First comes the storm, and then the brightest rainbow…
Our best friends found out they were expecting in January 2015. Less than 2 weeks later, we let them know that we had some news of our own. We were due only 3 weeks apart! They hadn’t been trying, but we had. They announced on Facebook at only 6 weeks in. I’ve always had this fear that I couldn’t explain, this fear that I wouldn’t be able to have babies. So I waited. And while I was waiting… I started spotting. No pregnant woman wants to see blood. So I went in for a very early appointment.
Surprisingly, the doctor said everything looked fine! Our little baby was nothing more than a tiny dot at this point, no little limbs had formed yet, but there was a tiny flicker on the screen. The most beautiful flicker I’d ever seen. Then I got to hear that beautiful heartbeat. So I skipped home, happy. The spotting stopped, we told our family, got to our 8 week appointment, got to see our baby growing and hear that beautiful heartbeat again! But I still didn’t want everyone to know until after that 12 week appointment. I told myself that was it, we would FINALLY get to shout our news to the world.
The day of our 12 week appointment came. Our friends had their appointment weeks before ours of course, and couldn’t wait for us to announce our news. It was snowing that day, March 20th, 2015. The first day of spring. Ironically, spring has always been my favorite season. Everything is turning green (when there’s no snow), flowers eventually bloom, and the gloom of winter fades. Everything is coming back to life… But that day, a part of me died. That piece started to die the moment my doctor tried to find our baby’s heartbeat… And it wasn’t there. So she pulled the ultrasound machine into the room… “I’m so sorry honey.” They sent me to the suite below theirs, for an “official” ultrasound. On my way down, I called my boyfriend. He hadn’t been able to come to any appointments thus far due to his job. I called him, and I couldn’t speak. The rest of that day, of that week, is a bit of a blur. The “official” ultrasound showed me what I knew in my heart from the second the doctor couldn’t find the heartbeat with the monitor. Our baby wasn’t moving. That little flicker on the screen was no longer flickering. Our baby died sometime between 9 and 10 weeks. I cried the entire way through it. I finally got to go home. I walked through the door and fell onto my boyfriend’s lap and we cried. And that’s the only time I’ve ever seen him cry.
The following Tuesday, March 24th, we went into the hospital. I had a D&C, and we went home.. without our baby. I consider that day to be my baby’s birthday. That’s the day our baby entered this world, after all. A few weeks later, I finally made that Facebook post about the baby, but not the one I had been looking forward to. I let everyone in our world know that all miscarriages are not the same. I’ve found that most people think that you bleed, you never get to see your baby, and then you’re somehow no longer pregnant. It seems that so many forget that women who lose their children this way, actually have to deliver their babies. Even less people know that you can have a situation called a missed miscarriage, as we did. I carried our sleeping baby for 3 weeks after their heart stopped beating. My body had no idea that our baby had died. I like to think that my body was still trying to protect the baby, that my body wanted to keep the baby.
Which is a cruel irony for me. You see, although we never got an answer as to why our baby died (all testing came back normal), I just feel that it was actually caused by my body. More specifically, my thyroid. I’ve known since I was 19 that I have an underactive thyroid, but at 26, I honestly don’t feel like I was ever told just how serious it can be for a developing baby. My levels were tested a month later and my doctor recommended a higher dose of medicine, because she knew that once she cleared me to try again, there was no doubt that we would.
I was a wreck for the next two months. Mother’s day came, and I was angry. The medical bills started to arrive, reminders that we didn’t get to meet our baby or bring them home, and now we got to spend thousands of dollars paying for a surgery I never wanted to have to get. I wanted nothing to do with our friends who were still expecting a healthy baby in September, especially because all she could do was whine about morning sickness. I would’ve given anything to be throwing up every single day. Which probably sounds strange to those who have never lost a baby. But it was all I wanted. In my mind, all I could think was that this was my worst fear. Our baby was gone, and who knew if I would be able to ever carry a baby to term, or even get pregnant again?
At the end of May 2015, my doctor cleared me medically, but warned me that I should be mentally prepared to try for another baby. But I knew I had to. I was living in a fog, with nothing to look forward to. I needed something. I needed that hope, hope that we could be parents. We were living in a storm, and we needed our rainbow.
I had never tracked my cycles before, or really put a lot of extra effort into timing. But I did a little research, figured out what should work… And sometime near the middle of June, realized that I didn’t feel quite right. So I took a test, just so I could tell myself that I shouldn’t get my hopes up, because it had only been one month. Surely, we couldn’t be…
But we were. The lines were so faint, I couldn’t believe it. So I went out and bought the digital tests. There’s no doubt with the words right there. We were pregnant again. Between that first test and finally getting to go in for my first appointment, I kept taking tests. Making sure the line was getting darker, because that’s all the hope I had that our rainbow baby was still in there. I ended up taking a total of TEN. When you’re struggling with intense anxiety, you do what you have to do. For me, that meant early and extra appointments. Keeping my thyroid in check, because I’ll be darned if this baby was going to heaven too! And I prayed. Constantly. And quite honestly, I prayed selfishly. I knew I was, and I tried not to, but I did. The next few months were filled with appointments, ultrasounds, blood tests, and LOTS of non stress tests, once we found out l have diabetes. But you know what? I really think that was God’s way of letting us check on our rainbow baby 3 times a week. We had some scares, but our rainbow arrived safely after being induced at 39 weeks.
I love this child more than life itself, and I know that he would not exist if his sibling had lived, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss our first born child every single day. I never got to hold you, kiss you, or rock you to sleep, and we don’t even know if you’re a boy or a girl… but oh, how you were loved from the very first second we knew you existed. After you left us, you sent me rainbows. So many rainbows, as your sign that you were hand picking your baby brother for us.
All I have left of our first child is a box with all of our ultrasound pictures and my hospital bracelets. And when I was asked if I wanted those last pictures of the baby, at first I said no. But I’m SO glad I changed my mind.
Always remember, the harder the storm rages, the brighter your rainbow will be.