Today is December 30, and its now been 10 days since I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks. I just turned 40 (was 39 when we found out in August), and this baby was a miracle for us. We went through a tubal reversal last year (2013) in August, and almost exactly a year later, we found out we were pregnant. This would have been the first child for my husband and I together, and my 3rd. We were beyond excited. I knew that with AMA (advanced maternal age) there were chances of this happening, but I truly thought that once we passed the magical "12 weeks" mark, we were out of the woods. All of our tests came back normal, and we were doing great as far as we knew.
We went for our ultrasound appointment on Dec.19 - the "big" one to find out the gender of the baby...we were so excited to see our little one. But, from the moment we got to the Dr.'s office I felt a sense of dread. They were late getting me in, and once we got started, the tech let me up to use the bathroom - something that never happens during an ultrasound. She left the room while I was gone and didn't come back for a while. When she did, she was very quiet, and took a lot of pictures, but wouldn't answer any questions. She left again, and at that point I knew something was very wrong. She never came back, but the Dr. on call did, and told my husband and I that our baby had died - and that she never developed past 16 weeks, even though I had carried her for 20. I don't think there has been a moment in my life quite like that, but I can say it was absolutely devastating. We had no warning signs - no bleeding, no pain or cramping, nothing to indicate anything was wrong. I don't know if I will ever understand how I could have possibly carried her for a month after she left us.
I was given the choice to have a D&C - in which case we would not get to see the baby at all, or to get induced and deliver her naturally, which would give us the possibility of seeing her. I chose to be induced - I wanted the chance to hold my baby - even if just for a few minutes. We were to return to the hospital that night to begin the excruciating process of labor and delivery. I don't think my husband or I spoke a word on the drive home, and neither of us could think clearly enough to figure out what to do to get ready. The only thing we could manage to do was call our pastor, and close family to let them know. We had planned a gender reveal get together with our families for the following Tuesday. Telling people was harder than anything should ever be, but we managed to get a few calls in before leaving for the hospital.
All I could think about as I walked in was that I was going to have my baby, but I would not get to take the baby home. We didn't even know yet if it was a girl or a boy. Our pastor met us at the hospital door, and prayed for us as we walked in to get the process started. I remember him praying that the labor and delivery would be as quick and pain free as possible, and I truly believe that God was with us through all of it. As we got in the room, we asked that they do one more ultrasound - just to be certain. Even though they were positive, they had the doctor come in and did one more - just for our peace of mind. They were so kind and compassionate - they had read my chart and knew our background and how much we wanted this baby - and they shared our grief. Some of the nurses shared their own stories of miscarriage and loss, some just prayed with us or held our hands and cried.
They started inducing me at 9:30 p.m. that night, and inserted the first 2 pills. As we sat in the room, my husband and I talked about names - we knew whatever we had, we would name our baby. During that time, I physically felt nothing, and at 1:30 the next morning, they inserted a second dose. Thankfully, and only by the grace of God, both my husband and I slept through most of that night. They checked me again around 6 a.m. and decided that I had dilated enough that no more medication was needed, and at 6:52 a.m., I delivered our baby girl, whom we named Emma. To look at her, she was perfectly formed physically with all of her finger and toes, tiny ears and what looked like a tiny smile on her face - and in spite of being only 6 and a half inches and 135 grams, I could see features of her that looked like my husband. Her physical appearance only fed our confusion on why this was happening.
She was here, but I still had work to do delivering the placenta and it was painful. I had chosen not to have pain medication bacause I wanted to know without a doubt when my baby came into this world - without the fog of meds. It took about two hours more, but I was finally able to deliver that as well. At that moment I knew it was over, and that the dreams we had of this beautiful baby had died inside me with her. I felt (and still do at times) hopeless, and could feel myself falling into a very dark place.
Part of me wanted to embrace that - just let myself go there - but the other part God held on to, and he held it tight. As I looked at my physically perfect baby, the haunting "why" questions started. I probably ran 500 scenarios through my head, and I still find it hard to believe that there is nothing I could have done to prevent this, that it wasn't something I did that caused this baby to die. I think these questions that consume my mind will be there until I go home.
We got to spend about 5 hours with Emma before they had the funeral home come pick her up. Even the guy that came from there was in tears with us, and promised to take the greatest care with out baby girl. Letting him take her away was the hardest part I think. I would give just about anything to change this. Today I would have been 21 weeks, and 2 days - I was due May 7.I think my mind will continue to count down the days - even against my will until then. I can only pray that God continues to walk with us through this, and that on that day He carries us.
I'm scared that this was my last chance, that I won't be able to get pregnant again, or that if I do we will face this again, but I can't give up. I have always had a strong faith, and that gives me hope. I can look back at all of this and see God in so many places throughout all of this, and He is here now as I tell our story.
Thank you for reading this, and if you pray, please think of us and our Emma as you do - you can never have enough prayers.