Friday, December 19, 2008

Making it Through

A week before I found out I was pregnant I had a dream so vivid I thought it was real. I dreamed I was pregnant with a little girl and Brandon was really excited. When I woke up I realized it wasn't real and experienced a sense of loss like I had never felt before. The feeling was so intense that it stuck with me for a few days. Then I found out I was pregnant and the feeling was replaced with surprise and excitement (and yes, even some apprehension.) I shared the dream with my grandmother who said it was prophetic, my mind foretelling the pregnancy. I never imagined it would be true to the extent it was.

After the dream I momentarily thought, "this must be what it feels like to lose a child." Then I inwardly scoffed at myself, "how would you know, you never have." I quickly forgot that I even thought this until I really did lose a child and the feeling was now familiar.

I know there is always a chance of miscarriage, in fact it seems to be a high number. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yet I never let the thought that my pregnancy was doomed enter my mind. I started focusing on the future and planning the upcoming months.

Other than feeling really hungry, really tired, and constantly like I needed to "go", I was feeling good. I was eating right, had been taking prenatal vitamins for over a year, and exercising. I had been to my first information gathering appointment and was set for an ultrasound with the doctor at 8 weeks.

At 6 weeks I was just starting to feel nauseous and started having some headaches . I had experience some light cramping throughout but knew that sometimes happens. The next morning as I was using the bathroom I noticed pink spotting on the toilet paper. I let out a gasp and went to consult the chart my doctor had given me. It said light spotting was common but to call if it got worse (my mother and grandmother had experienced it multiple times and went on to have healthy babies.) I decided to rest and wait to call the doctor. I woke up from a nap that afternoon and the spotting was worse so I called the doctor. They had me go to the lab to draw blood and told me if it got even worse to call the on-call doctor since it was late Friday.

Saturday I woke up and it was worse and I knew then something was wrong. I called the messaging service and the doctor called me back immediately and told me to show up at the treatment room. I realized later what a blessing it was to be associated with the Woman's Hospital because I didn't have to wait in a regular ER. They knew I was coming, had paperwork ready, and put me in a bed and started lab work immediately.

My mother arrived just after I did and she and Brandon alternated keeping me company since only one person was allowed in with me at a time. I passed the time watching TV while waiting for the one ultrasound technician. After a couple of hours I was taken in to have the ultrasound. While there I experienced the worst of it. When I stood up, I felt a huge gush, and I knew then it was over.

While waiting for the doctor I was told the female on-call who was associated with the practice I was with was called away to surgery so the doctor associated with the hospital would see me. My door was open when he arrived at the nurses station and I heard him talking about me. "How far along was she...oh, was she even pregnant?" I immediately thought I would hate this man.

He came in to see me and did an examination and then told me he was very sorry but I did lose the baby. He said my levels were far too low and the gestational sack was much too small for me to be at 6 weeks. The baby had just stopped developing. He was very kind and explained everything thoroughly and my opinion was changed. He even took the time to answer all of our questions. I told him the struggle we had been through and he told us it was promising that we got pregnant without assistance. He also told us we shouldn't wait more than 6 more months to seek help "due to my age." That part cracked me up. I have never, ever been sensitive about my age (and I'm not about to start) but here I am with a doctor treating me like I'm ancient at 30.

I was discharged with having a complete miscarriage and given medication to take every 4 hours on the dot to induce contractions, and pain medication to mask the cramps. I took the first dose with the pain medication and didn't really feel much pain so I decided to forgo the next pain medication when I took my next dose. That was a huge mistake, I woke up in so much pain and remember telling Brandon that when I do have children there is no shame in having a medicated birth because with Endometriosis and Colitis I have experienced enough pain in my life already.

The next day I skipped church but Brandon was scheduled for sound, so he dropped me off at my parents house so I wouldn't be alone. By that time I had been taking Darvocet every 4 hours with the other horrid medication so I was high as a kite. My head was swimming and I couldn't think straight. I bet I was pretty hilarious.

I did really well for a few days because I was surrounded by people, but by Wednesday I was alone again and started feeling low. I was determined to be strong emotionally but try as I might, the familiar dark, swirling depths were closing in. I started to become angry with myself, not for losing the baby, I knew that wasn't anyone's fault, but because I wasn't staying strong.

My birthday passed and I was fortunate that everyone stayed away. I didn't want to spend it with anyone but Brandon. One of my SIL's forgot my birthday and wanted to surprise me on Thanksgiving but was warned off of doing so by Brandon. (Smart guy.) Birthday's aren't a big thing to me, never have been, but to my SIL it is the biggest deal ever and she just couldn't understand why I wouldn't want to celebrate.

I knew Thanksgiving would be difficult because I would be with all kinds of family I don't see often. I already had to endure being told, "Well at least you can look on the bright side of things, it happened at 6 weeks and not 6 months." I don't care if technically it was an embryo, to me it was a baby. I already had the baby's time line in my head and should have been showing everyone the first ultrasound that I would have received the previous week. Instead I felt like a ghost, I floated around from room to room trying to get in on the conversations. But most didn't really know what to say to me and would small talk or just plain ignore me.

I went home that night and raged at myself because I felt I was being such an ass. I felt dead inside and begged for God to just take my life away. Brandon took me in his arms and I cried and pleaded for God to help me. We took turns praying together and I finally mercifully went to sleep.

That was a turning point for me, I finally gave myself permission to grieve, to admit that I didn't have to be strong all the time.

I still think of the time line, I would have been 12 weeks now. And I will probably continue to think about my precious baby at every milestone she should have been at. I know she is in a better place, resting in the arms of her Father in heaven.

Everything happens for a reason, even if we don't fully understand it. We may never know the good that comes from going through such horrible things, but that is what life is about. How would we ever know the good in life if we had no basis for comparison? How would we ever grow and change if we didn't go through trials? How would we ever understand the grace of God if we never rely on Him to bring us through?

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think it helps to get it out. Even though it takes time to want to talk about such pain, having a support group can really help when you need to talk about it. I know it has helped me through my miscarriages. My prayers are with you, and so are my heartfelt sympathies.

  2. Oh Rachel my heart hurts for you. Thank you for sharing this with us.