“It’s common for people to believe everything happens for a reason. I’m sorry, that’s false and it’s poison. Even if there is no purpose to the things that you have gone through. An ordeal can reveal an airfield.
Let’s talk about pain, shall we? The real stuff. The stuff people tell you not to talk about because ‘nobody cares’ or because you must ‘keep your reputation clean.’ I refuse to be the apple. The one who shows social media the ‘perfect’ parts, and not the giant bite taken out of the back. That’s what this feels like. I will not ‘keep it to myself.’ I don’t share political or religious opinions. I’m not into drama. But this will be long-winded. This will be painful. This will be honest. This will be uncomfortable for some. This will be real. If you are easily triggered by miscarriage, abortion, infant death, and possibly vulgar language, this will not be a post you should read.
I know it will get better, but I also need to be honest and say my spirit is temporarily heavy and not have to hide that.
I woke up the morning of August 27 like every other day. I had my coffee, got the kids dressed, got myself ready, and headed out the door for my second-trimester appointment. If you have been pregnant, you know the relief that comes with your 12-week appointment as you have cleared your biggest risk of miscarriage. I was further along than 12 weeks, but it was as close as I could get with the hectic schedule of having a child about to start school. I was extremely anxious, more so than usual. I kept telling myself I was overreacting and everything was fine. I even texted my two very best friends to ask them to send good vibes my way because of the anxiety I felt.
I think I knew, subliminally. Even though I was still experiencing the sickness, fatigue, and hormone shows that come with pregnancy. I had no cramping and no bleeding.
My appointment with the ultrasound tech was at 10 a.m. They are super quick to get us in and out. I had both kids with me. They were less than thrilled to be there, so we get into the scan room and I turn on The Grinch on my phone for Finley, and hand Scout a pack of fruit snacks. This wasn’t going to take long.
This wasn’t my first rodeo with ultrasounds. I know where to look to see the flicker of life on the screen. The tech was moving the wand around on my belly, looking, but I knew. There was no flicker. She switched to the setting that shows blood flow. Usually, you will see blue and red where the heart is, down the umbilical cord, and into the placenta. There was no blue and red… only a burnt orange color. She smiled at me and said she was going to step out to talk to the doctor about my scan, but I knew.
They took me into the check-up room to wait for my doctor. I remember looking at the photos on the walls of newborns and then looking over to see Finley pushing the ‘Code Blue’ button. I was afraid of what was going to follow that. Luckily, those buttons were disabled as this was the ‘bad news‘ room.
In comes my doctor. She is friendly. Young. Big brown eyes. She is really pretty and I have favored her since starting at this practice in 2017 with Scout. She looked at me and said, ‘I don’t have good news.’ And all I could manage to get out was, ‘I know.’
I think it’s a protocol or something that they have to actually tell you the words, ‘There is no heartbeat.’ This was something I already knew and had seen for myself. I had had a few minutes to process that information, but something about hearing it aloud makes you want to scream every vulgarity you know at the top of your lungs. It’s like getting hit with a thousand knives, someone sucking all the air from the room. The best comparison I have found is this: ‘The trap door opens, and you just fall.’
The next few minutes that follow are a bit of a blur. Finley and Scout were losing their sh*t. My doctor is telling me that the baby had passed over a week ago. The placenta is grown over my cervix. I’m developing an infection. Then boom, the ‘A’ word.
1. ‘The deliberate termination of a pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.’
Doctor – ‘We call this a missed abortion. The word abortion has a negative connotation to it, but that’s how we refer to miscarriages medically.’
Did you know ‘miscarriage’ is the polite term for ‘spontaneous abortion?’ I do now.
Doctor – ‘Because of the position of the baby, the placenta previa, your body not doing anything, and the infection you are developing, I’d like to schedule a D&C for tomorrow.’
D and C – dilation and curettage. The abortion procedure.
I was shaking my head and agreeing, but I literally checked out of my body. I could hear my heart breaking, but I had to get my sh*t together, navigate these kids back through the hospital, get them in the car, and get the hell out of there.
The walk back to the car was hard, keeping it together that is. There are 8 million questions in my head. Scout is waving to everyone we pass, and they smile at her. I can’t smile. I keep having to remind myself to breathe. I don’t know how I made it, but I did. Then I had to call and tell Jacob.
