By far, this post will be the most gut-wrenching one I have ever written. However, I have learned so much from other bloggers' sorrow and struggles through such posts, so perhaps the same will happen. In the past few days, I have become more comfortable telling the world of our ordeal.
In the middle of March, I had a positive pregnancy test. My NaPro doctor put me on progesterone immediately, just like my previous pregnancy. I took a blood test 3 days later. Surprise and joy turned to sorrow when my doctor called to tell me I would miscarry very soon. His voice on the phone was sad, yet compassionate.
My husband and I wanted closure, not wanting to wait for bleeding. The NaPro doctor gave me a timeline for which to watch for bleeding, then to follow up with my OB. For the next 2 weeks, I had four blood tests (mostly for HCG) and two ultrasounds. My OB, who herself has biological and adopted children, compassionately tried to look for a miracle. Both ultrasounds yielded no clear picture or heartbeat. We found out towards the end of our ordeal that she also was concerned about an ec.topic pregnancy. Thankfully, that's not a possibility: not long after my last ultrasound, I started to bleed. My OB is still monitoring me via blood tests (oh yeah, my favorite) to make sure the HCG numbers drop.
So we experienced the heartbreak that many bloggers and friends have tread before us: several appointments that started in an OB waiting room, looking at pregnant women (not that I was jealous, just knowing what could have been). Going to the ultrasound, knowing the outcome would be good. Waiting in the tiny patient room, wondering about outcomes and frustrated when answers weren't clear right away. And of course, the constant question: WHY?
Once our situation became clear, I posted a prayer request in a girls' prayer group on Facebook. Little did I know that my petition would post to other's news feeds. So the word got out fast...and it was surprisingly liberating. We have literally been surrounded in prayer as the days unfold. I've especially needed it, as chasing a 16-month-old while processing grief is not the easiest task.
We decided to name our baby, to help us have closure. My friend Kerri, who herself has three children in heaven, penned a profound post about why we name our miscarried children (thanks for saving me the work of explaining it too!) My miscarriage also coincided with Kerri's first miscarriage 4 years ago. Her boldness in speaking and writing about her children and heaven has really inspired me. For some reason, my husband and I both felt our baby was a girl. Even though she lived in my womb for a few weeks, she is a little soul in heaven. She is still a person!
Our little saint's name is: Rachel Philomena.
My husband felt drawn to the name Rachel (she's depicted in the above sculpture). It reminded him of Jeremiah 31:15:
"Thus says the LORD: In Ramah is heard the sound of sobbing, bitter weeping! Rachel mourns for her children, she refuses to be consoled for her children—they are no more!"
I picked the name Philomena, which means "full of light." St. Philom.ena was a young girl martyred in Roman times at age 13 (according to legend). She is credited with interceding for many, many miracles.
As deep and heartbreaking as this sorrowful path has been, I am grateful to have suffered this miscarriage after our daughter was born. She's a great distraction! However, the biggest reason is that I tend towards pessimism and would not have reacted well to this during infertility. Our miscarriage experience has helped us feel solidarity with two dear friends who recently suffered failed adoptions.
We plan to have a Mass to remember Rachel's brief life. Thanks to fellow coffee lover Chasing Joy, I found out about the Church of the Holy Innocents, which has a shrine dedicated to children who died in the womb. Parents can send in the names of their children to be inscribed in the "book of life."
I'm grateful that we do not have to bear this heavy cross alone.
Please feel free to ask my Rachel to pray for your intentions. :)