It’s 9:45am time to get the girls in the car and start our 30 minutes trek to the doctor’s office for my 14 week appointment. I’ve packed the essentials, diapers and snacks, to keep the girls distracted and occupied knowing that going to the doctor’s office by yourself with 2 small children can be an event. Luckily they are super kid friendly and have lots of toys both in the waiting room and in the hallways where the offices are. Jason calls as we are in the waiting room to invite us to lunch as him and his co-workers are going out to celebrate a birthday. I figure if anything we will be looking to kill time figuring we will go in weight, blood pressure, measure the belly, listen to the heart beat and be on our way…
The midwife comes in and asks the typical questions: any bleeding, any cramping? To which I reply no. Jericho and I get up on the examiner table, because Jericho gets freaked out when I am on the table without her, I am balancing Jericho on my chest trying to convince her that spring up and down on me is not the most fun she has had all day and the midwife scans for a heartbeat. A minute or so go by and I am not thinking anything of it as I know it can sometimes take a while to locate the heart beat. A minute or more goes by and she says “well whoever is in there is moving around too much so I am going to go get the ultra sound.” Still not thinking too much of it I remind Blythe where the screen is if she wants to watch. Then the ultra sound hits my stomach and the picture is nothing like what I have seen before. So far the only ultra sounds I had seen instantly showed the outline of a baby and a small fluttering of a heart. This screen didn’t show the outline of a baby at all, just looked like tissue floating around. As I am writing this out I am asking myself “how did you not freak out right then?” but I didn’t. I wasn’t starting at the ultra sound machine as I was still entertaining Jericho and I guess I was calmly and patiently waiting for the heart beat to be found. The midwife says “I can’t find a heartbeat, you can tell there was a pregnancy, but let me see if I can get you worked in to the big ultrasound.” I calmly tell the girls that we need to go down the hall, pack up our things and off we walk.
A few minutes later Jason calls to say that they are headed to lunch and I told him that the doctors were having a hard time finding the heart beat so now I was waiting to go into the larger ultra sound room. I told him I would call him when I was done. Somewhere between the time I hung up the phone with him and a few minutes, reality sank in – I did NOT see a baby on the little ultra sound, only tissue, and I should only expect to see the same thing on the large ultra sound machine. Still very calm and chasing my kiddos around the hallway as we were no longer in a kid friendly waiting room and telling myself hey this is o.k. we knew this could happen and obviously there was something genetically wrong with the baby and my body and the baby knew he/she wasn’t meant to come into this world. I don’t have any real concept of time at this point as glancing on my watch was not on my mind as I chased kids, tried to answer question, and patiently wait a confirmation. Jason calls again at some point to see what the status is, this is when I tell him what I saw on the small u/s machine and that I wasn’t expecting a different result once I was seen by the larger u/s machine. He asked me if I wanted him to come and I told him I was o.k. and I would call him once I knew something. Obviously he ate his lunch as fast as he could and had someone drop him off at the doctor’s office – only the wrong doctors office –as he had to call back several time for other directions.
They call my name and the girls and I go into the large u/s room. I tell Blythe that she can watch the screen and we may or may not see the baby. To my surprise we did see the baby, you could clearly see a head and a spinal cord, but what you couldn’t see was a heart beat or any movement. The u/s techs are taught not to say anything, but I knew it was confirmed, at some point the baby passed away and my body had yet to physically miscarry it.
After the scan we went back to the midwifes office where she told me that the large u/s confirmed what she saw on the small u/s – no heart beat and the baby measured 11 weeks 6 days. [knock, knock on the door] “Mrs. Wilkes your husband is here.” It wasn’t until that moment that my eyes started to water, I don’t know if it was because I was holding it together for the girls or having to tell Jason that we lost our 3rd child, but I was able to regain composure pretty quickly. The midwife told us our options and we, being the naturalist that we are, opted to wait and let my body miscarry the baby naturally. The D&C is the same procedure used for abortions and my days and training with The Coalition For Life had taught me all the risk associated with the procedure and it is something I hope to avoid.
After the midwife stepped out Jason and I immediately had the same reaction – it’s for the best and clearly something went wrong. The midwife had told us that 90% of miscarriages before 13 weeks were due to genetic malfunctions, confirming what we were both already thinking. But she also told us that this doesn’t put us at any greater risk for miscarriage in the future and we have 2 healthy children and no reason to think we can’t have more. To some this may sound cold, but as hard as it is to think that you are going to welcome a new baby into the world in May and find out that you aren’t I feel blessed that my body and the baby were able to recognize that something wasn’t right. Of course if God wanted Jason and I raise a special needs kid we would do it with all the love in the world, but I think all of us hope and pray for healthy babies and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Jason and I have positive spirits and faith that we will continue to grow our family – after all we are told to be fruitful and multiply..right?
I have to admit that I do feel like a ticking time bomb as we wait for the physical miscarriage to take place – I hear I am going to feel like death for a few days – but we will get through, move on, and God willing be blessed yet again with a healthy beautiful baby.
We are truly at peace with the decision that God has made. Of course I will probably never again go into an OBGYN appointment expecting to hear a heartbeat and who knows how long, if ever, I will go to an appointment and not be holding my breath while they search for the heartbeat, but every life is a miracle and we shouldn’t take that for granted.
I write this post this evening not for sympathy or empathy, but simply because I don’t think having a miscarriage is something to be ashamed about or feel like you shouldn’t share. I understand that it affects everyone differently and everyone has to grieve and deal with the loss the best they know how and for me I chose to share. I don’t want people to feel awkward around me when talking about pregnancy or babies or even asking questions about it.