Along the Broken Road

Our Struggle with Pregnancy Loss

“I want a brother or sister.”

Words spoken so innocently, so genuinely.

Words that stabbed my heart in a way that he, of course, could not understand.

We were in Buffalo visiting Vinnie’s family. It was also my parents’ first trip to his hometown. We were all together in the van, on our way to drop my parents off at their hotel for the evening.

The car went silent.

There was an unspoken, collective feeling of sorrow.

“Oh Baby Boy, if you only knew.”

I remember when Vinnie and I first decided we’d try to get pregnant. It was shortly after Mason’s second birthday. We knew how much Mason needed a sibling, and we both so desperately wanted to share the experience of welcoming a baby into this world alongside our partner – a milestone we’d both been cheated out of reaching with our late spouses.

It happened pretty quickly. We found out early August, on my mom’s birthday, that I was about 4 weeks pregnant. We were so excited and couldn’t wait to share the news. We told our parents right away, even though it would be several weeks before my first prenatal visit. We also told Mason that Mommy had a baby growing in her belly, a concept he couldn’t quite grasp, but was excited about nonetheless. I remember him lifting up my blouse and asking, “Where is it?”

Five weeks went by and it was finally time for our appointment. Vinnie and I waited anxiously for the ultrasound to begin. The technician explained that she would be checking some of my anatomy before looking at the baby. Everything seemed okay at first, but once the baby was visible on the screen, her facial expression changed.

“Unfortunately, there is no heartbeat,” she said.

We were then ushered to another room where we would discuss options with the doctor. She recommended I undergo a D&C since my body wasn’t showing any signs of starting the miscarriage on its own. We received this news the day after Vinnie and Erica’s wedding anniversary and the procedure would take place on Ralf’s birthday.

Unbelievable.

I was so fearful of the anesthesia and something horrible happening, but I trusted my doctor’s judgement and went forward with the plan. While I was being prepped for surgery, I had multiple nurses offer me condolences for my loss.

“If they only knew,” I thought.

Just a couple days after that, feeling awful both physically and emotionally, we decided to evacuate because of Hurricane Irma and the uncertainty of the storm’s path. Vinnie didn’t want me dealing with the added anxiety of being stuck in a dark, scorching hot house for days. We secured our home, loaded up the car with the essentials, and headed to Alabama to stay with my brother and his girlfriend. All while Mason was sick with a cold and very high fever. It was, to date, the most stressful and challenging time of our relationship.

Six months passed and we decided to try again. It took a little longer this time, but I got pregnant within two months. We were scared but mostly optimistic. I told myself I wouldn’t get too excited until we officially heard the heartbeat. Vinnie and I both lit up when we saw the flicker on the screen.

One-hundred seventeen beats per minute. Loud and clear.

All signs pointed to a viable pregnancy. Although we knew we still shouldn’t get our hopes up until reaching the 12 week mark, we couldn’t help it. We had names picked out. We were making plans for the nursery. We just knew everything would be fine and this would be our rainbow baby.

We decided we wanted to get married before the baby’s arrival.

One week before our second prenatal appointment, we announced the exciting news to our parents and our siblings. We also told them that we wanted to have a very intimate wedding in just 2 months. Everyone was ecstatic and the nuptials were planned in less than a week. Flights were booked. Hotel reservations were made. The venue was contracted. Everything had seemingly fallen into place.

Then, one evening, I started to bleed. I called the doctor’s office first thing next morning and they said I shouldn’t panic because spotting during the first trimester is usually not a cause for concern. I begged them to squeeze me in at some point that day so that we could have some peace of mind, given all that we’d both been through. They agreed. We arrived at the clinic and the technician asked me some questions before performing the ultrasound. I knew what was happening as soon as I noticed that the flicker we’d seen during our previous visit was no longer on the screen.

“Are we missing a heartbeat?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

The dam broke. So many tears.

To top it all off, this happened on Vinnie’s birthday. I remember thinking to myself, “What kind of cruel joke is this? Please tell me how this isn’t supposed to feel personal at this point. How much more will we be asked to take?”

The technician left to give us a few moments to ourselves and then once again led us into another room to wait for the doctor. At this point we were both breaking the news to our parents.

Vinnie looked at me through tear-filled eyes and asked, “Do you still want to marry me?”

“Of course I do.”

The doctor walked in with a look on her face that suggested she knew very well that there were no comforting words she could offer. We discussed options once again. She felt I could “successfully miscarry” this time without surgery, with the help of some medication, since my body was already starting to reject the baby. We decided to take that route because we were in horrible debt from the previous D&C due to my hospital deductible being so high. We picked up Mason from school, went home to quickly pack our bags, stopped at Walgreens for my medication, and headed down to Miami so that we’d have help with Mason while we endured this horrible process.

While I have to admit that I didn’t feel as much physical pain as I’d anticipated (perhaps because of the additional pain meds I was prescribed), the emotional trauma of seeing our unborn baby at the bottom of a toilet bowl, and watching Vinnie fish it out to place it in a receptacle that we would have to return to the doctor’s office, is indescribable. The “specimen” was sent off for “fetal testing” that never occurred because apparently it did not arrive to the lab in time. We never got a clear answer as to who messed up – the clinic or the lab. Regardless, the point is that we never got any kind of closure or explanation.

