Seasons Change – absolute delight, terror and hope

We closed on our house June 21.  It’s been a whirlwind of activity in unpacking and planting our large garden.  We also ventured into a new season for our family.

We also decided it was time to no longer prevent pregnancies…. bring on the babies!  While I’d like this story to go a different way, the result is that we are no longer expecting.  I share all this now to say, many many friends have come to me sharing that they, too, have had similar situations and never shared about this season with me before. This story may be more common than most would expect.

On July 27, our anniversary, I took the first at-home test and was elated to tell Matt the news. I scheduled a confirmation test with the doctor for Wednesday of that week.  The nurse said we are positive.  I waited a whole 12 hours then to tell my sister, and 2 days to tell our parents.  Mostly we wanted to ensure that we had all our parents in town, rather than traveling or his mom planning to visit from Wyoming at another time.  Our first sonogram was scheduled for about a week and a half out.

Matt took off for the day to attend the sonogram with me.  I am relieved he was able to, as I wouldn’t have been able to drive after all that news.  The doctor was concerned at not seeing a heartbeat via the internal ultrasound.  By now the baby would’ve been 8 weeks along and should have a heartbeat.  She put in a few more tests for me to take immediately.  We went to another practice within the same facility with a much higher ultrasound machine for a test stat.  After considerable probing of every possible crevice, the results were inconclusive.  We also went to the hospital for a round of blood work.  After all this, we landed back in the OBGYN office to get the results of all these tests.  At that time we were scheduled to return 5 days later for yet another ultrasound, hoping and praying during those days that we’d get a heartbeat to appear.

Those days were some of the longest.  Waiting, praying, hoping, and yet all still having a subtle knowing.  I wasn’t feeling the symptoms of pregnancy much anymore, such as the urge to just graze on snacks and never a full meal or to get hours of power napping in daily.

Friday finally came, and we were hopeful still for good news.  More poking around internally and no heartbeat.  Our doctor shared the options.  We could have a D&C (a surgical removal of the baby), take a prescription, or wait it out.  We chose to wait it out.  With an appointment on the books for 2 weeks from the visit, we headed home and allowed the grieving to begin.

Every move that I made, each trip to the bathroom, and every time I woke up I was mentally checking to see if the baby had begun to pass.  All the hopes of this new life coming into ours gave way to knowing that the life I thought I was carrying was no life at all.  I had a baby that was shrinking.  There was no signs of growth, and no real explanation why this could be.  God didn’t really offer any solutions or healing, but a sense of comfort was always present.

We attending Sunday morning at World Harvest Outreach, and heard prophetic words for the whole congregation that children are coming and new life was transpiring.  It brought me to hysterical tears as I realized that I am waiting on what should be new life to just pass away.

We waited.  And waited… and waited.

During the waiting, I am thankful that I had one of my best friends there to listen and help me process.  She’s been through quite a few losses before adopting a few and surprisingly concluding her family with a daughter that she carried to term and is perfectly healthy. We shared the devastating news with family as it unfolded, and with friends as we could bring ourselves to.  Matt was grieving in his own way but was incredibly supportive.  I didn’t have to lift a finger or feel any sense of expectation on me for a few days.

I avoided being in public places much partially to avoid the well meaning questions like “how are you today?”  What do I even say to that…. “I’m a total emotional wreck that is waiting to pass my non-living baby out and praying that I don’t need medical intervention that is technically labeled as abortion on my paperwork?  How about you?”  I also had to basically stay near a restroom stocked with supplies because the entire contents of my uterus could start slowly to pass or be a sudden rush that is much like a mini-labor.  I felt as though I were on house arrest with a corpse for company.

I also couldn’t focus on work or bring myself to share this news with people that really just wondered what happened to me.  I am in the process now of sharing why I fell of the radar and how I can make it up to them for the things I committed to doing.

After our two weeks of waiting, we saw the doctor yet again for one last ultrasound.  Still no signs of life in there, but the baby didn’t want to go. I was offered the pictures for the sonogram but couldn’t bring myself to keep them.  We left with a prescription to fill on Tuesday after Labor Day if things didn’t change before then.

I look forward to meeting this child and asking God if since there was no heartbeat, if the soul of that child will get another chance to come to us or if we only get to meet after this life has passed.

Finally, after no results, I went to the pharmacy for a prescription that induces labor.  I took care of all my errands early that day, grabbed a quick lunch, and stuffed 4 pills into my cheeks like a chipmunk.  I then camped out in the bathroom and endured the worst several hours of my life.  Mini-labor plus many symptoms associated with the flu left me feeling just gruesome for the night. Knowing exactly that I was passing the baby and having to maneuver that was horrid.  Do I take this for a special burial or relegate the baby to being flushed like a fish? How do I speed up this one moment that time stood still and forget as much of that as I possibly can? I eagerly looked forward to falling asleep to just not have to think about it all.  Sadly, the night was full of alarm clocks to keep clean.  I rested for a few days after all that.

By that Friday I was back at the doctor’s office for a checkout appointment.  One more time for the magic wand to be jabbed inside to confirm that the baby’s place was vacant.  It was, and I was slightly relieved.  Though mostly over the grieving by this point, I was far from over wanting our baby to arrive near the end of March as planned.

My parents then offered us a much needed getaway to the beach.  We headed out for 4 days of vacation in Stone Harbor, NJ.  We slept deeper and laughed more in those few days than the previous 6 weeks had allowed. The grieving was done, and I still am a hormonal roller coaster with a few traces left of emptying the womb. Tomorrow I dive back in to work by reaching out to those that I left hanging and find some appropriate way to move forward.

The insurance company claims to have sent some form that we never got and therefore never returned.  Without that form, they have no record of me having other insurance so they sent us the bill in full.  We don’t happen to have an extra $2,000 around for all that, so let’s hope that we can get through to them that they are our only insurance and should cover most of that.

We’ve got 1 month/cycle to let my system reset before we’re clear to try again.  In the meantime, I’m working a lot and aiming to shed a few pregnancy pounds.  We are learning how to just be at peace and enjoy time together.

Having gone through all this – what is the right way to handle any of this?  Why is it we wait until the first trimester passes to share the news? Why don’t we know how very common miscarriages are until we’ve had one and everyone shares their experiences?  And – when we become pregnant again…. will I wait to share the news or tell the world immediately?

11 responses to “Seasons Change – absolute delight, terror and hope”

  1. Oh Courtney! I’m so sorry! JD and I also experienced this and I can sit here and tell you I know exactly how you feel, but each person deals with this tragedy differently. There will always be questions and there will always be worry…stay strong in faith and put all your trust in God.

  2. Such heartbreak …..I , too am sorry . I wish for you more days of peace and comfort from those of us that support you…..take it easy and know you are loved.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of you and Matt’s loss. Sharing your story must have been difficult, I hope by sharing it, it will help with your healing process knowing that we are all keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. I’m so glad you had the chance to go to the beach, the beach is a wonderful place to reflect and heal. Wishing you the best, and thank you for sharing. God Bless.

  4. Courtney, I’m so sorry you have this story to tell. I can’t imagine your heartbreak, but I hope God blesses you with the gift of life when the time is right. Focus on resting and healing. Hugs and prayers.

  5. Courtney,

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I know it is a heartbreaking experience having been through this myself in October 1999 when my wife and I lost our son at 39 weeks. If there is anything you need or your husband would like to talk, I’m here and so is my wife. We have a foundation to help parents of stillbirth called the Angel Teddy Bear Foundation.

    Again, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband.


  6. Dear Courtney, I grieve with you for this baby and I applaud your beautiful willingness to be broken before us. It will be so healing for many. Thank you.