My First Baby
I thought this post was going to be different.
I was so excited, so anxious to tell everyone our good news; after all, we tried to get pregnant for a year. Although most everyone knew of our desires to be parents, trying to get pregnant, and "infertility" was a lonely battle that Mitchell and I faced together as a marriage, but it felt so personal to me as I saw it as my body failing us. Those months were full of sleepless nights, prayers to God, asking "why did you tell me that it was the right time to start a family if you weren't going to bless me with that?," heartbreak as more and more of my friends announced to me that they were pregnant, and so many mornings full of negative pregnancy tests. I cried. A lot. With each month that passed, it just felt harder and more unbearable. It was such a weird feeling to be so happy for our friends who were not struggling like we had, and yet, so sad for ourselves. I felt so empty. So sad. And after a while, I became more and more hopeless.
I finally had it. The revelation, the prompting, the feeling, whatever you want to call it, that things were okay. I had spent the day at my computer, trying to work through one of the most painful days of infertility that I personally had, and I couldn't stop the tears. Mitchell came home from work and tried to console me but nothing was working. My mom even had to come to our house, but all she could do was wrap her arms around me as I cried in pain, because again, I felt like my body was failing us. I couldn't give my husband a baby. I couldn't do it for myself. I couldn't do it for our marriage. And that was excruciating.
That day, after my mom had left, I couldn't take it any longer. I got in the car because I needed to breathe, something that I hadn't felt I could do because the pressure and the sadness was too much. I found myself at the temple. I cried. I prayed. I was so mad at God. I'll spare the details, as they are sacred to me and to this situation, but right then and there, He gave me the answer. "Soon." I finished up my crying and got in my car to drive back home, and that's when I heard the words, "go take a test."
You can only imagine how confused and set back I was. Just an hour before I was sitting on my couch weeping with my head in my moms chest. "There's no way that's going to be positive. I can't do that to myself. Not today." As I continued my drive home, I felt more peace as I thought more about it. I had one more test at home, so I made the decision that I would take it. I told myself that it was going to be negative, and I said, over and over again, out loud so I would hear myself and believe it, "I'm going to be okay." I walked into our house where Mitchell was resting on the bed, went straight to the bathroom, and took a test. Probably my twentieth in the last year.
As I watched the test turn positive, I began to tremble. I had to sit down. It wasn't real, it couldn't be! Maybe I had just been staring at it for so long that my eyes were playing tricks on me. I set it down for another minute or so and then looked at it again. There it was. Clear as day. My first ever positive pregnancy test. I wept. I felt as though I couldn't breathe, but this time in a good way. Finally.
To make a long story short, I kept it to myself for a few hours. Just my baby and I knew. Mitchell and I had scheduled this photo shoot (above) months before, and I wanted to surprise him. I wanted to tell him in a special way that we would always remember. I can promise you that the feelings that the both of us had that day, as I showed him the first positive pregnancy test that both of us had ever seen, will never be forgotten. We were so shocked, so happy. We finally had what we had been waiting for for so, so long.
That night, we were on a high. That lasted a few days, until the anxieties of "oh my goodness what is going on am I going to be a good mom is my baby going to be healthy am I going to get super sick what if this baby is two babies" started kicking in. They were pretty severe. Maybe it was a sign, maybe it's just me and how I deal with anxieties. I cried almost every day of that first week that we knew. Pregnancy hormones, I guess.
When we finally got a positive test, after so long of waiting, hoping, and trying, I thought we were past the feelings of anxiety and heartache. Somewhere in my anxieties I had fears of miscarriage that would pop up occasionally, but I never thought that it would happen to us. Not on our first- not after the feelings, promptings, and impressions that Mitchell and I both had about this baby even before we knew it was inside of me. I relied on those. Those carried me through the hard days and overwhelming thoughts. Until the day before our appointment.
The three weeks between finding out that we were pregnant and going to our first ultrasound were the WORRRRST. I'm sure all of you mamas can relate, but the days pass by so slowly. I finally reached the day before our appointment, and it wasn't until about 9pm that I began to feel overwhelmed with the thought that our babies heart wasn't going to be beating. I cried. I expressed these fears to my aunt who responded with the question, "what are you going to do if the heart isn't beating?" I didn't know how to respond. I still don't.
Monday was our appointment. It was finally here. I was so excited, but I couldn't shake the feeling that our baby was not okay. Maybe that's mom anxiety, mom guilt, or whatever you want to call it. Maybe, like I said, it was a sign. It still makes me a little sick to my stomach. We got to the doctors office and into the room where we were going to have our first ultrasound, and our hearts dropped a little when the doctor said, "well, you're measuring more like 6, 7 weeks." I thought I was 10. There it was, our little baby. I saw it. It was so small, but it was inside of me. At that point, he didn't look for a heartbeat, maybe because he knew he wasn't going to find one. Maybe he was being serious when he said, "things look good! If you really are only six weeks, I wouldn't worry about it. Everything looks great for that timeline." He left the room so I could get dressed again, and when he came back in was when my heart stopped a bit.
