This post was supposed to be the big reveal, a huge announcement that baby number two was on the way and due November 29. Truman and his sibling were going to be just 21 months apart. I was supposed to be 10 weeks pregnant today.
But in the place of a happy surprise announcement is pure sadness over the loss of my second pregnancy. It feels like a dream, just like it did in the beginning of this pregnancy, but in the worst way possible. A true nightmare has certainly taken an emotional and physical toll on me.
We didn't plan for this baby; no charting, no counting down days to test. I only had one real period once I stopped breastfeeding. My baby fever was just starting to accumulate under the surface but we figured we'd wait to 'try' until the summer. Instead, God gave us the most precious gift of a positive pregnancy test on March 24. We were surprised, shocked, and incredibly happy. 'How can anyone be this blessed', I often asked myself? 'What's the catch?' We already had one beautiful, healthy, happy baby boy. And now we get the pleasure of doing it all over again? It didn't seem possible, it seemed too good to be true, and the worrying began.
Just like my pregnancy with Truman, I overanalyzed every twinge in my body. I imagined a future ultrasound appointment that included the words 'no heartbeat' and 'miscarriage.' But then by 5 weeks I began to have even more classic symptoms than I did with Truman's pregnancy--more waves of nausea, extreme exhaustion, crazy sense of smell, and even enough bloat to start looking like a pooch. I felt exponentially worse than I did the first time around and that comforted me, eased my worries. I even joked to Nate that maybe we were having twins because I was feeling doubly worse than the first go around.
I started to dream of two little boys being less than two years apart in age, running around together, playing hide-and-seek, and being best of friends and little trouble makers throughout the years. I loved that we'd be able to use our baby boy clothes again and we talked about our favorite boy names, imagining a house full of men with me as their queen bee. Or a little girl this time, looking up to her big brother with admiration and respect, just 21 months younger than him. I dreamed of pink and frills and a mother-daughter relationship that would surely make me weak in the knees. My heartbeat would speed up when I thought of that newborn smell, the cuddles, the breastfeeding, the coos and first smiles. I wanted this baby more than I could ever explain. My heart was ready and I was excited for the challenge of 'two under two'. A newborn at Christmas time. Maternity leave over the holidays. It was going to be so much fun.
I had my first appointment at 8 weeks, just an exam and blood work, with a brand new doctor at a brand new practice because of insurance changes. Everything seemed to be right on track---an 'official' positive pregnancy test, a uterus that felt 'swollen and pregnant.' Before I left they had me schedule my first ultrasound and said it was best to have between 9 and 10 weeks. Of course I opted for the earliest appointment possible, which just so happened to be the day before my thirtieth birthday, right at the nine week mark. I certainly felt pregnant, still with symptoms, although they seemed to be regulating a bit.
The morning before the appointment I started to get nervous. I was pretty quiet and Nate noticed. I told him I was just anxious to get this over with so we could breathe a sigh of relief. We snapped my 9 week belly picture just moments before walking out the door for the appointment. We brought Truman with us so he could be a part of the big moment in our family history.
Walking into the ultrasound room I started to get a pit in my stomach. Something just didn't feel right, but I was sure that it was just me being neurotic and fearful over the unknown. The ultrasound tech commented that Truman was extremely handsome, to which he responded with a flirty grin and some waves. She said that she can always tell a good baby because those are the parents who have another child close in age to the first. I was so proud of Truman for being well-behaved, stealing the show as always. And then it was time to lay back and see our second baby.
As soon as the image filled the screen I knew. I saw the big black hole but there wasn't a precious white blob in the middle, there was no flicker of a heartbeat inside. The tech didn't say anything for what seemed to be an eternity and I didn't have the courage to look at Nate or my son for their feedback. I wanted this to be a dream. I wanted to go home.
'What I'm seeing here is a fetus that measures about 6 weeks, and there is no heartbeat.' I should have been 9 weeks. There should have been a heartbeat even if my dates were wrong and it was only 6 weeks old. I remember her asking something about when I got my positive pregnancy test and I choked back tears as I said, 'right around 4 weeks.' I knew it wasn't possible to have a 6 week fetus. It should have been 9. And it should have had a heartbeat.
As the tech left the room to get the doctor I finally looked at my husband and my baby boy. The look of concern on both of their faces was almost too much to bear. Truman's innocent eyes told me that everything was going to be okay but I couldn't stop thinking about all we'd be missing without this baby. I'm not sure what we talked about in those first few minutes of reality but I know that is when I started crying the saddest tears I have known.
The doctor was incredibly supportive and understanding as she shed tears right with me, telling me that she had a miscarriage before her son was born, too. When she told us that we did nothing wrong, that we did not cause this to happen I broke down in the ugly cry. I was holding Truman by this point and buried my face in his sweet head of baby hair, praying to God that this was a dream. The doctor told me I would probably start to lose the baby in a week or two but if not there would be other options to speed along the process. My baby had been dead inside my body for three weeks now. And my body didn't even know it yet. Why was my body failing me by losing the baby and then pretending to still be pregnant? Why was this happening to us? Why?
The rest of the day was spent in a series of tears, a phone call to my mom, and numerous texts and emails to those who were waiting to hear the good news from the big appointment. I spent a lot of time in the arms of my husband, who told me he loved me and that we would get through this and get our second baby. Just not in November. Just not this time. We were saying goodbye before we even got to say hello.
Everything would make me burst into tears that evening---one of Truman's toys shutting off and saying, 'Bye Bye!' TV commercials featuring brand new babies with wrinkly faces. My beloved Henry, coming up to me as I sat on the floor in a stupor, resting his head on my lap and staring up at me with his puppy dog eyes. He knew his mama was sad and he wanted to make it better. Everyone wanted to make it better and yet nobody could change the fact that our baby's heart wasn't beating.
I went to bed that night knowing that miscarriage is incredibly common. I have become a part of a group of women that knows how devastating this loss feels. And now I have to move through the grieving process just like the rest of this group has done, and I know it's not going to be easy.