I was immediately nervous. As an only child and far from extended family, I didn’t grow up with younger kids around. Most friends were still single or just starting married life together. What do we do with a child? Are we ready to raise our own kid? Will it change our marriage dynamic?
I booked a doctor appointment at a nearby OBGYN. They congratulated me on my pregnancy and sent me home with a half-dozen pamphlets on how to take care of myself.
The next week, I started bleeding. At first it was just a few spots. Then it turned into a constant stream. I searched online, hoping that the results that indicated it may be the rare menstrual period were true. I went back to the doctor, who told me it was a hemorrhage in my uterus. A 50/50 chance of carrying to term. What? I had just found out last week we’re adding a soul to our family, and now there’s a coin-toss chance it’s not happening?
A week went by. And another. The doctor gave me instructions on what to do if I lost the baby. I was still bleeding, still constant, but nothing else changed. I threw up a lot. I had heartburn nightly. But the weeks marched on. We were getting closer to the magic end of the first trimester.
Suddenly, the bleeding got worse. I went in to see the doctor with my husband. She told me to monitor it but there was nothing else to do. Then the doctor held the Doppler over my uterus area. We heard the baby’s heartbeat thumping strong. I couldn’t hide my excitement.
The next day, I had pain in my body, pain that I thought was the worst heartburn I had ever had. I couldn’t lie down. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t even cry. Later - minutes? Hours? – I sat on toilet. I felt a huge ball come out. I knew immediately.
I was 11 ½ weeks pregnant. Had been.
Shaking, I came out of the bathroom. I told my husband that I thought the baby had come out.
Recalling the instructions from the doctor, I told him we needed to go to the hospital, and we needed to take – I stopped. I couldn’t call it the baby. Not now. Not now that the baby was no longer alive, no longer inside of me.
My husband nodded. He went in the bathroom and closed the door. I heard him cry out “Why?”
I burst into tears. That was the first I cried, but not the last. My heart was broken.
We went to the hospital and it was confirmed – our future bundle of joy was gone. My husband could not bring himself to bring the fetus into the hospital, and a nurse went to the car to retrieve it. Later they told us the testing said there was nothing abnormal, and we could try again.
I didn’t know that I could try again. What if I had caused it? What if it happened again? I wouldn’t be able to handle another loss.
My husband listened to me cry nightly. Sometimes I heard him cry, too, though he tried to hide it.
Feeling my heart ache, I realized how much I had wanted this child. It didn’t matter if we were ready, if it changed things. I wanted – I needed – to try again.
Three months later, I decided it was time. My husband agreed. The first ovulation cycle didn’t catch. The next one did. We were going to have a baby.
This baby was different. I was nauseous, my lower back ached, I had the appetite of a horse. But this baby stayed put. The baby grew and grew. The baby turned out to be a girl, born at 39 weeks. We added a new soul to our family and named her Ellie, meaning “God’s light”. A rainbow at the end of the tunnel.