If you don't follow me on the world of Instagram, or haven't run into me sipping a glass of wine downtown Beaufort, then you probably aren't aware that at 19 weeks pregnant, I got some bad news.
Honestly, I didn't really feel like saying shit about it at all-- but I knew if I didn't throw it out there on some social media platform, I'd be answering the "How's the pregnancy going?" questions.
Or even worse-- I'd be told some more, "You don't even look pregnant!' And in the mood I was in, I would have smiled and said, "Yeah, because I'm not."
It would have been all around awkwardness for all persons but myself.
I went to the doctor for my 20 week anatomy scan-- that's where you get the ultrasound to confirm the baby's gender and check to make sure everything is growing appropriately. My IF (intended father) had asked that Jeremiah grabbed lots of pictures for him during the ultrasound, so as soon as the screen displayed the baby, Jeremiah grabbed the phone to begin snapping.
Within 10 seconds, the ultrasound technician, who I have grown to see quite often (about 15 times since the start of the surrogacy in 2018) pulled back from my belly and said,"Wait, how far along are you? I just want to make sure I have the right date put in the computer."
I let her know my due date was September 25 according to the fertility clinic, but my OB had said September 24, so either of those work.
She was trying to be calm, but she typically has a super chipper personality, and her face sank a little bit. "Hmm. Well, I need to let the doctor confirm what date to use, I'll be right back in just a second."
I automatically thought something was off, and told Jeremiah that this was super weird-- especially that after starting she would leave to confirm something as silly as one day apart. I was 19 weeks and this hadn't been questioned yet with such concern.
After about 5 minutes of waiting, she returned with the OB and pulled the baby up for us to see once again. He said, "You're right. I'm so sorry, but it seems the baby doesn't quite have a heartbeat anymore."
This was the same doctor who just weeks ago at my 15 week checkup had found the heartbeat on my belly and told me everything looked "textbook perfect!" He looked a bit stunned himself.
After confirming that the baby was no longer viable, I didn't cry.
All I could think of was the doom of having to call my IF to tell him that the baby wasn't alive.
Making it to the half way point and then having this news was nothing I was prepared for. Sure it happens here and there to others, but me. Hell nah! I wouldn't have a late miscarriage with this sweet surro baby of mine!
Subconsciously, I had noticed little changes. I was not gaining too much weight anymore. My pants were feeling a little more loose. I was no longer dead tired by 10:00pm. I wasn't having cravings. I just assumed that since I was well out of my first trimester, I was starting to level out hormonally and the weight I had gained was med bloat from all of the hormonal supplements I was taking.
I was told to get dressed and head over to the other room so we could discuss "options."
I wasn't quite sure what options would be. I had an early miscarriage once back in 2014, but I was less than 8 weeks and just had cramping and bleeding.
When we go settled with the doctor again, he explained the baby seemed to be growing normal, but the brain development was not looking as it should. He said it had nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with the IVF. Not a thing to do with the genetics or embryo. Just a crappy thing that happens sometimes.
He added that he reached out to all of the OBGYNs in office to get a collective opinion. I was 19 weeks, but it seemed due to the baby's size, it had died a few weeks ago. The baby was measuring at about 15 weeks, which was too far for a D&C where they would essentially just clear the baby out surgically. This procedure, this far along, would have put me at risk of hemorrhaging and having unnecessary problems of my own.
The only option I had was to deliver the baby.
I did however have choice between going to MUSC or Coastal Carolina.
Since Coastal had weekend appointments available (and Jeremiah and I were kid free that weekend to go on a date) we decided it would be best to go to Coastal.
I was already dilated 1 cm and was advised to take the rest of the week off. My body had essentially been carrying around the baby still for a few weeks, not knowing that I technically wasn't pregnant anymore. He said anytime now, my body could realize it and hop from normal to labor. He also said since it was still so small in size and I'd had 3 children already, it wouldn't be a long process once my body's switch flipped. I could deliver the baby within a matter of minutes, being realistic.
Last thing I wanted to add would be this happening in the classroom with freshman. OMG, I would have literally died.
On Friday, May 3, we went to Coastal Carolina Hospital and early Saturday, May 4, I delivered the baby, then had a D&C to remove the placenta since my body wouldn't naturally do so on its own.
We got to see the baby-- it was actually kept in the room with us for quite a while, which is probably totally freaky to many of y'all! I got to go home the same day, and went back to life as normal, Tuesday, May 6.
This has been quite some time now-- I've been lucky enough to have been asked to try again with my IF. Currently, we are waiting on my results to make sure my uterus is strong enough after delivery to try again. If we get the clear, as we are thinking we will, then we will be trying again for baby in July.
So one more trip to Vegas and another round of IVF.
Still even this far into the journey, I still do not feel that I was qualified as a human to explain to a parent-to-be that their child was lifeless, without a heartbeat-- and in my belly that way, at that.
Was he crushed? Absolutely.
Heartbroken? For sure.
But, to see how kind he was to make sure I was okay in all of this was ever so kind.
We both suffered a loss, but it was very different emotions for the both of us.
I was fortunate enough to have no postpartum issues, physically or emotionally. It is such an eye opener that there are so many women undergo a loss on the road to motherhood. And such a heartbreaker that so many struggle with infertility and have to experience loss like this time after time in their journey to baby.
Fingers crossed for a successful time on the second try.
Yes a second try. Word of advise, don't ask me why I am trying again or why I would put my body through this again.
A whole baby life can bless the world. Quitting over a failed try wouldn't do the world any good, now would it.
Hugs to all the mommas out there who are struggling to conceive and carry. You are strong and we are not broken.
Love, Hugs, and Lots of Kisses.
Below is my Instagram post from 7 weeks ago:
Baby chinito update: Week 20 - I’ve started typing this a few times, but wind up deleting. I considered not posting about it at all, to be honest. First, because I have been worried that my tone sounded a bit too casual and not “how I should feel” in this situation. If you lose a baby, for goodness sake, you ought to drop a tear or two, right? On the other hand, I do not personally know any surrogates, which then means I don’t personally know a surrogate who has lost a baby, either. So it’s okay that am not freaking out, or crying as I type. I’m hoping to share this and be free of judgment - Secondly, well I didn’t feel like talking about it. But, the journey I’m on is already out in the open. Logically thinking, it’d be easier for a mass announcement rather running into people around town and one-by-one explaining our loss - On Tuesday, when Jeremiah and I went to the doctor for the 20 week anatomy scan we found out the baby no longer had a heartbeat. He seemed to have passed a couple weeks ago, measuring smaller than expected. The body development looked normal, but the brain wasn’t seeming to have progressed as it should - Since I was so far along, last night we went in for me to be induced and deliver, followed by a D&C for the placenta that wouldn’t quite come out - I am okay, entirely. Just feeling oh-so bad for my intended father, who was expecting to hold his baby boy is just 4 short months - While this was just an unfortunate event, no fault of the surrogacy, IVF process, or myself— it is a reminder how many in this IVF and surro community encounter loss and hardships along the journey to a baby - Last night while waiting for my labor to begin, in the room next door, a family delivered their baby. I heard the new cries most of the night and all of today. And there wasn’t any feeling of bitterness or jealousy— just a bit anxious and hopeful that the next time I am in the hospital leads to a successful and healthy baby to be delivered for us - Thank you to my sweet people for all the love and check ups. And for freaking out for me while I’m robotically calm! I love and appreciate you guys more than you know. ❤️