This post will undoubtedly take on a life of its own. I have wanted, yet not wanted, to write it. Since November turned into December it has been lingering in my mind.
The unanniversary. The unbirthday. The one year mark of a tragedy within my heart.
In August of 2007, I was embarking on a mission. I was preparing our lives to adopt a Chinese baby girl. I had contacted several adoption agencies and whittled it down to three. I called my first choice and was told almost immediately that they would not take our case. Disappointed, but not shaken, I called our second choice. I was given encouraging news. We decided in April of 2008 we would start the process officially, but I was already getting “all my ducks in a row”. People were praying for us and I was seeking out those who had experienced the adoption miracle themselves. We were rolling.
A few weeks later my husband sat me down to tell me that he was not interested in adopting. I don’t remember the exact way he said it, but I do remember feeling like someone had just jerked a rug out from underneath me. What? What did you just say? You’ve been on board with this for 3+ years and you decide to tell me now that you aren’t interested? Not only that, he told me he was perfectly content with the two children we already have and didn’t want three.
Divorce crossed my mind. I won’t lie. It crossed my mind. I decided we were going to need Christian marriage counseling. I was not accepting this. We agreed on three children before we were married. Why the hell did you marry me then? You know I come from a big family. You know I want four children. You know that I compromised and agreed to three because you only wanted two and were willing to compromise and have three. What the hell just happened here and I’m not taking this lying down Mister Reed. We needed help.
In September we heard news that my ailing Grandmother was getting worse. We made the final decision to fly to Arizona at the end of October to see her one last time. She had never met our kids and we were excited to have the opportunity to introduce them to her. It was a somber trip, but worth every minute that we got to spend with our family.
Shortly after we returned life got back into full swing and we were so busy. Rich was preparing to go on a business trip. I was getting ready for the holidays. The kids were just their normal little selves.
Rich left for his trip. I did my thing with our kids. Then one day while driving in the car with both kids I didn’t feel right. I felt sick to my stomach and strangely aware of every smell around me which was making me even sicker. Uh oh. I was familiar with this feeling, but it had been awhile.
Nervously I pulled into the drug store parking lot feeling like a fool for even thinking this and dashed inside with both kids to buy a pregnancy test. Once done I rushed home to check the calendar.
Really? Really. I was late for my cycle. But since August my cycles had been wacko and way off schedule and twice I thought I was pregnant when I was actually only a week late. Maybe this was the same thing. Afterall, I was busy and stressed out and concerned for my marriage and my grandma and other things.
Rich was due to come home on Saturday. I took the test Friday morning. Brianna was with me. She had come into my room early in the morning and I told her Mommy has to go pee on a stick did she want to come too? She said she did and off we went. I was shaking. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought if it’s negative I’ll just bury it in the trashcan and move on. If it’s positive I’ll be so happy, but Rich will be so ???. What? What would he be? Mad? Upset? Would he think I tricked him? Would he feel the same for this child as he does for the ones we planned? What would happen?
All this ran through my mind as I waited the 3 minutes to check the results.
I was so excited. I hugged Brianna and we went to my bed and cuddled. I started planning what I was going to say to Rich the next day. I joked with God that He must like me better than Rich because He answered my prayers for another baby. I didn’t expect it would be a natural birth, but I was happy He decided it for me. Thank you Lord. Thank you. I didn’t have to fight so much for this baby afterall — it was in Your plan all along.
Rich came home. I waited until the kids were in bed for the night and then I told him the news. He felt badly that I was afraid to tell him. He assured me everything was well with him and he would love this child as much as the other two.
A few days later my grandmother died. That was the middle of November. I was happy we had the chance to tell her the news about our baby on the way before she passed. November was a hard month. I would have bouts of depression over my grandmother’s death. I knew it was better for her to have gone on, but it sure was hard when all of the memories came flooding in. I would sometimes just sit and cry for awhile.
Thanksgiving was fun. We met Rich’s family for breakfast at a nice local restaurant near the ocean. We had a great time and our nieces were so excited about the new baby that they were already asking me what names I liked. I remember telling them “if it’s a boy he’ll be Nathan and if it’s a girl she’ll be Julia”. I had already scheduled an ultrasound and was looking forward to it.
December promised to be busy. I was hosting our family’s Christmas dinner again. I started decorating right after Thanksgiving. Actually, I might have started before Thanksgiving. I can’t remember. I just know I was excited and couldn’t wait to start making the house glow with lights. The kids were enchanted. It was a magical time. Rich and I had burried our hatchet weeks before and life just felt like a fairytale to me. I had everything I wanted. Everything.
I went to my ultrasound and saw the baby’s heartbeat. Despite the brownish spotting I was experiencing, everything looked good I was told. My doctor called later that day to tell me that there was a pocket of fluid behind the yolk sac, but even though I’m not out of the woods yet most of the time these things resolve all by themselves. I saw the heartbeat so I was not concerned. A couple days later the spotting stopped and I felt fine.
