Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day is observed today, October 15th. This is very close to my heart right now. In honor of this I'd like to share my recent experience.
At the end of Summer we discovered that we were expecting Baby Smith #3! We were thrilled. We have always wanted a big family. We had already made the decision not to find out the gender before delivery. After all, we already have one of each and thought it might be a fun surprise!
My first doctor appointment was in mid September. Jarrod took off work to be there. Our cute little bean looked great on the sonogram and we were glad to see the strong heart beat ~ 144 beats per minute. It was determined that I was six weeks along.
Over the next series of weeks things seemed to be going well. I suffered from exhaustion a lot more than with my other two pregnancies but I wasn't near as sick. We shared our news with Emma and Owen as well as with our families, supervisors at work and just a few close friends. I had even crossed the line from wearing my regular pants to wearing some maternity ones.
Last week I suddenly started to feel way too normal. All of my pregnancy symptoms had completely disappeared. I tried to reassure myself that perhaps I was beginning to regain my energy and feel better since I was getting closer to the second trimester. When I arrived at my check up on Thursday I felt very anxious and uneasy. In my heart I felt like something was very wrong.
The sweet nurse took my weight and escorted me back to the exam room. She asked if I had experienced any pain or complications since my last appointment. I said no. I did tell her how strangely normal I felt. She attempted to calm me by explaining how each pregnancy is different. I almost felt silly complaining about feeling so great! Dr Deahl came in shortly thereafter and I explained my loss of symptoms to him. He was very calm and said that my initial sonogram looked perfect and that he would prove to me that baby was fine. First he attempted to check the heart beat with the doppler. He moved it around on my stomach for what seemed like forever. I just kept praying that he would find the right spot and that we would hear it loud and clear. Unfortunately we never did.
He instructed me not to jump to any conclusions because at 11 weeks I wasn't quite far along enough to always hear it on the doppler. He took me across the breezeway for a sonogram. As soon as the first image came up on the screen I knew the baby was gone. Where there had once been a visible heart beat there was not one. The baby was much bigger on the screen than it had been weeks ago. It should have been wiggling everywhere but there was no movement. I never ever though this could happen to me. He reviewed my options and I was scheduled for surgery the very next morning. The first surgery of my life. On game day.
I didn't sleep much at all on Thursday night. We took both kids to school early Friday morning and arrived at the surgery desk at 8:25am. They escorted me back almost immediately. The medical professionals were all so attentive and informative. I can barely remember one in particular tell me how sorry she was. I really appreciated that. My knees shook uncontrollably and my hair net was anything but fashionable.
Jarrod was so sweet to be there for me through it all. I'm so glad I chose him to share the ups and downs that life brings. My parents came to the hospital along with several members of our church and community. My parents stayed through the weekend and helped me tremendously. I appreciate all the calls, visits and messages. We are truly blessed with supportive and loving family and friends.
Through this unexpected trial I have certainly gained a new appreciation for my babies here on earth as well as for any future pregnancies we are blessed with. I have also gained more respect and sensitivity toward other women who have ever experienced loss of a child in any form. God is sovereign and His plan is much greater than my own.