I woke up with butterflies in my stomach.
After 15 weeks of pregnancy, I was going to find out the gender of baby #3. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who works as a sonographer, and as with my previous two pregnancies, she had agreed to sneak me in for a peek and a gender assessment.
I had decided to go alone so that we could be discreet about my unofficial visit. My friend greeted me with hugs and walked me into the room where she squeezed the warm jelly onto my slightly protruding belly, and turned her face towards the glowing screen.
“Oh Bianca.” she said immediately. Her smile dropped and her face paled.
I thought to myself, I don’t care if it’s a girl or a boy. I’m happy no matter what it is. Why does she look so upset?
She scanned a bit more, moved and paused. Moved and paused again.
“Bianca. There’s no heartbeat.” she said.
Stunned, I asked if she was sure. How could this be? I had gone through two official ultrasounds, the blood tests went perfectly and I had just been to the doctor two weeks ago and was measuring right on track.
She showed me where the beating heart was supposed to be. She switched the view so we could see the blood flow – nothing lit up around the image of the small fetus.
In complete shock, not fully comprehending what had just happened, I quickly hugged her and left.
When I climbed into my car, I began to cry. Tears streamed down my face as I called my husband to let him know. I called my parents, and then unable to speak through the sobs, I texted my best friend with the sad news. I sat and wept for what felt like hours, and then turned on my car to head home.
When I started the car, this song was playing, and it hit me to my core.
Earlier that day my 6 year old daughter and I had gone to the store to buy blue and pink balloons – props for the big reveal. I knew that my kids were waiting with bated breath for me to come home and let them know what their new baby would be.
When I told her the sad news, she cried. “Why do babies die? Where is it now? Has this ever happened to anyone else? Can’t you put another one in there?” – the questions kept coming, and I felt her innocence slowly slipping away.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT…
The next morning I went in to see my doctor. She quickly used a Doppler to check for a heartbeat, and then rushed around booking appointments and sent me off to the hospital.
When I arrived, I was rushed in for an ultrasound where an ultrasound tech, and then a radiologist slowly inspected the images – measuring, noting and scanning intently. It was confirmed officially, the baby no longer had a heartbeat.
I was then sent up to Emergency where the doctor on call walked me through my 3 options. I could:
1) wait and try to pass the baby naturally. NO THANKS.
2) have the hospital administer some medication that would induce a miscarriage, and stay at the hospital until the baby passed naturally. NOPE.
3) have surgery to remove the fetus from my body. OK.
Because I was in my second trimester, I was too far along to have a D&C (the most common procedure for miscarriages that occur in 13 weeks of pregnancy or earlier). I was to have a D&E, a more invasive surgery that is used for women who are later in pregnancy.
That night the doctor inserted some algae sticks that are used to naturally dilate the cervix, necessary for prepping my body for surgery. The procedure was quick, but very painful, and the cramps that followed rivalled those of labour pains.
The next morning I went in again for the insertion of more algae sticks. I now had 5 in my body, and the cramps only strengthened. When I went in for surgery that night, I was scared. I had never had a general anesthetic, and I was worried about the complications that could arise.The surgery itself went well, but I had abnormal levels of excess bleeding and was scheduled to spend the night at the hospital. I was lined up for a possible blood transfusion as my hemoglobin levels were terribly low (they were supposed to be at 140, but were only at 86). After some rest, fluids, and crackers, I was sent home. I’m weak, dizzy, and woozy, but happy that it’s over. I will heal, both emotionally and physically, and will only become stronger through what I have experienced.
WHY BLOG ABOUT IT?I wanted to share my story for a couple of reasons:
1) pregnancy loss and miscarriage is more common than I had known, but many women don’t like to talk about it. Nothing has been more helpful for me than to talk through it with my friends who had experienced the same things as well, and I encourage more women to do the same. There’s nothing stronger than a support system in times of need.
2) It’s tough to have to tell people in person when you’re going through such a devastating loss. Everyone I know (both in real life and through social media) knew about the pregnancy, and I feel as though writing about it is healing and a good way to spread the word without having to say the words.
Thanks for listening, and I’d love to hear your stories too if you’re willing to share your experiences.