My midwife turned to me and said, “I’m sorry Elizabeth, I no longer see a heartbeat.” We both knew what that meant. She was gentle and empathetic. It looked like this pained her too. That was comforting.
I tried to comprehend what was taking place. There were no tears, not yet. Just questions and acceptance of what I saw. My baby had died. I looked over to my friend who was keeping Timmy occupied. Timmy, smiled and giggled. He kept saying, “Hi Mama!” I wanted to vomit. I looked for tears or some look on my friends face. I don’t recall seeing anything but a straight face.
I didn’t want to see sympathy. I was looking for something that meant this hurt for her too. I may have missed it. I knew she was hurting for me. We both had hoped for a different outcome. I wondered what her thoughts were when she volunteered to come with me.
My midwife told me I could get dressed and she would return in a few minutes. As I began to move off the table, I felt a piercing pain in my upper butt cheek. It was another reminder of what we are losing. The twice weekly shots of progesterone my husband learned how to give to me, will no longer be needed. I let this sink in for just a moment.
When my midwife returned, she explained things, saying some of the standard, “You didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes this just happens.” I know. It’s not something that needs to be explained to me. It hurts.
Some tears begin to flow. I don’t remember much after that. I just know that my friend came over to hold me as the tears streamed down my face. Someone gave me a tissue. There was no, “why.” Things became matter-of-fact for me. We talked a bit as my midwife explained she would call me later and that I did not have to make any decisions right now.
I remember asking about a D&C and if there was any possible way we could have one tomorrow. I didn’t know if I wanted it but I was on autopilot. She said she would try. I also explained I wanted testing and mostly wanted confirmation of this baby’s sex. She promised she would order the testing for me.
We left…empty handed.
As I stood in the hallway outside the OBGYN clinic, I noticed a message on my phone. My husband was asking if he could call. It was 9:58am. I replied with a text but my phone was having trouble sending because it was going in between Wi-Fi and 4G service.
I tell my friend that my husband wants to talk to me. “Should I tell him now?” I ask her. “He is in a class and I know he will want to leave. It will be hard for him to finish the day.” She explained that this is serious and he would want to know. I slid my finger across my husbands name which initiated the call.
“Are you okay?”
I mumbled, “yes.”
“How did everything go?” he replied.
I became silent. My mind was searching for the right words. How do I tell him his baby has died?
After a long pause and him repeating his words I released all I could, “Our baby has died.”
I don’t remember much after that. At some point we hung up. I don’t even remember if we said we loved each other. I sat on some benches in the hallway near the laboratory. I sat quietly, thinking about what calendar events were coming up that I wouldn’t be able to handle. I sent a text to my teaching partner explaining I couldn’t teach this weekend. She didn’t respond.
I called the realtor that was scheduled to come to our home. We were about to put our house on the market. This baby would need their own room and our house wasn’t bit enough. I tried to push the rambling thoughts of “what are we going to do now,” out of my mind.
“Hi there! We have an appointment at noon today but I am afraid I have to cancel again. I am pregnant and just found out our baby died.” I felt good about keeping my emotions together, mostly. She expressed her condolences and we hung up.
I called my boss. I think this teaching issue will take more than just my partner working through this. She didn’t answer and I left a message. It was an emotional, broken message. I could tell that I didn’t do a good job explaining what I needed when she called back. I had to explain it all again. She was very sorry and said she would take care of rescheduling everyone. I was thankful she had a full understanding of loss.
At that point, I had spent a good 30 more minutes inside the clinic. I didn’t want to leave. It was hard to do so. Leaving meant it was all over. Staying meant we could still be suspended in what-if’s. Leaving meant moving forward. I didn’t want to move anywhere but backwards. I wanted to go back to the time when my baby’s heart was beating.
When I return to my home, I notice the pink sticky note my husband had left for me that day. His words, now more meaningful then ever. They cut so deeply for me.
You are extraordinary!
I love you so much.
I’m sorry I cannot be here for you today.
I will pray for you and our baby all day today
I love you
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