Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Lived Nightmare

I think writing about our miscarriage experience will not only be therapeutic but also educational.  Miscarriage is a very taboo subject that many people are uncomfortable with.  I want to break that silence and open up about what happened.  I'm not ashamed and I am proud to call myself a mom to an angel baby.  Miscarriage can happen to anyone at any point in their pregnancy.  1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.  This isn't to try to scare you or make you worry, but purely to open your eyes.  After our experience so many women opened up to me about their own miscarriages.  I will be forever grateful for that because I wasn't alone.  The odds were in our favor to not miscarry and we still did.  Something like a 4% chance after seeing a heartbeat (which we did).  But not everything about our pregnancy was horrible.... Here's our journey :)

Andrew and I found out we were expecting on Friday, July 11th.  Besides my college graduation and wedding, this was probably one of the best days of my life.  I thought that I might be pregnant because I wasn't having the normal signs of my period.  I went to lunch with my grandma that day and I felt so sick.  I barely ate and when we were shopping I felt the need to sit down.  I told Andrew that I might be pregnant and he said we would take a test together that night.  But I just couldn't wait.  So I bought a test and I took it at home.  Within a minute the second test line showed up.  I couldn't believe it!  I was so shocked/excited I kept saying, "Oh my gosh!" and smiling A LOT.  I knew then I needed to do something special to tell Andrew, so I decided to go to the store to get some gifts.  (In the meantime, my mom called to ask me some small question that I can't even remember.  It was so hard to have a normal conversation when my mind was running a mile a minute.  I laugh about it to this day.)  During my drive I decided on the gifts for Andrew.  I bought the classic book What To Expect When You're Expecting and a gender neutral onsie that said "My Dad Rocks and My Mom Rules".  When I got home I taped my positive test to the book and put it all in a gift bag.  I was so excited for Andrew to get home!!!  I kind of bugged him about when he would be home lol.  When he finally got home I told him that someone dropped a gift bag off for him.  He opened it quizzically and was super confused by the contents.  Once I told him I was pregnant he said something along the lines of "Oh my gosh are you sure!?" and I was like, "Of course I'm sure!" He was so excited he gave me a huge hug.  We could barely contain our excitement to not call everyone and tell them the news.  But we wanted to wait until my appointment with my family doctor on Monday to confirm it.

My Monday appointment came and it was doctor confirmed that we were having a baby!!!  We told our families and our closest friends in the next few weeks and began imagining our lives as parents.  What gender do we think the baby is?  How will we decorate the room? (and of course all of this is in the midst of a move to a new house).  We were so overjoyed.  By my 5th week I met with my OBs nurse and got that whole process going.  She scheduled our ultrasound for the following week when I was 6 weeks and 5 days along.

Of course the google freak that I am I got kind of worried for the ultrasound.  What if there's not a heartbeat or the baby hasn't developed?  Google is never a good friend I've learned throughout this entire time.  But our appointment came and we went in for the ultrasound.  Right away we saw the heartbeat and Andrew and I both breathed a sigh of relief.  (Like I said those statistics go down!.. HA) We saw our baby's heart beating at a strong 122 bpm.  The baby did measure a little behind at only 6 weeks 1 day but it wasn't a concern at all.  We were ecstatic and we stared at the picture we got all of the time!

At this point I started a classic "weekly bumpdate" that I sent to my closest friends and family.  This was fun and gave me an opportunity to use my chalk wall!  I would write down milestones that the baby was making that week.  Andrew loved when it came time to taking the pictures (not).  I was sooo picky about how I stood and looked lol.  I did week 5 through 9.  Week 9 was actually taken in our new house (chalk wall was definitely my first priority lol)!

The next couple of weeks go by and things start to settle down.  We closed on our house and began the moving process.  I wanted to wait to announce to "the world" aka Facebook until I was 12 weeks along but the excitement got the better of me.  When I was exactly 9 weeks we posted our adorable announcement (that I made myself lol) on Facebook.  I was so excited to do this and the amount of joy from everyone we received was amazing.  After the miscarriage I was beating myself up a little bit for posting the announcement on social media.  But like I said earlier a pregnancy can be lost at any point and you're never really "safe".  The support I received was definitely comforting, so thank you!

My next appointment was scheduled for August 28th.  I was 10 weeks and 5 days along at this point.  The night before my appointment I had a dream that the baby was a girl.  Up until this point I had had a few dreams about the potential gender but never a for sure answer.  But this dream was different and I knew that it was a sign.  To be continued…

