Adapted from guest blogger MaKenzie Schienebeck, edited for length and clarity.
It's June 2018. My husband and I decide we want to try for our third baby. We had ventured to get my Mirena removed so we could start the process of adding a new addition to our beautiful family. We kept giggling with excitement in the office before the doctor came in.
After it was taken out, we went on our merry way and ate a yummy meal together. Everything felt so perfect. Fast forward only THREE days after my Mirena was taken out; I had gotten pregnant. I didn't know until two months afterward. I was feeling queasy, very tired, and had food aversions.
I ask my husband to grab us two pregnancy tests on his way home from work one day. Once he got home, I grabbed one test, headed to the bathroom and within seconds two very strong purple lines showed up. I came out of the bathroom with an obvious smile on my face, asked my husband to come "check the tomatoes" in the garden with me and I told him outside on our deck. The sun shined on us, the breeze blew, and we had some great smiles! We scheduled an appointment the next day for a blood test to confirm we were pregnant. As we sat next to the doctor for the results, he paused and smiled at us. We smiled back and he confirmed we were pregnant. The two of us were SO excited!
Another appointment was made. We met with a nurse to discuss family health and get our pregnancy started. We heart baby's strong heart on the doppler alongside our first ultrasound. Baby was a jumping bean with a great heartbeat!
Once we got home, we hung the ultrasound on the fridge, told family and friends the same as we did with our last two babies. The excitement was unbearable. I was so excited to snuggle my newest addition and have a baby once again! My belly was growing, I was glowing and everything in life felt right. My anxiety and worries diminished during my pregnancy. I was so proud to be growing a new life inside me once again. I would rub my belly everyday, talk to my baby, dream of my baby...my two boys would talk to my belly and tell the baby how much they loved them. My husband and I had gotten a new crib, pack n' play, bottle set, gender neutral clothing, blankets, bibs, toys, seats, rock n' play, you name it! We were ready to spoil another little gift from God.
A few weeks after my last ultrasound I was feeling amazing. No more morning sickness, no more food aversions...I could even travel without getting too sick! Everyone told me maybe it means we were having a girl this time. I was pretty thrilled to say the least. Boy or girl, I knew I was blessed to be a mommy again!
On September 26th, 2018 my husband and I went to our next OB appointment. We were a day away from 13 weeks. We counted down the days until we could get our baby's gender ultrasound and buy the coordinating clothing. Our youngest was with us and he was such a good sport that day. We went in, got weighed, and I had lost a few pounds. Then we went to the room to get baby on the doppler. My doctor put some jelly on my belly and rolled the doppler around to find that little booger. She thought she heard baby a few times but the doppler wasn't being reliable at this stage and she assured me it happens a lot. Their in-room ultrasound was out of office that day being fixed so she asked if I would like to come back in a week or get an ultrasound the same day downstairs. We opted for same day. My appointment was at 10:25 and they couldn't get us in until 3:00.
We live 45 minutes from the doctor's office so we planned to wait the day out. We ate with our little man, headed to the park by the lake, went shopping, won a bunch of toys from the claw machine and then headed to the waiting area at the clinic. My youngest son was enjoying making the elderly happy at the clinic. I was getting impatient with the long day we had had. A nurse finally called my name, we went with her and went to another waiting room. We were called in at around 4:00.
Same procedure as always. Take off your pants and wrap a blanket around your waist. I had to have a pelvic ultrasound because I have a retroverted uterus. My baby lays way back instead of up front like other women's pregnancies. This is actually pretty common and it has not affected my other two pregnancies.
The lights turned off, the ultrasound started. The tech measured all my organs and uterus. She then proceeded to scan our baby. We saw a precious little round head, a sweet little round tummy, feet, hands, all the good details. She pulled up the heart rate graph. I seen worry in her eyes, but since I didn't know her too well, I put it off. I looked over at my husband and he said five words that shattered my entire world.
"There is no heart beat."
She couldn't tell us this information, but it was obvious. She tried three more times and it was a flat graph. My once joyful, jumpy baby whose heart we had seen many times was just sitting there, lifeless. I wanted to pull that ultrasound out of me, throw it at the wall, run away and go until I came to terms with what nightmare I was living in. I cried. I cried pain. I have never felt something so painful in my life and I thought I've been through pain before. My stomach felt like it was ripped apart, my heart felt like it was blasted to pieces, my head hurt, and my soul was shredded.
The tech had to call my doctor upstairs. It felt like eternity. When we went up to talk, I couldn't stop thinking of how I lost my baby. I felt like I did this. What did I do wrong? Why did this happen? How could I have stopped this? Do I ever want to go through pregnancy again? We were told of ways that this can all be taken care of per say. Naturally let my baby come out, take a pill, surgery. We opted to just get out of there, talk it out and try natural.
My husband and I were disgusted. How could this precious little baby we had so many hopes and dreams for....die? Why? Why us?! We never thought we would be in this situation, yet here we were. The world was grey. I was mad at God. I was mad at myself. I kept denying that the ultrasound was right. I felt like we had to go back and we would see baby's heartbeat.
We called family. We hadn't planned on telling anyone but family and letting others just figure it out. Miscarriage is rarely talked about. I was the one in four women that it happened to. My baby was gone two weeks before we found out. I have been rubbing a belly with my dead baby in it. I had to leave a clinic with my dead baby inside me. I had to sleep that night with my dead baby in me. I had to eat, drink, sleep, talk, walk and move on after hearing this news....with my dead baby in me. As I write this story for you to hear, my baby is still inside me. I have to wait for my baby to come out of me. I have to make sure my baby doesn't go down a toilet. I have no idea when it will come.
I walk by my baby's room full of clothes, toys, and what ifs. We don't get to celebrate birthdays, Christmas mornings, anything with this child. The outfits, the crib, the toys, they all have to gather dust because we are not going to be bringing a baby home in the spring.
The night after we heard this news, the day after as well, I sat on the floor of our shower with warm water coming down, and I cried. I stared off into space. I cried some more. It is so hard to live life with an untold story in your belly. I am not going to live my life and pretend this didn't happen to us. I knew miscarriage was awful but you will never know until you go through it and I really wish nobody ever had to experience this pain.
I had planned to go to work two days after finding out. I wanted to be tough, look okay, feel okay and act like I was going to be fine. The day came and I couldn't bear to see anyone; I couldn't bear to speak. I had cramps and headaches. My body is currently still trying to get rid of my precious baby I loved so dearly. I am working on getting strong. I have two other miracles who need me and a loving husband. My husband got excited seeing a car seat on sale, and I did with a baby monitor, and then we were slapped in the face with the reality that this baby is no longer with us.
I hope you all can give your sincerest condolences to these families as it isn't just the mother. Partners, siblings, and family members hurt, too. I hope you all know, it wasn't just a miscarriage. We missed out on a baby, a future, a toddler, a child, a teen, an adult, a wedding, grandkids from this baby, everything. We lost a child with a heartbeat.
To the parents who have lost a baby or child, don't stay quiet. Don't pretend you're okay. Don't act tougher than you are. Don't talk if you don't want to talk, but feel free to let your emotions out for the world. You need to talk to others when you are ready who have been through what you have been through. Stay strong. Let the tears and thoughts out. Be mad, be sad. Everything will come into place. You are NOT alone, this happens to more of us than we know. This "miscarriage" diagnosis is seemingly invisible. We can change this! Keep your baby's memory, and know we can be here for one another.