I Carried & Miscarried Our Rainbow.

The following is a compilation of the blog posts from the last two months of my life that have been sitting in my queue, and until now have gone unpublished.  Over the last two months I carried and miscarried our rainbow baby.

Unwritten because I was on vacation the week of September 5th, we saw a heart flicker on Friday, September 2nd.  It’s the only time we saw our baby alive.  We were told the heart had started beating within the day.  This baby was very much alive.

Tonight, September 19th, 2016, it ended with a D&C with my very loving and supportive OB who delivered Sam.  My husband and parents remained by my side and our pastor, Tony Alstott prayed over me, much like the day Sam was born.

I can say from pure experience that my experience with this little Lion, and Sam are vastly different.  Miscarriage is not stillbirth; yet at the same time miscarriage is a very real and raw loss and now forever part of my story that deserves to be told.  We had only just begun to share our sacred secret of life.  Here is our story as I’ve written and saved it.

Thursday – August 18, 2016

It’s been four days since we arrived home from our vacation in Maine.  It was really the best vacation.  But moreover, it’s been four days since I found out I was pregnant.

We arrived home late Sunday, August 14th.  Before we left Maine Ted told me, “I think you should take a pregnancy test when we get home.”  It’s the first time he’s recommended I do so.  From that moment in the car until I peed on the tiny stick, I became all consumed with wondering if I was actually pregnant.  After all, earlier this month my testing showed negative results.

When we arrived home I ran into the bathroom not even taking the time to take off my shoes to once again take the test.  Immediately, I saw double lines.  Joy.  Unspeakable joy. for approximately two minutes.  I ran half naked to Ted who was still carrying in our luggage and proudly held up the proof that I am pregnant.


I showed him and threw my arms around him and he exclaimed, “I knew it!”  But it wasn’t before he could drop our luggage that it slightly sank in I’m pregnant.  Anxiety.  Unspeakable anxiety.  My thoughts became flooded with how long this baby might live.  Will it die?  And if it does die, when?  I don’t know what it’s like to miscarry a baby.  I only know Sam’s death.

Then I wondered, what if it’s not real?  It wouldn’t take me eight pregnancy tests, one blood test and two doctors to tell me I’m pregnant like it did when I was pregnant with Sam.  This one test is proof.  But what if it’s a tubal pregnancy and there won’t be confirmation until I go to my first exam that this baby doesn’t exist?  And what about exams?  I haven’t had an ultrasound since the night it was confirmed that Sam’s heart was no longer beating.

And what if I am pregnant?  My friends.  My dear, beloved Mama sisters.  The ones who, like me four days ago, are dreaming about this moment.  The ones who share all their intimate feelings of grief with me.  The ones who struggle with infertility.  The ones who dream about being pregnant.  The ones who love Sam.  How do I tell them that I’m another Mama who is pregnant and leaving their so very isolated island?  I can only cry because a week ago I was sitting with my very best friend Joan and agreeing with her how very heart wrenching it can be to follow pregnant women.  And now, my pregnancy test claims I am one.  I didn’t know, Joanie.  I didn’t know.  It’s a lie to tell these women it changes nothing about our friendships.  It does.  I know.  I know because I was them.  But if I am carrying life, even the possibility of thinking I am, my love for their baby grows.  My hearts desire for them to carry life inside of them again burns so fiercely; more intensely.

I made a doctor’s appointment for next Thursday, August 25th.  I don’t know how you learn to dance this journey of unspeakable joy and unspeakable anxiety.  Nine months.  It’s a lifetime away.  It’s Sam’s life.  Nine months.

I’m trying to remind myself with each passing moment that this might be it so as to learn to enjoy my journey.  Embrace it.  But I’m desperate for this baby to live.  I want to hear it cry.  I want to watch it grow.  I want to put it on a school bus.  I want to send it to college.  I want it to fall in love.  I want to see it get married.  I want it to be happy.  I want it to experience life outside of my womb.  I want it to open its eyes.  I want it to know Sam.

Tuesday – August 23, 2016

I visited Sam today.  It’s the first time I’ve been by to see him since I saw my first positive pregnancy test.  I sat with him, brushed away the grass clippings from the lawnmower and shared with him that I was pregnant.  My heart believes he already knew.  I shared with him my fears of going to the doctor in two days and finding out I’m not actually pregnant or them telling me that this baby has also died.  After spending some time with Sam I got in the car and realized it’s much easier for me to talk to my baby’s grave then it is to talk to the one who lives in me.

