Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mom to baby, miscarried at 7 weeks, June 21, 2006
Mom to baby, a twin lost at 20 weeks, November 26, 2007
Mom to Abigail Eden, miscarried at 15 weeks 2 days, April 13, 2010
Maple Grove, MN

My story begins with 3 very normal, healthy by the book pregnancies. I remember reading the miscarriage chapter in all the pregnancy books, but I said that wouldn’t be me and if it was I would be just fine.

Fast forward to June 2006. My 3 children were now 9, 7 & 5. I remember vividly one day running something out to the trash and as I came near the trash can I almost threw up. The smell was horrid. After I recovered it hit me, that only happens when I am pregnant. I was. We were excited. I decided to get in to see the dr. right away since I wasn’t sure how far along I was. Maybe 7 weeks is what I thought. I had an ultrasound and they found a sac but no fetal pole…no baby. They took blood to run my hcg hormone tests and after about a week of this it was clear my numbers were not rising like they should and by this point I had begun spotting. We were disappointed but we were okay. I was scheduled for a d & c the next day, my birthday. I went for the procedure and we were talking with the nurse before hand in the room and she asked us to sign some paperwork about what we wanted done if there was any tissue left. That was a moment of real grief; it did not last long, but affirmed that to us that there was a life gone too soon. We moved on fairly quickly.

About a year later, I was pregnant again. We were so thrilled. We decided we were going to keep it hush for awhile. I began spotting at about 7 weeks and was sure it was over. I just took it easy. I probably should have gone to the dr at that point but I waited. It was pretty light but still haunted me. At 8 weeks I needed reassurance. I went to the dr and they did an exam, found no source of the spotting and my uterus actually seemed a bit larger than 8 weeks. To be sure all was well we scheduled an ultrasound for later in the week. At 8 weeks 2 days I went to the ultrasound by myself. The technician first did a tummy ultrasound and as I turned toward the screen I saw it…just as she said, do twins run in your family? Wow! Honestly, I had wondered because I was already popping out. They  were both measuring right on. As time past, I was getting anxious as my level 2 ultra sound was approaching. We had picked 2 girl and 2 boys names. We went for the ultrasound on Monday, November 26, 2007 and first saw our beautiful daughter, growing perfectly. Then the technician went to baby B and she said “I am sorry I do not see a heartbeat, I will have the dr come in.” We cried. We held each other in that cold dark ultra sound room. No explanation…just words like “fetal demise.” I asked about looking to determine gender and they told me that it would be too hard to manipulate a dead baby enough to see. I learned at this point that I would carry my dead baby inside me until it reabsorbed into my body. We were told our living baby girl, who we soon after named Jessica (God Beholds) Eve (life) chance of survival was great (95%). She was watched closely and was born on April 10, 2008 perfect. I have thought about Jessica’s twin everyday since.

January 2010 we learned we were expecting again. It felt so right; we had always wanted a big family. We were fearful from the beginning. 7 weeks passed and no spotting, so I was feeling a little bit relieved. We knew we would be waiting longer to tell anyone. At 10.5 weeks we decided to share the news…still no spotting and I was as sick as ever. Spring was approaching, my belly was popping out and I could no longer hide behind my black vest. Our friends and family shared in our joy. I finally went to the dr at 11 weeks 2 days and had an ultrasound. “Everything is perfect” were the exact words out of the nurse practitioner’s mouth. I was relieved, for even I saw that perfect baby and heartbeat on the screen. The weeks passed and my next appointment was approaching. About 5 days before I had experience some low back pain which I passed off as being just that…it was something I had dealt with before. But I had also begun spotting…I took it easy. This was about the same time I had felt what I thought were some of those first flutters. The spotting stopped and the weekend approached and we celebrated my daughter’s 2nd birthday without incident. April 12th at my moms’ group I asked for prayers for my appointment the next morning. I did not think anything was really wrong but I said until I hear that beautiful sound of my baby’s heart I cannot be sure. The next morning I got the big kids to school and headed over to the dr with my 2 year old. I expected a quick appointment. I was feeling unusually tired but no biggie, I was pregnant after all. I was in with the nurse practitioner and talked a little. I told her about the spotting and we both chalked it up to maybe lifting my 2 yr old too much. I get up on the table and she took out the Doppler. I was patient but it was taking too long. I remember letting out a huge sigh. She put her hand on my arm and said don’t worry we will do and ultrasound right away. I knew though something was wrong. I pushed Jessica in her stroller down the hall to the ultrasound room. Oh, how I wished to be my 2 yr old at that moment having no idea what was happening. The ultrasound began and immediately I saw no heartbeat and my baby had already begun to reabsorb. My baby was dead, again at 15 weeks 2 days. I was numb and trying to tend to Jessica, who at this point became restless. I met with my regular OB and we discussed a d & c and scheduled it for later in the week. I had some pre-op blood work and was sent home to rest. I calmly called my husband and told him from my van in the parking lot. He was in shock and tearful and surprised how calm I was. I was numb. He left work and planned to be out the rest of the week. The big kids came home from school and we sat them down and shared what was going on. They were sad, but they were kids and then they went outside to play. I was beginning to feel a little crampy and knew that things maybe starting on there own. We had dinner and my husband took our 10 year old to baseball. I sat on the deck while my other kids were playing in the yard. My neighbor and very good friend came over, knowing what had happened and offering support. Suddenly something felt strange. I began bleeding heavily. I made it inside and got things under control and went back outside. Five minutes later I felt something again. UGH. I went inside again only I was losing a lot of blood and it was everywhere. I made it into my bathroom with my cell phone thankfully. After about 30 minutes I called my husband to come home…and then I called the on call doctor. I was beginning to get light headed and dizzy, feeling a bit faint. The doctor called back and together we felt it best that I go to the emergency room. So my husband called my neighbor, the one who had been on the deck with me earlier. She took all the kids just like that. We get to the emergency room. After some time it was determined that my water had broke and they gave me pitocin to get things going. I was going to deliver my dead baby. I was still numb though. In fact my husband and I sat and watched tv the entire time. I am ashamed to admit even while I delivered. I had no emotion. The only thing I remember doing was asking to see the baby after I delivered. The dr tilted an emesis basin toward me just enough for me to see flesh. I was very weak and laid back down, never asking anything more, I regret that still. They wheeled the cart with my baby out of the room like it was just a cart full of medical instruments to be cleaned. I went home and remained numb for a few days. Then it hit me as I was trying to fall asleep one about 48 hours later. It would be the first of many nights to come with virtually no sleep and a lot of tears.