As difficult as it was, Vinnie and I made the decision to focus our energy on our upcoming wedding. It was an emotional ceremony and a beautiful day filled with so much love. But I know that in our hearts we both silently acknowledged the absence of one special participant.

Trying again is off the table, indefinitely. We are working on our own well being and making sure we each get to a really good place, emotionally and physically, before deciding what we are going do. I know we would love another baby and to give Mason a brother or a sister, but I also know that we can’t continue to experience  so much pain. Maybe, in time, we will find the courage and our perspective will change, but for now we are at peace with the way things are.

We’ve also learned just how committed we are to getting through anything together, as a couple – and that’s a blessing I will never take for granted.

13 comments

  1. Amelie

    I am so sorry for your losses. I was 16 weeks pregnant with our first child this year and had a miscarriage in June. Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me or the baby, they said “it just happens”. My friend went through 3 miscarriages and is now 7 months pregnant…there is HOPE! Praying for your miracle.

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  2. Gisela Valdes

    I really have no words, God has chosen you to have a voice to help others get through their own misfortunes…. stay strong, although it has to be gut wrenching and overwhelming at times. #Thistooshallpass sending you love and many prayers for strength

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  3. Mary Cyr

    Dear Meaghan:
    I wish I could say something that would ease your sadness at the loss of your precious babies. All I can say that I can tell though your blog that you and Vinnie love each other very much and your love will see you through this difficult time.
    I think that your decision of taking time to heal physically and emotionally is wise.
    Lean on each other and continue on loving each other and Mason.

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  4. Moses

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
    Romans 8:28
    Everything that’s been taken from you guys will be restored!

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  5. Esther

    My prayers are with you as you experience the pain of losing your baby and the joy of finding love again. May God send you strength and blessings 😘

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  6. Emma

    Omg…” I am so sorry for your loss , That’s terrible, but your faith and lots of prayers you will have your second child only God can make it happen , remember things happen for a reason. My prayers and good wishes to u and your family🙏🏼💖

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  7. Ily

    Meaghan,
    I’m so sorry to hear this.. I too feel your pain because I also miscarried this past February at only 8 weeks with my second.. I’m 44 and all the fertility specialists told me that it would be very difficult to conceive naturally and I did but when I started to bleed and went into that ultrasound and heard no heartbeat I too couldn’t stop crying because I too wanted a sibling for MAC and was soo excited! Eventhough I know it wasn’t meant to be it’s still very fresh in my mind and still hurts.. I have no doubt in due time God will grant you with another child🙏

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  8. Julie

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know there are no words to ease your pain but always remember that God is there with you. Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen but God has a plan. I pray and declare God will give you the baby you so much want. Keep praying and trust God he will give you the desires of your heart.

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  9. Anamaria

    I’m so sorry of all that’s been happening to you, Vinnie and Mason, but never lose faith, God always has a plan even though sometimes we don’t understand. Love ❤️ prayers and many blessing.

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  10. Jenn

    I’m so sorry for your losses. I know all too well the feeling of losing a pregnancy. I had a fetal demise at 20 weeks gestation and one miscarriage at 9 weeks. All I can say is that time helps. Keeping busy and finding purpose in other activities is key. I went for a second degree and changed my career. We have two boys that keep us busy and on our toes. The boys were 4 and 2 when the 20 week fetal demise happened and they were truly the force that kept me from completely falling apart. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are not alone. Hugs!

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  11. Carmen Graovaz

    I have been following your story from the beginning and I am so sorry with what you have gone through. Life can be so cruel. I’m a mother to two children of the ages of 30 and soon this month of 27. I have endured so much pain in my life with my kids not wanting me in their lives . Also loosing my parents before I was 50 years old . I feel like a orphan. I know that sounds ridiculous but when you grow up being like the only child because my one sister was ill and bedridden all her life and the other one I just met 9 years ago but my children don’t like her. It makes life very depressing. I am thankful I have a wonderful husband that loves me and takes care of me. For that I give thanks to God! You and Vinnie will have your children when the time is right. God only gives the struggles to strong people. You my dear are one of the strongest person I’ve known. Give thanks that you both have your families to be by your side. You both are young and have been through so much but are lucky to have each other. I’ve learned that God only gives us what we can handle. I pray for you and your family to have all the goodness you deserve. You are a warrior! You will have all that your heart desires in time! I look forward to your stories and your happiness in the future. Much love to you and your husband. And of course Mason! I see great things for you all in your life. Stay strong and positive like you do always. Things have a way to always work out in your favor. Besitos.

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  12. Marisela

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have been following your story since day one since my husband is a fireman as well. As I was reading I found myself reading faster hoping for a happy ending for you. My heart aches for you and with you, but know that there are many of us out there hoping and praying that God gives you the peace, strength, and happiness you need.

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