I have gone back and forth and debated with myself about whether or not I should share this or not since the moment I learned we were miscarrying. After sharing on facebook, I received so many messages from friends saying they were so glad I shared and that they, too, had been through this before. The saddest part about miscarriages is that they seem so shameful and you never hear about them. So, I decided after hearing from so many that I would go ahead and share my story so others could relate and have somewhere they could come to and say, “this happened to me too.” I guess my wish is that someone out there feels a little less lonely after reading my story.
Obviously, this is deeply personal and although I have shared so many things with you that most would not because I truly have a heart that craves transparency in life, this is a stretch for me. I could write this and skim the surface but if I want someone to feel less lonely that won’t help. So I am going to try and be as transparent and open my heart which is truly terrifying to me because the grief is so tangible still. This won’t be an eloquently written essay, it will be a timeline of sorts and just my story and what happened to me. So bear with me, please.
Over Christmas break I was incredibly nauseous and sore in places that early pregnancy brings on. I honestly did not think I was pregnant but the symptoms continued for a week. Finally, on December 29th I took a pregnancy test. I literally peed on the stick and turned it over to put the cap on and it already had a BRIGHT positive line. I’ve had two other babies and neither pregnancies did that. There was a waiting time. This time, immediate.
Because I am a crazy person and one test was not enough- I mean, WHAT IF IT WAS DEFECTIVE?!- I drove myself and the girls to the nearest Dollar General and bought another test. I would have bought 20 tests but I had to ask the 15 year old boy behind the counter for the test and it was painfully awkward. Basically, I was a big ol’ redneck with my kids and my Dollar General pregnancy test. I had shoes on though so I didn’t totally go white trash.
I took the test as soon as I got home. Immediately positive.
I was hysterical in the best way you can imagine. I was crying and laughing and giggling and panicking and laughing some more. I cannot possibly describe to you the smile on my face. It was a true Christmas miracle. The girls both had been praying for a baby for Christmas. I’ve never once discussed us having another baby with them, but they have asked every day for so long when they can have a baby in the house. When talking about what we wanted for Christmas Ryder said, “I know what Mommy wants! She wants God to give her a baby!” Seriously y’all, never discussed it with them.
I put the two tests in a little Christmas tin and wrapped them up with tissue paper to surprise Andy.
When he got home I told him I had forgotten about a present and let him open it up. He was shocked and giddy. I know y’all don’t believe me but seriously, Andrew was giddy. I got it on video and will treasure it forever.
Andy and I talked and said, “can you believe we are having another baby?!” two million times over the next week. We discussed names and how we would tell Rory and Ryder the news. We downright giggled at the thought of getting to tell the girls.
On Sunday night, Jan 3rd, I went to the bathroom and was spotting. I did freak out because the reality of “oh yeah, people sometimes miscarry” hit me like a brick. But, I bled with both girls so I didn’t panic completely. On Monday morning I went to the doctor. My hCG counts were great. The ultrasound didn’t show much because it was too early but everything looked completely normal for how far along I was. On top of all of that, I stopped bleeding.
I went back Wednesday for more blood work. From Monday to Wednesday the hCG levels would double or more to indicate a normal pregnancy.
Friday morning, January 8th, I got the call. “I’m so sorry but your numbers didn’t go up enough. You are having a miscarriage.”
I sat in the chair completely paralyzed for a good 30 minutes. I sobbed deep sobs you can only do when you are completely alone. The hardest thing I had to do was call Andy and tell him. I knew he would be heartbroken too and I didn’t want to be the bearer of such sad news.
In just one phone call life went from planning to ending. It was such an abrupt halt to happiness.
I drove to the doctor’s office that afternoon and I honestly don’t even know how I made it. It is all such a blur. The only thing I remember was turning on the radio for some noise and this song came on. You’ll never convince me that it wasn’t on at that time for me. I so desperately needed to hear the words- “Whatever may come, His strength is enough… my heart is at peace for greater is He…”
At the doctor they confirmed the miscarriage diagnosis. I cried some more and they were so sweet and comforting. They told me I would start to really bleed and cramp over the weekend. Andy called his parents and met them with the girls so I could spend the weekend in bed because we knew there would be a lot of pain, emotionally and physically, that I didn’t want them to see.
