allowed me to see the beauty and joy even more so in another. We can be sad about the things the Lord decides to take from us, but we can be even happier about the things he gives and allows us to have. While I am sad at what we lost, I know I will always appreciate the children God does allow us to have more than I ever would have before. We truly have so much to be thankful for.
  • We Are Not Alone. Miscarriage is not uncommon, up to 25% of clinically recognized pregnancies end this way (American Pregnancy Association). Most of the time, the reason for the miscarriage is completely unknown. But, if you ever find yourself in this situation know that there are plenty of people out there who are with you. All you ever did was love that child, whether you got to meet them, name them, know their gender or not. If I lived a life where I was only loved constantly and never experienced sadness or pain, I’d say it was a pretty fulfilling life.

Again, while we are sad at what we lost, we trust God has a plan in all of this. I have a wonderful sense of peace about the whole situation because I know God is good. It was a difficult experience, but God has given us so many things to be happy about. And while we are moving on with our lives and looking forward to our family growing, I will never forget this child and can’t wait to meet them someday. 🙂