This isn’t my story to share. This is my sister’s story. A story of loss, tears, heartbreak turned into joy, celebration, and thankfulness. When Carter asked me if she could share her story here on the blog, it might have been one of my proudest big sister moments. I know this wasn’t easy for her to write, but her heart behind sharing is so pure and true. You see, we’ve never dealt with anything like this before. Miscarriages haven’t run in immediate our family until now. Dealing with these emotionally and physically has been completely new territory for us as a family.
I’ve never felt so helpless as I did watching her experience two losses over the past year. Watching her hold her breath with each new positive pregnancy test and praying that this one would stick. The first one happened so quickly we didn’t even have time to think. I knew she was coming over to tell me she was pregnant, sister’s intuition, but I didn’t expect what came next. The maybe part, and the waiting, as blood tests confirmed her baby didn’t make it. Seeing Ada in her big cousin shirt again only a few months later, with the unhealed wounds of the first one not quite behind us, left me stunned. I didn’t know whether to be excited or nervous. Then she had an ultrasound that revealed a heartbeat and a weight was lifted, for a week. When she went in for a follow up ultrasound, and couldn’t even gather the words to call us with the heart wrenching news there was no more heartbeat, that all she could do was text. My heart ached for her. Helpless once again.
The third time I was externally excited for her, because she needed a cheerleader, someone to be excited for her, but internally reserved. Not sure if I could handle another loss of hers, which meant I was even more worried how she would handle another loss. But God is so good, and this time, she has a healthy growing baby!!! She’s halfway through this pregnancy, and ready to share her story.
She wants other women to hear they’re not alone in this. She doesn’t want it to be a taboo topic. By not talking about it, we isolate those who are experiencing it. She wants to get it out there, to support each other, and she doesn’t want anyone having to go through this alone. She knows how hard it is to talk about, but also knows the healing power of a good heart to heart. I could talk for days on that topic, but I’m going to let her share with you. This is my little sister, Ada’s CC, my best friend, Emma Girl’s mom, mom of two babies who are dancing with Jesus, and mom of one very healthy little baby who we all can’t wait to meet this winter!
My Sister’s Story
“I struggled over how to start this, what to include, how many details, if people would think I was crazy for sharing, and if I even wanted to share. My goal in sharing our journey to this baby is so that, for anyone else who is going through something similar, they can know that they are not alone and that there is someone here to talk to. I can say that I feel so strongly about that because I don’t know how Shane and I would have survived this past year, without our family and friends to share it with. They have kept us moving forward when we weren’t able to do it ourselves and for that we will be forever grateful.
Miscarriage is something that is rarely talked about. Almost like, if we don’t talk about it, then it doesn’t exist. However, believe me when I say, it exists for more people than you would think. You probably have a relative, friend, or even co-worker that has experienced a miscarriage and you may never know it. Once it happens though, it exists in every thought they have, in every pain or twinge in their body, in every time they pass the baby section at a store, even in every time they get on facebook and see that one more person they know is having a healthy baby. For us, it existed twice.
Last September we found out I was pregnant. After a week of joy, excitement, and “how are we going to afford this?”, our world came crashing down when I started losing the baby. While it was in the early stages of pregnancy, once that test says you are pregnant, that baby is yours and you would do anything for it. We went to the doctor as soon as I thought something was wrong, but it was too early to detect a heartbeat on an ultrasound. The only option was bloodwork to confirm if the baby was growing or if I’d lost it. I had blood drawn Monday and then again on Wednesday to check levels. We were told we wouldn’t find out until Thursday what the levels confirmed. Not only was there emotional pain from the thought of losing a baby, but there was a lot of physical pain. Since we were waiting on bloodwork to confirm what we already knew, there wasn’t any medicine I could take due to the slim chance it was okay. That waiting game was long, 4 days of not knowing whether to let ourselves have hope or start preparing for the worse. The phone call came and confirmed that I was losing the baby and then began the slow process of dealing with the emotions and trying to start the healing process.
We told very few people about the first one. I can’t give a clear reason why we did that, it was just what felt right to us. The downfall to that is, it was very lonely. The rest of the world keeps moving, but ours had stopped. We prayed for understanding and guidance, but weren’t sure what else to do. Somehow prayers were answered because thank God for our niece – she kept our joy alive early on (and I informed A.J. if we weren’t able to have a baby, I would be coming for shared custody)!
