If you didn’t know it, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I wasn’t sure how I was going to write this post, because I’m still trying to put the pieces together in my own life. Usually when I write, the words just flow from my head onto my fingertips, and today, for the first time, I’m struggling to discuss this topic: miscarriage. What do you tell others? How much is too much? Am I even knowledgeable enough to write about this?
Our readers know how much our family has gone through in the past two and a half years. I had a very rough pregnancy with Addison and pretty much had every complication known to pregnancy. Not only that, but at 18 weeks when we went in for our anatomy scan, we found out our sweet baby (girl, yay!) had, what we would later find out, a sacrococcygeal teratoma. We were devastated. We had a special Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor that we saw every other week, an amniocentesis, and we even took trips to Texas Children’s in Houston to monitor sweet Addie. We prayed over our baby constantly and one specific prayer I had was that the Lord would use sweet baby Addie for His glory despite the outcome. We were choosing life for her and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Once she was born, Addie stayed in the hospital 10 months. 6 months in NICU, home for 6 days, and then 4 in PICU. But ever since? She’s been home- and it’s been over a year that she’s been at home thriving.
Fast forward to June of this year. Mathew had brought up the idea of another baby the past few months but I wasn’t ready. It finally hit me in June that I was ready to start planning for another baby. I looked at my fellow Go Shout Love mama, Katie Ewing, and how her special needs daughter Paisley, has the most adorable little sister, Ivory. The two of them are the perfect little pair. I remember watching a video of Ivory cheering on her big sister when Paisley was learning to run in therapy. It melted my heart and I knew that I wanted that for Addie too. Someone to love on her and cheer her on. Someone to snuggle with her. Someone to just be her best friend. So in June, after lots of conversation and thought, we started the process of planning for another baby.
July was a crazy month for us. I had just gotten home from Young Living Convention, I had my 30th birthday Fiesta (I still need to blog about BOTH of those, geez!), and I was preparing for my trip to Branson with my mom and sister. On July 20th, several days after I should’ve had my period, I took a pregnancy test and found out that I was 4 weeks pregnant. I was SO excited and scared! This was really happening. I ran out the door and told Mathew I had some errands to run. I went all over town looking for some kind of “big sister” outfit for Addie so we could surprise him the next morning. Keeping it a secret from him was the hardest thing, but I wanted my announcement to him to be perfect. The next day, I got Addie dressed for the day and she wore this outfit.
Mathew was thrilled. He couldn’t stop smiling and giving Addie and me hugs. It was such an amazing day and we were on Cloud 9. The weeks that came after were joyous. I was nauseous and tired but found Ningxia Red helped me feel more like myself. I was diligent about taking my prenatal vitamins, and scoured my copy of Gentle Babies to see how I could use essential oils during my pregnancy, since I hadn’t even known about essential oils when I was pregnant with Addie. We talked about baby names, where we’d keep the baby (we currently still have a pack and play/ bassinet in our bedroom from when we prepared for Addie to be born), and spent hours researching double strollers that would work with our particular needs. All was wonderful.
We had our very first appointment at 6 weeks on Monday, August 1st. It was such an exciting time for us that we ended up making a family trip out of the appointment! Mathew and Addie came and it was just everything I envisioned. We got a picture of our sweet baby and asked a billion questions. Would we need another MFM doctor? Would we need another amnio? Would we need to speak with the genetics team? There were so many questions. Our doctor suggested we just take things as we went, come back in 2 weeks, and we all agreed that was the best idea. Two weeks later on August 15th, at 8 weeks and 4 days, I decided to go to my appointment alone. Mathew watched Addie and I excitedly went to the doctor. While getting my ultrasound, I noticed something was wrong because there was more pushing around than usual. That’s when I was told that our baby hadn’t made it. That our baby lost its heartbeat maybe 1 or 2 days before the appointment. We would be going through a miscarriage.
We had been told through genetics, in the past, that our chance of miscarriage was higher than most people. In fact, roughly 1 in 4 women will experience this type of loss in their lives. Still, we were given the clear to grow our family because the odds of a baby having the same genetic issues with Addie was pretty unlikely. But when my doctor told me our baby lost its heartbeat I was floored. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I tried not to cry, but to be honest, I was in pure shock. I was told I had several choices with our sweet baby. I could 1) Take some medicine to help me speed my miscarriage up faster. 2) Have a D&C in the clinic. 3) Not do anything and wait for my body to take care of things on it’s own. Although I was told I didn’t need to make my decision right away, I chose option 3. I checked out at the doctor’s office (painfully, as the receptionist asked if I got my “payment plan” for my pregnancy. She hadn’t gotten the memo.) and called Mathew immediately once in the car. I sobbed the entire way home.
We’d only known about our baby for a month and were so heartbroken over our loss. Just a few days before our 8 week appointment we had taken birthday pictures for Addie and had a couple announcement photos taken by our friend Lauren Gilbert at the same time. We planned on announcing to friends and family at Addie’s 2nd birthday party. In fact, we had this whole plan that we’d open one of her birthday gifts and it’d be the pictures we took along with a “big sister” outfit. To know that we wouldn’t be doing that, it was heart wrenching. Mathew and I sobbed for days just out of nowhere. It was especially hard because it was supposed to be a fun week with Mathew’s birthday. Going to dinner that week on his birthday and Medieval Times with him was much needed over that next weekend because we had been devastated all week.
We told close friends and family that we had been expecting a baby and our baby had passed away, but we were still awaiting a miscarriage. Friends and family showed so much love towards us, I’m honestly so humbled by it. Dinners were brought, friends came and shared their stories of loss, texts were sent, and the flowers- there were SO many flowers you would think I opened a flower shop. It was beautiful. Although we hadn’t told many, we knew we had so much love and support by others. We needed it all so badly, and I just still am amazed at all the people we had at our side during that time.
On August 30th, a few days after Addie’s 2nd birthday (which I’m thankful for), I officially miscarried our sweet baby. It was awful and traumatizing, and I did it by myself at home. Mathew watched Addie because I was in no shape to do so, and I was in intense agony for hours. I won’t even get into details, but I will say, the process is just like giving birth, because that’s exactly what you’re doing, except with a smaller baby. I tried to be strong and do it all by myself, but started to feel very faint and dizzy after laboring all day. I finally admitted to myself that I needed to go to the hospital. Thankfully, my in laws were nearby and took me. Triage was wonderful and they got me right in after uncontrollably sobbing that I was miscarrying. Turns out, the stress made my blood pressure so high that it’s no wonder I was so faint. After several tests and some pain meds, I was told that my body did what it needed and there was nothing more to do but rest.
Now, a month later, I’ve rested, we’ve prayed, we’ve cried. We’re still confused about it all. We thought this baby was our redemption baby. After everything that went on with Addie and the struggles we faced within the first year of her life, we truly thought this was our chance to have a child that would be Addie’s best friend, her confidante, her cheerleader. We’d experience what it was like to have a baby come home from the hospital as a newborn, and those sleepless nights that a baby brings. However, the Lord had other plans. It wasn’t time for our sweet baby to meet us. So now, it’s time to wait. We will wait for the Lord to make the perfect rainbow baby to come from heaven to join our family. We have no idea how long that will take, but we have hope that it will happen someday. While thoughts of planning another baby are now pushed aside for a little bit due to fear, we know that the Lord will help us realize when the time to plan to grow our family will be. There are still many days that we cry out of nowhere and are so hurt and confused. Other days, I take great comfort in knowing that our baby is waiting for us in heaven and we will one day see him/her.