As I sit here thinking about our third baby, our baby we lovingly referred to as Little Bean during those joy-filled weeks of believing this would be our rainbow baby, I figured it was time to share their story. So here it is, the story of our third miscarriage, exactly one month after our baby left my body…
On March 17th I awoke abruptly to my husband’s cell phone ringing far too early in the morning for a Saturday. He was supposed to have already left to go march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Savannah, but his alarm hadn’t gone off. He hurried to get around and left the house while I tried to go back to sleep. No such luck…
It was still a couple of days before my period was supposed to start, but I just had a feeling that maybe I could be pregnant. I laid in bed going back and forth about whether it was too early to test, and agonizing over whether or not I could endure seeing another negative pregnancy test after already experiencing so much loss (we’d been trying for about six months at this point since our second miscarriage). Ultimately I decided I’d take a test since there was no way I was going to be able to fall back asleep anyway.
And there they were, those two pink lines I’d seen twice before. But instead of feeling overwhelmed with fear because of how those first two pregnancies ended, I actually felt really excited. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to share that excitement with anyone right away because the news that I was pregnant was not the sort of news I wanted to give over the phone. So I spent the next ten hours or so trying to occupy myself until my husband came home and I could tell him.
Finally, he arrived home and I told him I had to tell him something. I pulled the pregnancy test out from behind my back. He looked at it, and with a huge smile on his face, replied, “Oh, shit!” I’ll never forget that moment. And, even now, I’m so grateful that we were able to feel so much joy in finding out we were pregnant again.
Throughout those first few weeks I kept telling myself “the third time’s the charm.” I sought comfort in that old adage because it was a saying for a reason, right? I also found comfort in my morning sickness. Even before I saw those two pink lines, from about 3 1/2 weeks or so, I felt sick. I felt sick earlier than I did with our first pregnancy, and much more intensely than I ever felt during our second pregnancy. I took that as a good sign, that maybe things would turn out different, better, than they did those first two times.
So we went through those first few weeks excited about this new little life growing inside of me, but missing the two that came before; confident that this would be our earth-side baby, but hesitant to fully let ourselves imagine what that would look like; holding both joy and fear in the same space.
Then came that first ultrasound at 7 weeks. In the anxious moments leading up to that appointment I would say to my husband, “our baby is okay, right?” And he’d respond “yes, of course.” But our baby was not okay.
Because this was our third pregnancy (and my 7th ultrasound while pregnant), we knew that it was not a good sign that the ultrasound tech was so quite. We knew it wasn’t normal to see color all around the baby, but not on the baby itself. We knew there should have been the visible pulsing bulge that was our baby’s heart, but we just saw stillness. And instead of hearing the beautiful sound of a heartbeat, we heard the ultrasound tech ask, “have you had any bleeding or cramping?” I squeezed my husband’s hand so tight as I replied “No” because we both knew all too well what was coming next… Another loss. Another baby gone too soon. Another dream crushed in an instant. No answers. No explanation. Only tears. So many tears.
We decided to wait another week and get a repeat ultrasound just to make sure, and during that week I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed before. I prayed for a miracle. I asked my Instagram community to pray for a miracle. And even though we didn’t get the miracle we were hoping for, for the breath of life to be breathed into our baby, we were filled with an unexplainable peace during what should have been a hopeless and anxiety-ridden week. And I believe that was our miracle.
That peace has stayed with us since that week. It stayed with us through the three weeks (and six doses of cytotec to induce labor) that would pass before my body would finally let our our baby go. It stayed with us during the two hours of intense contractions that even a double dose of prescription ibuprofen couldn’t manage. It stayed with us as our third baby was delivered into the toilet, just like their siblings that came before, and then subsequently fished out of the toilet to be buried in an offshoot of the aloe plant that holds the remnants of our second baby. And it’s still with us now as we wait for my period to come and for my body to return to normal.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Feeling peace about this doesn’t mean everything is peachy. I’ve cried pretty much every day since the day we first saw our lifeless Little Bean on the screen. I’ve been angry and scared and sad. I’ve wondered how this could have happened to us again. I’ve grieved the loss of this baby and everything that comes along with that – not getting to watch my stomach grow or feel their kicks, not getting to hold them in my arms or kiss their little cheeks, not getting to watch them grow up. But throughout all of this, I’ve maintained a level of hope and gratitude that I didn’t have during our previous losses.
I’m grateful for the month we had knowing our Little Bean was growing inside of me. I’m grateful for the confidence we had during that month because it allowed us to dream about our baby’s future, something I thought I would never be able to do during another pregnancy because of our losses. It allowed me to connect with our baby and truly cherish every moment I had while they were still growing inside of me. And I’m grateful for the personal growth I’ve experienced throughout all of this because I know it’s making me a better mom to my heaven babies and future earth-side babies.
The third time was not the charm. But we still have so much hope; hope that our earth-side baby is coming, in His time and in His way. We’re ready when you are, little one.
In sadness lined with so much hope,