Let's start at the very beginning...
As many of you may know, I had been aching to add another baby to our family. Month followed month without any luck. No baby. Finally, a full year after Bron and I began "trying," I threw in the towel and gave the whole business up: if it happened it happened. I signed up for a big bike race and started making other plans.
Miraculously, four weeks or so later, I was late. One day late. Two days late. Three days late. It was March 2nd. I was so nervous to take that little test that my hands were shaking. I set the pregnancy test on the counter; I couldn't look at it. I'd already endured too many negative results over the last year. So I took out the trash instead. When I came back, two of the loveliest pink lines were staring back at me. I couldn't believe it. I was finally pregnant! I fell to my knees in happy tears.
No joke, that positive test sat on the counter for two full weeks. I just couldn't believe that it was finally for real! I'd glance at it every time I was in the bathroom. Yup, pregnant. I couldn't help grinning from ear to ear. I was so thrilled that over the coming weeks I let family and many of my close friends in on our exciting little secret: a baby due the first week of November!
Then April 15th began one of the roughest weeks of my life.
Last Wednesday afternoon my stomach started to feel awful. Fortunately, Bron arrived home from his Montana trip early and was able to help me put the boys to bed. I spent the rest of the night puking up every last shred of food from my stomach. It was miserable. I sat on the couch Thursday recovering. I pounded the Gatorade trying to rehydrate myself--myself and my baby. Come to find out, there was a nasty flu bug making its way around our neighborhood.
Friday I was feeling much better and we packed the car to spend the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa Nelson's. We celebrated all the April birthdays with a delicious dutch oven cookout and the grandkids got to go on a belated Easter egg hunt! Soon after arrival, however, Merri Sue ushered me into the house when she noticed some spotting in my yellow pants as I squatted down to talk to my niece. My emotions came swooping in like a tidal wave. I couldn't help the hot tears. Was I miscarrying? I wasn't entirely sure. Maybe I was just spotting. Either way, it felt scary. Merri Sue helped me pull myself together enough to join the family outside.
It was killer hearing all those genuinely enthusiastic congratulatory phrases, the questions about how I'd been feeling and when the baby was due. I answered as quickly as possible; I didn't really want to talk about it. "There might not be a baby," I pushed the thought aside.
Next morning, more blood. I instinctively knew: I was miscarrying my baby.
At that very moment I wanted nothing more than to curl up inside the warm embrace of my husband's arms. I crawled back into bed beside Bron and sobbed. I just sobbed. The pain of disappointment hurt so, so bad. All those hopes and dreams and plans suddenly erased. A life no more.
Not sure what to do, I called my doctor's office. The doctor on call reassured me that spotting was normal and that they'd see me Monday morning to check for a heartbeat. Hope! But for some reason I still couldn't help my eyes from welling up in tears. I couldn't talk about it--even think about it--without crying. Bron felt so, so bad. The thought of a miscarriage hurt him too, but more so, he hurt for me. He wanted to fix it, to make it better, but there simply wasn't (and isn't) anything he could do but be the supportive rock I needed him to be.
Monday finally rolled around. I would have been 11 weeks along. Bron took the day off of work to accompany me to the doctor's office and we dropped the little boys off with a good friend. The doctor reassured me that the bleeding could have been a result of my stomach bug. She checked for a heartbeat. None. I went back for an ultrasound. As soon as the screen came alive I knew something was wrong; I didn't see a fluttering peanut anywhere. But there, unmoving in the corner, measuring around 6 weeks gestation was my tiny baby. The technician checked in several different ways: no heartbeat.
It was official: I had miscarried my baby.
I was surprised that the hot tears didn't begin anew. I think deep down inside I knew there would be no heartbeat. One of my worst fears had just become my reality. It wasn't as scary as I'd imagined it would be though. The knowledge just felt... heavy. Bron squeezed my hand as we listened to the doctor explain a few things. I saw his eyes well with tears. It hurt. We hurt.
Now we wait for my body to do the rest. It's not over. My stomach is still swollen with fluids and inside lies my tiny unborn baby bean. I feel anxious about going through "mini labor" and dispelling everything my body has worked so hard to maintain these last months. (Can't I keep this baby?) But I'm also ready to put this all behind me, to heal, to try again.
I have felt nothing but an outpouring of love from family and friends. The love and tears I've felt in my behalf has been overwhelming. I appreciate every call, every text. A hug goes a long way. So do flowers and brownies. And those women who say they've been there, who know exactly how I feel--it's strangely comforting. They all had more children. There's hope for me too.
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to learn from this experience, but I am learning a lot, especially about compassion and what it feels like to be on the receiving end. It's humbling. If anything, I now have more empathy for women whose hardships cut much deeper.
But still, the tears come and go. I'll be fine one minute but the next my eyes are watery and red. I'm sure it will be quite a while before I can talk about this without crying. But that's okay because it means I loved this baby. And I wonder. I wonder if my little bean had a spirit. Will I meet that spirit again in this life... or the next? I'm grieving and it's normal. Life will go on. I know everything will be okay. I still have so much to be grateful for and happy about. This is just one of those unfair situations in life that just plain sucks.
^^I ordered these sweet sunny moccs just especially for my baby I was so excited about. They arrived the day I had the ultrasound that confirmed I'd miscarried. Of course. Cruel irony.^^