As soon as I heard his voice, I lost my composure. He was calm. I’d later learn that he was really upset, but knew I was losing it. He was trying to keep it together for me. I wish I could remember that conversation, but I can’t. Maybe it will come later.
I couldn’t look at him when he got home. I couldn’t look at him for days. I was so ashamed of myself, and I was terrified he would blame me for what happened to our sweet Paxton. I went and hid in our bedroom that afternoon. One of my best friends came over unexpectedly, brought dinner, crawled in bed with me, and let me cry to her. She didn’t say much. She didn’t have to. I was angry at her for showing up, but I am so thankful that she did. My heart needed her presence.
On August 28, we woke up, had Finley’s preschool home interview, waited for Jenn to get there, and off to the hospital we went. My surgery was scheduled for 3 p.m., but I had to be there by 1. The pity eyes came from each nurse. I loathed and appreciated them at the same time. I choked back tears each time a new nurse/person would ask me for my name and birthday. They knew Jacob and I were hurting and did their best to make it as easy as they could, but there is literally nothing to take that pain away.
My surgery was an abortion. I think that has been one of the hardest things for me, having to accept the fact that I had to have a procedure that I never wanted for myself. I understand it’s not the ‘condemned’ scenario for my case, but the word sends a shiver down my spine. I am very much pro-choice, for other people. I, myself, had always said I would personally would NEVER have an abortion; that was my choice. Now I found myself in a situation where it was either have the abortion to avoid the infection spreading, or deny the procedure and take the risk my husband would become a widower, and my kids would grow up without a mother. I never wanted that. It’s a really sick feeling knowing that there are people out there that would have my head on a silver platter for having that procedure done, even though they do not know my story. I didn’t understand why people were screaming at the top of their lungs that abortion is healthcare, but now I do. It saved my life and broke my heart all in a matter of about 20 minutes.
We had to decide if we wanted to send Paxton off to pathology to find out what happened. That was painful. Do we want to know what caused it? Knowing how they will get that information? We were SICK, mentally and physically, but we chose to know what happened.
I wasn’t prepared for the bleeding that followed. I wasn’t prepared for my body thinking it was still pregnant for WEEKS after the procedure. You don’t really notice your uterus growing in early pregnancy, but I can tell you I noticed when it was gone. It felt like something was missing, and it literally was. I wasn’t prepared to be so overwhelmed by the sights of pregnant women and little babies in the middle of Kroger. I wasn’t prepared to contact a funeral home or a cemetery about single and family plots for that matter. I wasn’t prepared for the response (and lack thereof) that we received from friends and family. It was all truly traumatizing, and to this day, I still have trouble sleeping because of the sad and terrifying dreams.
Did you know that after a D&C, they send your baby to a funeral home to be cremated? Or at least Christ Hospital in Cincinnati does. They tell you it can take a couple of months, as they have to handle all the adults that come in before they can get to the babies. They wait for several babies to come to them from two different hospitals. The babies come to them wrapped in those little pink and blue striped hospital blankets. They place each baby in an individual pan so they know who belongs to who.
They will tell you that they can’t promise ashes for infants smaller than 20 weeks, but Hillside Chapel in Cincinnati will give you whatever is in the pan. Whether it is full or half a teaspoon of ashes. They will call you the day they receive your baby and ask if you would like a moment with your child before they go for cremation. They will offer you memorial stones, plaques, glass blown items, urns, etc, and tell you that whatever you decide, you will be given your child’s ashes in a plastic bag placed in a white box.
We haven’t decided if we want to see him first or pick him up when it’s over. However, I can’t imagine sending my child into the fire without reminding him how much he was loved and wanted. How we cherished each chance we had to hear his heartbeat. How a day will never pass without me wondering who he would have been. And how his little feet have left the most giant prints on my heart.
I wasn’t expecting to get Paxton back, as he was so small. But Becky at Hillside Chapel assured me that I will, in fact, get him back. I’m still not sure how I’m handling this part.
