There is a hypocrisy in our society that really annoys me. It’s the “First Trimester Jinx.” Those first twelve weeks of pregnancy when the parents refrain from announcing their pregnancy for fear that they may miscarriage. For me personally, I think this is the dumbest “societal rule” ever. Because my husband and I DID miscarry. And it was awful. But if I had followed that rule, I probably would have handled it a hell of a lot harder when it happened because I would have had no one to turn to. You can’t drop a bomb on people by calling out of the blue and saying, “By the way, I was pregnant but the baby’s gone. What’s new with you?” To not be able to express the joy of finding out you’re expecting nor the deep pain of losing a baby is truly sad.
June 28th, 2010 was a day BJ and I were so looking forward to. That was the day we were to expect our first baby. We were so excited when we learned the news in early October, I wasn’t afraid of telling anyone so I told everyone! Co-workers, family, friends. I even reserved a spot at the best daycare recommended by families in the area. I didn’t know the twelve week rule to wait to tell people just in case the unthinkable happened. No one told me and I’m glad.
I was feeling great and could not wait for our first OB/GYN appointment to see and hear our little peanut. We were scheduled to go in at my twelve week mark on December 14. We wouldn’t make it.
That Thanksgiving, we went to my parents’ house for dinner. We were getting ready to head out and started saying good-bye to everyone. I told my husband I was going to go to the restroom quickly and we would be on our way.
I glanced down and all I saw was blood. I didn’t know what to do so I just sat there. I didn’t cry right away because I think I was in some sort of denial. Women bleed sometimes in the beginning, right? Then I became logical and realized that amount of blood was not normal. I got up slowly, washed up and went to the living room where my family was gathered.
My husband saw me and I shook my head. He took me in his arms and let me cry. I can’t tell you how long we stood there. Finally, he asked what I wanted to do. My older sisters suggested I call my doctor and head to the ER to confirm if the baby was there or not. I held on to the possibility of the baby still being there and wanted to get to the hospital.
I called the doctor on call and he wasn’t shy about telling me it didn’t sound good. He told me to go to the closest ER and have an ultrasound done. The forty-five minute drive went surprisingly fast, I had my thoughts so wrapped up in what we were going to find out and holding onto hope that we would see the flicker of a heartbeat in the sonogram.
We arrived at the ER and thankfully didn’t need to wait long as it seemed to be a slow night. They took us to a room and the MD did his exam and pulled up the sonogram. There was a baby in there, but no heartbeat. I was only measuring at four weeks. The baby was gone and had been gone for the last five weeks and yet I had only just had bleeding that day. Heavy bleeding, mind you. No spotting at all leading up to it. I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Maybe I had calculated my period wrong. Maybe my cycle wasn’t normal and that’s why I wasn’t as far along as I thought. I thought to myself that maybe this doctor made a mistake and my personal OB/GYN would see something different.
We left the ER about an hour later and headed home, another two hours away. My husband called my work to explain what happened and that I wouldn’t be in the next day. I called my parents and told them that more than likely, the baby was gone. I hated that drive home. It was the longest two hours of my life because all my husband and I could do to comfort each other was to hold hands. We couldn’t hold each other the way we wanted to while on the road. Once we got home, he held me in bed and let me cry.
My husband’s always been the strong one and never let on how badly he was hurting. At least not in that moment. He was letting me have my grief and holding his own back so he could keep me up. I’ll never forgive myself for being so selfish in this moment of our marriage. We should have been grieving together and instead I acted as though I was the only one that had lost something. There was finally a moment, about three months later, that he became fed up with my “woe is me” attitude.
I was crying. Again. I couldn’t even tell you what had made me cry that day. I was in the dumps and just wanted to give in to some self-pity. He wasn’t having it.
“I lost a baby!” I screamed at him when he kept trying to get me to do something, anything.
“You’re not the only one that lost a baby!” He screamed back at me. It was like a slap in the face. Oddly, it was a good slap. It woke me up. I realized how selfish I had been to assume he wasn’t hurting just because he didn’t cry over the loss. How selfish of me to think that just because he didn’t physically experience the loss, that it made it any less for him.
Then God intervened. As was a custom of mine after the miscarriage, when in the shower, I cried. I let the water muffle the sounds and the hot water run down my body and just cried. Sometimes it would be silent tears running down my cheeks. Other times it would be loud sobs full of anger. This particular day was angry sobs. I was in my own world when all of a sudden I heard a huge thud on the bathroom door. At first I thought it was our dog but quickly realized the thud was too high to be from our little shih tzu, Duke. I thought, “Oh great. BJ’s home and heard me crying.” I got out of the shower, ready for a lecture on how I need to quit doing this to myself. I opened the door expecting to see him standing there and there was no one. The house was empty. Duke was sleeping in the living room. God. It was God telling me to buck up. That better days are yet to come and there’s no use crying anymore. He was fed up with me as well.
Soon after that, I had a dream that I gave birth to the baby and it was a girl. When the doctor handed her to me, I saw that her legs were purple and wouldn’t move. It was God telling me why I wasn’t able to have her. After that, I let the grief go, knowing that she was in a better place. I couldn’t help her here.
I was finally out of my darkness. I wasn’t awkwardly bringing up my loss after a few too many drinks. I wasn’t purposely avoiding the children’s sections of stores. I was moving on. Good thing, too, because when we got back from a vacation in Mexico that summer, we found out we were pregnant. I did wait longer to tell people this time, but it was hard. I wanted to be excited about it, but knew people would just think, “It’s so early, why tell?” or “You don’t want to go through that again.” That’s what kept my excitement back. What other people would say. So we waited a little longer. That February, we were blessed with Oliver. With our oldest daughter, Brynn, we didn’t hold back as much and with our third, Nora, I was fine with announcing once I found out. If anything, telling sooner saves you from that awkward “I’m drinking but not drinking” moment. Ugh!
Life begins at conception, so pregnancy begins at conception. Don’t let others monitor how you embrace that. If you are worried about your pregnancy when you find out, allow others to pray for you. Yes, it’s hard to go back and tell them the baby is gone but yet again, you have them to pray for you. To be a shoulder. To distract you if needed. To talk about the excitement of having a baby and also the excitement of when you will meet your child in heaven. Experience the life and experience the death. Both are equally beautiful.