“There is no heartbeat. I’m so sorry.”
The ultrasound technician left the room and went to get my doctor. I lay there alone in the dimly lit room and felt my heart sink through the floor. The tears came and wouldn’t stop.
* * *
I found that I was pregnant the day after Christmas. I was shocked when I saw the plus sign on the pregnancy test. I shared the news John by hiding the positive test for him to find among the ornaments as we undecorated our Christmas tree. He was even more surprised than I was. Getting pregnant with Hallie and Harper took years and tears and a whole lot of trying. Now we were one of those “whoops, we’re pregnant” couples that I secretly envied. We definitely weren’t trying for a third child just yet, but once the shock wore off, the joyful anticipation set in.
When I went in for the first ultrasound at six weeks all was well. Flickering heartbeat, due date set for September 7th. We began to dream about having three children, and envisioned what it would be like with the last two being so close in age. Whoa. Sixteen months apart. Crazy, sure, but also ripe with joyful and exhausting chaos.
I had a second ultrasound at around ten weeks and all was well. Growing baby, measuring on time, strong heartbeat. We were excited and shared the news that we were expecting #3 with friends and family. Together we were not-so-secretly hoping for a little boy to complete our family of five.
Then another ultrasound at thirteen weeks.
The days that followed have been the longest of my life. The news, the wondering, the waiting, the painful procedure, the emptiness. The moments in between passed painfully slowly. And the nights were the worst. Darkness and sadness covered me, covered us. I tossed and turned, unable to get the image I saw in the ultrasound out of my mind. My precious, silent and still baby boy, a treasured life lost.
My doctor said that, depending on who is counting, the odds of having a miscarriage are 1 in 3 or 1 in 5. As you and I sit here and do the math among ourselves and our friends, we know that statistic is tragically true. That is why I share something so private so publicly. Too many of us are members of this sad sorority. It is heartbreaking that something so painful is so common.
It doesn’t matter how far along you are when things go silent–three weeks, thirteen weeks, thirty-three weeks. The moment a woman sees that positive sign on the pregnancy test, we are already connected and in love with the child growing inside us. Our heads and hearts are already a million miles down the road. When things go wrong we grieve what could have been and mourn the loss of the family we imagined.
John has been amazing through this, comforting me while he walks through his own grief. And our friends have been incredible—many of them have experienced this kind of loss, and some have tragically been through far, far worse. Their unshakable faith and their encouraging words have been our comfort. Over the past few days, friends and family have called and written, sent food and flowers, and taken our oldest out for adventures. We have been covered with love and prayer. We felt those prayers and believe in their power. God is still good.
And what if, what if this was God’s best for us? What if this was His best for our sweet son? I have to believe that He has the aerial view while we sit down here, trying to make sense of the blur with our noses smashed against the screen.
I am grieving but I am also grateful. I have two precious girls. Two! My healthy, happy, hilarious children are the greatest gift I have ever been given. I have been squeezing them extra tight. I know that I am beyond blessed.
But still, my heart hurts.
I know that time and distance from all of this will be healing. So I sit here waiting for the fog to lift. I know it will.