"Everything looks good. The sack is perfectly round and doesn't look like there's any damage to it. The pole (baby) looks good. If I were you I wouldn't worry. But I do have to warn you. At this point, the chances of you miscarrying is about 20%- 1 in 5. Let's have you come back in two weeks to see if things are progressing and growing. We'll have a better idea then." I cried. He touched my shoulder as I lowered my head. "I know how anxious you are, but we'll figure this out."
He walked us to the front where I made my next appointment, but I knew the second that I left that office that I wasn't going to be able to wait two weeks to know if my baby was okay. The office was closed on Tuesday, but first thing Wednesday morning I called the office back. To make another long story short, the nurse said that at 6 weeks we should have seen a heartbeat. That about sent me into distress mode, as if I wasn't already there. She said to come in and draw blood to check my HCG levels. I did. But I still felt like there was more I could do.
Thursday morning Mitchell and I made our way to the hospital for a more invasive, up close and personal ultrasound. I had high hopes. I thought that the tech was going to do her thing and then tell us that our baby had a healthy heartbeat and not to worry. I was distraught when the opposite was illustrated. "I'm not seeing any heart tones," are the words that shattered my heart into a million pieces that morning. She then told us that we needed to go to our OB and make sure that we were seen that day. We needed to be seen so that they could see and hear what we did. Or in our case, what we didn't.
The office didn't answer when I called, and then we were put on hold. We decided to just drive straight there and demand to be seen. We were, the doctor told me I was just having anxiety, I rolled my eyes through the tears, Mitchell asked if there was another ultrasound that we could do (knowing that there was), and the doctor told us that he would track down my blood work to check my HCG levels. He came back into the room where Mitchell and I were and said, "your HCG levels are high enough that we should see a heartbeat. So let's go do it."
We walked into the ultrasound room, where I knew what was going to happen. They did yet another ultrasound which showed the same thing that Mitchell and I had seen just an hour before. The words, "no heartbeat" flashed across the screen, right beside my teeny tiny baby. It was still in there, but it stopped growing at 6 weeks, 1 day. "I'm so confused. Everything looks so good. Are you SURE that your dates were correct on your last period? Her dates have got to be off!" These words came out of my doctors mouth, and right then, I realized that we weren't going to have a lot of answers. If the doctor was confused, there was no way that I couldn't be.
The doctor told us that he wanted us to wait a week to confirm these results. "Things look so normal that I'm not 100% sure I could feel confident telling you to remove this baby right now. If this is a normal pregnancy, I would hate to disrupt its progression and put an end to it. Now, I don't think this is a normal pregnancy, and you're about a 95% chance of miscarriage, but just in case. I want to wait." The waiting is what is killing us. That 5% is what is killing us. We know that the Lord can and does perform miracles, but I can't be hopeful any more, I just can't do that to myself. I'm anxious for Wednesday, to go and hear for the third time, "I'm sorry, your baby's heart is not beating, there's no heart tones. You are miscarrying." Just like our tiny baby's, my heart is absolutely broken. And again, I feel like my body has failed my family.
I have had no signs of miscarriage. No bleeding. Little cramping (which I was told is normal in the first trimester). No signs that by body doesn't want to hold onto our child. That's the worst part. I pray every night that if this baby is not meant to come to this earth, that it happen naturally and quickly so that Mitchell and I can start trying again. So that we can start the whole process over. I wish with everything that I am that this baby was meant to be ours right now, but if it isn't, I need to be able to... (I hate saying it like this, but...) move on. I don't think I'll be able to heal my heart until this baby no longer shares my body. I wish that it was possible for my heart to beat for the two of us.
This post was extremely long and scattered. I wanted to share. If only for my own therapeutic reasons. Thank you for reading and hanging in here with me. I cannot tell you how much I personally, and Mitchell and I together have appreciated the outpouring of love and support that we have felt from family, loved ones, and strangers. I genuinely feel that I wouldn't be able to go on without the faith of others. I know we still have 5%, but right now, that feels a lot like 0%. And I think it may be this time.
We'll make it through eventually. Together. I'm lucky to have Mitchell and to know that we have our baby forever. This will always be my first baby. It may not be my firstborn, but we shared 6 weeks and 1 day together, where both of our hearts were beating inside of me, and that means more to me than anything.