This week, our family experienced a devastating tragedy. I've debated writing about it, but as I've looked online for insight into situations like mine, I haven't been able to find a lot of information. So, I hope that in sharing my story, I might help someone feel a little more at ease.
On May 17, we were scheduled to go in for our 20-week ultrasound. We were beyond excited to find out the gender of our baby and to start preparing for his or her arrival. Before the ultrasound appointment, we had scheduled my regular OB visit. Both offices are a bit of a drive in the same direction so we figured we'd check them both off our list on Sam's day off from school. We dropped the girls off with a friend and went to our appointment.
I didn't know who the appointment was with and I was excited to find out it was Dr. Cadieux. She is our favorite doctor--the one who delivered Clara. We started chatting about our exciting appointment that day as she began the routine examinations. As she was using the Doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat, she kept hearing my heartbeat loud and clear. I was a bit concerned when she decided to turn on the ultrasound machine to check things out. As soon as she started looking around, Sam and I both could tell that something was wrong. We couldn't see the little pulsing heart and the baby wasn't moving. She confirmed our fears but told us to head over to the other office with the nicer ultrasound equipment to make sure.
Sam and I sat and cried together for a few minutes before heading to the car. We sat quietly during the ten minute drive. When we arrived at the other office, they were ready for us and took us back immediately. The ultrasound tech took some measurements and scanned around a bit. She told us that she couldn't find a heartbeat and that she would send the doctor in. He came in to tell us that the baby measured at about 18 weeks. He said that second trimester pregnancy loss is very uncommon and is usually associated with a chromosomal abnormality. This final confirmation was devastating.
We went to pick up our girls. Our wonderful friend who was watching them rallied our other friends together as soon as she heard the news. There has been a lot of sad things going on among our group of friends and it's amazing to have the support of wonderful people--even those facing tragedies worse than yours.
When Abby got into the car, she asked, "How did it go?" I told her it didn't go good and that our baby had died. She started to cry and it broke my heart. I didn't expect my three-and-a-half year old to understand as well as she did. Later she asked if it was a girl and I told her I didn't know. When we got home we snuggled up together on the couch to watch a movie.
We have received an outpouring of love for which I am very grateful. We have a garden of flowers in our house and have had meals delivered each night since the news came. We have had phone calls, e-mails, texts and visitors. It is in these moments that my emotions are strongest. I feel so incredibly blessed to have so much love in my life.
We have been doing as well as can be expected--better maybe. I have actually been surprised by my own strength. We have been faced with a lot of facts and decisions we weren't prepared to make and we are dealing with each of these things the best way we know how.
Tomorrow, I will go to the hospital to deliver the baby. I will receive pitocin and pain medication, just like a traditional induction. This is the part that is scary and unknown. 18 weeks is kind of on the border of miscarriage and stillbirth. The definition of stillbirth is a baby who is born deceased at a time when life would normally have been sustainable. With advances in science and technology, this time frame is earlier and earlier. That being said, most of the information I can find on delivery is about women further in gestation.
Depending on how things go, I plan to write about it, if only to help someone else facing a similar situation.
During this challenging time, I feel so much love for my family, especially for Sam. He has been so amazing, taking time off from school and taking the girls on little outings to give me time to be alone. Above all, I am thankful for my Savior. I know His love is giving me the strength to push forward when I'm not sure if I can.