We were so surrounded by friends and family during this time. After a couple weeks, I was still not sleeping but felt like it was time to move on. I began functioning better but I could feel the loss with every fiber of my being. I ached physically. My heart hurt like never before. We received word that our baby was a girl and that all the pathology tests came back normal. Over the next week my husband and determined we wanted to name her. I also with strength only God can provide I began calling to see if my daughter’s remains were still at the hospital. Indeed they were and they would not do anything until I told them. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew I had to do something. The next few days I felt this overwhelming urge to hold her. In fact I even tried calling the hospital over the weekend to arrange it but had no luck. I called first thing Monday morning and I told the hospital I felt wronged. That no one asked me if I wanted to hold her or what we wanted done with her remains after testing. They bent over backwards to put me in touch with the right people. The most sweet, gentle Chaplain called me later that morning. He affirmed what I felt I needed to do, sharing that he and his wife had been through it too. He said it could be arranged. My husband was out of town but my Pastor went with me. She was in a jar, which I knew would be the case after that much time. We were in the hospital chapel, I held her while my Pastor read scripture and prayed. Then I had some time alone with her. I talked to her, I sang to her, I sobbed, I prayed and I saw not my baby girl in a jar but my baby in arms of Jesus. I had prayed for that. I will forever hold that picture close to my heart. My husband and I decided her name should be Abigail (Joy of the Father) Eden (paradise).

A little weight had been lifted but I was still not sleeping…going on 6 weeks. I began having panic attacks and I had to make arrangements with a funeral home for her Cremation. On June 1, 2010 I pushed Jessica in her stroller through the doors of a funeral home to make arrangements no parent should have to. The panic continued and through the gentle nudging of those around me I called my OB and she made time to see me the next day. It was then my dr told me what I think I already knew. I was dealing with post partum depression with no baby to show for it. We determined an appropriate course of action with medication and therapy, two things I wanted to never do but I knew this was out of my control and it was keeping me from my life and my family. About a week later we held a private service for Abigail. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. It was such a needed part of this process for me, my husband and even our kids.

I have since learned I have 2 mutations of the MTHFR gene…which is a clotting disorder and the likely cause of at least both 2nd trimester losses. It leaves a lot open for discussion before deciding if we want more children.

I still count the days since she died, the weeks I should be and relive April 13th in my head daily. But it gets better. I know that the Lord has rescued me from the pit. I am approaching Abigail’s due date and just trying to keep going. Abigail, really all my babies…those here on earth and those in Heaven are such a part of me and I won’t ever tuck them away as if they were just a picture in a memory box.

There is so much I would do differently now, but I can’t. I know that despite that the Lord has met me in every detail of this journey through the people in my life and in my room in the dark of night. It has begun to bring healing where I thought there could never be.

Jen blogs at
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Hyacynth said...

Oh, Jen. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it must have been tough to write, but I hope it was healing, too. xxoo, Hyacynth

Erin said...

I cannot imagine going through all that you've gone through and still being able to write this out, to have the bravery to share so that others may know that they are not alone in their pain and grief.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you. We experienced a miscarriage this year and it was such a lonely, painful experience. People and even well intended family members don't understand the loss. Thanks for using your hardship as a ministry to touch other people. I was moved by your words!

kalr3 said...

I'm so amazed that you had the courage to write this so that others might find comfort in your words. You are a truly strong woman and a wonderful mother.

Anonymous said...

Such beautifully written words for such a difficult and painful time. Thank you for helping me understand your journey. You and ALL of your children are always in my prayers.
Love you,

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