loss, love and moving forward

All my life I have had the mindset that if I worked hard at something, I could achieve it. What a cold awakening to find out that something so important and special, having a baby, was out of my control.

Brad and I took the pregnancy test on our one year wedding anniversary. We had taken a weekend trip to the Eastern shore and I had packed the test last minute. Seeing the positive sign knocked the wind out of me. I was expecting it to be positive… I just knew. But wow, it was positive. Happiness.

On the car ride home we nervously and excitedly discussed who we would tell first, when the baby would be born (June) and dreamily envisioned our new family. The following week was a procession of checking things off the list of what we were supposed to do; researching the best doctors and making our 12 week appointment for our first sonogram, taking prenatal vitamins, altering my diet. We were on top of things and brimming with love, hope and anticipation.

The day before my first scheduled sonogram appointment, I woke up early from a nightmare. I sat up and doubled over in pain –  the abdominal cramps were a reality – they weren’t part of my subconscious. I walked to the bathroom and was horrified to see I was bleeding. Tears, a frantic call to the doctor, praying.

As we were waiting in the doctor’s office all I could think was, please God, let me keep my baby. As the doctor was searching for a heartbeat via the wand ultrasound, I was trying to read her face. Studying and surveying for a sign of hope. Any sign of hope.

We never heard the heartbeat. Time froze, voices blurred, I memorized the cracks in the ceiling as I looked up, thinking… where are You?

Sitting in my doctor’s office, who would later become one of my dear friends, we had to have a hard conversation. We need to talk about what to do next. What to do next? If you want to have surgery, versus naturally miscarrying, I can schedule a D&C for you first thing tomorrow morning. Surgery? She gently explained everything to me and assured me that it wasn’t my fault. Brad and I decided to come back the following morning for a D&C. We wanted a clean “finish”… we felt it was the safest and quickest option for us to move forward.

Moving forward. The surgery was physically painless. I remember frantically grabbing a nurses wrist, asking if they were SURE, absolutely SURE my baby was gone. Yes, they were. I have always thought of my husband as a rock. He was just as distraught by the news as I was but he held my hand and was a warm blanket of love and support the entire time.

Brad and I took a long weekend and went to the beach. It was November and the beach was deserted.

My knees hit the sand as soon as we got to the beach. I cried. Big, ugly, guttural sobs. Tears of sorrow for our robbed future.

The sand, water, sky and every particle in the air embraced my grief. When I was done, I felt lighter.. I was no longer suffocating. I forgave God and also myself.

In the weeks following, I started feeling better with the occasional bought of she stole my future when I saw a pregnant woman. Nuts. I know. I would laugh at myself for going down Crazy Lane momentarily and break the spell. The only time I got vocal was during a conference call at work, when the lead on the other end said she was pregnant, with TWINS and she was over the age of 40. I shouted WHAT?!?!? Thank God our line was muted.

A couple of months pass….. and we are pregnant. We are cautiously optimistic and hopeful. I fought hard against the creeping anxiety knowing that stress is terribly for pregnancy. To reduce my fears and give me some semblance of control, I started seeing an acupuncturist, which was an incredible help. The countdown to the appointment where they would check for a heartbeat inched along. The days leading up to it felt like years. I swear I thought I was going to have a panic attack in the waiting room. Please God, let there be a heartbeat.

The sounds of my daughter’s heart filled the room and echoed off the walls. I am crying as I type this, recalling the beauty in that moment.

Having a miscarriage is unfair, terrifying and lonely. The fact that it’s so common (though not really talked about) is just cruel.

There are fleeting moments when I think of our lost baby but then I see the angelic face of my daughter, Finleigh and stop myself. She was meant to be my daughter, the light at the end of my long, dark tunnel. I don’t know why things happened the way they did… and I refuse to go down that path. I can’t imagine my life any differently than how it is now. Imperfectly perfect.

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