Over the course of the weekend I cramped and bled exactly zero amount. Absolutely nothing happened. I did, however, cry a lot and sleep a lot. It was so nice for me to get to do that without having to worry about the girls.
On Monday I went back in to see my regular doctor since he wasn’t in on Friday. He once again checked and confirmed the miscarriage. I once again sobbed. We discussed my options and both decided a D&C was the best option for me. I scheduled it for that Friday to give time for it to be able to happen naturally that week as a possibility. Cried all the way home.
During this time I’m having to get blood work done and every time my hCG was still high but not doubling. It did such a number on my mental state because I kept wanting them to be wrong since the pregnancy hormone was so high. Maybe they missed something. I am so incredibly pro-life so it messed with my mind pretty badly. The entire week was a blur of doctor appointments and going about life as normal. Absolutely nothing happened “naturally” as we had hoped.
Friday morning we got up early and drove to the hospital in Chattanooga. Andy and I didn’t really talk. We were tired and sad. I didn’t cry the entire way there, which is a surprise. I felt like I had a better grip on things. I was so ready to move on and get this over with.
Once back in the surgery prep area/room things started to sink in.
I shed a few tears but thanks to a dose of Valium in my IV, I was okay. My doctor came and talked me through surgery stuff and then he grabbed my hand and prayed for me. I cried like a baby.
I was rolled to the operating room and once on the table something clicked with me. This was it.
This precious life that I celebrated so much was over and was about to be gone forever.
For some reason it took a little longer than normal for the anesthesiologist to get in and put me under (like two extra minutes at most). The mixture of medicines combined with me laying on that table alone while people rushed around me made something snap. Reality set in and hit me hard. I started to sob and I couldn’t wipe my tears so I could hear them falling on the table. A nurse saw me and rushed over. She held my hand and wiped my tears for me. I apologized a thousand times and another nurse came on the other side. They both wiped and wiped as I continued to sob. I started hearing scripture in one ear from a nurse, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…” and on and on it went. In the other ear I heard sweet prayers of comfort. I continued to sob pretty hysterically (if I’m being honest) until the anesthesiologist rushed in and quickly put me under. It was absolutely humiliating and lonely, but through that terrible feeling God showed up through those nurses and their faith. I remember thinking, “God, make me brave enough to do this for a friend or stranger. To be unashamed to whisper scripture and prayers in their ears.” I cannot possibly tell you how much that meant to me to hear that when I truly needed it the most.
I woke up from the surgery still crying. Apparently the tears never stopped. I’m blaming the medicine. When I woke up another sweet nurse rushed over. She said, “oh honey, I’ve been watching you cry in your sleep, are you ok?”…. I said, “I just need you to tell me I didn’t fart today in the surgery.” She howled with laughter and said that was absolutely NOT what she expected me to say. I fell back asleep with a smile on my face. When I woke up again the doctor was there. My pregnancy was confirmed to be ectopic. That meant the struggle wasn’t over yet. I cried a tiny bit more and dramatically said, “THIS WILL NEVER END.”
I was given a giant shot to help shrink the pregnancy out of the tubes. If it doesn’t work they will have to do another surgery to remove it. BUT I am praying strongly and with belief that I won’t have a need for another procedure. I’m still having to go in three times this week to check numbers. So this truly hasn’t ended yet. But it will soon and the hardest part is over.
This is what I can say about a miscarriage.
It is a club you do not want to join. I took great comfort in so many contacting me with their stories and encouragement. But I did not want to be in this club.
It is by far the loneliest experience of my life. I cannot tell you how alone I have felt through all of this. It isn’t anyone’s fault or anything that happened to make me feel alone, it just is so gut-wrenchingly lonely. Every single thing that happened made me feel that much more alone.
God was so clearly with me each step of the way. I have been prayed for and prayed over. I have had friends from far and wide coming to me with their stories and encouragement.
Miscarriage is a very dark place, but God’s light has shown through so much. I don’t know what I would do without the hope I have in my faith. This has been hard enough with my faith.
God truly is close to the brokenhearted, He has proven that to be true so many times in my life.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18