Tuesday, December 08, 2009

In A Heartbeat

Posted by Anonymous.

"I'm sorry...we can't find a heartbeat."

Those words still bring tears to my eyes. It's been six days and I feel that lump in the throat when I read that sentence. It's the one that you try so hard to swallow down, but it seems like nothing can make it go away. Nothing but hot tears streaming uncontrollably down your cold cheeks.

Talking about it has helped a lot, so I figure the best way to get past all of this is to write about it. So here is my story.

I had a miscarriage.

That was last week. This story begins several years ago. My husband asked me about two years ago if I was ready for kids because he "didn't want to be an old dad." (I'm 27 now and he's 28) But I wasn't ready.

Last year, we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and I told him over a candlelit dinner that I wanted to have children. We'd paid off our credit cards, we both had stable jobs and we owned our own home. I felt like the timing was finally right in my life. He was excited and surprised to say the least.

A few months later I got off of the pill. At first, my periods were a slight disappointment, but there was "always next month." After four months of failure I convinced myself I was pregnant. Turned out it was just a stressful month and my cycle was irregular. I cried the night my period started. I started to lose hope. I couldn't understand why this wasn't happening as quickly as I wanted it to. I wanted this so badly.

We decided to get away from it all and take a long weekend in Vegas. One of my best friends and her husband met us there. I had cramping in the airport on the way there. I figured my period was starting again, so I didn't think much of it. After three days in Vegas, my friend convinced me to take a pregnancy test.

It was positive.

And so was the one after that.

I cried, I shook, I was absolutely in shock. I was so happy, so elated. So scared. I was in utter bliss after that moment. My dream--our dream, had finally come true.

As soon as we got back home I started to feel sick and have severe cramping. I cramped so badly I woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe or even cry. I called the doctor and she suggested I have my blood tested. My hormones were "a little on the low side." So at six weeks, she prescribed some hormones for me to take.

At eight weeks I had my first ultrasound. The ultrasound technician turned off all of the lights in the room. The only thing turned on was the monitor hanging on the wall. The room was consumed with the sound of the pounding of that little heart. "There's your baby" she told me cheerfully. It was so surreal. It was so wonderful. It was terrifying. I really did have this little baby growing inside of me.

I heard the heart beat. I saw the heart beat. It was a little slow and since I've researched everything to death I automatically recognized that there was a problem.

Later the doctor mentioned it to me in passing. She suggested I take another blood test and come back in two weeks to monitor the heart rate. She also mentioned the baby was only measuring 7 1/2 weeks. But she didn't seem alarmed. If anything she seemed optimistic. She was my personal cheerleader.

The next day I got the call I was dreading. My hormone levels were still too low. I found out that at 6 weeks my progesterone was only at 15 and should've been at 20. At 8 weeks, my progesterone was still at 15...that was with my intake of hormone supplements. It should've been at 25...on my own. The nurse told me to increase my hormone supplements some more.

As soon as I hung up the phone I burst into tears. For the first time in this pregnancy, I was really terrified for my baby. I was so scared. I was so utterly helpless.

The following weeks consisted of me trying to be even healthier, going for walks with my dogs, eating more fruits. I did everything I could to make this baby healthy. I took my hormones, my pre-natal vitamins and I avoided anything that I had read anywhere could possibly be harmful.

At 10 weeks I went into my precautionary ultrasound. My heart raced and I felt more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I had a different ultrasound technician, she seemed confused as to why I was there. I explained the low heart rate to her. So she began the ultrasound.

Silence overpowered the room. Then I saw the baby. I was so relieved to see it. The technician asked me a second time how far along I was.

"10 weeks."

"This baby is only 7 1/2 weeks along."

Someone please wake me up.

She left to get the doctor to "get a second opinion." The ultrasound technician who does ultrasounds all day long. The woman who earns her living looking at fetuses and listening to their tiny hearts beat was getting a second opinion...

I laid on the cold table begging myself to keep it together. Begging and willing myself not to cry.

She came back in without a doctor, but had a small teddy bear in her hand. I thought to myself, please tell me they don't give you a teddy bear to console you for the loss of your child. That's when I recognized it as a breast cancer bear.

"Look what someone gave me in the hallway. I had breast cancer five years ago." She went through and told me about her very personal and private fight with cancer.

That's when I was positive my baby was dead.

Why else would a complete stranger tell me these events of her life, other than to offer me hope and perspective. Yes it's a horrible thing, but hey, it's not cancer.