This past week has felt just about as long as I had anticipated it would.  Tonight as I Googled “What do you see in a six week ultrasound?” I wondered what other answers I’ve been seeking this week online as though the internet holds the key to this pregnancy ending in life.  Here are some of this weeks Google searches:

  • Can you take an Epsom salt bath while pregnant?
  • Cramping, five weeks pregnant
  • Five week ultrasound picture
  • Pregnancy after stillbirth statistics
  • How you feel when you’re first pregnant
  • Can you lay on your back while pregnant?
  • Can you lay on your stomach while pregnant?
  • Is it possible to get a false positive pregnancy test?
  • When can I hear my babies heartbeat?

It’s clear to me by listing them here that like my pregnancy with Sam, I find it hard to believe I am pregnant again.  It’s also so prevalent that a. I’m already concerned that I might do something to harm my baby, like squishing it if I roll over the wrong way in my sleep and b. I so desperately want to do it right even though I couldn’t have possibly done  it better when I was pregnant with Sam.

It’s ironic, or not, that over the last year of my life I wrote about how out of control I am and yet again I find myself, I think I have some control over this pregnancy when in fact, I do not.  I have no doubt it stems from wanting this baby to live and take his or her first breath in nine months. 

Earlier this week I was in the shower in the early morning hours and found myself saying Thank you, God.  Admittedly, it’s not something I’ve said in awhile.  Thanking God has felt hard over the last year. It’s still hard to thank him and pray when I feel as though my prayers for Sam were unheard.  I haven’t been able to voice to God yet my anxieties, concerns or praise for this pregnancy because it almost feels as though I could jinx it.

I received an anonymous note in the mail this week that said, “God has you.  May you feel and know He is with you.”  In my last published post I had asked just that; that people would pray.  I still need those prayers.  I’m desperate for them over the next nine months.  I think it’s because in my heart of hearts I know there’s not just one living in me, but two.

The Spirit of God…lives in you. –Romans 8:11 NLT

I’ve harbored this great secret of our pregnancy except for two loss Moms, my parents and my yoga teacher.  Kati, Eloise and Finn’s Mama, told me, “I promise to carry the hope and joy for you when you can’t.  And no matter how long this pregnancy is, this baby is already SO loved.”

That is my prayer, sweet readers, that you might continue to carry hope and joy for me.

Thursday – August 25, 2016. Part One.

It’s the morning of my first OB appointment.  My appointment is at 9AM and it’s currently 8 o’clock.  I’m at home, eating a bagel and feeling like a ball of nervous energy.  In an attempt to keep them at bay, I decided to share my feelings here.

I’m rightfully concerned that in an hour, my life will change.  I suppose it could go two ways.

The kind of change you’re usually not prepared for; but today I am.  The life changing experience of the death of your baby.  I keep wondering if soon I will pee in a cup for them to tell me I’m not pregnant or that this baby has stopped growing.  I don’t know if you can prepare yourself for that news.  Probably not, but I’d sure like to think I can try.

When I was blow drying my hair this morning all I could think about was the night we left for the hospital when we learned Sam’s heart was no longer beating.  I actually got ready that night.  I showered, fixed my curly hair and put on makeup as though it were just any other night; much like this morning.  Except then I wasn’t aware, or I had forgotten, how in a matter of moments your life can be turned inside out. I wasn’t prepared for “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” Can I be today?

Then there’s the kind of change one can hope for.  The type of change that I’ve yet to fully know.  The truth that I am actually pregnant.  That this baby is growing just like it should.  That I am right on schedule and although early, should have a positive outlook. That maybe, just maybe, in nine months we’ll be bringing a baby home with us; alive.

I don’t know what the latter is like which is maybe why it’s so hard to believe it’s a possibility for my life.  I’ve sure seen the fearless pregnant women who announce their pregnancies will full confidence that their baby will be born breathing; but that’s not me.

Some time ago when we were visiting Sam’s grave I remember looking at Ted confused.  Three plots; one for Sam, one for me, one for Ted.  I genuinely looked at him and said, “But where will we bury the rest of our children?” and Ted responded, “I hope we don’t have to.”

Even early on, it hadn’t occurred to me that a baby of ours might live.  I had forgotten that they are supposed to live.  I guess that’s why it’s so hard to believe that I might be pregnant with another healthy child, who might actually live.

Thursday – August 25, 2016. Part Two.

I just finished meeting Carrie, my yoga teacher but more like life coach and friend, for some delicious decaf tea at Quills.  Carrie, I love you.

When I left the house this morning I felt strangely calm.  I sipped water on the way to the Doctor’s office so to have a full bladder when I arrived.  I remember being pregnant with Sam and finding myself more times than I’d like to admit not being able to use the restroom in the cup you get at every appointment.

I arrived before Ted and decided to walk in alone.  I’ve made the trek solo before and felt confident I was fine to do so today.  I walked in to be greeted by a very pregnant woman waiting her turn.  I diverted my eyes and went straight to register myself present.

