My biggest fears during this pregnancy were that the baby would either not be healthy, or that I would hear those awful words during a routine appointment "there is no heartbeat". Once we saw the baby for the first time (7 weeks, 5 days) and heard the 165bmp heartbeat, I was told that the chances of miscarriage went down significantly. I had planned to wait until 12 weeks to share the news with friends, but decided to spill the beans a little early since we had heard that little thumper and more people than not knew already anyway.
Fast forward to 11 weeks. I had been worried that the morning sickness had gone away around 9 weeks but was told that between 8-12 weeks that can happen. I still was having some pregnancy symptoms, so I tried to just look on the bright side and wait it out until my next appointment.
On Friday I noticed some minor spotting. I'm talking barely-even-visible-couldn't-see-it-without-a-super-careful-eye spotting. I of course googled it and learned that some spotting is normal and that it was probably just old blood from the cervix. I decided to go in to the ER just for peace of mind to last me through the weekend. My appointment was scheduled for Monday, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have some reassurance.
I felt silly just explaining my symptoms to the nurse. Everything was typical and normal for pregnancy, and I almost felt like I should just turn around and go home.
I waited in the OB room, in that awful hospital gown, for an hour before ER doctor finally came in. An HOUR.
As soon as he started the ultrasound I struggled to see anything on the monitor. It just looked like a hazy black and white mess. I started to panic because there was nothing there. I remembered that I was only 11 weeks and sometimes you can't pick up a heartbeat with a doppler until 12-14 weeks. The doctor came back in to do a transvaginal ultrasound.
He immediately turned the monitor away from my face. And I started to cry. Doctors have little nuances in their behavior that give away what they are thinking. Turning the monitor away from me told me that he thought something was wrong, and didn't want me to be able to look at it just yet. After about a minute of silence, he quickly turned the monitor back to face me and said
"I'm sorry, I am not detecting a heartbeat". In that brief moment, I saw the baby on the screen. Turf had been standing up and said he was able to see the baby while the doctor was looking.
Just as quickly as he had turned the monitor in my direction, he turned it off and got down to business- telling me my options for how I could proceed with the miscarriage.
I was completely shocked, trying to hold back hot tears and to be very mature about it.
But the more that man talked the more annoyed and confused I got. He was very dry and cold, like he just wanted to get it taken care of and move on. He was willing to give me medication at that very moment that would send my body into a state of "labor" in order to "expel the materials of pregnancy". It was no longer a baby, or a fetus, or even an embryo, but now simply a "material of pregnancy".
I could schedule a D&C, which essentially involves scraping out those materials within my uterus.
OR, I could go home and wait for it to expel on its own.
He didn't even recommend getting a second doctor to look at it before making a decision, and I had to ask if I could just keep my OB appointment and talk to them. He didn't measure it during the ultrasound in order to tell me when the heart had stopped beating. They didn't draw blood so he couldn't tell me what my HCG levels were, only that my urine test showed that I still had the HCG hormone. He didn't tell me what I was looking at for the 30 seconds I was able to see the monitor, and he didn't explain to me why it could have happened. All he told me was that it happened and I had 3 choices for how to "get rid of it".
I didn't feel comfortable making any decisions without having a second doctor, preferably my OB, do an ultrasound and measure the baby. So I went home and all weekend long was waiting for signs that my body was going to "expel the pregnancy". I was waiting for a lot of painful cramping and lots and lots of blood and clots. Nothing came.
I had what is called a Missed Miscarriage, or a Silent Miscarriage. Basically the baby dies, but the body doesn't react to the miscarriage. You still feel pregnant and think that everything is progressing as normal. I started looking up information online and Missed Miscarriages are much less common. Not only did I have a silent miscarriage, but it happened after I had already seen the heartbeat and everything had looked great. Nothing is certain in pregnancy, and the first trimester is the most vulnerable part, but I really never thought it would happen to me. It can take days or weeks for the body to begin to actually miscarry the pregnancy. Some women have waited for 5 weeks before their body began to actually miscarry. How awful is that? To be so blissfully happy in pregnancy only to later realize that your baby's heart stopped beating weeks ago. Only now do I truly understand the weight of a miscarriage on your heart.
I went through a few moments of denial. Maybe the guy was just a huge idiot and couldn't read the monitor? Maybe he had already decided I was miscarrying and didn't really look for the heartbeat. I tried to not get my hopes up, but when your body still feels pregnant, it is hard to imagine that the baby is not alive in there.
I cried and cried that day once we got home. I looked at the picture of our first ultrasound and cried, saw the few random baby things we had already gotten and cried, remembered that I had just blogged our 10 week picture and cried, thought about all the planning and baby names we had talked about and cried. I had felt so confident throughout all of my worrying that ultimately, we would end up with a healthy baby because I truly believed that God had blessed us with this baby.
And then I got mad. How can it be that some mothers are so irresponsible and drink and smoke or do drugs throughout their pregnancies and wind up with healthy babies? There are mothers who decide they don't want their baby and have abortions, or give them up for adoption. And then there are just the mothers who care more about themselves than their children and turn out to be awful parents and role models. How can they have healthy babies, but I didn't?
This is absolutely the most heartbreaking thing I have ever gone through. We so wanted this baby and
we were so ready. After being sad and mad I had a moment of clarity. God has a plan. I don't understand it, but He has something planned that is far greater than anything I could ever imagine. And although this experience was devastating, I was able to find peace in His name.
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of him".
1 John 5:14-15