Typing it just makes my stomach turn.
It’s one of those verbs that happens to other people. It lurks, I am sure, like a monster in every pregnant mother’s mind. It drips with that horrible accusation, “You miss carried…” For most mom’s, though, that monster only ever lurks in the shadows.
Not me. Now I am other people, because that nasty mean verb happened to me.
I’ve been putting off writing this for a while. It’s actually been 19 days since we got the first diagnosis from the doctor. 19 long days.
I went in for my regular monthly OB appointment, not suspecting a thing. I had had a first appointment in December with a confirmation of the heartbeat and that everything was moving along well. I was night and day nauseous ( a good sign, I kept reminding myself). I was excited to be moving in to my second trimester within days.
Gosh, and we had seen a heartbeat. Only 1% of babies miscarry after a heartbeat has been detected… did you know that?
Well… somebody has to be that 1 in 100….
After the preliminary measuring and bloodwork with the nurse, I met with my doctor. He was great. He pulled up right alongside me to chat through some of my questions before doing his exam.
When I was done with my list of questions, he pulled out the doppler to check for a heartbeat. He couldn’t find one, but assured me that at 13 1/2 weeks that was still normal. He said we would go take a look on the ultrasound instead. No problem.
As he was prepping my tummy for the ultrasound, the doctor went on chatting about the risks and benefits of shooting for a VBAC (which I was… am…) As he pulled up the image of my baby on the screen, though he stopped. He peered. He moved the ultrasound device around a little more.
Even I could see with my untrained eyes: there was a lifeless baby on the screen with no sign of that flickering heartbeat we had seen just 4 weeks earlier. I started to tear, and my doctor handed me tissues and said to hold on one minute while he got someone else to come and look and verify that he wasn’t making a mistake.
I cried. The doctor and the RN gave me a hug and more tissues. They waited. They let me ask questions. The only one I had, “Can I go home?” Yes, absolutely they told me. Wait it out for as long as it takes. It may take weeks (and I now know, even months) but your body knows what it is doing and will catch up. They said they would be here any time should I choose to call, whether it was just for emotional support, pain meds, or should I decide to have a surgical abortion and just get it all over with.
I came home. I cried and wept for two days straight it felt like. Thank God it was a Friday- Mike took the rest of the day off and we had the weekend together to grieve, talk, and pray with friends and family.
We named her. Avelyn Joy. That’s her name. It means Life & Joy. and I know without a doubt she is sitting on Jesus’ kneecaps right now, full of life and coloring heaven with joy. That’s the name we picked out almost a year ago, well before she was even in the womb, as we were considering our next baby. I never thought I wouldn’t actually get to hold her in my arms, though.
Today, we are still waiting. On a whim I went back to the doctor yesterday because I was feeling a bit out of control emotionally and physically and need to just get some facts about where I am in this miscarriage process (it’s a process… I never knew miscarriage was a process). I had started bleeding a little last Sunday, but it had nearly completely tapered off and was not what I had been told to expect.
On the ultrasound we saw what I suspected, the still fully intact form of my daughter, Avelyn, still nestled in my nearly intact womb. Still no heartbeat. That’s when the doctor told us, when I asked, that he has seen patients go a few months before the miscarriage is complete.
But that is what I am choosing to endure. To patiently wait through. Because it is the only time I will ever have to hold my daughter on this earth. And my poor body… it’s been through enough without going through an intense surgical procedure and be left to sort out the pieces afterwards.
I want this process to be natural, and gentle. Like the birth I was planning for my baby. I want to be at home. I want to let my hormones have a chance to adjust themselves, and allow my body to do what it was created to do. And I want my daughter’s body to be treated with that same reverence and respect, though I know that that which is truly Avelyn is already departed.
It’s not an easy decision- one I am sure is not for everyone. But it’s mine, and I feel strongly it is the right one for me for today.
I’ll share more soon about what the Lord has shown us and is teaching us through this. It’s actually quite a lot, and some of it is absolutely stunning, at least to my heart. I will also share more about how I am feeling, what I am wrestling with. Even if you don’t know what it is like to miscarry, I bet you will at least identify with the feelings of loss grief that I know are common to man.
Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. They mean the world to us!