Before I had time to begin filling out my paperwork the nurse called my name.  I love this about my OB’s office, I might add.  I’ve been twice since Sam died and each time I’m hurried to the back.  I can’t thank them enough for their great sensitivity.

Before I could enter the tiny space to register the nurse handed me a cup to pee in.  There it was.  Confirmation that I could be pregnant.  I bolted into the bathroom and broke down in tears.

Something new.  I hadn’t done that since Sam was born.  Proof there’s still firsts, even during pregnancy after loss.  I sat on the toilet and cried.  I tried to calm myself my reminding myself that this was it – this is how I’ll know I’m pregnant.

When I finished I cleaned up with my tear streaked face and opened the tiny door where you place the specimen, as they call it, to see a hand waiting.  Maybe it sounds odd but I found it unexpectedly comforting.

I cried some more in the bathroom and then reentered the world a few minutes later.

“Congratulations,” the nurse said.

I ignored her.

She asked me all the normal questions about our families histories, my first pregnancy, my allergies; it all felt scary.  When we finished Ted appeared and we were ushered into the Nurse Practitioner’s office.

“Congratulations,” she said.

I ignored her as well.

We sat down to be greeted by the same pamphlets we were given not too long ago.  I answered questions like, “Do you plan to breastfeed?” to which I replied, “If this baby lives.”

Then I finally asked.  “Did they check my pee? Am I actually pregnant?”

“Yes.” she said.

When we finished up she agreed to my request (through Ted because I was much too afraid of my response if they said no) to have an ultrasound.

I lay on the table in a fog; preparing myself for what – I’m not sure.  Nothing picked up with the normal ultrasound machine so the technician chose to use do a transvaginal ultrasound.

Hello space made for a baby. 

I see you. 

I can’t believe I actually see you.

As you can see, we see the space – also known as a “sac” but we do not see a baby.  Everyone assures me this is normal at five weeks.  We return next Friday to see what should be a yolk and fetal pole, as they call it.  Otherwise, I will have a miscarriage.

After more meetings, blood work and scheduling Ted and I found ourselves in the parking lot just looking at each other.  Being the Mother who is so good at being a loss Mother I said to him, “What if the sac is empty?”

Ted replied, “What did you say this week? What did you want to see at this ultrasound?”  I said, “A space.  A circle in my belly made for the baby that I knew might be empty today because it’s too early to see anything else.”  Ted responded, “We should be thanking God.  We got just that.”

A few short hours later thanks to the busyness of my job, I was hugging Carrie and sharing with her the events of my day.

“I got you a present,” she said.


Inside the cover of the book she wrote, “..Use this gift as a reminder to love yourself and stay focused on the good in each moment.”  How quickly I have forgotten what grief and Carrie have taught me over the last year; to breathe – to be present. Day by day.  Hour by hour.  Minute by minute.  Second by second.

I don’t know how long this pregnancy will last.  I don’t know if it will end in happily ever after.  But right now, in this moment, I am pregnant.

Yoga Mama to a living Yoga Baby.

Tuesday – August 30, 2016. Celebrate Your Day.

My Mom called me early this morning at work to tell me she had decided to take a half day.  She spent part of her morning sitting with Sam.  She called and said, “Did you know there’s a present here for you?”  I smiled.  I didn’t know anything about a present being left but she said she was leaving it for me to pick up after work.

I dropped in to say hello to my favorite little man to be greeted by this..

A present so perfectly wrapped.  Chevrons matching the curtains in his nursery and green ribbon,  like the emerald color of his birthstone.  Still unsure of who left the gift I looked a little closer.

The box read, “Abby.  Open me when you are full with hope and love!  You’ll know when.”

I sat thinking out loud to myself, to Sam and to the baby growing in me.  I sat for quite sometime.  I wondered out loud, when am I full with hope and love?  Will I ever be completely full?  Will I ever have this moment back with my baby the size of a blueberry growing in me and the spirit of my one and half year old surrounding me?  Hopefully so, but maybe not.

I decided to open the box.

A sippy cup & suction bowl made for a baby.

A sippy cup & suction bowl made for my baby.

A sippy cup & suction bowl made for my baby, that honors my first baby.

Tears. A lot of tears.

I stared at them, touching the sippy cup and immediately wondering if these tiny hands forming inside me will one day be holding the cup.  Yes, I think so.  And pink; beautiful, marvelous pink.  The last time I purchased a pregnancy test the girl at Walgreens who checked me out asked, “Are you expecting?” I said, “I hope so.” She said, “Do you want a boy or a girl?” I said, “It doesn’t matter, I’d love both.” But I think it’s a girl.  I thought Sam was a boy. In due time we’ll know but today I sat with Sam and held his little brother or sister’s first present.

