Losing Trust, Gaining Angels

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

a pastel pink and blue watercolor background with the words, “forever loved, never forgotten. City mom Collective” in white for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

 

“Be thankful you have two healthy, beautiful children.”  These were the words of consolation I often received.  These were the words that left my questions unanswered.  These were the words that left my heart aching.  These were the words that left my pain feeling dismissed. These were the words that, although intended to comfort me, made me cry even more.  

 

It was December 31, 2020.  We had just wrapped up the holidays with the family and shared the great news – we were expecting!   The excitement of our growing family.  The excitement of our two children experiencing a baby sibling.  The excitement of getting to hold a newborn again.  

 

And then, like a ton of bricks, January 2021 stole my dream and turned it into a nightmare.  The start of the new year brought the start of an emotional journey. 

 

25 days. 10 blood draws. 4 urgent care visits.  2 injections of methotrexate.  1 MVA procedure. 1-2% of pregnancies. Confirmed ectopic pregnancy

 

How could my body betray me like that? My mind desperately searched for answers while my heart remained hurting.  My first two pregnancies were driven by trust. I trusted my body, and I trusted the process.  I never questioned an ache or a pain or read into the words my doctor told me.  I had no fear.  

 

For the next several weeks, I worked on healing — both physically and mentally.  I talked to friends and family.  I accepted help.  I cried.  A lot.  I went through all the motions, yet I never did feel whole again. 

 

A few months passed, and summer rolled in.  I was a few days late on my cycle, casually took a test, and sure enough, it was positive!  I took a deep breath and let out a huge sigh of relief.  All the feelings of excitement came over me like a wave.  Except this time, the wave of excitement had a huge undertone of fear.  Will I be able to trust my body through this process?  Will it betray me again?  

 

I went in for a six-week checkup to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.  Phew!  We were in the clear.  I could see the little peanut in my uterus.  This was happening.

 

Like most, I started thinking of all of the things.  Names. Nursery. Announcement. I felt comforted by the slight pouch I was already rocking — it was my North Star that all was well.

 

We shared the news with our families and asked everyone to stay cautiously optimistic and pray until we were in the clear. 

 

July 7, 2021, we went in for an eight-week ultrasound.  We were both nervous and excited to hear the heartbeat. I undressed and put on the familiar blue gown.  I lay down on the bed while the technician prepared the equipment.  The ultrasound began. 

 

a woman getting an ultrasound to confirm a pregnancy

 

She silently marked notes on her computer without providing any details.  She let us know that the doctor would be in in a couple of minutes.  The room fell silent. The tears began to trickle down my cheeks, dampening my mask.  I just knew. 

 

The knock on the door broke the silence.

 

“Unfortunately, at the stage that you’re at, we would have expected to hear a clear heartbeat today.  The baby is measuring a couple of weeks behind where you should be.  We are unfortunately going to rule this as a miscarriage.” 

 

My body was numb.  My mind started spinning with every thought possible — the physical next steps, the emotional healing journey, my daily mom responsibilities. How will I get through this AGAIN?  

 

For five weeks after, I carried my little peanut, knowing that they weren’t going to make it into my arms, while I waited for my body to manage.  The mental agony of waiting for the pregnancy to pass naturally, the emotional stress of providing for my two wonderfully demanding children, while knowing I, myself, am still broken – why me? 

 

It’s been a few months now, and while I’m still healing, I’m also learning to accept myself on my journey of grief.  I’m learning that through this process, what I need is someone to tell me this sucks and isn’t fair.  I’m learning that grief isn’t linear. Rather, it’s messy and mountainous, filled with peaks and valleys.  I’m learning that some weeks are great, and some weeks, I’ll get triggered and replay the nightmares.  I’m learning to accept myself and regain trust in my body. 

 

So, when someone tells me to be thankful that I have two healthy, beautiful children, I do. I hug them tighter. I recognize what a gift they are.  I live for the joy and love they bring into my world.  And because of that, my heart also aches a little more, knowing the extra love and joy that could have been. And both feelings are okay. 

 

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