“I’m sorry to tell you, you’ve lost your baby.”
These are the words that you NEVER want to hear.
I don’t even know if those were the exact words the nurse shared over the phone, but those are the words that keep repeating in my head. I also remember her saying “your baby had no heartbeat, I'm so sorry.”
This is difficult to share; it's very personal. I decided to share this as I’ve been known to struggle in silence and I can’t do that anymore, especially not with this. (I originally shared on my personal facebook page - but much shorter.)
Knowing that miscarriage is sadly common (one in four pregnancies) is terrible, but I can’t hold onto it as if it’s a shameful experience. I can’t let it define me, nor does it define any other woman who has gone through it.
The past couple of weeks have been some of the hardest and most emotional weeks of my life.
We found out we lost our little baby on Thursday, June 7.
We are devastated, hurt, sad, heart broken, angry and emotional.
I still don’t understand.
Jordan and I found out we were pregnant while in Japan shortly after deciding to start our own little family. We were so in love with this growing baby, excited, a little scared, and happy... so love-filled and happy. We were elated to find out we were pregnant with our first baby while in a place that's super special to us.
One afternoon before heading back to the USA, we went shopping in our favorite little Japanese town, Kamakura, for memorable Japanese baby items. We were so giddy for our little babe to have them when he or she came into this world. We bought a handmade baby outfit, baby bonnet, wooden train, musical wooden car, baby face cloths and a stuffed Japanese toy, Totoro.
We noted down all of our experiences with baby in womb while in Japan (and hiking/backpacking adventures once home in Washington state) in a little green journal. Every single thing we did, I wrote down. It brought us so much joy knowing that we would soon be growing our family and that our little babe was joining us on so many little adventures, even though still inside of mommy.
Our first ultrasound was on May 30, 2018, a couple of days after my 38th birthday. On that day, we were both nervous and excited. This was my (our) first ultrasound ever and Jordan was right by my side. We had no idea what to expect, but we were excited to see our tiny little baby and hear that everything was normal and he/she was healthy.
The Ultrasound Technician didn’t say much, but mentioned we might have to come back as it might be too early; the baby was too small to see. There wasn't a doctor present to read the ultrasound. Being our first ultrasound ever, we had no idea we wouldn’t receive any news right away. We were hoping to at least get a picture; we received nothing.
Once we returned home, I was worried, yet hopeful. I was expecting to leave this appointment with more information so that I could feel confident everything was okay with the baby and know my body was doing a good job at growing and protecting our little babe.
This was our first ultrasound ever and it was such a disheartening experience.
Feeling worried, I called the Triage Nurse to leave a message. The next morning, she called and shared the ultrasound results with me. They saw the baby (good news), it was measuring small, so the dates could be off (which we thought were off anyway since I have a longer cycle) and the baby’s heartbeat was lower than expected (sad news). They wanted to schedule another ultrasound in a week to see baby’s growth progress and check on its heart beat.
My heart sunk. I was relieved to hear they saw the baby and it had a heart beat, but saddened to hear that baby's heartbeat was low. Without them giving me any information on what was going on, it left me wondering and going on my own little internet research adventure. My mind was filled with hundreds of questions. I laid on the couch, numb, yet emotion filled, googling everything I could from my phone.
Why was our baby’s heart rate slow?
Was it because the dates were off?
Was it because the baby isn’t healthy?
What did I do?
What can I do to help its heart?
Will our baby be okay?
Is our baby healthy?
I’m healthy, why isn’t our baby healthy?
We went in for a second ultrasound a week later. The morning of the ultrasound, Wednesday, I was fine, until immediately I wasn’t.
My precious pup, Lita, had been feeling a little sick and came to me during my workout looking concerned. A couple of minutes later she puked all over the basement floor. She quickly ran up the stairs to the outside door and we went outside. My poor girl then puked three more times in the yard.
Comforting her and seeing her sick sent me into immediate tears. Hormonal or not, I love that pup with all of my heart. I made sure she was okay, then jumped in the shower; I had to leave for our second ultrasound in thirty minutes (the man was coming home from work to go with me). After I got out of the shower and while making breakfast, I was putting a glass jar of tomato sauce into the freezer and the jar slipped out of my hands. It immediately crashed to the floor, glass shattering and bright red tomato sauce flew everywhere covering the kitchen floor. Ugh.
Was this a sign? Could things get any worse? I cleaned it up, shaking, while making sure Lita stayed away for fear she would get glass in her precious little feet.
Jordan came home from work and I immediately broke into tears and buried my head into his chest. Uncontrollably sobbing, elephant tears falling down my face, my chest shaking, I was frozen. As we started to walk out the door heading to our appointment, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and sobbed most of the drive to the ultrasound appointment.
Since our first ultrasound appointment was quite unsettling, I already felt a bit uncertain and nervous about this forthcoming experience. I laid on the table, I felt like I was shaking uncontrollably, but not noticeably. I was completely nervous. I apologized to the Ultrasound Technician.
Why was she so quiet? What was going on?
I wanted to ask so many questions, but I knew that she couldn't answer most of them. I laid there in silence. I felt like time had stopped.
Jordan was watching the screen very closely, asking questions, as many as he could, and trying to reassure me that everything was okay. He looked over at me and told me he could see the baby, with a huge grin on his face. Shaking, I started crying again, trying to hold in the tears. I needed confirmation that they baby was okay. I needed to know now. How was our little one's heartbeat?
