The first time we got pregnant trying wasn’t even a thought. We were newlyweds, basking in the excitement of starting our life together, and in the midst of all the holidays we just got pregnant. Nine months later we had our son and it was perfect.
Skip ahead a few years and baby fever is swirling inside me; I want to try for another baby! Keyword, try. We tried. That try turned into trying and it was, for lack of words, exhausting and horrible. Each passing month became filled with numerous ways of tracking and planning. Nothing helped. Nothing was working. How could we have one amazing little boy already, but suddenly find ourselves without a clue as for how to get pregnant?
Trying to have this baby was no longer fun and it turned into a full time job. I felt sorry for my husband who had all but turned into a sperm bank. We were both at our wits end and over it. Finally, after what seemed like forever, it happened. We got pregnant! I remember the morning I woke up and just knew. This is IT. I took 4 tests, all positive. That day I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to surprise my husband when he got home from work. I got pink and blue balloons, and another balloon that read “Welcome Baby” on it, two glasses and sparkling juice on the counter (fancy, right), and right before he walked in, I set up my phone to record it. My son and I greeted him when he walked in and let all the things he was seeing soak in. I was overjoyed, his reaction was let’s say, pure shock.
Weeks went by and I felt fantastic. I was constantly thinking about our baby and all the future had in store. Then came the day my entire world crumbled. It was July 9th; the 4H Fair was in town and we were taking our son to see the tractor pulls. We walked around a bit and decided to get something to eat before seeing the show. While walking I felt wetness in my pants. I excused myself to use the bathroom. Walking there, I began to get an overwhelming anxious feeling but I wasn’t sure why. I got into the stall and looked down in pure terror at what I was seeing. Dark red goop was oozing from me. Sickness engulfed my body and I knew I was losing our baby.
I composed myself the best I could and walked back to my family. I looked at my son and husband eating with smiles on their faces. I sat and said nothing. My husband looked at me and asked if I was okay, I said I didn’t know and that I was bleeding. Nothing was said, it was as if the world had stopped as we sat in the stands trying to keep fake smiles for our son who sat in awe of these monster trucks and loud noises. I started to die inside. We abruptly got up to leave and the tears came. We couldn’t get out fast enough. In our dash for the exit we walked into a good friend of mine. I was trying to keep strong and fake a smile telling her everything was great! We chatted for what seemed like hours as I avoided eye contact at all cost. This wasn’t the time or place to share our vulnerable situation.
In the car I kept quiet, going over every possible thing to do to make this pregnancy stay. Or what I could have done differently these past weeks. Should I not have been holding our son? Should we not have gone to the fair? I was texting with my best friend, who was trying to grieve but give me reassurance from articles saying “bleeding for three hours, things could be okay”. I knew it wouldn’t be, I knew I was losing my baby and I hated myself.
That night when we got home I laid in bed crying, I tried to avoid going to the bathroom because every time it was a horrible reminder of what was happening. I saw my future literally being flushed down the toilet. It got to the point where I couldn’t turn on the lights, because seeing so much life, in forms of blood and clots leave my body sickened me.
I took to Google to read possibilities of bleeding in pregnancy; most people confirmed my nightmare and said to collect tissue. I could not bear that torture. My husband would comfort me, lie beside me and whisper things in my ear. I do not remember the exact thing’s he muttered
besides a few phrases that paralyzed me. Why is he so positive with this? We are losing our child. I hated him. I hated that he was being strong, not only for himself, but for me as well. He said he was excited to try again. I hated him for lying. Nothing was exciting, trying to conceive was miserable. He said everything would be okay. Maybe within time, but I was blinded by the moment and thought he was lying, and again, I hated him. But did I really? Not one bit, I needed affirmation, and he was doing just that.
I prayed like I never prayed before, I wanted God to fix this, I needed Him to give me strength. I needed to know why this was happening, what did I do to deserve this? I got to the point where I told God I hated him.. and I stopped praying. I reached out to some close friends and my parents, I needed help. Five people. That’s all I confided in. I knew they were trying to help and check in but whenever my phone would go off, I dreaded looking at it. Phrases of “at least you have Tucker”, “God helped.. God’s plan”, “this baby is now your angel” would bring an okay moment back to the cold hard reality again. I started to hate all of the messages of hope, and people trying to help when no one understood. Not one single person felt my pain. Why my body, why me?
I was so naïve “it would never be me”, but it was very much me, and it was happening. My mom sent a card that read, “tomorrow will be a better day”, it hung on my refrigerator for more than a year; my daily reminder to stay strong, and yes, tomorrow will be better. I wanted to free myself of this agonizing downward spiral my mind was slipping into. My beaming two year old needed me, not the person I was becoming.
