Tom and I were married in January. Never would I have imagined I’d have a “middle of a Nebraska winter” wedding. But I did! And it was beautiful.
About four weeks after the wedding, I started to notice some changes in my body. First indicator, I was late. At age 40, I thought hmmm… maybe I am getting ready to go through the change. A few more weeks passed and the tell tell sign of REALLY sore breasts, gave it all away. I took a home pregnancy test and sure enough PREGNANT popped right up on the indicator screen. I was a little nervous and to be honest, sort of shocked! Not that we were doing a lot to prevent a pregnancy, but we certainly weren’t “planning” one.
I pulled Tom into the room and showed him the “pee stick”. He cried and held me and was so very happy. Despite all my warnings, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. (He is the worst at surprises!) The next Sunday in church he snuck up to our Pastor and the next thing I knew the entire congregation was congratulating us. I wasn’t ready for that. According to my dates, we were only about seven weeks in and I just had this sinking feeling that it was too soon to tell everyone.
My husband couldn’t contain his excitement. He came home one afternoon with a stroller, a baby bath, a teddy bear and a dozen roses. So very sweet and romantic. But I just knew something was wrong. The first “sign”, I had absolutely no morning sickness, and no fatigue. I have been through four full term pregnancies and I am always so very sick during the first trimester. Not with this pregnancy. I tried to shove the fear away. As I scheduled my first prenatal visit, I asked my oldest daughter to come with me. She was over the moon excited about all of it and she and Tom excitedly waited as the sonographer started the ultrasound. A gray blob showed up on the screen, I immediately recognized my uterus (I’ve seen this before). And there floating about was an empty yoke sac. I knew immediately that we would not be hearing the heartbeat we had been anticipating. The kind technician did her measuring and asked me again about my dates. She said the yoke sac was measuring four weeks. She sent me in to the room to wait for the doctor.
Tom was very confused and Faith remained hopeful, but I knew. As the doctor explained that this looked like a “missed-miscarriage”, a ton of emotions hit me. The first of which was an overpowering feeling of guilt.
What was I thinking? I am old. I already have four children. Tom and I don’t “deserve” to have a baby. Those were just a few of the guilt statements that ran through my mind.
We returned a week later to recheck my hormone levels and for a follow up ultrasound. Although my levels were not at zero, they were not any higher. I had to make a decision, either to let the pregnancy terminate on it’s own, or to have a D&C. The pressure was so immense. There were so many things going on at that specific time in my life. Faith was leaving for the Netherlands in a week. Tom and I were flying out to Phoenix for my baby sister’s wedding. And I had to be in court the Monday that we were set to return from our trip. The doctor needed to know pretty quickly what I wanted to do. Of course he didn’t make me decide right then. Instead, the sweet nurse brought in a “miscarriage kit”. Now, when I got this home and took the contents out I was immediately ANGRY. I am not sure who I was so mad at, but this “kit” was just so absurd to me. It was what really started my grieving process.
Inside a sterile smelling plastic drawstring bag, I found some sort of toilet friendly measuring cup. This was to be placed in the toilet to “catch” the “products of conception”. Also, there was a sterile cup with a lid (you know the kind you pee in when you get a UA?). This was for you to place the “products of conception” in to save and bring in to the doctor’s office. It could be sent to “some place” by the doctor’s office and then we could attend a memorial service later if we wanted to. I was so angry about the whole process of letting my body eliminate this pregnancy itself, that I called the doctor shortly after, and scheduled a D&C. I just wanted it to be over as soon as possible.
I had the surgery the following Wednesday. Of course all I remember is waking up and being wheeled back into my recovery room, sipping some ice water and holding Tom’s hand. He was there the entire time and he was so strong. He took very good care of me and made sure I rested when I got home. Two days later we were on a plane to Phoenix. I tried my absolute best to be as happy as I could for my sister, to dance with my husband, to visit with family; but, inside something had literally died and I was so sad.
There had been this life inside of me…a tiny life that had barely even begun…and now it was gone. My hormones were all over the place and I just wanted to hurry through the weekend and get back home. I held tears in almost the entire trip. Until…the flight home. Tom and I had somehow not gotten seats next to each other, and no one would move so that we could sit next to each other. To make things absolutely mortifying, my body was so swollen and puffy that I could not buckle my seat belt. I could not hold the tears back any longer. I secretly sobbed. Luckily I had a window seat so no one seemed to notice. The trip just got worse. We landed in Omaha to discover that we had left our one and only car key in Phoenix. It was after midnight and getting a ride home involved some major Uber hunting by my husband. We finally arrived home after 2 AM. The next day we figured out how to get the car out of airport parking and I went to court. (That’s a whole different post.)
After all was said and done, I needed to find a place to grieve. God provided that place and although our time in New Mexico for the summer was not what we thought it would be, what it provided for me, was a place to cry whenever I wanted. A place to say goodbye to this little life that I would never know. It was a place where Tom and I really got to start over. God makes all things new.
As I write this post, I am 12 weeks pregnant with a healthy fetus. I rejoice in that we were able to conceive again and all of those feelings of guilt that I experienced with our little lost one, do not exist. I worked that out at the Creek.
I have so much love for the one I lost, and am very thankful for the closeness that little life brought to Tom and I. Although never fully known, that life will never be forgotten.
~Gem the grieving