No Heartbeat...from elation to devastation in 30 days

September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010:  I was in shock as I saw two lines on the pregnancy test I took that morning. I quickly took the Hipstamatic B&W iPhone photo you see here (which dates the photo 30 years – thus the SEP 80 on the bottom) and sent it to my husband who was on a business trip in the Bay Area in California. The title of the email I sent him was “A new adventure”. It wasn’t a shock as in something we weren’t expecting, rather a shock of it finally happening after many months of trying. We have three beautiful healthy children but we still want at least one more.
We already started to think of names. Should we keep with the scheme of the names in the spice and herb cabinet or should we deviate from the norm and name our child something completely different? Our oldest daughter is named Saffron, followed by our second daughter Cinnamon, and our son named Sage. The dreams had started but we were still cautious. Due to our age, we have always had first trimester genetic testing done to rule out any genetic defects. We have also always waited until after these results to tell family and friends of our joyous arrival. Sadly, this time the news would not be joyous, rather devastating as we learned that our dreams have been shattered by the words “I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat”.
Move forward to October 12th when I saw a slight bit of spotting. I had my first appointment at the birthing center scheduled for the following day on the 13th, but was worried that something might be wrong. It was almost 4pm, an hour before they closed, and I insisted on coming in just to be sure…just to have peace of mind so I could sleep that night before my appointment the following morning after I dropped my oldest daughter at preschool. As I hurried to get all three kids dressed and in the van for the 20-minute drive to the Austin Area Birthing Center, I though back to last year when my son was born and how we rushed to the birthing center after I could no longer feel him moving. That is another story which did end with a healthy, but very overdue, baby boy. This story, however, did not end happily as one of the midwives confirmed my worst fears to where I was devastated beyond belief. Worse yet was the fact that my husband was on another business trip – this time in Dallas. I immediately called him from the parking lot of the birthing center and told him, crying, that there was no baby. The results were not final, but as a mother I knew something was not right. I took a blood test to check for HCG levels to determine how far along I was in the pregnancy. I suspected about 10 or 11 weeks but when the midwife called the following morning with the results, she stated that the levels indicated 7 weeks. I suspect that the miscarriage had already been in the process and I should have noticed the signs of severe fatigue I had been experiencing weeks earlier. I am not one to sleep during the day and I am the first to rise in the morning and the last to go to bed. So, when I started to feel such extreme fatigue during the day, I should have known something was wrong.
The following day on the 13th I started bleeding – heavily. I was scheduled to have another blood test to see if the HCG levels have increased or decreased, but the midwife informed me that in my case it was not warranted seeing how much I was bleeding. That evening the cramping intensified and I thought I would die. How could this be happening?! The rational part of my brain said it wasn’t a healthy baby, but the emotional part couldn’t fathom such tragedy.
I realize that miscarriages happen to many women but never understood what that really meant or how that would make me feel. Both my husband and I believe that I was in my 11th week and that the baby had already started to die before my blood test indicated a 7-week pregnancy. Regardless of the time frame, we lost a baby. We lost a sibling for our three living children – one they would never remember. My 4-year-old daughter hugged me and told me she was hugging me because I no longer had a baby. I remember the picture she drew for the baby a couple of weeks earlier and her kissing and hugging my belly telling me that she loves the baby. Sadly, she will never know of her sibling and will never be able to kiss him or her.
I had planned on posting this same photo around Thanksgiving, after we got positive results from the genetic testing. Sadly, this is not the case and I wanted you to know that this is why I have not been around as often as I’d like.