Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on Miscarriage

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2


Dear potential readers:

*Long post warning* This will be a hard post for me to write, and probably for some of you to read. But I've thought about it, and I think it might be a little therapeutic to say some of these things that have been on my brain as of late...so...

After we went to the first doctor's visit, the ultrasound showed the baby to be a little small, but with a definite, faint heartbeat. So they took blood to check my HCG levels and scheduled me for another ultrasound two weeks later. Nicklas was all excited to "see the baby" again. I don't know how much he really understands about babies, and mommies having babies, but we took him to the follow up appointment with us anyway.

The second ultrasound technologist was not the same one we'd had our first visit. To put it mildly, she is quite gregarious. Didn't really hold anything back.
I am now, by my math, almost 10 weeks pregnant. But I was startled to see almost the same image on the screen above her head that I had seen two weeks before. Worse, when she turned on the Doppler to listen for the heartbeat, there was...silence. Nothing. My brain suddenly went numb.

I'm an imaging professional. I generally can tell what I'm looking at on an ultrasound, especially in OB/fetal imaging. Our formerly very talkative technologist was suddenly very quiet, poking me all around (you know...down there) trying to get more angles on the uterus. She clears her throat, asks me again..."how many weeks are you?" My numb brain responds, but I don't remember what I said. "Well, I'm not seeing what I should see" she replies. Inside I'm screaming I know what you're trying to say, now say it! She shows us a chart on the wall, pictures of some random fetus and what a 10 week baby looks like. She shows me more numbers on the machine's monitor. I don't care that the baby hasn't grown at all, just say it before I choke you. "What about the heartbeat?" I manage to squeak out.

She puts her hands on mine. "There isn't going to be a heartbeat".

At this point I break down. Robert, struggling with Nicklas, is silent. I'm not really paying attention to what they're doing. The technologist leaves to get a doctor, who promptly returns and confirms what the lady has already told us. The pregnancy is no longer viable, the baby hasn't survived his or her first trimester.

Now my brain is screaming: What did I do wrong? Doesn't this sort of thing happen to other people? What went so right with Nicklas and so terribly wrong with this one? What do I do now? The ultrasound lady is trying to say things to console us, but it's only making me angry. Yes, I know I have a beautiful son. Yes, I know I can try again. Will you shut up???

The doctor sits us in another brightly lit, sterile, impersonal exam room and explains our options. One, wait and see what happens. Two, take some medicine to speed up the...uh...miscarriage. Or three (her recommendation), take me to the OR and use suction to remove the mass of tissue. A mass a of tissue. What had been my soon-to-be second born child was now being referred to as this: tissue. If you're like me, and believe that life begins at conception, then you too might see why this disgusted me so.

We decide to come back in a week (which was yesterday) and check again under ultrasound to confirm. Now, I wasn't expecting anything to change. Yes, I was hoping for a miracle. Yes, I was praying that my math/dates were way off and the baby was still alive. Yes, I was counting on some human error... but not really expecting one. By this time I had started bleeding, in small amounts. The new ultrasound showed no baby at all, only a sac remaining. It was a blessing in a way, a bit a closure that God had given us. He had worked His miracle and kept me from having to go to the OR, being put under anesthesia and not fully remembering my last moments with this child of mine. I had that time, fully awake, to say goodbye to this child who I will meet in Heaven one day.

It's been a hard hard week, but we're getting better. My sweet brother reminded me that in one of my former posts I had written about the woman I'd met who had the miscarriage that affected me so. He said "it looks like God was preparing your heart for this even before you knew about it" and he's right. God did lay a foundation in me, gave me the strength to smile and play with my son and eat and sleep and do all of those normal things again. He would never test me with more than I can withstand. Every day feels a little more and more normal. Please keep us in your prayers as we are struggling with His timing and all the disappointment.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

3 comments:

Rachel said...

I am so saddened and sorry, Jennifer. I wouldn't wish what you are experiencing on anyone. I know that you loved your baby even before you knew that he or she existed. We will be praying for all of you and your precious little angel during this time.

Sue said...

We love you Jennifer and are so sad with you. Dad and I just want to be there for you in what ever way you need us!

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