This is a repost of a story shared several years ago by one of our community members. We are sharing again today on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The Motherhood Collective Grief Support Group meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month and all are welcomed with open arms.
At the Motherhood Collective, we recognize that not all pregnancy stories have happy endings. We're committed to supporting women through their childbearing years and while we understand the pain of labor and empathize with that 2 am feeding, sometimes the grief of motherhood is far greater. Stories about infertility, miscarriage and child loss are stories of motherhood, too. We are thankful for those of you willing to share your personal experiences, especially the painful ones. It's our hope that stories like these will help mothers connect with and support one another. Thank you, Laura, for agreeing to tell your story. --TMC --
On July 2nd, we had an appointment scheduled for a first sonogram for our second baby. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I had to cancel that appointment. On Friday June 29th, our unborn baby went to be with the Lord.This is our story.
June 29th was weathered by the Eastern half of the country as the heatwave gave birth to a giant freak windstorm: the derecho. Ninety mile per hour gusts swept through the narrow passages between our 1920s row house. Our daughter, Joanna was asleep before the storm hit, but woke up when the power went out. Our little family waited through 40 minutes of strong winds and frequent lighting and thunder. The winds died down, the lightning danced over the mountain and the power remained off. I held my sweaty baby and sang show tunes to try and lull her back to sleep. My back and stomach were cramping, but my face kept smiling. After all efforts to sing failed, I made her 4oz of a midnight snack and she was eternally grateful. She conked out a few moments later.
When I earned my freedom, I went to the bathroom in the dark.
There was blood.
I checked again with a flashlight.
More blood. Like a period. But more. “Your will be done. Your will be done..” I chant like a monk. It brings an eerie calm to know that all things work for the good of those who love Him, even if 'things' involve losing a pregnancy at 12 weeks.
Do we go to the hospital? Do we wait it out? Who do we call? How do we even get phone numbers?
We have no internet to google "heavy bleeding during pregnancy". We have no internet to look up phone numbers of local doctors. We have limited light to find paperwork that may have a phone number of the hospital. We have no power to control our outcome.
We called our dear friends, Derek and Michelle, to watch our sleeping babe so we can go to the Emergency Room. The city is in darkness. The hospital is running on auxiliary power and only the vital machines are running. No vending machines, bathroom lights or television to distract from our thoughts.
12:30: We arrive, check-in, and they tell me they’ll get me back to triage as soon as possible.
1:00: Nurse Betty took my vitals and told us, “Usually you’d be back there by now, but tonight is kind of a disaster. The power outage caused a lot of car accidents and we don’t have any beds. Even the beds in the hall are filled. We’ll get you back there as soon as we can, Sweetie.”
2:00: Guy with a tree branch between his toes comes in cussing. Sits near the overweight mother and daughter and adjacent to a homeless gentleman.
2:45: I’m taken in the back to have an ultrasound. The nurse first tries on my stomach but my bladder is too full and I have too much gas to get a clear picture. She also says I have a tilted uterus. Thanks. So I pee and we try a transvaginal ultrasound. She quietly wiggles the wand to get snapshots of all of my important innards. I can tell when she finds the baby. It’s not moving. She goes to the screen where it shows the heartbeat. It’s a straight line; no heartbeat. She says nothing as she goes to the next screen.
4:15: I’m wheeled into a hallway.
4:30: Vitals are taken by another nice nurse who assures us that we will be seen soon.
5:13: Started hating the doctor and his stupid face.
5:15: "Where the hell is his stupid face."
5:35: Doctor comes in, confirming that there is no heartbeat. He said the baby was smaller than 12 weeks, so it likely stopped thriving around 10 or 11 weeks. He gives me drugs, sets up an appointment for another ultrasound and says he wishes us luck in the future. His face isn't nearly as stupid as I presumed.
6:00: The 3rd nice nurse returns with ginger ale and drugs. She genuinely asks "How are you feeling". I love her. She sends us on our way.
We arrive home in the sunlight at around 6:30 after weaving around tree branches once more. Traffic lights are still out, but the birds are chirping and the heat has not yet begun its terrible reign upon our powerless heads. It’s a gorgeous morning. We thank Michelle and Derek profusely for watching Joanna for us in our emergency. I’m still in shock and can’t really accept their “I’m so sorrys”. I’m still in the logical stages of the news; emotions haven't hit yet.Although I was only 12(ish) weeks along, I could feel that he was a boy – I just knew it. We were calling him Buddy because he would be joining us for Christmas.
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[June 30] Jonathan moved Joanna’s pack n play to the living room to watch her from the couch with his eyes closed. She thankfully entertained herself while Jonathan snored.
About 1/5 of Lynchburg is doing fine, with power, AC, water, and only a few leaves scattered across their lawns. When the traffic lights get dark, you can see lawns with debris, broken tree trunks, and smashed cars. Strange winds. We decide that our powerless home isn’t safe for our baby so we pack our things, dump our trash, wrangle the cat, and head north to my parents’ house.
Jonathan’s grandmother called me. She said that God knew our baby wasn't well enough for this world so He took him to Heaven. I started crying and she apologized for making me upset - I was crying at the beautiful image of God taking care of my sweet baby.
We arrived at my childhood home and my mom watched Joanna while Jonathan and I had some quiet time to process. It was the first time we'd been able to just sit in an air-conditioned room with no 'next step' to plan. We sat and talked about what happened. We talked about that it may be God's will that Joanna be a role model and older sister to her sibling instead of an Irish twin. We talked about how we didn't want to push down the sadness but rather use it to remember him. We talked about the nice nurses. We talked about what movies we wanted to see. We just talked. It was so nice to just talk.
I think the hardest thing is that I’m going to miss imagining what he'd be like.
10-25% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage [according to the American Pregnancy Organization], yet few women talk about their experiences. I didn't want to be silent about our loss. If anything I want those 10-25% to know they aren't alone.
We're placed into communities for a reason: to be with each other. We're here to help, hug, humble, and grow with together.
If you’d like to read more or know of someone that would benefit from hearing our story, please share this link: http://www.housebrokenmom.blogspot.com/search/label/miscarriage