Then my cheerleader came in. She checked the ultrasound again. The picture this time was very clear. The baby had not grown. The baby had no heart beat. My baby was gone.

"Are you alone here today?"

"Yes."

That's when she told me the words that I would've done anything not to hear.

I burst into uncontrollable sobs. I lost all of my self-control. I became a blubbering mess. I was so embarrassed. I was ashamed. I couldn't think straight at all.

They led me to another room to sob in silence for a few minutes. All I wanted to do was leave. I wanted to run out of there crying. I wanted to crawl into my bed and sob until I couldn't breathe anymore. I wanted to erase all of this.

But I sat in that room. I sat in that room and tried to compose myself. I was halfway there, when the doctor came in to discuss my "options."

Wait for it to happen, or make it happen.

I decided for the surgery. I wanted to put this all behind me. I wanted to forget. I wanted to pretend like nothing ever happened.

But it did happen.

The rest of that day I spent telling the people I love and care about the most that I had lost my precious gift. The thing I wanted so badly was gone forever. Each time I told someone it became more real to me. It forced me to accept this undeniable truth. And no matter how much I was consoled about "next time it'll work out" it'll never bring this baby back.

I kept trying to remain logical about it...It wasn't meant to be...It was for the best...Something was wrong with it...It was still early in the pregnancy...It could've been worse...

All of these things help, but not enough. The questions that flew through my mind that weekend were overwhelming. I went from complete sorrow to utter rage. Why did this happen to us? We are good people! What did I do wrong?! Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why do I have to be a statistic? I don't care that it happens to 1 in 4 women. Why me? Why us? WHY?!

Then I began to feel contempt and jealousy for any pregnant woman or woman carrying a baby. She's not taking care of it. She's not a good mother. I could do so much better. This isn't fair. It isn't right. She doesn't deserve that baby.

Yes. I thought those things. I felt those things. I said those things. I spewed hatred for anyone who had what I lost. People who knew nothing of my situation. People blissfully unaware. People who had the most amazing gift of all.

I hated myself for thinking those thoughts. I hated the person I was becoming.

My dad used to say "it takes a significant emotional event to change a person." Those words rang through my ears as I contemplated whether or not I was to change. And what would I change into? A hateful, barren woman who avoided children at all costs? That's not who I want to be. I love kids and I always have. I've felt nothing but joy for parents-to-be.

My family and friends have tried their best to offer their help. Everyone has different ways of helping and all of them in their own way have helped me immensely whether they realize it or not.

My husband has been nothing but supportive these past few days. My personal comedian and entertainer. He's done everything he could to lift my spirits and help me get past this. I worry about him. He doesn't really talk about it, but I know he's trying to get through this just as I am. I don't know if I could've made it through this without him. He's been my rock. Even as I relapsed this past weekend into sobs of anger and sorrow he was there for me. Consoling me every step of the way. I've always known it, but this experience has shown me that we truly can get through anything together. We are an inseparable team.

I had my D&C a few days later. The medical term sounds so much nicer than what it really is. So much nice than "removing my dead baby from my womb." My D&C. I was scared and I was nervous. Without going into too much detail, I was put under full anesthesia and felt nothing but some cramps afterward. When I woke up my first thought was "it's done" and a tear filled my eye. But I quickly remembered where I was, and pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind. I was released the same day and brought home to rest.

Going back to work was nerve wrecking. I didn't think it would be. But the night before I hardly slept a wink. I was so worried about the stares, the thoughts. The looks of pity. I didn't want that. I just want to put it behind me. It was nothing like I pictured. I was accepted back to work just as I had been before. Nothing was mentioned. Nothing was said. It was just as I had requested and for that I'm unbelievably gracious.

I hope someday my dream will come true. But it doesn't change the fact that this baby is gone. What happens in Vegas, apparently does stay in Vegas. Because I will never hear my baby cry or hold it in my arms.

And I can never bring it back again. Ever. It's gone.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, sweetie...I'm sorry for your loss. I know that people mean well when they say things like "it was meant to be" and "next time it will work out" but those things always made me hurt more. I needed to greive my loss, and feel that people were mindful that my baby was real..and loved.

I vowed to never say those things, ever, to a woman who has lost a baby...no matter how far along the pregnancy was.

