“I have always known that I wanted to be a mom. My husband and I were the first of our friends to get married, and begin thinking about starting a family. In 2013 we decided that we were ready to grow our little family. We were so excited, in April of 2013, to find out that we would be welcoming a baby that coming January. Over the next 12 weeks our excitement continued to grow as we talked about all our hopes and dreams for this baby and our expanding family. When I was 8 weeks along we told our families, it was Mother’s Day and we cleverly gave our moms “grandma” cards. They politely told us that we had put the wrong cards into the envelopes and tried to swap them with our grandmothers who instead had “great-grandmother” cards. It was funny to watch as everyone realized the exciting news that we were sharing. It was such a joyous time. During that following week I noticed some spotting, and after a call to the doctor’s office was told that it is totally normal during the first trimester and not to worry. I tried not to worry, but in my heart I knew that something was not right. The joy we had felt only a week earlier turned to fear. The weeks went by and there was no real change, I called the doctor’s office again and again and finally they invited me in to try to alleviate some of my fears. In the office, the doctor explained that what I was experiencing was totally normal and I was just a “nervous first time mom”. At that appointment the nurse tried to find a heartbeat with the doppler but wasn’t able to, she assured me that since I was only 10 weeks it was probably just that I wasn’t far enough along to have the doppler pick up a heartbeat but that she was sure we would see one at my ultrasound in a few weeks. At this point I was still experiencing all the (unpleasant) symptoms of pregnancy, nausea, exhaustion, etc. which she assured me was a sign that my pregnancy was progressing. The next week went by and I continued to hold out hope, until just two days before our scheduled ultrasound the spotting got worse, and I knew that what was happening wasn’t right. The doctor offered to move my ultrasound up a few days to calm my nerves. Since the appointment time changed, it was going to be difficult for my husband to make it to the ultrasound. I assured him that I would be ok and he could meet me there whenever he could get away from work. I got to the appointment and was called back to the ultrasound room, on my way by I asked the desk attendant to send my husband back when he arrived. Since they had squeezed me into the schedule I didn’t want to ask the tech to wait and went ahead and started the ultrasound. The tech had no idea that I was experiencing any sort of complications and treated this visit as any other 12 week ultrasound. This being my first ultrasound, I had no idea what to expect, however after a few minutes of silence and the look on the tech’s face my heart dropped. Finally, I said “something is wrong isn’t it?” She told me that there was no heartbeat and I would need to talk to the doctor; she told me that she was going to call them to see if someone could see me right away. She left the room and I sat in the dark, silent room confused and heart broken. I was totally in shock and felt numb. At this point my husband had just arrived and the desk attendant brought him back to the room. He walked in and could tell from my face that everything was not ok. All I could manage to say was “there is no heartbeat” and immediately started to cry. The tech came back and told me that the midwife could see me and to wait in the waiting room. It felt like an eternity waiting to see the midwife, while pregnant women and women with brand new babies walked by me into their own appointments my tears kept flowing. Finally, my husband asked that we be put into a room to wait so we didn’t have to watch a parade of people who had what we had wanted so badly but lost. Meeting with the midwife she told me that I had what is called a “missed miscarriage”. The baby was only measuring 9 weeks with no heartbeat while the placenta had continued to grow. In my mind this made perfect sense, my heart and my body had wanted this baby so badly it was refusing to let it go. Since I was not miscarrying naturally I was scheduled for a D&C the following day which was a Friday. That weekend is a blur, I spent most of it in bed crying. The following Monday I was still not feeling well and ended up with an emergency visit to the doctor where it was determined that I had an infection and needed to have a repeat D&C. I was rushed to the hospital immediately. This time there was no discussion about whether this option was the best, it was necessary. I remember asking the surgeon if this repeat surgery would impact my chances of having a successful pregnancy in the future, she told me that it could but she “would be as gentle as possible since this was a wanted pregnancy” which seemed to me like the most bizarre thing to say in this situation. After that experience I went home once again to recover, I remember emailing my professor (I was in graduate school at the time), she responded telling me that she knew exactly how I felt and shared her own heart breaking story of miscarriage, this was the first time I had known someone else who had shared this experience. I still remember her words telling me that I should “…expect to heal physically before I heal emotionally.” Those are the truest words I have ever heard in dealing with a miscarriage. From there I had to have blood work once a week until my hormone levels were back to normal, at which time we could try again for another baby. I remember people telling me that I would get pregnant and have another baby, and feeling hurt that they didn’t understand that I wanted that baby… I had hopes and dreams for that baby, I loved that baby.
We had only told a small number of very close friends/family members about our pregnancy which is “supposed to make it easier if you lose the pregnancy” so you don’t have to have any awkward conversations about the loss. However, I felt like it made our experience more difficult. How could I expect people to support me and honor the life I had carried if they never knew about it in the first place? We ended up having those “awkward” conversations after the fact, sharing our experience with family and friends after our loss. It wasn’t until then that I found out I had some friends that had also shared this experience. Until then, I had felt so alone and isolated; I heard stories of inspiration and hope and experienced an outpouring of love and support. I was thankful for those people as we continued to heal emotionally from this loss. I wished I had told them sooner.
We did go on the get pregnant again a few months later that same year. I remember my original due date arriving and feeling guilty for being so heartbroken and grieving for the baby I had lost, while carrying this new baby who I also had so many hopes and dreams for. This pregnancy was successful, however I had an intense fear of ultrasounds and worried every time I went in for an appointment. I don’t think that worry went away until we finally welcomed a baby girl, Zoey, in June 2014.
When Zoey was just over a year old we decided that we wanted to grow our family again and give her a sibling. I got pregnant again in September 2015. This pregnancy had no signs of complications, and while I was still nervous about ultrasounds there was no indication that this 12 week ultrasound would be anything other than routine. We went in for our 12 week ultrasound in November and I knew within seconds that this was not routine. I had been down this road before and immediately asked if she could detect a heartbeat. The response was no, and that the baby was only measuring 7 weeks. Once again, I had experienced a missed miscarriage, my body didn’t want to let this baby go either, I had to undergo a D&C and mourn the loss of another baby. This time we had told a selection of friends and family members and had a support system who held us up during this time. After recovering and trying for another baby for a few months I got pregnant again in February of 2016, sadly this hope only lasted a few weeks and I miscarried naturally at only 7 weeks. I thought that it would be easier having it happen earlier, however those hopes and dreams that I held for this baby weren’t any less significant and the pain and mourning was still very real.
At this point I was ready to stop, I wasn’t sure I could go through that loss again, but we decided to try again and found out that I was pregnant in April 2016. This time I asked for every blood test and early ultrasound that I could. Thankfully, this pregnancy was successful and baby Amelia was born in December 2016.
While my heart will always hold a place for the babies that I lost, I am grateful for every part of the journey that brought me my two beautiful girls. I have shared this story with close friends and family members, but I feel that now is the time to share it in a more public way. I wish that I had known other people had experienced this when it first happened to me. I felt lonely, guilty, and hopeless. I’m sharing my story in hopes that it helps someone else experiencing a loss like this, to give them hope and let them know they are not alone.”