This is a repost from a Stay Strong Mom follower. Read the entire article here on At Home with Joanna.
The following post deals with pregnancy loss and may contain sensitive topics.
Today, at 8:20 AM, we were supposed to be at our second trimester ultrasound for our baby. Instead, I am writing. A week ago from today, at 2:23 AM, I gave birth to our beautiful little boy at 18 weeks of gestation.
A “Rainbow Baby” is a baby born shortly after the loss of a previous baby. The term is given to these babies because a rainbow typically follows a storm, giving us hope of what’s to come.
In February, we experienced a pregnancy loss at 16 weeks. I thought it was the worst experience we would ever go through. When we discovered I was pregnant again a few months later, I was more than ecstatic. Extremely apprehensive, and terrified? Absolutely! I was also thrilled. I was constantly holding my breath to reach 16 weeks. I thought that since we had lost our baby at 16 weeks the previous time, there was absolutely no way I would lose another one after that amount of time had passed.
The last time, I had not known I was going to be a Mother again. The guilt follows me to this day, and will probably follow me forever- I was unaware of our tiny one growing. I wasn’t taking the right precautions. This time, I knew. I knew to watch what I ate and drank and I had followed my Doctor’s suggestions.
I had done everything right.
THE CLOUDS BEFORE THE STORM
At the end of 16 weeks, I felt a kick. I cried. Several emotions were present, but most of all, I was relieved. I couldn’t wait for our next appointment to confirm that our baby was doing okay. However, I felt in my heart and in my gut, that something wasn’t right. I tried to brush it off. I thought it would be impossible to experience a loss and not be worried. It was normal to constantly be waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was okay to feel like something was wrong, but that it was surely just in my head. We had been through the worst. There was no way it could happen again…. but then it did.
On the morning of our appointment, I woke up from a couple of hours of sleep in a very excited and nervous mood; I was constantly moving. I was worried we would be late due to the rush hour, “Monday Morning” traffic. Pulling up to the hospital, I told my toddler to be good for Daddy, kissed my husband goodbye, and said “Wish us luck.”
I anxiously signed in, and distracted myself with e-mails for work. I was accepted as a blogger for one of the bigger newspapers in the area. Excitement of what was to come was overwhelming. In the waiting room, I glanced at a beautiful newborn with his Mother and I was thrilled to have the privilege of experiencing it all over again myself. I was then called by my Doctor’s student. It was my turn. It was time to hear the heartbeat of our beautiful baby.
I was smiling the whole time, and I was prepared to answer any question she had. Nights had been dedicated to me analyzing how I was feeling compared to the last time. She was so kind. She took my blood pressure, said it was perfect and I sighed in relief. I never had high blood pressure during my pregnancy with Liam, and I thought it was a good sign. I was okay.
THE CLOUDS DARKEN
It was time to use the doppler to hear the heartbeat. I turned the video setting on my phone on. I wanted to have the heartbeat recorded as a reminder. It would be a reminder that yes, I would worry during the entire pregnancy, but, I would also hear that beautiful heartbeat and it would all be okay.
She tried finding the heartbeat for a few minutes. Within the 4 minutes and 12 seconds that I had been recording, you can hear me start crying. You can almost hear my heart drop into what felt like the never-ending pit of my stomach. I knew. I now have one of my darkest moments recorded.
The student looked at me and said it may be her inexperience, and she would go get my Doctor. She put her hand on my shoulder, glanced at me quickly with eyes that told me the truth, but told me to not worry just yet.
My Doctor walked in, and since she knew our history, I could see it in her face right away. She began to look for the heartbeat herself. She tried to comfort me, saying that it once took her 30 minutes to find a heartbeat at this stage of gestation. I knew she was trying her best to keep me calm, but I had a flashback to hearing Liam’s heartbeat. It had been found easily, and it was loud and clear.
While I knew it was possible that the baby was hiding, it should not take this long to find that quick drumming sound I was longing for. They then resorted to bringing in an ultrasound machine.
HE WAS BEAUTIFUL.
He looked perfect and cozy in the ever growing space my body and heart was making for him. It was clear he was meant to be taking up this space. It was also clear that he did not have a heartbeat.
I looked up at my Doctor, and said “There should be a flutter in that beautiful space. There isn’t.”
She turned to me, put her arms around me, and said while they needed confirmation, she was so sorry. I was hugged by my Doctor as I burst into tears and the nightmare truly began. This is when shock took over and the next few hours were out of my control.
She called a few other doctors as I used half of her Kleenex box, and arranged the confirmation ultrasound. It was time for me to stand up and walk to the other part of the hospital and I was rooted. I stood up, but almost threw up all over my doctor and this poor student.
My doctor showed me that she had her fingers crossed. As I walked into the stairwell and let out my first unaccompanied wail of grief, I heard her speaking gently to her student. She was making sure she was okay after needing to give this news. I am so glad she did that. It comforted me knowing that while I probably gave this student one of her first experiences with a patient’s loss, my Doctor was taking care of her. The mind is a bizarre thing. I was so worried about her… meanwhile, I could barely get down the stairs.