It was a sunny Monday morning. I had just dropped my 4 year-old off at preschool. I had approximately 2 hours to get to my OBs office and have her check me and tell me nothing was wrong. As I lay there alone on the cold, hard table in the ultrasound room, I expected nothing to be wrong. I had some spotting, as I had with both of my previous pregnancies. Both times previously, everything was fine. I had overreacted. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant with our third child. I just needed the ultrasound and the confirmation that everything was okay and I could continue on with my full day of errands. I wasn’t scared at all. That’s why my husband wasn’t with me. I was wrong.
The ultrasound tech made idle chit chat, apologizing for the wand of the vaginal ultrasound and any pressure that I might be feeling. Then her face went white. I knew. But it had to be a mistake. She continued on in silence. Then the words came, as if in slow motion from across the world, “I’m so sorry, I can’t find your baby’s heartbeat.”
I was in shock. All I could think was, she must have done something wrong. There is a heartbeat; she just doesn’t know what she is doing. I lay there for a couple more minutes, paralyzed and horrified. Embarrassed and humiliated, I wanted to disappear. I wanted to die. I wanted to be dead with no heartbeat, just like my baby inside me. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t cry.
I was interrupted from my internal psychotic break by the ultrasound tech taking my hand softly and telling me, once again, how very sorry she was for my loss and that she would take me downstairs to see my obstetrician “the back way”. I know it was so I wouldn’t have to walk through the waiting room filled with beautiful round bellies full of life. I knew. But it felt like, I was being taken down the back stairs because I was not worthy.
My body had failed my baby and me. There was malfunction and all I could do was take one step at a time and try not falling to the ground and crying forever. It felt surreal like I was watching this happen to someone else. I was outside of my body as I found myself in the Ob waiting room downstairs, not sure if I should politely smile or cry at the other expecting mothers. I was jealous. I was pissed. I was hurt. I felt like my initial reaction of surprise to this pregnancy had somehow made me unworthy to hold my baby. I could not speak. I saw my doctor. She explained the situation. I could barely hear her through my own thoughts. My head was so congested from holding in my pain. I was afraid to open mouth because all of the emotion would come pouring out and drown us all.
I was physically aching. My legs were shaking, my mind was racing, my head was spinning and I was alone; more alone than I have ever been in my life. I needed to hear my husband’s voice. He had to be told. I was the only one who could make that call. He knew I was at the doctor’s office. We’d been here before. We worried for nothing. It was always fine. Not this time.
I dialed the number through my blurry vision, I heard his jovial voice on the other end, “How’s our baby?” I was silent. “Is everything ok?” his concern was palpable. I started to speak, but it didn’t sound like me. It couldn’t be me speaking those words. I opened my mouth and the words came out like a death sentence, “ We had a M…………” and then I began to sob in an uncontrollable and animalistic way in which I have never experienced before. I could not finish the word. It was choking me. I could not say it out loud because then it would be real and then my baby would be dead. The promise of our baby would be broken. Life would be different. I would be different. It would all be less. I would never get to hold my baby in my arms because my baby was gone.
How do you survive a miscarriage? You don’t. You are changed forever. On the day that you lose a child, you lose part of who you were and become someone new; different. Your destiny is changed. You will never be the same. Eventually, you learn to breathe again, you get up of the floor, you stop crying and you somehow carry on.
I wrote this in August on Scary Mommy but today is the day that I share exactly what happened on the hardest day of my life. Our babies who have gone on to heaven may not be here in our arms but they are always in our hearts. During National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, please remember what we can never forget.