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They call it a miscarriage before 20 weeks, but that doesn’t seem to do my

I finally got the news I had been longing for after 18 months trying to conceive! I was pregnant! After looking at so many negative pregnancy tests month after month, it was almost hard to believe. After peeing on two sticks, and having lines that were darker than the control line, I was finally able to settle into the notion that my family of four would finally be complete. I did what any expectant mother would do. I told my best friends, visualized if the baby would look like my 3 year old daughter, made guesses about the gender… But in many ways I was also very cautious. I waited until my 12 week ultrasound to tell my co-workers so that we knew the baby was doing well, and waited until 14 weeks to post anything on social media.

I did NIPT, a quad blood test, had two ultrasounds, and heard the heart beat at 16 weeks. The night before I was 17 weeks pregnant I began cramping, and eventually bleeding. I went to the emergency room somewhat optimistic, although deep down I knew that this was not good. I had read on my due date board about people with sub chorionic hemorrhages, or placenta previa and even though I wasn’t sure exactly what those were, I hoped for that to be what they found because I knew the alternative was losing my little boy. After a few hours in labor and delivery the dreaded news came… The baby did not have a heartbeat, and my cervix was open in an attempt to deliver. I cried, but ultimately just wanted this whole ordeal over with. I delivered just a few hours later. Somewhat reluctantly I opted not to see the baby, partly because I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be seeing and didn’t want a horrible image ingrained in my mind, and also I just wanted to hold onto the happy memories of carrying my baby boy for those 17 weeks.

They call it a miscarriage before 20 weeks, but that doesn’t seem to do my baby justice. We already had a bond, he had a name, and as far as my family is concerned he was our son and my daughter’s brother, who is now an angel. I am still working my way through the grieving process. I have been sad, numb, angry, and disappointed that my body was not able to do what it was built for. I have retraced my steps in the days leading up to the loss. Could it have been the baked ham I ate on Easter? Could it be the laundry basket I picked up that morning? What about the Coke I drank earlier in the day? Logically I know the likelihood of any of those things causing it are slim, but it’s nearly impossible to not question it. At 35 (now considered “Advanced Maternal Age”) I am feeling rushed to decide if I ever want to attempt this venture again. A large part of me never wants to be pregnant again, however, there is also an emptiness I feel for myself, my husband, and my daughter not getting the sibling she so desires. I don’t know how I would ever make it through another pregnancy without living in constant, sheer panic, but I also know that most women who experience 2nd and 3rd trimester losses (which, surprisingly, many friends and acquaintances have come forward since hearing my story!) go on to have happy and healthy full term pregnancies. Although another child will never replace the one I lost, the idea of possibly having another baby someday gives me the hope I need to get through each day.

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