It was Friday morning. We had the busiest weekend of our Christmas season all planned, down to the minute, it seemed. Our family was going to see the community Nutcracker being performed the next day, and ladies from church were coming over for a dessert and devotional that night. Sunday morning was our church’s children’s Christmas program, and my husband and I were two of the directors.
I was expecting our fourth baby, and we were getting increasingly excited about its arrival. I was 14 weeks along, and looking forward to my next doctor’s appointment on Monday. We had already seen our baby at 12 weeks; kicking and waving its arms, with a strong heartbeat. My husband and I had already started talking about names and how we would need to move the older three around in their bedrooms to accommodate a new little one. Those boys were definitely looking forward to a new “buddy” in the house. And, even though it was our fourth child, both sets of grandparents were excited to hold a new grandbaby.
That Friday morning, I woke to some bleeding. I had experienced a bit with my other babies, so I didn’t worry much. As the morning went on, though, the bleeding got heavier. I called my doctor, and the nurse told me that I could be bleeding from any number of reasons, and they would check me during my scheduled appointment Monday. I thanked her and started praying.
That day I put my feet up, talked to friends who had experienced bleeding in pregnancies as well as those who'd had miscarriages, and prayed.
Saturday morning, the bleeding had increased. My parents watched the older ones as my husband took me to the emergency room and stayed behind to fill out paperwork as I left to be scanned. Thankfully, the ultrasound tech was unbelievably kind as she began the scan. They told me the baby was measuring at 12 weeks - not the 14 weeks we knew we should be looking at. After a minute, the tech asked her supervisor, who had come in to assist, “I’m having trouble finding the baby’s heartbeat. Can you help me?” Without turning around, the supervisor said, “There’s no need.”
And then she walked out the door.
The tech was visibly shaken, but told me calmly that the doctor would read my scan and let me know the results. I thanked her for being so kind, and walked back to the room where my husband was waiting. I told him that I knew that our baby had already died. I called my parents to check on my other babies. I called my other friends to cry and pray with them.
When the doctor came in, he confirmed my fears: my baby had died. He gave me prescriptions for some anti-nausea and pain medications, told me I would pass the baby in the next 48 hours or so, and left to see the person moaning in the emergency bay next to us.
The rest of the day passed in a fog. We took the older children to the Nutcracker, then hurried home to get the house ready for the guests we expected that night. It was all so busy – a blur of activity. I wonder now if God planned it that way so that I wouldn’t have time to dwell on the pain of losing a baby?
Late that night, the baby passed. Partially relieved that it had happened so soon, partially in some sort of shock that everything had happened so quickly, I let my husband sleep.
Morning came and along with it, an urgent call from a close friend saying he had experienced a heart attack. My husband rushed to hospital to be with him and his wife. Saving the day once again, my mom accompanied me to church in order to sit with my smallest while I helped direct the children’s Christmas program.
When my husband and I finally reunited later that evening, I told him our baby was gone. Together, we named this life we'd lost, and we finally were able to grieve together. It's funny, but it seems the time just before as well as the time following those moments have blurred, but those moments with my husband have been firmly etched into my memory. I grieved for my child, not just because we lost a new life – though it definitely was a life that we lost. But I grieved, too, for the sibling my other children would never meet, for the life and future that we had already envisioned this child having, now lost, and for the grandbaby who would have been cherished by older, loving hands.
I think our stories are all different, as well as all the same when we lose a baby.
Today, If you’ve also experienced loss, whether within the womb or without, my prayers are with you. I wish I could hug you tight and share in your tears.
Please stay tuned for a post on how to help someone who has lost a baby or how to receive help if you have experienced this loss.
Hugs & blessings, Charlotte