So, what I’m writing about today is a hard one. In a nutshell, after exactly a year of trying, my wife and I got pregnant and lost the child 9 weeks in after our first ultrasound appointment revealed no heartbeat.
If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t consider life to start at conception, this isn’t going to be a post for you. If you’re the kind of person who thinks being pregnant for 9 weeks isn’t long enough to grieve over a loss, then I’d rather you not read this. This is me being open, telling family and friends what has happened and what it’s felt like. I figure it’s also something I will come back to during our second attempt to have a child.
I love kids. I volunteer at my church’s preschool class, I love playing with the kids of my friends, and I look forward to having my own. In fact, my wife and I had planned on that I was going to be a stay-at-home dad, pursuing my writing from home while taking care of the kids.
It was hard trying to get pregnant, literally trying for twelve months, with nothing to show for it. I never felt like there was a lot of sympathy or understanding for two 23/24 year olds trying to have a kid. Everything seemed to say ‘you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you’ or ‘you’re too young to have kids.’ Every month my wife and I would struggle as every month it seemed we would fail.
It felt weird to me, not just because we hadn’t conceived yet, but because I strangely felt removed from the whole issue. When I work at something, I work until I get results. Getting pregnant doesn’t work that way. There’s a lot of patience involved. The time elapsed between every cycle felt strange and disjointed. I didn’t take the pregnancy tests; it wasn’t my body that was changing. It felt incredibly impersonal and today I hate having that feeling.
Then came the morning my wife got a positive on her pregnancy test. It was the first time we had decided to give up tracking and offer up the entire situation to God. It felt like a miracle, and I don’t regret celebrating that moment. My wife and I told some friends and some family. We were happy, understandably. It felt great. After an entire year of trying, I personally felt some validation, something that made me feel as though I hadn’t failed, something that showed God approved of us having a child.
For a while things went smoothly. Some more people learned about it, everything seemed positive. I don’t mean to sell this time short. I was incredibly excited and I loved waking up to my pregnant wife. Was life suddenly perfect? Not at all, but there was a great hope in me for what was promised to come. Any dark patches in my life seemed so insignificant and fleeting. I think it was one of the happiest periods of my life.
We went to our first ultrasound appointment and we were given the news that they couldn’t find a heartbeat. We saw the embryonic sac and the child that was forming in there. Doctor said that maybe the time of conception was off and that there were a dozen of explanations why a heartbeat hadn’t started yet. It was incredibly hard to hear although I took his words with hope. Still, I had felt that in some way I had failed. I couldn’t name how or why, but I felt responsible for the lack of heartbeat. I know it doesn’t make sense and even then I recognized it, but that doubt still weighed heavily on me. Regardless, we set up an appointment for the next week.
The news that we didn’t have a heartbeat wasn’t shared with many people. I shared it with a few only because it was happening around my wife’s birthday and people were asking if they should get her baby stuff. Those conversations were definitely awkward.
We went back for our second ultrasound with more depressing results. There was no heartbeat, and the embryonic sack was receding in size. It was that final nail that devastated me more. I don’t cry often, but I cried then in the office with my wife. It was an incredibly devastating hit, one of the worst of my life. Still worse was having to schedule a D&C, as final as anything to the child’s fate, and having to wait for that as well. Learning that your child had died before you even get to know him or her is hard enough, but having three separate occasions that capitalize on that failure is overwhelming. It drags on, and on more still.
I know it wasn’t my fault that we lost the child, nor was it was my wife’s. I don’t blame God at all, because I consider it a miracle that we got pregnant in the first place. I don’t resent the time I had to celebrate being pregnant. I may miss it, but I have the highest hope that I’ll get to celebrate it again. My wife and I have already decided that we won’t let this loss stop us from trying again. The only ending I can offer here is hope, because it’s not really an ending, just the start of a new chapter. I look forward to that day I can hold my child in my arms and share in that moment with God, my wife, and family and friends. I love that child we lost, and I write this in memory of them.