I am a rambly high school English teacher. Like my own high school teachers, I talk frankly about life’s joys and losses. I talk about hindsight and heartbreak. I preach constantly about choices. My students know the things I have survived. I tell them that it may someday be helpful to think, “Well, if Mrs. G survived that, I can, too.”
A few days ago, a successful, happily-married former student messaged me out of the blue. She said, “If you ever need an anonymous guest post on your blog . . .It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but I felt the need today . . . it goes along with the feel of your blog and what all your readers have seen . . . I’ve thought of you often while going through this.”
I was heartbroken by the honest words below. Read on for a reminder of a young mother’s heart–and then, in Paul Harvey fashion, read the rest of the story, and marvel at our ever-faithful God, who uses sorrow to transform. Who gives hope. Who reminds.
March 9: The day, my baby should have been born, I thought I was over it.
After all, I have had 213 days to “get over it,” but I’m not.
30 weeks and 3 days ago I had to have what should have been my baby removed from my body.
Just a week prior, I had been told, “We can’t find a fetus. Maybe you’re not as far along as you thought.” I knew how far along I was; I knew exactly when I got pregnant eight weeks before because we had been trying for a few months already.
I will always remember that day.
I had started bleeding just a few days before my first appointment, so I was already worried that something was not right. After the nurse confirmed that my test was positive, we talked about what was to come over the next several months. I was handed packets of information on the hospital, medicines to take and not to take, what to expect at each appointment, etc.
We then went into the ultrasound room where the bubbly ultrasound technician let her trainee perform the sonogram. I was quickly reassured that my bleed was nothing to worry about–it was just a subchorionic hemorrhage that would need to be monitored. I was put on pelvic rest for two weeks. She then kept looking and looking, with an expressionless face.
Then the more experienced ultrasound tech took over. She also looked and looked, nothing. While my husband firmly held my hand through their silence, I never once looked at the monitor.
“There’s a sac, but no fetus or heartbeat. We’ll give it a week to see if anything changes,” they finally told me.
I’m not a crier, but that day I cried and cried the entire long ride home. For more than an hour, I sobbed.
We hadn’t told our families that I was pregnant, so I put on a brave face and went to work, visited with family, went to family celebrations and to church, pretending everything was okay. It wasn’t.
I spent hours on my phone, googling stories of other women who had positive outcomes to my same situation. There were some, but it still didn’t help. I stayed on forums, talking with other women who had been in my shoes. I cried whenever I was alone.
It was the longest week of my life.
On my husband’s birthday, we returned to the doctor’s office. We went into the same ultrasound room. This time, the nurse and tech were not as chipper. More looking, nothing. Without much being said, I was escorted into another room where I waited on the doctor.
She came in and advised me I had what is called a blighted ovum. For some reason, my body did not let this fetus form inside the present sac.
She told me I could “let my body take care of it itself” or have a dilation and curettage. Maybe I’m weak because I was just ready for it to be over, but I was.
We had to call our parents and tell them simultaneously that I was pregnant and that I wouldn’t be having a baby.
Early the next morning my mom, my husband and myself headed to the hospital for my outpatient D&C. “Spontaneous abortion” is the medical term for a miscarriage; I wasn’t having an abortion. I didn’t CHOOSE this. I wanted my baby. I had prayed for my baby. I had cried for my baby.
In just a couple of hours, I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I was on my way home, cramping, nauseous, drowsy, emotionally numb. And not pregnant.
Over the next few weeks I experienced the same decrease in hormones I would have if I had delivered a beautiful baby. My hair started breaking; I cried for no reason; I had hot flashes; I bled.
But I didn’t have a baby, and I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
Three months: that’s how long I was told to wait before “trying” again. I didn’t listen; I wanted to get pregnant right away. I wanted a baby.
Every other day there was a new Facebook announcement from parents-to-be or a video of baby moving around in his mommy’s belly. I hated these people. I was bitter, believing that they didn’t deserve to have the happiness of pregnancy if I couldn’t.
I wanted to have morning sickness; I wanted to feel my baby move inside of me; I wanted to be decorating my baby’s nursery.
Month after month, test after test, still no positive.
Five months post D&C, I was over it all. I was tired of trying. I had spent much time in prayer and knew that God would give me my perfect baby when I needed it. I hadn’t cried about it in quite some time and I was ready to change my focus to something else.
I was over it . . . but I wasn’t.
Another month and another period later: other women were having their babies when I should have been enjoying my last couple of weeks of pregnancy.
I told myself that this would be the month I would be pregnant. I’d been praying, eating right, taking my vitamins, exercising, tracking my days. I knew exactly when I ovulated. This was my month, the month I should have been delivering, and surely I would have my positive.
This time, after this month, I am done.
I’m not going to think about it. I’m not going to track my ovulation. I’m changing my focus completely to being the healthiest me that I can be. I am “over it.” The miscarriage is in my past. I’m now happy for new mommies. I “like” pregnancy announcement posts. I know my day will come.
But today, I cried again.
It’s March 9th, and I should be bringing my baby home in a couple of days. I should be holding my brand new baby. Our baby that was made in love. Our baby that was prayed over. Our baby that “never formed.”
God knows when I will get to be a mommy.
I looked for pictures for this blog; nothing I found was quite right. And I thought about my own blighted ovum. My secret box, feet from my bed, that has pictures of my lost babies–babies whom my students know about. Although I didn’t really want to–because this is her story, not mine–I walked to my room, opened the box, and rifled through to the folder that reads, “Baby’s First Photo,” opened it, and looked at the empty sac. I thought about the baby that should have been.
And then I looked at the date. Again and again and again.
And I messaged the author to call. She had to call. It had to be heard, not written–she had to hear the tears and the laughter–the mourning turned to joy–for herself
Because when I looked at the picture of my blighted ovum, the date I read was November 30, 1995.
My only birthchild’s birthday? November 30, 1999.