My condolences to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It will get better over time. You will never forget that baby, and you are really the only one who knew him or her (maybe your husband too, but even he would have been a step removed). That's why it's so hard for others to comfort you properly. And, I think every woman who miscarries finds that the world is suddenly filled with pregnant ladies and newborns, and we resent every one for having what we were supposed to have. It doesn't last forever.

When you try again, I hope you have quick success and an easy pregnancy.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

"I'm sorry...we can't find a heartbeat."

It has been six and a half years and those words still hurt.

It never goes away, but it does get better.

I don't know if this will help or not, but my twins are five years old now.

Andrea said...

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. It breaks my heart too. I lost my first baby as well. He would have been 33 years old now. I don't know if he was actually a "he" but that's what I've chosen, in my mind & heart. His name is Eric. I long to see him again, if there is such a thing. My pregnancy with Eric was the reason my husband and I got married... and I lost Eric one week after the wedding. I had already been having problems before that. After Eric, my husband decided he didn't want anymore children. I didn't get pregnant for 6 years after that. When I told him of that pregnancy, he went into the bedroom & slammed the door shut... and refused to talk about babies or even watch pregnant women on t.v. for the next 8 months. It was a living hell. Now he's fine (that next pregnancy turned out to be a little girl who's 27 years old now) & a great daddy to all our children. But I was distraught for a long time until he "proved himself".

For all women on birth control pills, read Suzanne Somers' book "Ageless". She talks about what the pill does to our bodies... and it's not good. If you want to be mad at anybody, be mad at the pharmaceutical companies who make birth control pills. They caused your heartache. Turn your rage towards them, after you educate yourself why by reading the book.

Please take good care~ Andrea

Christine Gram said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Please give yourself time though. I work in the field of childbirth education and I see the very vast majority of couples achieve successful pregnancies only after two years being off the pill. Please be patient with your body as it relearns how to control it's own hormone levels.

Caro said...

I'm sorry for your loss. As everyone says it does get better but you should take the time you need to grieve.

Anonymous said...

One of my good friends just recently went through this only she had a stillborn. She told me soon afterward that it would have been less painful for her to have known the baby was gone and to have never seen him at all. I can't even imagine the grief of loosing a child, but you're so lucky to have a supportive husband and a wonderful network of people who care about you.

Maybe they are right in saying that more could have been wrong, but there is also the thought that God has other plans for you and the baby you never got to meet.

I hope that you haven't given up hope to have another.

Jennifer said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost a baby at 8 1/2 weeks (it only measured 5 weeks) and it broke my heart. I have fertility issues, so this was just another nail in the coffin for my reproductive system. It was the hardest thing I've ever gone through and I highly recommend getting a therapist for awhile. It helped me a lot. I hope you conceive again and have a healthy pregnancy. It does happen after miscarriage. *hugs*

Sam said...

I am so sorry for your loss. 5 years later and it still hurts more than I want it to. I send you love and light and peace. My sister heard those words last week (Thursday, December 03/09) and when she is ready I want to share your story with her.
Thank you for having the courage to put your words and thoughts out there for all of us to share.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am sorry for your loss. I had 4 of those, but also have 2 children.

My prayers are with you as you cope.

Issas Crazy World said...

I am so sorry. I lost one at 14 weeks, two and a half years ago and one at five weeks this April. I keep thinking, I should be about to be giving birth right about now. But nope.

It never goes away, the pain, but it does get more manageable over time. huge hugs to you.

Major Bedhead said...

Huge hugs to you and your husband (who sounds like a wonderful man). I heard those same words almost 6 years ago now, when I was 15 weeks along. It is devastating and it still hurts today. Every time I hear of a woman going thru this, I cry. People don't know what to say to you about it either. You get stupid platitudes and bullshit comments and it makes it even more difficult than it should be. You have my sympathies and condolences. Grieve as long as you need to and be gentle with yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm thninking of you and praying for you... I lost my daughter Olivia 8 months ago when I was 6 months pregnant. It was hard and I felt and said everything you did. I would love to reach out to you personally if you needed it... mandylou1016@yahoo.com. One thing I can promise you is that you won't go crazy like you think you might. Let yourself grieve whenever possible and reach out to anyone in any way possible.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

It's been more than three years since I heard those words at what was supposed to be a routine 20-week appointment. I, too, had been alone. I remember the sobbing and hurt still.