I don't think I will ever forget the weather that day.  It was one of the gloomiest days of the summer.  Horrible rain and it was pretty chilly.  I told Andrew I didn't want to go to the appointment.  I think maybe I subconsciously knew something was wrong.  I dreaded it all day because it was in the afternoon.  But at 4pm we went to the appointment.  Our doctor said we might be able to hear the heartbeat on a doppler but that it might be too early so we shouldn't be concerned.  He tried for a little while but we weren't getting anything.  He said we would try an ultrasound in his office.  Andrew and I were actually excited because we didn't think we would get to see our baby that day!  We get all ready and he starts the ultrasound.  At first I wasn't too concerned and we just watched the screen staring at the baby that has grown so much since the last time we saw it.  It actually looked like a baby!  I then realized that he was trying to find the heartbeat.  He tried for awhile and my heart started pounding until he finally measured the baby and it was only 9 weeks exactly (which is almost 2 weeks less than where it should have been).  He then said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry but there isn't a heartbeat".  My mind was spinning.  I was in such shock!  He left and Andrew and I stood there crying.  The only thing I could think of was to leave.  I didn't want to be there anymore.  So we left the room and the doctor scheduled a 2nd opinion from the hospital the next morning.  We spent the entire night crying, praying, and hoping for a miracle.  We went to the appointment bawling.  I'm pretty sure the hospital staff thought I was crazy.  I could barely speak.  The ultrasound tech assured me that the baby probably was moving around too much and my doctor had trouble finding the heartbeat.  I knew that wasn't it, because we never saw it move.  We went in and I laid there while she began the same process as the day before.  I couldn't really see the screen so I made Andrew tell me what was going on.  He said it wasn't good and that she was getting the same results as my OB.  That's when I really started the grieving process because I knew it was over.  I had a missed miscarriage, which is a 2% chance of happening.  Don't you love statistics!?

This ultrasound appointment was so early that my OB's office wasn't open yet.  I called and sort of stalked him until he called me back.  I wanted to get a D&C that day to take the baby out.  I couldn't bare carrying my lifeless child until my body realized I wasn't pregnant and it decided to miscarry.  I wanted to begin to move on and to heal.  I went in that morning to my outpatient procedure with Andrew, my mom, Andrew's mom, and Andrew's grandma met us there.  It was the saddest day of my life.  The saddest experience of my life.  I seriously wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  I don't think I would have been even emotionally ok if it weren't for the WONDERFUL nurses.  Everyone was so friendly and sympathetic.  One of the nurses even shared her own experience of a miscarriage that helped me, even to this day, so much!!!  After everything I went home around noon.  I spent most of the day crying and surrounded by family and friends who came to be with us.  It was nice to be distracted, I can never thank everyone enough for the love and support in those first few days.

And here we are today.  24 days later.  Throughout these 24 days I have experienced emotions all over the place.  Sadness, anger, guilt, forgiveness, peace, but the questions are ALWAYS there.  Why did this happen to us?  Why couldn't we have a healthy baby?  What if this happens again?  What if we can never have a healthy baby?  Was this my fault? (even though most miscarriages are chromosomal - up to 70%)  It was hard for me to deal with the fact that I would never get to see, hold, or hear my baby.  I was bad and would search the hashtag of what week pregnant I should be and see these pictures of the joy I should be experiencing.  I searched 11 week ultrasounds to see what it should have been like.  Like I said, google is never your friend!  It took me at least 2 weeks before I didn't cry at some point during my day.  I didn't want to be around a lot of people because (as I described it to Andrew) the "kicked puppy look" I got hurt me.  It think the worst feeling I felt throughout all of this was that I let everyone down.  I know it's crazy and no one thinks I did but I felt that everyone was so excited about this baby and I let them down.  I'm sure so many who have experienced a miscarriage can relate to this.  This is still something I fight with daily.

But then there was some light at the end of this dark tunnel.  We had our baby tested for genetics to see if that answered the cause of the miscarriage and it did.  We were lucky to actually get an answer because many parents don't get that closure.  We found out that our precious baby girl (remember my dream…) had Turner Syndrome (Click here to learn more).  This is when a girl only has 1 X chromosome instead of the usual 2 and accounts for 10% of miscarriages.  I was reassured by my OB (and of course google) that this was a random event and that this wasn't passed to our baby genetically from us.  Relief and happiness are what I experienced when finding this out.  Of course I never wanted to be in this situation in the first place but I am glad that it isn't something we have to really worry about in the future.  That it was just a case of bad luck.  I am also happy we found out the gender of our baby.  I wanted a girl really bad.  Everyone (including myself) thought I was having a boy.  But knowing makes her more "real".  She isn't an "it" anymore.  She was a person, she had a soul, and she was loved by so many people and will be for eternity.  I believe that we will see her again in heaven.  God has healed her body and she is in the best place.  Our future children will know about their big sister and she will watch over our family.

I am an advocate for my daughter, who never got a voice.  I am telling "our lived nightmare" in hopes to help other women by breaking the silence.  Never take your children for granted, tell them you love them, and hold them often because I never got the chance.

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” -- Martin Luther King Jr.


  1. Brooke you and your husband are not alone in losing a baby. Nancy and I lost one 6 years ago around Valentines day. Trust me Andrew is wondering as much as you as to why this happened. It hurts and it will for a long time but remember this you have an answer as to why it happened I never got that as Genetic testing was not as advanced 6 years ago.

  2. Thank you Ed! The healing process is slow but it's been getting easier to move on! I'm hoping I can help others who experience a miscarriage by my post. :)