The story of our first baby

I found out I was pregnant on our fourth anniversary and lost the baby five weeks later.

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Miscarriages are such a strange and terrible event. You don’t announce your joyful news in the beginning for fear that something like this may happen — but when that horrible thing happens, what do you do? How do you keep something so traumatic from the people around you?

It probably takes more courage to keep something like this private, but I want to share because this little life is important and I want it to be remembered. Plus writing is healing for me, and maybe someone needs to read these words and know they are not alone.

So here’s the story of our first baby.

 

I found out I was pregnant on Thursday April 9th, our fourth anniversary. I was a few days late and decided to take a test that morning without telling J. If it were positive — oh the joy! our anniversary! — and if not, well then I could have wine at dinner.

We always take the day off for our anniversary but that morning J had an early men’s bible study thing at church, so I woke up alone. I took a pregnancy test and then hopped in the shower.

When I got out out of the shower and saw “YES” on the pregnant test, I lost it. The shock, the denial, the joy. It was too much! Too good! I couldn’t handle it. In disbelief I chugged a bunch of water and took two more pregnancy tests.

All positive.

J didn’t get home for another hour, which at the time felt like an eternity, but looking back I love the sweetness of that time. For that hour the baby was a secret that only God and I shared. (Well, and Leia who was blissfully ignorant of anything I exclaimed to her.) What a privilege to be a mother!

Finally J got home and I told him to open an anniversary present. He gave me a hard time about getting him something, since we agreed not to exchange gifts, but I assured him it was something very small.

I had set up our video camera to film his reaction opening the gift — an Appalachian State onesie — and it was priceless. In the seven years I’ve known him I have never seen him that excited. We both laughed and cried and couldn’t believe it.

We spent the rest of our day telling our parents and siblings over the phone or in person (cue the elation and European baby jokes). Our due date was December 17th. Our little Christmas present.

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Excited and about to go to our anniversary lunch. Such a happy day!
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This lamb lovie was the first thing we bought for the baby. Unbeknownst to us my mother in-law also bought us a lamb lovie! So I called the baby my Little Lamb.
Carrie and me at 5 weeks and 35 weeks. I was cracking up because there was no bump at this point but they insisted on taking this photo. I'm so thankful they did.
Carrie and me at 5 weeks and 35 weeks. I was cracking up because there was no bump at this point but my sisters insisted on taking this photo. I’m so thankful they did.

Three weeks later I came home from a jog and noticed some spotting. Immediately I freaked out and thought the worst. I was seven weeks pregnant and wasn’t scheduled to see a doctor for another week, but was able to get a last minute appointment the next day.

My body was shaking with worry on my way to the radiation room. They did an ultrasound and we saw the heart beat! Life!! But the practitioner was concerned about the size of the baby and the enlarged yolk sac. Given these conditions, she said the baby had about a 30% chance of living and to come back for my 8-week appointment the following week.

It was not great news and we were concerned, but tried to remain hopeful.

I had purchased some maternity shorts earlier that week (there was a sale), and the afternoon after our appointment I ripped the tags off and threw away the receipt in an action of faith and choosing hope. I saw the heartbeat! God is so much bigger than 30% statistics!

Looking for rainbows with Leia.
Looking for rainbows with Leia.

I spent that next week waiting and resting and praying. By our appointment the next week I had so much peace. We went back to the room for our ultrasound and everything looked great! The practitioner was amazed at how well the baby had grown in a week! We heard the heart beat and I was in love. It was a miracle how much the baby had improved, and we were so thankful.

Pregnancy happy hour
Pregnancy happy hour

The following Wednesday I got a surprise call that my sister was to be induced the next day. Ahhhh!!! I was going to be an aunt!! So I took off work for the next two days and planned to go to Charlotte early Thursday morning.

I woke up the next morning with some pain and heavier spotting. I was worried, but tried not to think about it and drove to Charlotte. The rest of the day was amazing! My sister is a rockstar and gave birth to a baby girl around 1:30 pm. It was one of the most incredible days, and I am head over heels in love with my precious little niece.

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I stayed to help and love on the little babe until Friday afternoon. I was still having pain and bleeding, but the arrival of my niece was such a beautiful distraction. On my drive back to Raleigh, when I was alone and quiet, I finally admitted that something was wrong. You aren’t supposed to bleed and have painful cramps… isn’t that the one perk of pregnancy?

Saturday brought more pain and more bleeding. I tried to take it easy and not worry, but by the afternoon we were getting concerned. I called the after-hours nurse to see what they advised, and after 15 minutes of questions assessing the situation she asked where my nearest hospital was because I needed to go to the emergency room.

We went to two ER’s (the first had a 6-hour wait), and eventually were admitted to the second. We were in there about four hours for tests and exams and ultrasounds and a lot of waiting in between.

Finally the physician assistant (who looked like he just graduated medical school) came in and told us the baby didn’t have a heartbeat and I was having a miscarriage.

He said other things, but as soon as I heard the M word I started weeping. The PA apologized and opened all of the cabinets trying to find tissues for me. He left to get some, and J and I cried together in that horrible sterile hospital room. The awkward PA came back (still without tissues!! J and I laugh about this now), and told us more things I can’t remember. I just wanted to get out of there. A nurse came in and took out the IV and gave us paperwork. FINALLY we were discharged and went home.

