It happened again. Almost exactly the same way.
We heard the heartbeat at eight weeks and saw a healthy little baby on the fuzzy gray and white screen during our first ultrasound. We had hope and joy through the pain we still felt from our first loss. And then, once again, our baby was gone.
I cried big, ugly tears when I got that positive pregnancy test in early June. It was the first real glimmer of hope we had that we would have another baby, a baby we hoped and prayed for and another beloved member of our family. When I saw the unmistakable word “pregnant” come back in big, bold letters on the pregnancy test, I cried what must’ve been the thousandth tear for the baby we lost and the journey it took for us to get to this new place where I was certain happiness would unfold from darkness. I cried for the joy and love I felt for our new baby growing inside me.
The weeks I waited for my first prenatal visit were filled with more anxiety than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I worried, I prayed, I Google miscarriage statistics by the day, I believed this time would be different.
As Ryan and I entered the ultrasound room during my eight week appointment I could barely breathe. I was terrified. And then the TV screen turned on and I knew everything was okay. I sobbed hard, my eyes and nose running like a faucet. A baby! A strong heartbeat! Our miracle.
I met with the doctor and explained some of the anxiety and stress I felt during the first few weeks of my pregnancy. I said so much of my fear was tied into the fact that our first loss was a missed miscarriage. I had absolutely no signs that anything was wrong and didn’t know our baby stopped living until I was 12 weeks into my pregnancy and a heartbeat was undetected during my appointment. Every single day, I worried the same thing was going to happen; my body wouldn’t recognize a loss and we’d be blindsided.
When I asked about scheduling a 10-week ultrasound for my own peace of mind my doctor said she thought that was a good idea. I made the appointment and tried not to think about it in the two weeks that followed.
I dropped Chase off at a friend’s house on Thursday morning and Ryan joined me for our 10 week ultrasound. The anxiety I felt at 8 weeks was there, but I felt a little more at ease. What are the chances this would happen to us again? Everything would be okay.
The ultrasound technician came in and I felt the pressure of the internal exam as I tried to read the expression on her face. The TV in front of me didn’t turn on and she remained fixated on the computer in front of her. Silence followed.
This cannot be happening again.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
She told me she couldn’t go over the results from our ultrasound and a nurse practitioner would be in to see me shortly.
Ryan looked at me with sadness in his eyes and held me. I got dressed.
“How is this happening again?” I asked. Anger and frustration bubbled up immediately and I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin or go back in time to the day before when I was unaware of the fact that our baby’s heart was no longer beating.
It took us nearly an hour to meet with the nurse practitioner which almost broke me. At this point we had no answers, no confirmation of a loss and only our prior experience to draw from to assume our baby was no longer living. I was asked to step outside to be weighed and have my vitals taken. I glanced at the paper on the woman’s clipboard as I stepped on the scale and I saw my fears confirmed: Miscarriage.
I walked back into the room and sobbed. Anger, denial and frustration gave way to sadness and I fell apart.
Once we met with the nurse practitioner, she assured me, once again, that there was absolutely nothing I did or could’ve done to cause this to happen or prevent it from happening. She was kind, compassionate and understanding. She asked if I had any questions. I had a couple, mostly centered around multiple losses, but my questions were few and far between. We’ve been here before. I knew my options and requested a D&C.
As I walked into the hospital everything felt too familiar. I hate that I knew exactly where to walk to be admitted for surgery. I hate that I knew the color of the hospital sticky socks I’d pull on my feet and the chill I’d feel in my hand as the IV was administered. I hate that I knew to request extra blankets to snuggle under in my hospital gown because the room was going to be so cold. I hate that I didn’t have questions to ask about the procedure because this time I knew the answers.
Most of all I hated that once again we lost a baby. Another precious life we hoped and prayed for. Another life I couldn’t wait to call my son or daughter and love with every ounce of my heart and soul.
The same doctor who performed my first D&C performed my second D&C early Thursday evening which provided me a bit of comfort. (My blog posts and social media shares for Friday were all pre-written and scheduled Thursday morning before we learned about our loss.) My doctor was professional and incredibly compassionate and talked to me about our second loss and what that meant for my body and our hope for more children.
She said that, for the most part, two miscarriages do not signify the need for additional testing and that most doctors wait until a woman has experienced three losses to look into everything. My doctor looked at my records and said the fact that I have a healthy baby at home is a wonderful sign but Chase was born quite small and his size, coupled with the fact that I had two abnormal issues with my placenta during my first pregnancy, made her want do to a little digging this time. We agreed to have testing done and are awaiting the results to see if our loss was chromosomal (our doctor thinks this is most likely) or perhaps due to something else. I want answers but I’m scared of answers at the same time. But if answers can help us do something to prevent going through this pain again, I want to know everything.
After my D&C, Ryan and I picked Chase up at my friend Carrie’s house and headed home to eat pizza, cry and barely sleep, despite feeling intense exhaustion. I hugged Chase and thanked God for the billionth time for the biggest blessing in my life. Chase is my joy and this experience has only made us more acutely aware of what an intense and incredible blessing our son is in our lives.
Waking up on Friday morning knowing I was no longer pregnant was horrible and I feel like I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster since Thursday morning. I know from our first loss that I’m going to be okay and then I’m not… and then I’ll be okay again and that’s how it will be for a while.
That’s the weird thing about life. Just because you’re going through something hard doesn’t mean everything else stops around you. Sometimes that can be excruciatingly painful but sometimes that’s exactly what you need. Right now I’m craving distraction and routine… reminders that life moves forward and joy awaits. Reminders that grief and joy can coexist. I don’t crave moments alone, in fact I fear them right now because they’re hard, but they let me cry and work through our loss.
Our first miscarriage wasn’t the end of our journey for another baby. Our second miscarriage isn’t the end of our journey for another baby. I dream about years in the future when I hope and pray and believe our house will be filled with children and I can look back on this time in my life with sadness and sorrow but understand it was part of the long, winding road it took to get us where we are going. I just wish the road to get to wherever we’re going didn’t have to be so bumpy.