Right after the new year we found out I was pregnant again. I wish I could say Shane was jumping for joy again and I had the over-the-moon happy tears, but it wasn’t quite the same. We were thankful for sure, but we were scared. We prayed daily to take the fear away and for the baby to be healthy. I also told myself multiple times that since it had happened once, the chances of it happening again would be very small. Due to the first miscarriage, we went in for an early ultrasound, at 6 weeks, and saw the most beautiful heartbeat! The doctor also saw what he termed a “yolk bump” and said it was most likely nothing to be concerned about, especially since it was so early on and everything was still forming. But he wanted me to come back in a week and a half, just to give me peace of mind that it went away.
We were so so happy to have good news to tell our families! We planned a trip to Shane’s parents for the following weekend to tell them and started letting ourselves really think this was happening. I, of course, had ups and downs with worry and fear but Shane kept me positive overall. The next Friday, we anxiously went back in for the next ultrasound, and to hear our baby’s heartbeat once more. The tech got started, but very quickly got quiet and said “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” There are no words to describe what that feels like. Imagine that if you finally had one of your biggest dreams come true, and then it was instantly taken from you. In that moment, I couldn’t even look at Shane because I knew his face would confirm that this was real and it was over. We had to leave straight from the tech and go to speak with a doctor and listen to our options, since it was considered a missed miscarriage. After hearing the options and discussing them with the doctor, we decided a D&C was the best option for us. Since this appointment was on a Friday, the earliest we could have the procedure done was on Monday. It wasn’t that we were eager to have it done and over with, it was actually quite the opposite. I didn’t want to let our baby go, but I was terrified to go through what we did with the first one again.
The Sunday before the procedure was Superbowl Sunday. The distraction of the game was nice, but I don’t know if either of us actually paid attention to anything other than what was to take place the next day. We went to the hospital early the next morning and procedure went as well as it could. It was such a weird experience to know that when I woke up, my baby would be gone. Over the next couple of days people brought us food, my co-workers handled everything at school for me, family stopped by for visits, life around us once again kept moving forward but we seemed to be stuck in that moment. The physical recovery of the procedure only takes a short while, but the emotional scars we were left with sometimes feel like they will never go away. A piece of us will always be stuck in that room, staring at that screen and not seeing a heartbeat.
Every day that passed was a reminder of what would have been if we hadn’t lost the baby. I was sad, angry, disappointed, and scared. We went through the motions of life but I was struggling to find the joy. Talking to other women who have been through this really helped me more than I could have ever imagined. They made me feel so much less alone and not so crazy. Shane tried his best to listen and to comfort me, but there is an extent to which he could help me or even that I could help him.
Most days were spent holding myself together in front of others but then falling apart on my way home. Shane felt so helpless with that. After talking to a good friend about how I felt, she told me to tell him that there will come a day when I don’t arrive home in tears, that one day I would make it all the way home from work without crying. I told her okay (thinking in my head “yeah right”) and told him the message (I’m sure he was also thinking “yeah right”), but it did eventually happen. Not that I didn’t think about it the whole way home and feel devastated, but I was beginning to see hope and a future again.
That brings us here to our 3rd pregnancy. Finding out the 3rd time that I was pregnant was even more terrifying. I said to Shane shortly after we found out I was pregnant again, “I can’t handle a 3rd miscarriage, I can’t do it.” He calmly looked at me and said “well, you’re pregnant now and we can’t control what’s going to happen, so let’s pray it doesn’t but we will deal with whatever comes our way.” He’s a man of few words, but the words he does have are usually spot on. We have been extremely reserved in this pregnancy and everyone around us has been completely understanding of those feelings. Our families slowly gave us nudges in the excited direction but never questioned our hesitation.
As the weeks progressed I kept saying I would feel better after 8 weeks, I would feel better after 10 weeks, I would feel better after 12 weeks. At around 14 weeks with me still saying that, Shane said “Let’s face it, we won’t feel better until we are holding the baby in our arms, and then we will still worry.” He is completely right and until then we will continue to pray and ask for God’s blessings until we finally reach that wonderful day in January (the due date)!”
Carter asked me to share the other two Big Cousin announcement pics we took for her babies. The first one was when Ada was 8 weeks and the second she was 5 months. These will always hold a special place in my heart and remind me there are two little nieces or nephews waiting for some Auntie A.J. snuggles one day up in heaven.