Nothing. Our Ultrasound Technician barely said anything. (FYI, they’re legally not able to say anything. We learned this later.) When she was complete, she gave us a picture and quickly exited. No news, no sign as to if the heartbeat was okay. (Again, these were our first and second ultrasound experiences - we know a little more now.)
This second ultrasound left us even more worried. We had a picture, that means baby's okay, right? I felt even worse. I just wanted an answer. ONE answer, something to hold onto. HOPE. I wanted to know that our baby was okay, that he/she was healthy and had a strong heartbeat.
To calm the worry, the man took me out to our favorite little Thai restaurant for lunch. He had hope and was excited - thrilled that we received a picture. We looked at the picture of our baby. I was still extremely worried and while I had hope, something wasn’t right, I just knew it. I honestly hoped I was being overly dramatic and hormonal. I didn't want to crush his excitement with my worry (but I probably did).
My boobs still hurt and I hadn't had any symptoms of miscarriage, so that was a plus, right?
Upon returning home, I immediately called the Triage Nurse. I sat on the couch waiting for a phone call back all afternoon. I cried, sobbed, “researched” online, and tried to nap. I didn’t want to miss the call back. I couldn’t do anything. Not. a. Single. Thing. I thought about going for a hike with Lita, but thought I would miss the call if in the middle of the forest.
After 5:00 pm on Wednesday evening, I still hadn't heard anything.
On Thursday morning, I decided to go and visit my sister in Portland, Oregon. She was in town (from Minnesota) for work. The man thought a little time away from the house and seeing my little sister would be good for me. I packed my bags and got ready to leave the house. I desperately wanted to try to call the nurse again, but decided to leave it be. No news was good news, right? I hoped I was overreacting to all of this.
As I was getting ready to leave the house and drive to Oregon, the phone rang. I knew it was the Triage Nurse (it’s saved in my phone), I immediately picked up while trying to take a deep breath, my stomach turning, hands trembling. I was scrambling for a pen and my notebook to write down what she said so I could share it with Jordan.
The tone in her voice gave it away. My heart sank even deeper. I could tell by that something was wrong, terribly wrong. She was returning my call over 24 hours later, so the news probably wasn’t good.
“Sweetie, I’m sorry to tell you this, but the baby didn’t have a heartbeat. I’m so sorry.”
NO ONE ever imagines receiving this news.
Like I shared earlier, I don’t remember the exact words, but I knew we lost the baby and I knew it didn’t have a heartbeat. I was fighting the tears, thinking it wasn’t real. Maybe it was just a bad nightmare.
This can’t happen, we’re so excited and READY to be parents. She told me that the doctor had time to speak to us early the next morning, I confirmed we would be there. I couldn’t say much. I didn’t understand.
I hung up the phone. Tears streaming down my face, heart sunken, very much in disbelief.
I called Jordan at work. Balling, sobbing intensely, trying to catch my breath. What do I say? He picked up, I could barely get out the words “Can you come home now? ...we lost our baby…”.
“Yes, I’m on my way…” he said quickly and quietly.
I collapsed on the coach and sobbed as Lita pup crawled on top of me licking the tears off of my face, while providing me all her love, as we waited for papa to come home. Jordan was home five minutes later. We held each other, cried and sat in disbelief of the news we had just received. A lot was unspoken.
I was crushed. We were crushed and heart broken.
We still are.
It’s still raw and doesn’t feel real. It’s almost like a terrible nightmare. I want to go to sleep and wake up and hope that it’s not true. While I’ve been trying to keep my mind off of things, it’s extremely difficult. I often find myself sitting on the couch crying, sleeping or going online to "research" (when I probably shouldn’t).
I had ZERO symptoms of miscarriage, which for me, makes it even more difficult to seem real. For those of you that have (thankfully) never been through this, this is called a missed miscarriage. It’s a term I never wanted to learn about or hear in regards to our baby.
One thing I’ve learned in all of this is that I have the most amazing man ever. (I knew that before, but this solidifies it even more.) He’s been my rock (so has Lita pup) and our families have been super supportive and love filled.
I know I can’t do this alone and at times I feel super ALONE. The shame, guilt, wondering and waiting have dug me into a deep hole. I know it’s not my fault, but at times I struggle to believe that, but, like I said, it’s pretty raw and real right now and we are in the middle, the dark part, of the journey.
I’m not going to let this journey define me.
I’ve learned in life we can either GO through challenges
or GROW through them.
While right now I definitely feel I’m in the GO mode… I know it has to make me stronger and Jordan and I stronger as a couple.
I don’t have much to say, and chatting on the phone and saying this out loud brings me to tears right away. I find writing about this, even in this dark stage, is pretty cathartic.
I know I’m not alone, I know others have been on this journey.
I know that I have support and love from family and friends.
I know that our baby was loved and is still loved.
I have faith that we will be parents, I truly do, and by writing this, I can go back and read it to remind myself if and when things get dark while I heal physically, emotionally and mentally.
Interestingly, I wrote this blog post about a year ago: To Be a Mom about my desire to be a mom. With a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, I pray that we will be parents - hopefully sooner than later.
There’s always a light and while I haven’t seen it in this situation yet, I know it will come.
Have you had a miscarriage?
What are some words of hope that were helpful for you when going through this part of your life journey?
If you're comfortable sharing, please share below or you can reach out to me personally here.
I appreciate your love and support (and all of the love and support we have received by sharing) and while it saddens me to hear of this happening to others, I believe it's important to connect with others on this lonely journey.