You're story made me cry, as do all stories of pregnancy loss.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Lippy said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I found out at 13 weeks I was having twins. What a surprise, then told one baby didn't have a heartbeat. I actually had someone tell me it was better that way because "twins would be too hard". I still grieve everyday for that baby. I will be thinkig good thoughts for you and everyone else who has gone through the pain.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. Just remember, it will get easier, even though it never goes away. I remember every vivid detail of the day I miscarried 2 years ago. And whether or not you have children in the future, you need to grieve this one and take the time to love your husband. It's hard to share in a traumatizing experience, but hopefully it will make you even stronger. I'm glad to hear he's been your rock, my husband was too and it was my saving grace. Please know you are not alone and that ALL of the feelings and mixed emotions you are feeling are absolutely normal.

And like the others said, the world will seem like every woman is pregnant around you. And sometimes people can be incredibly insensitive, but it's often because they just don't know what to say. It's all you can do not to scream at them, but try to tune it all out. Most people mean well, but say the wrong thing.

Hang in there! Sending hugs your way.

Anonymous said...

I've lost 2 babies in miscarriage, and what has often comforted me most was what my grandmother (who I never met, she died long before I was born, but had lost 4 herself, 2 miscarriages and 2 still-births) told my Auntie when she lost a baby, "grieve for your lost wee one, cry for what you've lost, but then turn your face back to the world and hope for another kick at the can."

I'd had 2 perfectly normal pregnancies before I lost those 2 and have had 2 perfectly normal ones since, so, don't lose hope. (My daughter's name is Hope, she was my third birth, and my 5th pregnancy.)

I'm holding you in my heart.

jessica said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, and am right there with you. It always hurts. I have lost three pregnancies, the last just recently (the day before thanksgiving). I also have a sixteen month old daughter, so am doing my best to be strong for her. it's incredibly difficult, and people's ignorant comments can be horrifying. but you will make it thru. you are not alone.

Rina said...

Oh darling I'm sorry :( I lost twins at 7 weeks two years ago. My daughter was born on the same day EXACTLY one year later. And I still grieve for my first babies. They are still mine, and it is okay to grieve over them. Nothing heals the pain, and that's alright.

I have become a more sensitive person for this experience. I can help others, I can empathize, I can live more fully and appreciate what I have.

I don't know what faith you subscribe to, if any, but let me share some ancient Jewish wisdom with you. The sages say that every soul you carry within you was given to you for a purpose - that that soul needed to be in this world for a short period of time, and you nurtured it, and you get the credit for that. And in heaven, when we're reunited with all of our family, your unborn babies will be there, counted among your children. This gives me hope. I will see my little darlings.

I wish you strength and happiness and many lovely children. But you do NOT ever have to get over this sadness. Allow yourself to grieve, and take whatever you can from the experience. {{{HUGS}}} to our sisters everywhere who are bonded by this particular sorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I've had two miscarriages; one was earlier this year. I felt all of the feelings that you describe. I am now approaching the time when I would have given birth, and am experiencing again some of the emotions that I thought I'd already moved past. We are trying to conceive again and I'm trying to focus on that, but I still can't help but think of what could have been.

Please continue to lean on your family and friends, and if necessary, get additional professional help if you need to. You are not alone.

Our Sentiments said...

I too have had two miscarriages. It's really hard, especially because two other family members where pregnant at the same time.

All I can suggest is to talk about it, if and when you can. Cry about the baby, get angry at your loss. You need to grieve just like you would at someone's passing. After all, it is someone's passing.

I don't hurt after 8 years from the first baby loss. I feel empty. There will always be 2 spots missing from my dinner table.

I just wanted to let you know that October 15th is Infant and Pregnancy day. Where you light a candle in support of those who experienced this loss and for those angle babies in the waiting. I participate every year and it helps. It gives me a voice even though it's an action. I have been a Mother for 8 years, even though my daughter is only two.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, October 15th is the day I found out about my miscarriage. I want to thank everyone for their comments and support. It helps a lot to read so many other women understand how I feel and what I went through.

Anonymous said...

I have also been there. What I have found is that when you open your heart about it, you realize that it happens so much more than you think.

Years later, I still think about THAT baby, and what might have been, but then, I realize what would not be..and then it makes sense.

It doesn't hurt less, but the reasons become clearer. I hope you can look back someday and know this to be true.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for what you have been through. I could've written this piece myself, only my loss was at 37 weeks. Nonetheless, the loss of a baby is the worst thing imaginable and nobody can get through it unscathed.
Your feelings of anger, jealousy and hatred are normal. It wouldn't be normal if you didn't feel that way.
I wish you lots of luck in the future, I hope all of your dreams come true.