The Loss of What Could Have Been

It all started with two pink lines. I was ecstatic. We were hoping for a second little miracle to join our sweet girl. The anticipation and excitement were hard to hold back—like a cork on a champagne bottle, we were ready to pop it and celebrate. We almost immediately told our family and friends the good news. We started planning for the future—adjusting our budget for additional daycare costs, arranging where the new baby’s room would be in our new home, and enjoying the suspense of not finding out the gender. After all, it’s one of life’s last few surprises. 

It all went so fast. After moving into our new home, I awakened one night to use the bathroom. Then I see what a pregnant woman never wants to see…blood. I lie there at 1 am next to my husband anxious and scared. I was trying to prepare my mind and heart for the worst case scenario, but unfortunately I would have to wait many hours to call the clinic and hopefully be seen for an exam. Later that day, we were fit into the provider’s schedule. Even before the ultrasound, the nurse practitioner did not seem concerned about the spotting. She felt this sounded normal, and it was likely an old clot passing around the gestational sac. We then released a huge sigh of relief when she then performed the ultrasound and pointed out the tiny heart flapping back and forth quickly. We were able to hear the reassuring “woosh, woosh,” and felt everything would be ok.  I leaned over to my husband,  smiled, and said “I forgot how amazing that is to hear.” She then told us we were not completely out of the woods yet, but everything looked good. 

The weeks passed with a little more spotting every few days. I tried to reassure myself it was normal for this pregnancy. Each pregnancy is different. After all, the provider assured me things looked good. We saw the heart beating. 

It was a cold, gray, rainy Saturday, and the spotting became heavier. I thought it would be best to go in to be seen. Although it could be “normal”spotting, I needed reassurance once again that the baby was still there…and the tiny heart was still beating. I drove alone through the downpour to the clinic, as my husband had to stay back with our 1 1/2 year old.

I explained my history and symptoms to the physician. He ordered an ultrasound. As I sat waiting for tech to come and get me, I do what most people do this day and age—I grab my phone and search the internet for message boards and forums of women in a similar situation. What were their outcomes? What were the chances that this baby was still OK?  Was I searching for false hope from stories of people I’ve never met? 

I eventually was escorted to the cold, dark basement. The tech instructed me what to do. I lied there anxiously waiting to once again hear that “woosh, woosh,” or see that tiny flapping on the screen. She informed me she was not able to interpret or reveal anything to me, and that I would have to wait for the radiologist to interpret the results, who would then inform the walk-in physician. I felt so alone lying on that table. The minutes felt like hours, and in my heart I knew the answer to my suspicions. Although the tech could not tell me anything, she didn’t have to…I did not hear the “woosh woosh,” nor get to see the tiny heart flapping. She finally finished and instructed me to get dressed and wait for the aide to bring me back up to wait once again. I was painfully waiting for the confirmation. Although I don’t have a trained eye for sonograms, I looked at the image on the screen. It was my uterus, and inside was a very small clump of tissue. It was much too small for the gestational age. Again, I knew. 

The final waiting period ended when a nurse brought me back into the room. I sat there again in silence—painful silence. The lack of the “woosh woosh” and the view of my almost empty uterus nagged at me and pulled tightly at my heart. The straight-faced doctor finally walks in, quickly sits down, and states in a matter-of-fact tone the words I will never forget—“You have lost this pregnancy.” As my mind tries to wrap around this confirmation, I say, “Ok…”and the rest is a blur. I recall bits and pieces such as “it was 7 weeks 6 days,” and “no heart beat.”  I start crying, and he robotically hands me a box of tissues. He instructs me to keep my appointment with my obstetrician four days later. It was supposed to be my 12 week appointment to check on the status of my growing fetus. Instead, it would be something much different. 

That evening after I shared the sad news with my husband and family, I decided it would be best for me if I updated everyone right away. I had already shared my pregnancy news with so many people, and although the task of informing them of this sad update was daunting and exhausting, I wanted to get it done with.  I spent the evening texting, calling, emailing…until I was utterly exhausted and crashed. 

The next day is when it sunk in. I felt and still feel a sense of emptiness….a loss of something that could have been our second sweet baby. I would no longer hold him or her in my arms in the end of March as I had envisioned.

Although this loss is still fresh and raw, I’ve been overwhelmed with not only sadness, but of gratitude. I may have shared with numerous people (and then had to explain the sad news as well), but these people were there for me in ways I could not have even imagined. From messages of hope and healing…to flowers…to a care package…I have been surrounded in love. I also met with my physician who was surprisingly comforting. In contrast to the cold and matter-of-fact physician who delivered those painful words, this obstetrician comforted me with words of knowledge and education and made me feel less alone; in fact, he made me feel “normal.” I was grateful he fit me in his full schedule, yet seemed unrushed, calm, and warm. He shared a situational personal story with me which offered some perspective, and I so needed to hear that at this confusing time. Above it all, I came home and found solace in the hugs and kisses of my healthy, beautiful, little girl. I’ve been reminded that although this second child was not in God’s plan for us at this time, we will someday know why. And in the meantime, my intuitive little girl asks me to sing just a few more tunes, cuddle a little more closely, and hold her a little longer. Tonight I will fall asleep in God’s embrace, trusting in the strength of the human spirit and power of hope, love, and faith. 

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Loving this Growing Toddler

Dearest Violet,
When you are 14 years old, sleeping in til 11am, listening even less to your mother, learning to drive, and crushing on boys, remember this…

You were once 1 1/2 years old and finally growing some hair, a baby mullet to be exact. As mom says, “business in the front, party in the back.” Mom will likely not cut it until she absolutely needs to because she is a sentimental sap. Always has been, and always will be. And yes…there will very likely be your first lock of cut hair in your baby book (I am that kind of mom).

Your ever expanding vocabulary includes a fave word ‘no!’ (Probably a fave at age 14 too)…sky…puppy…baby…auntie…mommy…daddy…mama, papa, “mease!!” (A cross between please and me, which is your mom’s personal fave)…bye-bye…night…hi… and most recently, “love you.” It melts my heart. Then of course are some names… Ry Ry, Scottie, Judy (pronounced Dudy), Reesey (pronounced Eesey), Mary (pronounced Maui), Brody (prounounced Body), and Kim (pronounced Mim).

You love (cows) milk, and in fact the doctor says to cut back some. What!? And there’s those special super cheesey cheetos (Earl’s) from around the cities that you and your Dad share.

Your smile is bigger and with much more teeth now. You have automatically learned to exclaim “cheese” when you see anyone whipping our their cell phones. You’re smart (of course I’m biased).

You are no longer fond of the high chair and insist of sitting on your mom’s lap during dinner time. Although dad does not agree, mom lets you do this. You eat more food this way, and you won’t always want to sit with your mom (guaranteed).

I do realize that in the years to come, “Mommy” will change to “Mom.” Then eventually “Mom,” with evolve to “Mother!” and maybe even you’ll try to call me “Jenna.” I will gently correct you and remind you “It’s Mom to you.”

Up until now, bedtime and nap time were peaceful and fairly easy. Now that you’re able to express your needs more clearly, you exclaim “book!” again and again. I can recite “Where’s Spot” in my sleep. You will not only beg for more story time but for more “milk,” and “Twinkle Twinkle” to be sung to you… “more mease.” 

You can fight your naps and eventually will not allow as many kisses, but I want you to know one thing for sure…You can never fight my love for you. It will continue to grow each and every day. My heart has an endless capacity of love for you. 

So keep changing, growing, and developing into your little self. I will be there watching…in frustration, in awe, in confusion, in wonder, but most of all, in love.

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