I’ve lost another baby.
I was due June 3, two days after Rowenna’s third birthday. The pregnancy had been relatively uneventful. I had some morning sickness and some pretty intense fatigue, but I was grateful to be spared the hyperemesis gravidarum I had with Rowenna and I was starting to make plans for a big girl room for Rowenna to move in to.
We decided to have a cvs with this pregnancy. We wanted to know who would be joining our family and if we were having another child with Down syndrome, we wanted time to process that before the baby arrived. The cvs was uneventful, the ultrasound beforehand was a joy. Baby was in there swirling and kicking. We got a fantastic look at baby’s beautiful little face and a few pictures to bring home for the scrapbook. Results of that cvs eventually showed that the baby was a girl with typical chromosomes.
That night, I had a gush of fluid and the next morning an ultrasound confirmed that there was no amniotic fluid left. I knew the second the ultrasound tech put the wand on my belly that my water had broken. Instead of a full black sac and a baby twirling around there were only the walls of my uterus pushing on a baby, a baby that still had a heartbeat, a baby that was still trying to move. It was a horror and my heart aches that this is the last memory I have of my baby. I burst into tears and I could feel the tech’s unease grow as she took image after image, measurement after measurement.
The maternal-fetal medicine specialist came in, and as I cried silently on the gurney he flipped through a few images. He took a deep breath and said, “I’m sorry. There is no amniotic fluid left.”
I lost it. He offered to leave so I could have a moment and I blurted out “just tell me when my baby will leave me.”
He looked stunned. (I would have, too, that’s for sure. When I grieve, I’m not known for being subtle.) He paused and said that he couldn’t say for sure, that there was a small chance the rupture would heal and the baby would live. All I could do was wait to spontaneously go into labor. And if that didn’t happen, to come back in two weeks to see if the sac had in fact healed itself or to schedule a d&c.
The only consolation in all of this is that it was likely caused by a blood clot they found, not the cvs procedure, and this was all really horrible timing.
Needless to say I didn’t beat the odds. Baby Clementine left us today, November 20.
And now I’m just a broken momma. One sweet girl in my arms, and two that didn’t stay. I had so many hopes for this baby. I was so excited for our family to grow and for Rowenna to be a big sister. I don’t know that I can do this again, have so much hope only to lose it all.
You can sit across from a genetic counselor and hear about your own atypical chromosomes, nodding silently as they list the ways this will affect your fertility. You can hear about all the possible combinations you can make that are never compatible with life (“you’d probably never know you were pregnant at all”) and you can hear all about the things that can go wrong – miscarriage, stillbirth. But you don’t understand it until it happens.
You hear those words. You think you understand them. You talk to your hubby about what it would mean to try for a child and the threat of miscarriage and stillbirth float in the back of your mind, somewhat abstract concepts. That’s something that happens to other people.
You never stop to consider that other things can happen to a pregnancy, things that happen to mothers who aren’t translocation carriers. You can’t think about those things because to do so would let so much fear into your heart and mind that even contemplating another pregnancy becomes impossible.
Then you lose a pregnancy. It’s early and it hurts but you’re optimistic – maybe it won’t happen again. They tell you it’s probably because the baby had atypical chromosomes, a combination not compatible with life. But then it happens again. It happens after you’ve heard a heartbeat, watched her twirl, saw her tiny face. After you’ve named her. And it’s caused by something that has nothing to do with chromosomes – and everything to do with the things you couldn’t even let yourself consider before.
And you feel broken. Everything about you feels broken. All the things about a woman that should make you feel strong and powerful, a bearer of life. Those things are broken, and there are consequences you can never change. Two babies you will never meet or hold or kiss. Babies that you will always love, but the world forgets they were ever a possibility. How do I go on to a fourth pregnancy, knowing I could still have just one sweet girl in my arms at the end?
I don’t know where I go from here. I can say with certainty that this blog is going on hiatus (it was practically on hiatus anyway). I don’t know if I’ll post here anymore. I don’t know if we’ll try to grow our family again. I don’t know how to fix this or to feel better, but I know I will figure it out eventually.
All I know is that I was already in enough support groups – I wasn’t looking for more to join, or more causes to support. Yet here I am, walking a path of grief. Again. Being steered toward various support groups. Again. A different path, a different start, but grief nonetheless.
The shining light in all of this, as always, is my sweet girl. She never fails to make me smile; she never fails to give me a hug. Her hugs and kisses are seemingly without end these days – I know in my heart she can tell how upset we are. I wish so much she didn’t have to feel it. I wish so much these were hugs for a different reason. Hugs for a new baby sister.
Maybe one day.