My belly at 14 weeks.
There was no longer a heartbeat.
I wrote this on the first anniversary after we lost Arabella, and it pretty well sums the events up.
On the anniversary of our loss, I wanted to share Arabella’s story. Travis and I often talk about what we can take from her life, and we both agree that we want her memory to live on. He strives to do this through his actions, and in being a good person to other’s, and I strive to make sure that she is always remembered. Here is her story:
On March 31st, 2012, I was a week late and decided to take a pregnancy test. I basically assumed it would be negative, because I am neurotic, and had tested many different months with negative results. I took the test while Travis was sleeping, and hopped in the shower. I poked my head out and screamed, when I saw the test say “Yes.” I yelled for Travis and he ran in to see the test, and was so ecstatic. I went out and bought one more test, just in case, and it took all of two seconds for the test to show, “pregnant.” We were in shock, and so happy. We called our parents and our siblings and gave them the exciting news. The next thing we did, was go out and by prenatal vitamins so I could start taking them right away. I set up a Dr. appt for the next week, and we started planning our new future.
The next Monday I was called by the Dr.’s office stating I would need to see a Dr. in OBGYN, and those appts usually waited until people were 8 weeks, (I was 5 weeks 2 days). So, I set up an appt for 4/18. They had me come to the dr’s office and pick up a bunch of information. I started journaling and tracking all symptoms, cravings, etc. I was reading up on all helpful information from the books the Dr. had given me, and learning all developments at each weekly landmark. Travis and I started grocery shopping with all healthy food for me, and I kept extreme track of what I should not be eating (mercury, soft cheese, lunch meat, diet soda, caffeine-I was slightly neurotic about this as well). I was so scared and overwhelmed, but so excited.
On April 18th, 2012, we went in for our first official Dr.’s appt. I was 7 weeks and 4 days. They took tons of blood work to run all the regular tests, and my Dr. told me it was probably too early to hear a heartbeat, and that we would do that at the next appt. All of my tests came back normal, and everything seemed great. We started buying some maternity clothes, as my bloat felt more and more. I was exhausted, and extremely nauseas, but knew that it was all worth it.
On May 9th, 2012, I was 10 weeks and 4 days, and we went in for my next checkup-hoping to hear the heartbeat. When the Dr. put the doppler over my stomach, it didn’t take her long to find the heartbeat, and it was the most amazing sound either of us had ever heard. Travis took a recording of it, and sent it to all of our family members. At my appt, we discovered I had lost 4 pounds because of my nausea, which my Dr. assured us was not abnormal.
Mother’s Day (May 13, 2012), I woke up to more extreme nausea than I had ever felt, and I could not eat or drink almost anything. 2 days later, when it had not gotten any better, I called the Dr. because I was starting to feel dizzy. The Dr. told me I should come in. I had an appt on May 16, 2012, and at 11 weeks 4 days, was able to hear the heartbeat again. At this point I had lost 3 more pounds. They gave me an IV (after popping my veins six times), and gave me some meds to help my nausea. Feeling much better, and almost out of the first trimester, this was when we decided to announce on facebook. Now the whole world was excited with us.
May 21-26, Travis and I went to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday. On May 21, 2012, Travis proposed. I had literally never been happier in my entire life. I had my fiance, and my baby, and was so excited for my little family. We had the best times of our lives that week. We bought our first onesie for the baby. We started buying more maternity clothes as my bump continued to grow. Life was feeling so great.
On June 6, 2012, at 14 weeks 4 days, I went in for what I thought was another routine check up. I went alone, because Travis had to work, and we figured it was just a normal check up anyway. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, which concerned me because it’s always low. When the Dr. went to check for the heartbeat (saying, “let’s make sure that it’s not twins”), she couldn’t find one. She tried for a few minutes, and which point I started bawling. She hugged me and said sometimes this works out, but usually it is a missed miscarriage, and told me to schedule an ultrasound. I could not keep it together for the front desk, so the woman knew it was an emergency ultrasound needing to be scheduled. I called Travis and told him I needed him to get off work, and his friend covered for him. I called my sister crying on the way to pick him up and she assured me that it would be okay, and this happens sometimes, and ends up being fine. I picked up Travis and we drove toward the Dr.’s office where the ultrasound would be, and waited in limbo for three hours, hoping for the best. When we went in to the ultrasound the tech asked me if the only proof of pregnancy we had was a pee test, and I told her we had heard the heartbeat twice. We saw the baby pop up on screen, and could make her face, and arms and legs out, which at first seemed so cool. I realized she wasn’t moving, and then saw the tech take two measurements of her, both of which were behind where I was supposed to be. The tech did not say anything, and went out to get the Dr. The Dr. came in and stated, “what we thought was correct, there is no heartbeat. This is leading toward a miscarriage.” Travis and I were shuffled into a cold room and called by a nurse on a phone stating we would talk to a Dr. about our options. I called my sister with the awful news, and she was also in shock. We went downstairs and were shuffled into a different Dr.’s office, and given a book called “Miscarriage: A Shattered Dream.” The Dr. came in, and looked genuinely sad for us, her eyes even watered up. She talked to us about what the options were. I was at a kind of weird middle point. Normally there are 4 things that happen, you naturally miscarry at some point, you take medicine to start the process along, you have a surgery done, or you deliver. At 15 weeks, normally people have to deliver. Since Arabella had stopped growing, I just missed having to do this. However, because I was still pretty far along, the Dr. did not recommend doing the process naturally, because of the size she was. So, I set up the surgery, called a D&C, which could not be scheduled until 5 days later. We drove home, in complete shock, as all of our family members starting calling us crying. I remember throwing everything away, my journal, pictures, everything. We threw all my maternity clothes into a box in the extra bedroom, and I deleted everything, heartbeat and all, out of my phone and email. I had my sister go through my facebook and email and delete/unsubscribe to everything. (This proved to be somewhat impossible, since I still receive coupons from baby stores).
To say these were the 5 days from hell, is somewhat of an understatement. I don’t want to go into graphic or unecessary details, but all I kept thinking was that I was still carrying my precious baby, and she was not alive. There were some physical things that started happening, which were a struggle on top of everything as well, but again I do not want to be too graphic. My sister and mom were with us most of the days, and my mom stayed through the surgery. She spent her anniversary grieving with us.
On June 11, 2012, at 8:00 AM I went to Regions Hospital (where I had my own awful experience with the nurses, that my brother in law later reported). I went in to surgery, and I remember telling Travis to put his hand on my belly and say goodbye. We said goodbye that morning to our baby, and all of our dreams for her along with it.
It has been an extremely difficult and emotional year. But I think we are at a point of being grateful for the life she had, even if it was cut way too short. Arabella did a lot for our lives, and still does every day. We both firmly believe she continues to teach us lessons, and give us strength through hard times.
To Arabella, my first baby girl: I love you more than words can ever say.