Updated: Apr 4, 2021
Photo Credit: Jenny Albers
I shuffled across the carpet of the hospital waiting room in search of my husband and young daughter.
At the very moment I spotted him, an obviously pregnant woman came into view and offered a gentle smile. Perhaps she could see the sorrow in my eyes or maybe it was more a sign of her own contentment with a young child by her side and another growing inside her—a contentment I no longer had.
When I reached my husband, he asked how the baby was.
Immediately my eyes filled with tears as I sobbed “there is no baby!” and buried my head in his chest.
Three days earlier, I began to notice an occasional sharp, stabbing pain in my lower right side. It would pass as quickly as it arrived. Being only 5 weeks pregnant, I chose to ignore it. I worried something was wrong but denying the possibility that my pregnancy was at risk felt easier than acknowledging it.
The pain continued to come and go, until on that third day I found myself curled into a ball on the living room floor, barely able to breathe through the pain. I had pushed through the morning, taking my daughter to dance class and running errands. The pain had increased steadily throughout the morning and I found myself trying to breathe through it as I drove. Finally, though, it took me down.
I called my doctor who advised that I have an ultrasound done immediately.
My husband came home early from work, and along with our daughter, we headed to the hospital.
During the ultrasound, something looked off. My womb looked empty, but it was early enough in my pregnancy that I thought maybe, just maybe, it was too early for someone who isn’t an expert at sonography to misinterpret what was on the screen. After completing the ultrasound, the sonographer told me matter-of-factly to take a seat in the waiting room. “It’s very important that you don’t leave. You need to wait to hear from the doctor.”
Soon after, the doctor informed me there was no baby growing in my uterus. Instead, the fertilized egg had implanted in my fallopian tube making the pregnancy not viable. I was having an ectopic pregnancy and due to the possibility of the tube rupturing, I was sent to the ER right away.
I was given two options: surgery or medication that would stop growth. I chose medication, with the understanding that I’d continue to receive blood tests in the coming days to make sure the medication worked and that my HCG levels were steadily decreasing.
We had looked forward to having another baby—with a September due date, I imagined cradling a newborn on cool fall days; I’d cuddle with my two babies underneath cozy blankets as seasons changed.
I was heartbroken at the realization that there would be no September baby.
Though it was an early loss and as people like to say, we could “try again,” hopelessness settled in for a time. Within two days, I was on the receiving end of multiple pregnancy announcements from family and friends. There would be late summer and early fall babies in my life—just not mine. And I felt crushed.
Since then seasons have come and gone. Our family has endured more loss as well as more life. But I will never forget the September baby who was supposed to be. Thank you @abeautifullyburdenedlife for sharing your story and photo. Shared with permission.
Coping with the heartache of miscarriage can feel lonely. I Had a Miscarriage is a powerful companion for those who have experienced loss, with insight from both a personal and psychological perspective.
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