I'm Sorry, There Is No Heartbeat
A Joyful Day
The strip turned blue. We were simultaneously afraid and ecstatic at the same time. Our first pregnancy, after almost a year of trying. We showed my younger sister the test – she looked at us with an awkward grin (as if to say “are you crazy to have a kid now… you've only been married for 2 years!” and “OMG I’m going to be an aunt!”) both expressions sprawled across her face in a weird result, we couldn’t help but laugh. I was 29. I thought it was all downhill from here. Boy, was I wrong.
We took the test while on vacation with my family in South Africa (a blissful two weeks of safari tours, beach bumming and just hanging out with our family over the Easter break, over lunches and braai’s (barbeques). It was a wonderful vacation, and also my husbands second visit to my homeland. We even got to pet lions, and he thereafter proudly displayed the picture on his Facebook soliciting many comments and inquiries about the ‘awesomeness’ of this picture. He loved South Africa. Didn’t want to leave to go back to ‘the boring old USA’ as he referred to it. But alas, we had to leave.
We bid our family adieu and boarded our rocky flight to Arizona… which may have been a factor in this story, but we’ll never know.
Two weeks later was the date for my first official checkup, I was far along enough for more than a dot to be present on the screen, 8 weeks to be exact.
My husband and I nervously entered our gynae’s room and waited for him to arrive. The doctor was super-cool, yet professional as always, and super excited to be able to have us pregnant and be able to journey with us through the pregnancy… but when he looked on the screen his face fell. His smile faded and turned to disdain.
“I’m sorry guys, I can’t find a heartbeat”
Now it was our turn to be dramatically shocked and sullen.
“But what do you mean? Maybe its too soon?”
“No, you’re on schedule, I see the development of the spinal cord but nothing else… I’m sorry but I don’t think this one’s going to make it”
We were horrified! We hadn’t even considered this – we both were young, in our 20’s, no family history of miscarriages on either side… how could this even be? But it was. We had to accept it. My husband squeezed my hand, tightly. I didn’t even look at him, I kept staring at the screen, as if to will a heartbeat to show up. Nothing.
After wiping the cold ultrasound gel off my abdomen, the doctor tried cheering us up and said “I’m really sorry. But this has no bearing on being able to conceive in the future. Keep trying,” and “would you like us to schedule a D and C operation?”
I didn’t even know what that was. I declined anyway. Then our doctor said “I guess you could wait it out naturally. But if anything happens please call us.”
Still reeling in shock, I nodded.
At home I googled the meaning and found this:
‘Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. Doctors perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion’
WebMD defines a miscarriage as "the loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy".
Back home I spent the next week ‘waiting’ and after 8 days it finally ‘happened’ – the worst period ever. I was up the entire night just sitting on the toilet. Handled it like a pro with just two Advil throughout the whole excruciating process mind you. By early hours of the morning, it was done. I was exhausted, and thankful that I didnt hemorrhage or have had to be rushed to the ER. Praise God for keeping me safe. I called my grandparents in South Africa the next day to tell them the news (as they were with us when we first found out). They were deeply sad. My grandmother was concerned about my well-being but I assured her I was just fine (I was physically, but no so much mentally). My grandfather said a prayer for me over the phone. His prayers always made me feel a wave of calm, as did his voice. I was so grateful to have them.
The following week I received a letter from my grandfather, in it he had included a verse:
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
At this point, I didn’t know what that meant. I still wondered why God would allow such a thing to happen. But I guess we cannot question His timing.
A miscarriage is the loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy.— -WebMD
Six months later...
We decided to try again (after a difficult few months that went by with lots of arguments and yelling, and pain) we decided to begin to enjoy life again, not think about what had happened months ago, and took on a road trip to hike in the Utah mountains, with our little pampered dog who loved to travel anywhere with us. It was wonderful, the fresh air, the nature, the beauty of God’s earth. We reveled in it, and gave thanks. A few weeks later, I was late and we decided to test again, and the result was blue. We waited a few (nerve-wrecking) weeks and headed over to our gynae, before even telling us what was going on, on the screen – he held up his hand a high-fived us ecstatically. Guess that meant ‘we did it!’. We had a healthy perfectly formed heart beating, and this pregnancy was looked good.
In any case there was victory…
We never gave up praying and trying and we now have two healthy babies (aged 4 and 2) who we love and adore (and who drive us crazy every so often) but they are kind of spoiled and showered with hugs and kisses (and sometimes spankings), because we know the journey we had to take to get to this point. We wanted them, and God blessed us with them.
Who knows maybe God stopped the first pregnancy because he wanted us to have healthy babies. We don’t know, but there is one thing I do know, and that is that
“GOD WORKS ALL THINGS FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM”.
He's the God of Miracles. Praise God.
The God of Miracles
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