As time went on, I pulled myself together as best as I could. I tried being around people, taking deep breaths and faking happiness. Trying to be a part of conversations, but I was mentally absent. I would see people’s lips move, without hearing a word. I was so wrapped up in my own brain and self destructive dialog; I felt like a psychopath. I was spiraling out of control with self guilt and slipping into a depression.
My miscarriage started on a Thursday, I called my doctor that very next morning begging for an answer to help me. They told me to relax and that nothing could be done and to wait until Monday (the office closed at noon that morning).
Monday morning came and I ventured to the doctor. My ultrasound confirmed an empty uterus, but showed a black pocket where our baby had been. I’ll never get that image out of my head. I got blood work done to confirm via hormone hcg levels, here is where the twist comes. My levels were increasing. Usually within 24-48 hours of the start of a miscarriage, your levels plummet and anything under 25 is labeled as not pregnant. My body was “still pregnant”. From that point on, I went in every 3 days to get my blood drawn and levels tested. STILL increasing. What kind of sick joke is this?
I prayed constantly, this all would end. I hated everything. I hated seeing new birth or pregnancy announcements. I wasn’t sure who I was becoming, why my blackened heart of hatred trumped other’s joy. I worked hard on pulling myself out of this slump and thinking positive.
August 8th rolled around, almost a month after, I had just stopped bleeding and we had sex, one time. It wasn’t romantic because I could not get my mind off our tragedy. I wasn’t ready to be vulnerable in that state, even with it being my husband.
August 24th I woke up to a wet bed. I looked down at my shirt and it was soaked where my breasts are. I instantly started crying, pleading with God to make this stop. I thought I started producing some sort of milk already, I called my mom crying about why all of this is happening. Not only were my hormone levels increasing, but now I’m getting my milk in, but yet, my baby was gone. I called my doctor, muttering questions in agony for some sort of scientific answer. “Your body is acting as if it is still pregnant, give it time to adjust”, the doctor told me, and we hung up. Something changed inside me, I looked at a drawer where I had a pregnancy test, I grabbed the test and headed into the bathroom.
As I was taking the test the results popped up before I had put the cap on. PREGNANT! I paused with trembling hands. Of course it is positive, my levels are increasing.. but I felt my heart happy and at peace for the first time in weeks. I managed to pick up the phone, once again with tears in my eyes and a shaky voice, my doctor assuring there is no possible way. I insisted on another blood test, I needed this for myself. As soon as I got my son and myself ready, we were out the door and at the doctor’s office, blood work came back hcg 1120!! I WAS PREGNANT! Every emotion from fear, instant regret, to pure joy rushed through my body. Now what? I wanted an ultrasound, because that seemed logical for a crazy person to do in a situation like this.Through all the odds of an early ultrasound, I saw the tiniest little tadpole with a strong heartbeat of 109. Tears. So many tears for this great blessing and being terrified that this too would end in a miscarriage.
I took to prayer, daily, multiple times a day. I begged for forgiveness for stopping prior. I prayed for a healthy pregnancy. Some nights I would fall asleep crying, just as I did during my miscarriage, but this time it was in pain of the unknown. I had multiple appointments because any twinge I felt, I thought something was wrong. Everything was always fine and I felt more confident this tiny baby was here to stay. I remember near the end of my pregnancy, where I finally felt I was ‘over’ the heartache, one nurse came in and we chatted, she said out of protocol “third pregnancy, second baby”, this struck me like a knife, bringing me right back to July 9th. I felt flush, bit my lip and mumbled a quiet “yes”. I have never been in a room where the atmosphere was so thick. No one warns you about any of this, and how words affect you.
On April 23, 2016, my beautiful rainbow baby boy was born, perfect as ever! Every single thing I prayed for came true. My heart had never been so full of joy and bliss. My husband brought our son in to meet the baby, watching them together is the absolute best experience and overwhelming joy constantly fills my soul. I still remind myself often of the struggle… I still remember the days I prayed for what I have now. Our rainbow baby is now 8 months old, and I still to this day wonder who our other baby would have been. I go over every characteristic they could have had. You would think the pain of miscarriage would subside, but there are still sad days, even when I’m holding our baby. He does not replace what was lost. I would never have him if the other baby were here. I wish I had opened up more during the time, but everyone copes in different ways. It took me a year to tell my story, and it is still unfolding. Remember, “this too shall pass”, in the darkest of days, there will be light!
Julie lives in southern Michigan with her Husband and their two young sons.