What do you do after getting this news? We were devastated. We went home and cried in the was-to-be nursery. We prayed and thanked God for the few weeks we got to experience this miracle. We called our parents. It was just two days after my sister gave birth and the timing was bizarre and awful. A harsh reminder of the joy and sorrow that is closely woven in this world.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the next day I passed the baby. It was painful and awful and over.

Hibiscus plant from my mother in-law.
Hibiscus plant from my mother in-law.

Since then, we’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with this heartache. My mom and J planted a dogwood tree in the backyard in its memory.

 

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It’s hard to imagine peace after a tragedy, but God really has given me that unexplainable peace.

I made a list of all that I have to be thankful for, and the list is so long:

  • I saw the heartbeat–twice!
  • I witnessed God’s healing power in a week.
  • I experienced my first Mother’s Day pregnant.
  • I was there when my niece was born.
  • I was at home when it passed.
  • I have amazing friends and family who have walked through this with us and given so much love and support.
  • I have no bitterness or envy for the many friends in my life who are pregnant — if anything I am celebrating more in their good health.
  • I have so much peace and hope for our future and confident in who holds it together.

God is close to the brokenhearted, and that Love so near.

Thanks for letting me tell my baby’s story. I have so much faith I will meet this Heaven Baby some day.

  • maggj14

    Sweet girl. My heart breaks for you, but I am so thankful for your spirit and your faith. I know you and J will be amazing parents to your next little one and Andrew & I will join you in prayer in this time.

  • Allie

    My heart goes out to you Ginna. May God continue to grant you physical and emotional healing.

  • Allie

    The dogwood tree is a beautiful tribute to your baby- what a wonderful way to represent such a precious gift.

  • Ali (Shoestring Alley)

    My heart is so heavy for you and your family and yet all of the moments of joy in your story made me smile. Your baby’s life will always be important and will always be remembered.

  • Hannah K

    Ginna, thank you so much for sharing this. As a fellow mama who lost their sweet one, I really appreciate you sharing this. We have such great hope that we will both see our babies one day, but that doesn’t always take away the pain or the grief. I will be praying for you and your husband, and thank you again for sharing. When we lost our baby, this verse was such an encouragement to me and continues to be as I grieve the loss of Violet. I hope it encourages you as well. “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and protection.” Psalm 91:4.

  • Ginna, so sorry for what you went through. We went through this back in January and the physical and emotional pain was so awful. I really appreciate your story, I’m glad you were able to list what to be thankful for. The emotional recovery takes a long time, and you’ll probably be avoiding certain social situations and being around or hearing about certain things may re-trigger your grief. That’s okay, you must take the time to let that happen. I hope the doctors assured you that this was not your fault, that it’s something that just happens. That’s what my doctors told me (multiple times) but it took awhile for me to let that sink in. It wasn’t until it happened that I started reading about the statistics and saw just how many women (and their partners) have experienced this. I still feel sad from time to time, and you will too, and that’s OKAY. (I don’t mean to turn this into something about me. I just want to make sure you know that whatever emotions you’re feeling or not feeling are right.)

    If you want someone to talk to about this, please don’t hesitate to email me. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. <3

  • Hadley

    I have lurked on your blog for a long time–you don’t know me but I have had a glimpse of your life (I love finance blogs). I had a missed miscarriage in December 2011. I understand the closer to God feelings–I prayed for that child and loved her as much as I love my sons. I never got to hear her heartbeat because my dating ultrasound was too early. Since then, I have had two successful pregnancies (two sons who are named for the tribes of Israel). I will pray for you that God continues to bestow his peace on you and that your motherhood dreams will be realized. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.

  • Sara Chidester

    thanks for sharing your story Ginna. I will be praying for you a Jeff!

  • I have read this post so many times, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I love the way you are honoring your sweet baby. Sending a lot of virtual hugs your way, friend.

  • Chelsea

    heartbreaking story but thank you for sharing. Hoping that you will find strength in devastation.

  • Thank you so much. xo

  • Aw Amber, thank you so much for your sweet note. :)

  • Thanks Sara! :) I appreciate it so much.

  • Hadley, thank you so much for sharing your story and for your words of encouragement. It means so much. :)

  • Aw Stephanie, I’m so sorry you guys went through that recently. It really is the worst isn’t it? Thank you so much for your kind words, it really is good to hear and reassuring since so many fears and doubts pop up. :)

  • Hannah, thank you so much for your kind note. I’m so sorry for your loss too. Thank you for sharing that verse too, what a great encouragement. :)

  • Thank you so much for your kind words, Ali! :) It means so much.

  • Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

  • Thank you so much, Maggie! I appreciate your prayers. :)

  • Christen Gregory

    Thanks so much for sharing this Ginna. I know it has been a really difficult time for you guys. I appreciate hearing how such a strong woman of God handles tough situations and brings glory to God in all of it. You are always such an example and encouragement. Love you friend!

  • May

    Very sorry for your loss Ginna, I hope you find peace and healing,God bless.

  • Carla

    Very sorry. If it makes you feel any better, miscarriages are much more common than you think. Hope you have some good news in a few months.

  • I’m reading this quite late but I still wanted to send you hugs. I knew that my mother had gone through this experience more than once but I hesitated to ask her about it because I worried about reopening old wounds. I’m grateful that you have shared and allowed us to remember your first one with you. I hope that in some ways sharing has helped you a little bit. And as Stephanie says, I very much hope that your doctor emphasized that this wasn’t at all your fault. So much love!