December 10th I was up on a ladder putting up Christmas tree branches when I felt a little trickle. Hmmm. I went to the bathroom to check and was surprised to see pink. Not much. But definitely pink, not brown. I called the doctor.
December 11th I went in for another ultrasound. Pink can be something or it can be nothing. Red is the one that causes immediate worry. Just a routine ultrasound and we’ll send you on your way. Don’t worry they tell me. Just a routine ultrasound to see what’s going on with the yolk sac and that pocket behind it.
I was as jolly as I could be as I climbed up onto the table, laid down, and exposed my abdomen. The sonographer started with an external scan. I saw the baby. It looked so much bigger and its tummy was all round and bloated looking. Adorable. Sweet little thing I see you.
Wait. Something isn’t right.
Where is the heartbeat? Where is the fetal movement? Oh no. Oh no no no no.
“Honey, we need to go ahead and do an internal scan. Please go undress in the restroom from the waist down.”
Ok – maybe it’s too soon to do an external scan. Maybe. Hope. Fear. Hope. Cold sweat. Push away negative thoughts. Get on with it.
I was less jolly hopping up on the table this time. I put my feet in the stirrups, scooted my bottom to the edge, and waited for her to insert the probe.
Nothing. No heartbeat. No fetal movement. Cold.
Bless her heart she kept trying. She even pushed on my stomach to try to arouse the baby. I knew it was dead. I had seen my fair share of ultrasounds and I knew it. I wished she would just stop. Just stop. It’s gone. Let me leave.
She excused herself from the room while I got dressed. She told me she needed to talk to the doctor. I knew what she needed to do. I got dressed and sat down in the chair next to the table and just stared at the monitor. It was black now, but moments before that it held the final picture of my unborn child. The motionless, peaceful looking sweet tiny baby who I prayed for.
What is happening? Why?
I prayed for that baby! I prayed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You answered my prayer. Why did you take it from me? WHY???!! I would have taken him or her no matter what — whole, not whole, normal, not normal. Just give it back! Not fair. You are killing me. You are hurting me. Why would You do this? God, where are You now? Where???!!!!
She came back in, told me to drive to the other office and see my doctor, she expressed her sorrow for me, and I walked out of there on numb legs. As I passed through the waiting room I saw a pregnant mom followed by her 3 small children. I smiled at them and gulped the rock mountain that had grown in my throat.
I couldn’t get in my van fast enough. I whipped out my phone, called my husband, and as soon as he said hello I dissolved. I fought back the desire to throw fire at him over the phone. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT YOU DIDN’T WANT THIS BABY ANYWAY ARE YOU HAPPY NOW YOU ASSHOLE. I didn’t say that to him though. I felt it. I didn’t say it. I just cried and heard him tell me he was sorry and that he loved me and what do I want him to do. Call your family and tell them. I am making exactly one more phone call and then I’m not talking about it any more. I’ll see you when I get home from seeing the doctor.
I called my dad. My parents have lost 4 babies via miscarriage. I cried my heart out. He was so tender and loving and he understood like nobody else what I was feeling. He told me he would relay the news to the rest of my family and that he loves me. That day my Dad was my hero. I will never ever ever forget that phone call. Ever. He rescued me in that 5 minute conversation.
I saw the doctor. She told me to be at the hospital the next day so she could perform the D&C. Everything else was a blur. I called my best friend later that night. She has also experienced miscarriage loss. I didn’t have to say a word. She heard me crying when she answered her phone and said “oh my god, Heidi, when?”. She. Just. Knew.
December 12, 2008 was the day of the D&C procedure. That day my unborn, unmoving child was removed from my body. Gone. Empty. Rest in peace.
God please kiss him or her for me. Please tell that baby how much I already loved it. How much I wanted it. Please don’t ever let it forget me until I have the chance to hold it myself on Your side of heaven. Please God. It’s the least You could do.
I lost my grandmother November 13, 2007 and then I lost my baby December 11, 2007. I like to imagine the first person my baby got to see when he or she crossed over was my grandma. I like to imagine she held my baby and told him or her how she’d care for it until I could come myself. It’s probably a fantasy, but it’s how I like to play it out in my mind. It comforts me.
I don’t remember much about last Christmas. I know it was painful. I know I just wanted to get through it. I went ahead with our party plans, but I don’t really remember much about it. I was going through the motions for my children’s sake.
Depression soon followed. Bitterness in my heart towards my husband nagged at me. Anger. Hurt. Frustration. I kept in touch with my doctor. I started to research antidepressants. I was suffering.
I decided to memorialize my baby by getting a tattoo. On February 1, 2008 I did exactly that. You can view “All Things Tattoo” in the blue bar at the top of this page.
Part Two tomorrow.