Celebrez Votre Journee.

I wasn’t sure what it meant until later when I arrived home and googled it.  I thought maybe it said “Celebrate Your Journey”.  I sat with Sam and his sibling and felt so thankful for this perfectly timed reminder today.  I’ve been feeling awfully sick since last Friday which draws so many emotions from me.  Thankful for the reassurance that a baby must be growing but being so gently reminded that pregnancy is not easy.

In fact, pregnancy after loss is so hard.

Celebrate Your Day.

I shall celebrate, even while grieving, the precious life inside me.  I shall celebrate through all the moments that remind me of Sam and his absence.  I shall celebrate the opportunity given to me to be with child.  I shall celebrate because this baby is worth celebrating.  I shall celebrate because I can.

**As a side note, at the time I’m writing this blog, I’m still not sure who left this for me.  I’ve thought about posting it to Facebook but there’s something seemingly perfect and special to me in this very moment about the anonymity of it all.  Someone – a very special someone – is in tune with exactly what I needed today.  It’s just another reason I have to be thankful for my community, my friends, my family, and God.

Sunday – September 18, 2016.

Wouldn’t you know, I just started having faith that this baby might live, only to be told tonight that it’s dying.

It’s 1 AM. Six hours ago I checked myself into the ER, had blood drawn to measure my HCG levels and another ultrasound to confirm what I’ve been so terrified of over the last eight weeks.

I woke up from a nap this afternoon, used the restroom and found blood. I called for Ted who immediately drove me to the hospital. Three hours after we arrived we were told my HCG levels remain at a normal level but the ultrasound confirmed my fears.

They rolled me on a hospital bed into a dark room with my husband. I cried to the tech and told her about Sam. I told her that these terrify me. I told her how only three ultrasounds ago, I was told my baby was no longer alive.

She took some photos on the regular ultrasound and then decided to use a transvaginal ultrasound. I’ve googled every step of the way what I should be seeing. And I knew what I was looking at. She remained silent and I remained still; looking from Ted to the screen and back to Ted. I silently mouthed to him, “It’s not okay.”

After the tech completed the ultrasound she left the room. I used the restroom and told Ted, “I think the baby has stopped growing.” When the tech appeared again through tears I asked, “It’s stopped growing, hasn’t it?” She replied, “I’m not supposed to answer you but yes, I think so.”

Fast forward to now. I’m at home, my husband asleep next to me and my mom in the room across the hall. We’re trying to prepare for the unpreparable.

It’s ugly, losing babies, and somehow it keeps happening to me. I feel frozen. The heavy bleeding hasn’t come yet; but it will. So I wait for the unknown in what’s supposed to be the comforts of my own home.

But I don’t feel comfortable. Do I fall asleep? I’m afraid to wake up in a pool of blood. Do I use the restroom? I’m heartbroken at what I might see.

Just last night we shared with another family of my pregnancy. A family friend told me my initials are on a bracelet he wears that says P.U.S.H. {Pray Until Something Happens}

Why won’t it just happen now? If it’s going to end, why must I wait? Hasn’t my heart had enough? Where are you, God?

A million thoughts are scattered amongst my brain tonight. Mostly how indescribably torn apart my heart feels.

I ordered Sam Bear a onesie last week. “Big Brother” it says. He was going to hold rainbow balloons. I was going to share life.

Now I hold Sam Bear and wait. Death has a hold on me.

6 thoughts on “I Carried & Miscarried Our Rainbow.

  1. I can’t believe me eyes, seeing and reading you struggle and in pain that you don’t deserve.. Im truly sorry that you have experience this sadness again. I wish I could fix it I wish I could make you feel confident & happy. Remember that Ted has been given to you to comfort you and your soul because that is what your soul needs love, Happyness.. Talk to your Yoga teacher she also has the right guidance to get you through this time. I love you Ted and Sam dearly and your Rainbow that I will see in the sky!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart aches for you dear friend. This journey seems like a cruel joke and it is so hard when we believe in a God who hears and answers but it feels like He remains silent. I won’t offer hope; I know hope seems dangerous right now because the pain is overwhelming. All I can offer is prayers for strength to make it through the next day. You are in my thoughts ❤️️

    Like

  3. I am so sorry that you and Ted have experienced yet another loss. You will remain in my prayers and I hope that one day you will have a healthy baby.

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I cried reading your story….the heartbreak is unbearable but I’m glad we have One who will hold us when we pass through the floods of turmoil and heartbreak. May He always hold you and your babies and may you know that you are loved beyond belief…..

    Bertha

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