Our Missing Puzzle Piece: The Heartache of a Miscarriage

Graffiti in our neighbourhood that reminds us of our baby

Monday, June 18th, 2016

The day that forever changed our lives.

Just like every other year since we got married, we were planning a family trip with my parents and sister. I had done all the research and had planned where we would go and what we would see. Since we had been planning on starting a family soon, I thought what the heck — I’m going to pee on a cheap dollar store pregnancy test and see what happens before I book our flights. To my complete surprise, there they were, the infamous Two-Pink-Lines. I couldn’t believe it; we had only really been trying for a few months. Not sure if this was a joke the dollar store was playing on me, I took a more reputable drugstore bought test to re-confirm — and again there they were — the two beautiful pink lines that would forever change our lives. After crying on the kitchen floor for a few minutes and telling myself again and again that this was finally real, I realized I only had a few minutes to figure out a fun way to tell my husband before he came home. I hid my phone in just the right spot, hoping to capture his reaction, raw and real — a beautiful moment we could look back on, for years to come. Just as he walked through the door, I yelled at him to cover his eyes, hit the record button on my phone, and exclaimed that I had an early birthday surprise for him. As I watched him open the box and saw his mind register what these two very weird sticks represented, I knew this moment would forever be ingrained into my memory.

We were both beyond ourselves! We couldn’t believe that it happened so quickly, and that we would now become a family of three! We quickly ran out to the drugstore and bought a test that would tell us how many weeks along we were. This was also a way for my husband to experience the whole testing taking bit himself. I took the next test in a restaurant bathroom, all the while wondering how many other women had done the same. 2–3 weeks, the test said. And just like that, we were 2–3 weeks pregnant.

We decided we would make the half hour trek that very evening to tell both sets of parents. We knew they would be beside themselves with excitement, and of course they were. There were discussions of what I should and shouldn’t be eating, advice on exercise do’s and don’ts, happy tears, and immense excitement that only a new little one could bring. We knew my parents wouldn’t be upset about the trip, since they were now getting a grand baby instead!

And so before we knew it, we had a slew of doctor’s appointments booked, a list of healthy recipes to make, and we received numerous calls throughout the day from both sets of parents to ensure I was eating well and resting up. Everyone was excited, and wanted to ensure both mom and baby were safe and healthy.

I downloaded numerous pregnancy apps that would compare the size of our baby to that of an apple seed, or would give us updates on the amazing new developments that were happening from week to week — both for myself and the baby. My husband would look forward to daily updates via texts, with photos and info of what the baby was projected to look like on that particular day. We took daily walks, had dance parties (all three of us), and talked about our little one like he was already here. We thought of where we would put the crib, which stroller we would get, and decided that the idea of a winter wonderland themed baby shower would be magical. We then started to put together a list of baby names. A part of my husband’s new nightly routine included sweet good night kisses and soft belly rubs — we couldn’t wait to meet our tiny miracle.

From very early on in our pregnancy, I was convinced we were having a boy. This may be in part because of the numerous old wives tales I had heard, about still looking and feeling great. I was sure he would be the spitting image of my husband, big dark brown eyes with a smile that would light up any room. I was already so incredibly in love with our baby.

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

The beginning of the End.

It was a regular Tuesday, just like every other one that had ever been. Except this morning, I noticed something slightly different, and slightly alarming — brown spotting. Was I bleeding? I wasn’t extremely worried right away, but I knew not to take it lightly either. And so, I called in sick and we booked an appointment with my doctor for later that afternoon. Thank God my husband had the day off. I slept in between fighting tears, hoping that I was just scaring myself, and that our little one was just fine.

Pregnancy is scary and tough — I had no morning sickness, only an intense, overpowering, drop everything or all hell will break lose urge to eat (which my husband thought was the best and sweetest thing, because this meant our little one was growing strong). Other than that, I felt great. In fact, that feeling of everything feeling perfectly alright in and of itself, actually scared me. It was all too perfect.

At our appointment, the doctor reassured us that we had nothing to worry about since the blood was brown — that this may just be “implantation bleeding” and that we should only worry if it became heavy and red. That wasn’t enough to reassure me though, since I was already 8 and a half weeks into my pregnancy, and had read that implantation bleeding occurred much earlier on. We came home and I took a nap; that was my new favourite thing to do, aside from eating of course.

