A Hard First

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Written late afternoon on Wednesday, March 4th:

It's a mild 51 degrees outside, and while that's no heatwave, I had husband open the windows in our family room so that I can get some fresh air. The smell of rain is floating in, the birds are chirping, and I feel spring coming. Sitting here, wrapped in a blanket, feet propped up on husband, and a heating pad on my back, I finally feel ready to begin writing our most recent story. A story that won't define our lives, but will most certainly hold a very special and fragile place in our lives. It's a story we never thought we would call our own, and somehow here we are in the middle of it.

Husband and I had been anxiously waiting since mid-January to share our biggest news. That we would be welcoming a sweet baby, whom we had been calling Baby Bean, in early October this year. The moment we found out we were pregnant, I felt God more tangibly than I ever have. Our family of two was expanding to three and we couldn't have been more thrilled to experience God's most precious blessing. 


We began preparing for our tiny new addition. Buying a box of diapers and wipes (a monthly tradition we would do until baby arrived), browsing through the baby clothes and picking out the cutest gender neutral item, and making room for baby by beginning the transition of guest room to nursery.

Last Monday, I went in for an ultrasound out of precaution because I had slight spotting from the night before. Just as soon as the ultrasound began, we spotted our sweet Bean at 8 weeks and 2 days, heart beating at 176 BPM. It was the biggest relief to hear that sweet heart pumping just as it should, to see our baby doing well. What we didn't expect to see was a subchorionic hemorrhage. The doctor quickly alleviated some of my fears by stating that these types of hemorrhages are common and aren't a big concern. Since our baby's heartbeat was so strong, there were excellent chances that we wouldn't miscarry. I was told to rest well and take it easy for the week. The following Monday, we would come back for a follow-up ultrasound to check on the hemorrhage and the baby.

Regardless of the doctor's assurance, I left that appointment feeling confused, shocked, and scared. Our sweet baby was at risk, even if the chances were excellent for nothing bad to happen. I rested for the week while husband took care of everything. We prayed constantly and so did our friends and family, for God to heal the hemorrhage and protect our Bean.

March 1st came and so did more bleeding during the very early hours of Sunday morning. I tried not to cry in the shower. And I tried telling myself that this was normal for a hemorrhage. We'd read and researched, finding that some women had experienced heavier bleeding with a subchorionic hemorrhage. Even in telling myself that nothing was wrong, I didn't believe it. While the bleeding wasn't enough to go to the ER, it was enough to make me scared, to keep me from moving a hair that day. With an ultrasound appointment first thing in the morning, we knew all we could do was pray and wait. 

Monday morning came slowly, and my conditions had worsened overnight. I thought I could feel dull cramping, but wasn't sure if it was really happening or all in my head. Our ultrasound confirmed my worst fears. At 9 weeks and 2 days our sweet Baby Bean no longer had a heartbeat. I crumbled instantly, and my tears were too quick to even try to hold back. Husband just held me.

We waited in a cold and empty office for over an hour before we could see our doctor. We waited again while in the examination room. And waited once more until being sent to the hospital for a second and more detailed ultrasound. In the hospital we waited for another hour and a half before being seen. Waiting made it all the worse.

After all the time spent waiting we were taken back for the ultrasound. In the silence I shouted at God in my head to make the heartbeat appear, to make a miracle happen. And when it was over, again we waited, but this time for confirmation that we really didn't want to hear. 

After five and a half hours of waiting we made it home, emotionally and physically exhausted. In the quiet and privacy of our home, we let ourselves truly begin to grieve. To grieve for the loss of our child, for the dreams we had as a family of three, for the plans we had made, for the news we wanted to be taken back. We felt breakable and raw. And ahead of us was the decision to make about miscarrying. What method to take, how to proceed. We prayed for God to make the decision clear in our time of hurt and need.

Monday was a long and heart breaking day. My mom dropped everything to come be with us, to take care of not only us but our home. And just when we thought the day had settled, our gracious God answered our prayers and allowed me to miscarry in the comfort of our home, with Pete and my mom there to get me through. He made the decision we didn't feel capable of making, and gave us the gift of walking through the hardest day of our lives with Him.

Over the past couple of days we have felt the deepest sadness we've ever known. Yet, husband and I have certainly not been alone. We have been loved so very well by our family and friends. From sweet messages, flowers delivered to our door, and meals prepared for us all week long. Through my brokenness and hurt, I've never felt more loved. And we know just how much our sweet baby was loved too. Our community has carried this loss with us, and for them we can never be more thankful.

Since Monday, our world has felt as if it's standing still, while normalcy continues on around us. As we find our way back into our routines, I know there will be reminders everywhere of what is no longer, that little things I saved for certain dates will catch me off guard, and bring a lump to my throat. I know these feelings aren't going away any time soon. I know that there is a long road ahead of physical and emotional healing. I know that the unthinkable of losing and miscarrying a baby was never something we thought we would experience. And I know that our God is greater than all of this, and He will see us through. That He has plans for our family in His good and perfect timing. In the meantime I'm working on getting to a place in my heart where I'll be able to say that it is well with my soul.

If you've ever experienced a miscarriage, know that I am praying for you too. I welcome your words of advice for how you found you healed best. I'm grateful for a community where I can share the deepest parts of my heart, being vulnerable and true to my story.


22 comments on "A Hard First "
  1. Oh Astleigh I am so sad to hear this hard news. I had been worried the last few days when you didn't post anything since you are always so consistent. My husband and I will be praying for you and your husband and your little bean who is resting peacefully in Jesus' loving arms. I hope you feel a little bit of comfort soon.