I found out about a week after my surgery that I miscarried because I had a partial molar pregnancy, and Paxton had Triploidy. The chances of that happening are 1-2% at best. Basically, an egg is fertilized by 2 sperm. Usually, a baby doesn’t even form. In its place, a group of grape-like cysts forms. Paxton was a fighter for development, but she never would have lived. 2 of 3 PMPs end in the first trimester, with a small exception of going full term. PMP babies always have triploidy and it is ALWAYS fatal. If they make it to term or the ‘viable’ Georgia, it results in still-born babies, or infants only living minutes or hours after birth. Kentucky, as of June 2022, would have made me carry Paxton to term had he not passed in utero. This is a painful fact to accept. Painful. There is a little peace in knowing there is nothing I could have done differently to change the outcome, but not much.
Great, so now we know what caused it. We were initially told (right before my surgery) that we could try and get pregnant again right away. Paxton was planned literally down to the day. We were trying to keep our children close in age. Now, we are told because of the PMP we have to wait at least 6 months before we can try again.
Why? PMPs can cause cancer. You have to be monitored closely for 6 months to ensure cancer does not form. It is important not to get pregnant because the tumors that develop with that type of cancer release HCG into your bloodstream, which is the same hormone you produce in pregnancy. As long as I am not producing HCG, I do not have cancer. If I start producing HCG and am not pregnant, I will have another D&C to remove all the cells, possibly chemo shots, and the clock starts over.
My baby died and now I have a cancer risk? What a f***ing batch.
I rage ripped out my flower beds. I drank myself into oblivion for 2 days straight before I remembered how much I HATE drinking. I had a chance to run up to Chicago and spent a collective 11 hours in the vehicle in less than 48 hours. That was soul healing. I have tried everything possible to handle this in a healthy way, but it is HARD. I will not speak on Jacobs’s feelings in this post, as they are his, and if he wants to share them, he will.
I live in a constant state of anxiety right now. I’m having weekly blood draws because my HCG has not reached 0. So every cramp, every strong smell, breast tenderness, oily skin. Is it a symptom of cancer? Or is it my body going back to normal? Only the blood tests will tell. Never mind the pain of sitting in the waiting room and seeing all the other pregnant women coming and going.
It’s not helpful to hear how all of this is ‘God’s plan.’ It’s not helpful to hear, ‘At least you weren’t further along.’ Or even, ‘You have two children to be grateful for.’ It’s not helpful to hear anything. Nothing will make this better. The best responses (I feel) have been the ones where people say they cannot imagine my pain’ or that they are here for me in whatever way that looks like. And my personal favorite was my friend’s husband offering to come to pick me up from the bar if I needed him.
I still believe in God. He and I are not on the best of terms lately. I am still angry. I probably will be for a while. I will be okay. My little support circle is making sure of that. Information and speaking about Paxton have been helping me cope with this.
I will ALWAYS wonder who he would have been. I will ALWAYS wonder why this happened to us. I can only hope that this experience will bring some good. I intend to bring more awareness to Partial Molar Pregnancies and Triploidy. I will beat every last teeny tiny bit of good out of this royally fucked up situation because it is all I have.
If you have made it this far, I appreciate you. I’m sorry if you see me differently because of it. If I’m honest, I see myself differently too. Where I once saw a confident, determined, headstrong, sassy woman, I now see a worn down, bereaved, scared mother just floating through each day. I’m sure my self-view will come back with a vengeance one day, but I will not rush this grieving process. I will continue looking for healthy ways to cope, and I will continue loving people as hard as I always have. Especially those who have been my light in this darkness. They know who they are. My little family is eternally grateful for all the love and support shown to us.
Please feel free to reach out for more information, or if you have questions about anything I have mentioned. Sharing my story has given me some peace, and a support group that I didn’t know I needed.
When the wind’s against you, remember this insight. That’s the optimal condition for birds to take flight.”
Read more stories like this here:
‘Jennifer, I have bad news. Get your husband on the phone.’ Today, I should be holding my newborn. Instead, I’m scattering his ashes.’: Grieving mom pens PSA on late-term abortion, ‘I didn’t lose a baby, I lost a lifetime of hopes and dreams’
‘You can terminate the pregnancy or wait for the baby’s heart to be crushed.’ I feared being judged by friends and family for deciding to save my life.’: Woman births rainbow baby after painful decision to abort dying son, ‘He was suffocating’
‘It’s okay, baby, you can go.’ With tear-filled eyes, we held our little boy’s body as his soul went peacefully to Heaven to join his big brother.’: Parents lose newborn to Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia
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