You know how the saying goes, “It could never happen to me.” You may have never mumbled it out loud, but I’m sure you’ve thought it. When people we know and love and even complete strangers are suffering, we always think that we will never find ourselves in those circumstances. Well, “it” happened to me.
Today was supposed to be another milestone, another weekly update, possibly an announcement. Today was supposed to be a joyous day. Today, I would’ve been 12 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby. Today, I am no longer pregnant. Today, my heart aches just like it has been for the last 2 weeks and 6 days. Today, I’m sad. Back in December, my husband and I decided that we weren’t going to wait to have perfect circumstances before adding to our family… because, let’s be honest, there is never a “perfect” time. I was very sure that it would happen quickly just like it had the first two times. I’ve never stayed on birth control longer than recommended. I take vitamins. I eat a fairly healthy diet and make healthy lifestyle choices. On paper, everything looked good.
On January 8th, I found out that I was expecting. This may be TMI, but a few days before, I noticed my chest looked fuller than usual. Immediately, I knew what that meant. I waited 3 or 4 days before I caved and took a test because I hadn’t even missed my period yet. I had instant joy. I had two girls already that I loved so deeply. I knew how great that love was because of them. I knew how much I was going to love this baby. This baby was so wanted and loved already. My husband was suspicious, but I kept him in the dark for a few more days before I couldn’t wait any longer. He was so happy. The longer he’s a dad and the older he gets, the more I can see how he appreciates and loves being a dad. We couldn’t hardly wait to spread the news to all our family and friends, but we felt different this time… not that something was wrong, but that we wanted to keep this special gift to ourselves for a just a little bit longer.
Our sweet girls had been praying every night that Jesus would send a new baby to our family. They were both dying to have another sibling… preferably a sister. The next week Anthony got a balloon that looked like a baby, filled a ton of blue and pink balloons with tiny plastic babies, put everything in a huge box with blue and pink confetti, and sealed it closed. The girls quickly ripped open the box and popped all the balloons. We couldn’t have been happier to be Gilmartin party of 5.
Presley knew right away what this meant.
Another week passed by and my parents came to town. We made them cards (using the picture below) and shared our big news. Everything was perfect until it wasn’t…
At the time, we’d been living in Florida for almost 4 months, but had plans to leave when the time was right. I was in no rush to find a doctor because I knew as well as I knew my name that everything was fine. I didn’t want to find a doctor and then move a couple weeks later. I’ve always had easy pregnancies. I’ve never had any complications. After my parents went home, my mom starting nudging me to find a doctor even if it was just for the first appointment and ultrasound. I finally caved. I searched and searched for a pro life doctor in the area (because that is of utmost importance to me). I wanted a doctor that would be on the side of life even under hard circumstances. I found one in Pensacola, FL which is the “big” city down here about an hour from where we live, but he no longer took pregnant patients, so I agreed to see another doctor in the same office.
To my surprise, they were able to get me in just 3 days later on Valentine’s Day. I thought to myself how much more special the holiday would become after seeing our baby and hearing the heartbeat for the first time on that day. We, of course, planned on taking our girls as they were eager to be a part of the process (especially Presley who had been asking everyday what the baby was doing and how big he/she was). The night before I went to Target and snagged a pair of maternity jeans because this belly remembered that it had done this before and I was already bumpin’. We got to the appointment and anxiously waited for about an hour to go back. The same doctor had delivered both of our girls (and my husband and was supposed to deliver me). I knew him so well, so meeting a new doctor came with a lot of thoughts… “Will I like him?” kept ringing in my head. The doctor came in the room joking and smiling. We carried on with fun banter for several minutes and my worries quickly faded. He reminded me so much of my Kansas OBGYN. Thank you, Jesus.
We spent a little time discussing my extremely boring health and pregnancy history. My only symptom at this point was a really sore tailbone which he assured me was fine and just a part of this amazing journey. Then, it was time for the fun to begin… a peek at our little angel. I was 9 weeks and 1 day, so he chose an internal type of sonogram just to be sure we could get the best view possible. Anthony and the girls gathered around with eyes glued to the screen as the doctor began to look around for the sac. It was taking longer than expected. I was growing with concern, but didn’t want Anthony or the girls to know I suspected anything. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the doctor found the sac and the baby. I’d had two babies… I knew the baby looked really tiny. I knew that all of the prolonged looking wasn’t typical at this stage. I heard the words, “I’m not finding any cardiac activity. How far along did you say you were again?” That sinking feeling started to set in. The baby was only measuring 6 weeks and 2 days. He printed a picture of our itty bitty baby and began explaining, but all I could think was that I wanted my girls to leave the room. The nurse kindly offered to take them out to color. I bit my lip and held in all emotion knowing what he was going to say… all I could think was “THIS can’t be happening to me.”
Our sweet baby had quit growing almost 3 weeks earlier. My body still hadn’t recognized it as a miscarriage. The miscarriage was incomplete and my body was still growing like a normal pregnancy. I didn’t even know that was a thing until that moment. We sat in the room with the doctor listening to all of our options: wait for my body to miscarry on it’s own (might take another 4-6 week), take medication to help me miscarry in 1-2 weeks, or go to the hospital for a D&C where the doctor would do the work in about 5 minutes instead of my body doing it in 5+ painful days once it did happen. The doctor did not want us to make a decision that day especially without 100% certainty and a few tests. He was weighing on the side of life… exactly what I wanted. Anthony and I sat in the room and cried for several minutes because I couldn’t hold it in any longer. There were no signs or symptoms that anything was wrong. Everything was fine. Everything was perfect. My reality was flipped upside down. I felt completely blindsided.
We left the doctor and went straight to the hospital for bloodwork to check my hormone levels (which they would check again in 48 hours). I called my mom who was eagerly waiting to hear the good news. I could hardly even speak. Sailor began to feel sad because I was sad, but Presley was crushed… “Why did Jesus let our baby die?” she asked. I struggled to answer because I, too, was asking him the same thing. After getting checked in, the nurse called me back. I’m strong. I hardly ever cry, most things don’t get to me. I don’t get my feelings hurt easily or get upset about too much. But, this was different, she could see the tears welling up in my eyes although I tried to mask my emotions. She gently asked about the circumstances and then told me to not count this baby out because she’d seen crazier things. I knew that the odds were this baby was already gone, but she gave me just a little bit of HOPE that I needed to get through the next 5 days. I looked up to see the name tag on her scrubs where it read “Hope”. Oh, how I was struggling, but I knew Jesus was in the details. I told her how my mom wished she could be there. She hugged me and said, “Can I give you a hug? I’m a mama too.” Anthony and the girls bought me flowers at the hospital while I was getting my bloodwork done which gave me a little bit of joy. Things could be so much worse. I have two beautiful girls. I’d never miscarried before. My heart was aching, but I was trying to see the good… I’ve said it before… I’m optimistic almost to a fault. We grabbed lunch and ice cream and tried to turn “the worst Valentine’s Day ever” (as Presley said) into an okay day celebrating the two great loves we already had.
To be continued…Come back tomorrow to read part 2 of our baby story.