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  2. The amount of love we feel for our babies from the very first second we know they exist--it's incredible. I am praying for you, and I am sorry that you have to wait to start your beautiful family. Xoxo.

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  3. Oh Astleigh, my heart is so heavy for you both. Sending much love and hugs your way. xoxoxox

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  4. Sending lots of prayers your way. XO Kelly

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  5. It's so reassuring to see that you are leaning on God and His comfort. In time, He will bring you healing. I could only imagine how i'd feel if/when the time comes. God isn't giving up on you and one day in His timing you will be a family of three. I just know it. Rest easy this weekend and know that we are all thinking of you!!!!! Prayers for y'all! :)

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  6. Im so sorry Astleigh. It is one of the hardest griefs, losing a child. I miscarried at 9 weeks in 2013 and I still carry some sadness with me. But God is always good and he will always provide. We were blessed with our second healthy daughter in July of 2014. I will keep you in my prayers.
    Whitney

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  7. I'm so incredibly sorry for your family's loss. I'll be praying for peace and healing for you and your husband. I have never experienced this, but one of my good friends has...they said they found healing in naming the baby and praying for him/her by name. They also bought a Willow Tree angel and kept it out where they would see it often and think of their little one. Hope you find something that works for your family to remember baby bean.
    Katie

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  8. Love you, dear Astleigh! I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this. It's incredible the love a mother feels for her child right from the instant they are created, isn't it??

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  9. My heart is heavy as I am writing this...I have never experienced a miscarriage, but I do have a daughter and grandchildren and know what they mean to me...As I read I shed tears for you and Pete and the rest of your family!! I know that your faith will sustain you during this time. It is hard to understand why ...the scriptures tell us that we will not understand everything, and I know that this is truly a time of not being able to grasp an understanding! Know that your faith is holding you up and is understanding enough. The sun will shine again in your and Pete's lives!

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  10. I find myself crying as I'm reading this. Thank you for sharing and being so open. This is something that so many women go through yet they are afraid to talk about it. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby and I pray that you will find peace and comfort in the upcoming days and weeks. Thinking of you all xoxo

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  11. So sorry for your loss. Praying for the both of you.

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  12. This post makes me cry. I am so incredibly sorry! We lost 2 babies and it was the most horrific and heartbreaking time of my life. I will be thinking of you and praying for comfort. Don't feel like you have to, but I wrote a blog post about this, quite some time ago. Feel free to read it if you feel up to it. I will keep you in my prayers. http://familiarjoy.blogspot.com/2014/12/a-day-of-remembrance.html

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  13. My heart is aching for you and I'm so sorry for your loss! Sending prayers!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  14. Oh girl, I have chills and my heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry. I wish I had some advice for you. I have suffered from 3 miscarriages myself. It's such a tough thing; mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am so sorry. It just takes time and the only advice I can give is to let yourself fully grieve. And give yourself to God. He will help comfort you. Hugs friend!

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  15. My heart aches for you... The loss is so difficult- praying sweet friend

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  16. i am so, so sorry. you are in my thoughts and prayers... thinking of you lots. xo

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  17. Astleigh, I was JUST thinking about you this morning (not knowing about this) and why I haven't "heard" from you and then decided to come see your blog. I am so terribly heart broken for you. I honestly don't think there is anything I can say to make you feel better, but your perspective is sound and in the right direction. I am praying for you...I know this has got to be the most heart breaking experience and I pray for healing, both physically and emotionally. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Astleigh, I am so very sorry. Both you and your husband are in my prayers. I too have experienced a miscarriage and my only advice is to take the time to grieve. So sad for your loss..xoxo

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  19. I remember our first miscarriage. After a year of infertility treatments we finally got a positive home test. My doctor had me go in for bloodwork for several days in a row to monitor my levels, I had spotting for three days before a positive pregnancy test. We were thrilled at the thought of finally becoming a family of three (or more) as it was something we began discussing early in our relationship. Then about 2 weeks later I have severe abdominal cramping which resulted in a significant amount of blood two days after (the week of Thanksgiving). My doctor made room in her schedule to see me that morning, I was able to meet my husband on my way to the doctor and pick my mom up as well. It was at that appointment that the ultrasound confirmed what my bloodwork had shown - a very high likelihood of a miscarriage. It was hard to find something to be Thankful for Thanksgiving since we were losing our baby. Then 2 weeks later on a Friday our situation became even worse. Once again I had severe abdominal cramping so we were advised to high tail it to the hospital for another ultrasound (our doctor was out of town) that showed A LOT of internal bleeding. We were sent home with no answers and then on Sunday evening I passed out from pain. We waited until Monday morning to go to the doctor (since mine would be back in the office) and she confirmed that I had an ectopic pregnancy and needed to have surgery THAT DAY to repair the damage and remove my baby.

    Three years ago yesterday, I had my second miscarriage at 4.5 weeks pregnant. Then again in January 2013 with another ectopic pregnancy at 6 weeks pregnant and our last miscarriage was September 2013 at 8 weeks pregnant.

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you and your family. How great support is and it sounds like you have an incredible team caring for you!! prayers sweet friend.

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  20. So, so sorry you had to go through this. Sending sweet thoughts, wishes and prayers your way. I love your unwavering faith!!

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  21. You both are in our prayers! My husband and I have never suffered a miscarriage, but we do struggle with infertility. I know there are major differences (I can't imagine what you're both going through), but I know we share a grief of longing for a child who will not be there. Make sure you take time to grieve and don't be afraid to talk to someone or ask for help and prayers. There are so many couples who have gone through this before. You're not alone. And God will help you through it! We will be praying for healing and peace for you! -Jess

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