I woke up later that evening just before 7 pm, to the horrific sight of dark red blood. We tried calling our doctor right away, only to realize that the office was closed. We decided to head to the hospital where we hoped to one day deliver our baby at. On our way to the hospital we discussed different scenarios — this was just a scare, maybe we were having twins and things would just be complicated, or maybe I would have to be on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. Thankfully, the ER wasn’t very busy, and we were told that this was a quiet Tuesday (lucky us). Once I was admitted and prepped for an ultrasound, I started to feel hopeful—maybe things would in fact be okay. Both the doctor and my husband said they saw a heartbeat, which as a new mom to be — is music to your ears. But, there was still one problem , I hadn’t seen the heart beat myself. Maybe it was the angle, or maybe I was just too scared to see clearly — either way I took their word for it. After three hours in the ER, and being diagnosed with a possible early miscarriage, we were sent home. This was a hard night, full of pain and horrible thoughts. I had read enough articles and watched enough YouTube videos to know that what I was feeling wasn’t right. The cramps were intense and like nothing I had ever felt before. I knew in my heart of hearts, that we were losing our baby. I knew I couldn’t be feeling this way even if we were going to have a complicated pregnancy. It just didn’t feel right. That night I emailed my boss to tell him I would be taking the first half of the day off.

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

You don’t know what a “poker face” is, until you’ve met an ultrasound technician.

We were booked early the next morning for an ultrasound, at the hospital we would hope to deliver our full term, healthy, bouncing baby at.

Let me tell you, a full bladder + stress = bad combo. As I sat in the waiting room, I wondered how many heavily pregnant women had peed on the ultrasound table I would soon be lying down on.

Finally, my name was called. Thankfully, my husband was allowed into the tiny room, where there was a table on one side and an ultrasound machine on the other. It was so tiny; it hardly fit the three of us. Nonetheless, I was thankful he was in the room — I needed him there, especially if we were getting bad news. No one, I mean no one, holds a better poker face than an ultrasound technician — trust me. We tried so hard to read her, but I guess this wasn’t her first rodeo. Once the ultrasound was complete, we were told to head over to another building where we would receive our results– the women’s unit. It was fancy, new and looked like a great place to have a monthly or weekly checkup at. My husband commented that this was probably where our OB’s office would be. All I could think was, hopefully we would make it far enough to find out. Waiting was extremely difficult and unbearable. A number of horrible thoughts were running through our minds, yet we kept telling each other to stay positive — this was just a hurdle and our baby would be fine.

The moment we were ushered into a room with no medical equipment, and just a round table with a tissue box on it, I knew we had lost our baby. I can’t remember the exact words the nurse used. Something about a puzzle, and a missing piece. All I remember was my husband clutching my hand. He later told me he pinched himself to make sure it wasn’t a bad dream. Everything that followed now seems like a blur. We spoke about our “options”, but decide we would take the natural route. I couldn’t allow someone to take away the very last little bit of our baby. He was still our baby, and he still meant the world to us. We would go through what we had to in order to ensure he came into this world surrounded by people who loved him and wanted him, even though he was already gone.

That evening, after my husband had made the call to my boss to tell him what had happened, and that I wouldn’t be coming in, he went to the pharmacy with my father in law to pick up some “miscarriage essentials”. Pads the size of diapers, Gatorade to help keep the weakness at bay, and pain medication for what was yet to come. I spent most of that evening weeping, while coming to a true and final realization of what was happening — I would lose my baby in the next few days and there was nothing anyone could do about it. My husband and mother in law attended to my every need as the pain would wash over me. Finally, unable to take the pain any longer, I took some pain medication and went to bed.

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Empty.

We woke up the next morning completely cried out, drained, and yet surprisingly in better spirits than the night before. I suppose there is something to be said in knowing the end is near — a sense of peace perhaps? My husband and I lay in bed, talking about the night before and how we were feeling. To my surprise, my cramps had significantly decreased in intensity, and I was having no more contractions. As my husband helped me out of bed, I felt this sinking feeling, like something had just dropped from deep inside me (both metaphorically and physically speaking). I froze, because I knew that was it. Nothing could have prepared me for what I would see, or how I would feel once I saw it. As I entered the bathroom, a strange sound from deep within me escaped — the true realization of what empty felt like. My husband and I stood in the bathroom holding each other with tears running down our faces, we had lost our baby, and I was empty.

These last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. We’ve been incredibly sad, angry, and hurt, but yet happy that we were given those few weeks to experience so much love for our little one. Love for a tiny being that we hadn’t seen or even felt yet. A love so overpowering that we were ready to give anything to make sure our baby was safe. If anyone had told me that I would feel this sort of a love for a baby I hadn’t even met yet, I don’t know if I would have believed them. Losing our baby has been incredibly difficult, but the experience has allowed us to feel the true beauty of life. Each moment will now be treasured, and each life will now be guarded with gentle hands.

In this short period of time, our baby gave us hope, showed us love, and changed our entire view on life. Life so early on is incredibly fragile — tiny bodies more fragile than glass. Not a day has gone by since, where I have not missed our baby. I will never ever stop missing him, stop thinking about him, or wishing with all my heart that he was here; because after all, he is that single piece of our puzzle that is forever gone.

Until we meet again, our sweet baby.