Thursday, August 9, 2012

Loss and Grief

When I had my first appointment at the midwifery, we were given a sheet of paper with some questions to fill out - one of them was, "How do you deal with stressful situations in your life?"

My answer: I write.  I blog, I take photos, I process events and emotions through my writing.  So when we received some bad news this morning, I knew eventually I would end up here, at my blog, writing about it.  Processing what happened.

I was thrilled to have my first ultrasound of this pregnancy that morning.  I couldn't sleep all the night before, wondering if the tech would be able to tell the gender of our little baby.  I was so excited to see our little butterball baby squirming around in there.

"Hmm..." said the tech, my first clue something wasn't quite right.  "I think I'm going to have to do an internal ultrasound here."

And then, I saw her type something on the screen: "NO HR"

A few moments later, the tech took a deep breath and told me "I'm so sorry honey...the baby has no heartbeat."

Somehow, I knew it was coming.  I remember so clearly with Cole's ultrasounds, the rushing heartbeat that made the whole chest of the baby move.  I knew it wasn't there with this baby...but hearing the words leave her lips was heartbreaking.  Those few seconds that I knew it was coming was not enough time to prepare myself for the enormity of the words I was about to hear.

I wanted to scream and cry and curl up into a little ball on the exam table.  But I took a handful of tissues to dry the tears that were already cascading down my cheeks and tried to listen, tried to pay attention.

How do you stay focused when it feels as though your world is falling apart?

She left me alone for a few minutes so I could sob quietly in peace, then she brought in a doctor whose specialty was high-risk birth.  She checked the ultrasound as well, just to make sure, but we both knew it was pointless. 

I just remember thinking, how is this possible?  What did I do wrong?  How am I going to tell my husband, Cole, our families?  We heard the heartbeat, we waited until second trimester - this wasn't supposed to happen! Who miscarries at 15 weeks pregnant?

Your first trimester of pregnancy, there's always that chance that something will go wrong.  There's always that nagging feeling, the hesitation in the back of your mind that things won't go as hoped and planned.  But at 15 weeks, we were in the clear.  We were making plans and having hopes and dreams for this little baby.

It truly felt like being struck by lightning - so unexpected, so caught off guard.

I feel like a failure.  I feel like my body has failed it's most important part - to protect my baby. 

How could this happen to me, to us, to our deserving little family who loved this baby SO MUCH?

I kept thinking, this has to be a mistake.  I did everything right, I did everything possible to keep my baby healthy. 

The worst part?  It's not just a simple miscarriage.  I have what is called a Partial Molar Pregnancy.  I have to go in for a D & C, then have blood tests weekly, bimonthly, and monthly for 6 months to a year to make sure all the tissue is gone and my hcg levels are back down to zero.  If the tissue is not all removed, there's a slight chance it can turn into cancer.


The chances of that are incredibly low, of course.  And if I did happen to end up with cancer, it's almost 100% treatable with chemotherapy.   But because there is that risk, I can't just be done with a miscarriage and move on, trying to conceive again.  We have to have regularly scheduled blood tests for so long, and we are possibly not allowed to try for another baby for six months to a year. 

It's extra scary and frustrating and sad.  I so want to move on and put this behind us, to start healing and thinking and planning - but I feel as though we have an empty spot in our family that we can't fill yet.  And it's heartbreaking all over again.

At the same time, a part of me knows it could be so much worse.  Our family - Cole, Chris, me - we will be fine.  This is not the end of the world, or the end of OUR world.  It's so sad and heartbreaking and there will be a lot of grieving.  But I take a look at my sweet little boy who gives me big hug squeezes with enthusiastic pats on the back and think to myself, "We're going to be ok.  This is going to be tough for a while.  But we are going to be ok."


  1. Oh Mandy, I am SO very sorry to hear this sad news. I can't imagine what you are feeling right now. I hope you will surround yourself with family and friends as you grieve the loss of your little one. You will be in my thoughts.

  2. Dear Mandy,

    I am so very sorry for you and the loss of your precious baby.

    Even three tears later, the feeling of loss still lingers with me. Our angel baby was just shy of 9 weeks along. I took refuge in Isaac, focused on him, focused on myself, focused on my husband. I honestly became depressed, hid out a little, soaked up the sunshine when it came, and trusted that the Lord would take me through the feelings of loss and failure. I am so sorry you and your little family has gone through this.

    Healing comes, day by day. Take time for yourself. Take time to mourn. You have our support and prayers.


  3. I am so sorry We love you and your in our prayers Aunt Jeanette


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