This time last year we were preparing ourselves for a second miscarriage.
It felt a little like deja vu, only this time I didn’t have any warning signs to worry over for days. It was a normal early morning trip to the bathroom, but I felt something on my way there. I rushed those last few steps in, and discovered what I was already beginning to fear.
I didn’t cry at first. Just sat there in disbelief that this could be happening again.
I called for my husband, and the look in his eyes as he brought his hand to his face did me over. I began to sob.
Because the difference between our first experience and this one was that we had two baby boys to be mindful of. And they were sleeping soundly on the other side of the wall from me.
I made my way to the shower to clean up and take a breath. And I prayed. At first I couldn’t bring myself to plead with God to keep this angel earth-side. That’s all I did the last time and my reasoning in this moment was that if I reacted differently or prayed for something differently that we’d get a different outcome. I just kept repeating, “get me through this.”
Get me through this.
Again and again.
Meanwhile, my husband called his mom to come watch the boys so we could go to the hospital. The second time she had to receive a phone call from her son with the words, “I think Ally is having a miscarriage.”
I wiped my eyes and put a smile on my face. My voice cracked with the words, but I gave my sons the best “good morning” I could muster. I dressed them and fed them breakfast while Grandma arrived.
The drive to the hospital was mostly silent. We were both processing this moment. The fear. The heartache. The wonder. The disbelief.
I quietly cried while my husband held my hand. And the words I do remember…
“I need you to stay with me this time. The boys need you.”
I’d been thinking about the same thing.
Our first miscarriage shattered me to the core, and it took a very long time to piece myself back together. Frankly, the pieces never quite fit like they did before. And I agreed and knew that my family would need me whole.
I hated this about our first miscarriage, and I hated it this time around, too…
Every single employee you encounter at the hospital asks why you’re there. Every. Single. One. Don’t you realize how difficult it is for me to say over again, “I think I’m having a miscarriage.”
After our initial check-in, we were sent to have an ultrasound. We sat in that waiting room, looked at one another, and exhaled a deep breath. It was the first moment I truly felt some peace. Regardless of the outcome, I felt in that moment that we were going to be okay.
I can’t remember now what it was, but my husband got me to laugh hysterically as we waited. Probably a reference to The Office. I love that about him.
When it was my turn, I had to go in to the exam room first by myself. With a squeeze of my hand, my husband reluctantly let go, and I walked in to the unknown.
When I explained why I was there, the ultrasound tech met me with such love.
“I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. Why don’t you go ahead and have your husband join us now.”
I was so grateful. I needed him.
Ultrasound techs usually can’t tell you much. They’re supposed to gather the images for the doctor to review with you.
But this one was special. She got it. She understood.
And she said, “We have a strong heartbeat, mama.“
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?!”
My husband and I looked at each other in absolute shock. We’d been preparing ourselves for the worst and were even more confused than before on what was happening.
Turns out that I had a subchorianic hemorrhage (again!). This meant that we essentially had a 50/50 chance of losing the baby or not. From our first experience, that meant a loss.
I was put on bed rest for a week. I couldn’t lift or do much walking.
That week was the longest wait and see ever. And honestly, that week tormented me more than the initial cause for concern.
All I could think was that my baby was alive at the start of this week, and if my baby doesn’t make it to the end of the week, that would be all my fault.
My mother-in-law stayed with us since my husband had to work. She cooked and cared for the boys, but about a couple days in, I lost it.
I felt so worthless as a mother in that moment.
I was fighting to keep the baby inside me alive, but had welcomed two sons into our life just two months prior. I was the one person they knew most at that time in their life. The one person they wanted and needed.
They didn’t understand why mama couldn’t pick them up. They didn’t understand why mama couldn’t play with them. It broke my heart.
I felt like I was stuck in a place where all three of my children needed me, and I couldn’t do anything for any of them.
So, we just made it work. I sat on my eldest son’s twin bed while my mother-in-law picked up the baby from the crib and put him in my arms so he had me first thing in the morning. She cooked, I fed them. She bathed them, I dressed them. I’m forever grateful for all she did for us that week.
The bleeding eventually slowed and then stopped. My doctor confirmed that the baby was okay, and that I would continue on with a healthy pregnancy. I just needed to take it easy.
Experiencing pregnancy after loss is like riding a seesaw until the baby is placed in your arms. I felt these extreme highs, but also overwhelming lows. Joy and fear. Gratitude and doubt. Up and down. Again and again.
I don’t think I ever really let myself feel confident that Matthew would arrive safe and sound. Now that we have him here, that makes me very sad to have spent so much time doubting.
I would prepare myself for the worst before every ultrasound or doctor appointment. Every. Single. One.
When I first heard his heartbeat, I was overcome with emotion, but wondered if I’d ever hear it again.
When I began to feel him move, I was so proud, but would frequently panic when I felt too long a period had passed without feeling him. I’d lay on my bed pleading to God and pleading to Matthew, “please move. Please baby. Please show mommy that you’re okay.” I would poke and press hoping that he’d respond. All the while, he was probably just napping and I’d wake him up. Maybe that’s why he isn’t the greatest sleeper now?
With each passing week, I’d think that I’d lose him. That I would have a late term loss or stillbirth. I even carried this fear with me into the delivery room (I’ll share more about that in my next post).
I was hyper focused on small things that I had magnified into big issues. Having the miscarriage scare only amplified what I was going through.
It was psychological warfare for nine months.
Pregnancy after loss left me holding my breath until I saw Matthew’s first.
Doctors told me that I wouldn’t get pregnant without fertility treatment, but here I am celebrating a happy and healthy 6-month old baby boy miraculously conceived (without treatment!) in God’s perfect timing.
Despite the struggle, pregnancy after loss has also given me hope! Hope that when we inevitably endure our next difficult trial in life that we can and will make it to our rainbow on the other side by trusting in God and putting all our faith in him.
If you are currently enduring a difficult season, my major takeaway is to celebrate something each day. The situation may be hard, but there is something to be thankful for each day.
I did not do this well going through infertility before our first pregnancy. But after that, my successful days were the ones that I forced the bad out of my mind and put all my effort into focusing on the good. Most times that meant me acknowledging the miracle of carrying Matthew for another day. I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but today my body safeguarded another life and that should be celebrated.
Sending love to all those in this position right now! I know it’s scary, but God’s plan (whatever that may be) will reveal itself to be exactly what you were meant for. ❤️