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Last week we lost a baby through miscarriage. This would have been our 4th. Every experience with miscarriage is different. Mine is not nearly as traumatic as some, or most. It was short, it was emotional and yet in the end I feel very blessed to have experienced it.
More than anything this journey through miscarriage has taught me just how very precious life is.
Even though we lost the baby, we added another soul to our family, and nothing can change that.
We lost our baby around 8pm on a Thursday. Just 4 hours before that, at 4pm, my husband and I had the honor of meeting our little one.
I went into the ultrasound that day assuming I had already lost the baby. I had been bleeding all week long and I was prepared for the loss. My husband was stuck in traffic so I went in alone determined that I could handle the news.
But instead I saw a perfect little 9 week baby. An adorable little gummy bear baby. I gasped when I saw that little one inside of me. I begged the ultrasound tech, “I see the baby! Is it alive? Is it alive?” He zoomed in to pick up the heartbeat and after a thoughtful moment replied, “Oh yes, very alive.”
I blinked the tears away eager to soak up every moment of this little one–the one I had doubted was there any more.
When my husband arrived I yelled, “There’s a baby! And a heartbeat!”
“And if you look close,” the ultrasound tech added, “you can see it’s little numby arms and legs flapping. He’s nice and active.”
I let out a cry of joy as the tears continued to roll. My husband was crying too. Together we were glorying in this tiny but complete life dancing on the screen.
My husband held my hand and whispered to me, “I’m all in now!”
Although brief, I had already shed my share of tears over this pregnancy. All 3 of our children are 18 months apart. For the last 5 years I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding or (more often) both. I needed a break, my body needed a break and with my husband’s travel schedule for work it seemed in good sense to take a little break. We wanted more children, of course, just not right right away.
And here I was, 9 weeks pregnant with an 11 month old baby.
I was in deep denial about the pregnancy for weeks. Finally my husband made me promise that I would take a test before he returned from his 2 week trip to Switzerland. I promised, but, determined that I was not pregnant, I waited until the evening before he returned.
Since I knew I wasn’t pregnant (ha!) I thought I would make this mandatory trip to Walgreen’s a little more fun. I’d walk, put the younger 2 in the stroller and my 4 year old son would ride his trike. It was a beautiful evening–what could go wrong?
After a series of unfortunate events I found myself carrying the 30 lbs baby while balancing the heaviest trike ever on the back of the (empty) stroller, trying in vain to negotiate with a 2 year old to keep her clothes on and screaming at my 4 year old to get out of the street before he is hit by a car.
My only thought through it all was , “This is totally nuts. Thank God I’m not pregnant.”
So that evening when I casually took the test and it light up like a Christmas tree I felt like I was the victim of a prank. I quickly took another. Same result.
I sat there in the bathroom and cried.
Then I FaceTimed my husband who was still in Switzerland and gave into hysterically crying.
Then I text messaged my sister and wept.
In a moment it felt like my whole life, my plans, my desires had been taken from me. Would I love and welcome a baby? Yes. Of course. It was just so hard to be reminded of my powerlessness. My smallness as a mother.
Yet, even with all of that denial and self-pity, it’s amazing how quickly you start to rearrange your life. I was already thinking about how I’d have the car seats in the van, and what life would be like in January when the baby arrived. We were re-evaluating our plans for future and I was trying to recall where I had moved the maternity clothes.
We told the kids about the baby and we were genuinely excited. Excited and overwhelmed with our blessings.
And then, just 1 week after finding out I was pregnant and shedding all of those tears, I was in the emergency room coming to terms with the fact that the baby–who we had seen so very alive just hours before–was gone.
I’m not proud of the way I reacted when I found out I was pregnant, but I’m not ashamed. I wish I had embraced that baby with tears of love (and only love) from the first inkling of pregnancy (of which there were many I ignored). Instead of doing this, however, I dwelt on the gravity of a new life–which is no less honest.
Adding a new life to this family (or any family) is a big deal.
And that new life in my womb did change everything. Even though we will never meet that child we are still changed. I saw with my own eyes just how alive and precious that little one was. I heard his heartbeat. I watching him flail and move and dance.
I experienced the miracle and preciousness of that life, no matter how small or how brief.
We named him. We claimed him. I wish we were meeting him in January, but we will just have to wait a little longer.
Life is so precious and I am grateful for the life we lost last week.
PS–if you’ve also suffered a loss like this, I’d love to connect with you. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at nancy . verly @ gmail . com.