We got pregnant again and were expecting our second child in Spring 2016. Granted at week four there isn’t a whole lot there, but by week six there’s a heartbeat and buds for arms and legs and developing eyes and a lot of anticipation. Anticipation of the morning sickness, the growing bump, the first noticeable movements, picking names and a birth. Then anticipation of how Nessness will handle being a big sister, how they might play together, expanding the children’s rooms, thoughts of a minivan. Anticipation for new first baby smiles, baby cuddles, family cuddles, laughter and chaos. Anticipation.
We excitedly share with family. More anticipation.
Then at week seven, I saw some brown. It’s fine, lots of pregnant moms do. It’s nothing, everything is fine. But by the second day, the brown turned red. Bright bloody red. It was like a regular medium flow period. Day after day. Toilet bowl after toilet bowl. But I had no cramping. And all the online advice said it’s when you have blood and cramping that is likely a miscarriage. One lady bled for two weeks but still had a healthy full term baby. So I prayed. We all prayed and hoped baby was okay. “Baby” because that what a positive pregnancy test means to me. You don’t name tissue. You name a baby. You don’t anticipate and dream of a life together with tissue; you do that with a baby. A baby who will grow.
But they don’t tell you about the clots, the clumps, the big clumps. Every time I saw some I hoped that wasn’t baby. In the toilet bowl. Being flushed away. And nothing I could do about it. That was hard…nothing. I. could. do. The whole time being on vacation too. It was a crappy vacation.
When I came back I had an ultrasound lined up. There was a small bud visible but no heartbeat. It’s too early in your pregnancy to tell, the radiologist tells me. Then I see my doctor, “It’s likely an early miscarriage. The pregnancy would have ended about a week before the bleeding starts. And since this is so early, it’s not uncommon you didn’t have cramps. The bud you saw is a two millimeter size bump of trapped fluid but it should reabsorb into your body. Blood tests for HCG serum levels will confirm the miscarriage.” So I take a blood test. HCG serum level was at 48…it should be at least 7000 by now. And two days later, it has fallen to 19. My deflating heart crushed. All the anticipation gone. And to tell family that their anticipation has to go as well. Sucked. Just sucked. So that clump I saw one time…with a perfectly round, small, blueberry sized bubble on it…maybe that really was baby. In the toilet. Flushed away.
“20-30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage”
“It’s really common, many don’t even realize they were pregnant’
“It’s your body’s way of naturally handling a nonviable pregnancy”
“It’s technically not even a fetus yet”
None of that made me feel better. I don’t care about the medical facts…only that our anticipated BABY was no more. Her life that just began has ended. It’s not scientific but baby felt female. I also had a tragic dream while I was pregnant, of a baby girl who would never grow up to have her own children. So I will refer to baby as a girl here on in. (Side note, how can we accept that early pregnancies are only considered Life if it’s wanted? And if unwanted it’s just tissue? No, all human life should be valued because it is human. Period.)
Then I started wondering, could I have stopped this some how? My endocrinologist confirmed it wasn’t related to my thyroid. It’s not my age. It’s not because I should’ve rested more. It just happens. Because it just does. For many.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
I am trying to be thankful. Thankful for the beautiful Nessness in our lives. Thankful we even got pregnant. I know that in itself is a miracle. Thankful the miscarriage completed naturally, that it wasn’t a later miscarriage and and that I didn’t see a more developed baby come out. My heart breaks for moms who did. I’m still working on thankfulness but lately I’m also thankful I can drink wine and eat paté.
Once the miscarriage was confirmed by blood tests, I wrestled with how to give significance to a life that wouldn’t have been considered “life” in our culture. Am I supposed to pretend it never happened? Did the little life matter? And I wrestled with why this had to happen. Why did God give and take away? And I was reminded that this happens like why cancer happens or why bad things happen in general…this world is fallen and sin has permeated everything. Sin leaves a crimson stain. Wages of sin is death. But in Christ, a new sinless life awaits. And Baby has reached that already.
A good friend reminded me, “Your brother gets to meet this niece first!” And that brought bittersweet cheer to my heart. Yes. Praise God. Which means we’ll meet her one day as well. God knows and loves us before we’re knit together in our mother’s womb; He knows and loves and is with our second baby too. He made her and has a name for her. This is where I received some peace…she IS significant. She is our second. We will meet her one day (another item to be thankful for). She is loved.
Another friend shared how her mother in law had multiple miscarriages and how she named each one. I thought it was a beautiful way to honor their lives (no matter how short). I remember when we were picking Anessa’s name, we were considering “Hannah” for her middle name because it means “grace” and she was a woman of faith in the Bible. We decided on Grace in the end, but this time, I came across the Japanese version of Hannah, Hana, which means “Flower bud”, and thought it was perfect for reminding me of God’s grace, faithfulness and describing the little life I carried for a short while. We introduce Hanna. Our flower bud.