That same Monday, the 15th, bloodwork showed an increase in HCG-the pregnancy hormone-and I had no further cramping or spotting. We put in an offer on another home and got that accepted and got to the inspection phase. The inspector told us outright, "If you were my children, I'd cry if you bought this house because you will always have water in your basement." He looked at me and said, "This is usually when the wife starts to cry." I was completely calm as I thought to myself, "Buddy, I have bigger fish to fry here-I need to know if I have another heartbeat inside of me or not. I can go without a new house." We left the contract on House #3 and an ultrasound on Jan. 19th showed a heartbeat. Holy crap, I'm still pregnant! Grieving paused and Hope started to grow.
Between Jan. 15th and Feb. 4th, we had 17 showings and 2 offers on our house. Our dog, Ella, was hospitalized in our Vet's ICU twice from the stress of the showings with bloody diarrhea, bloody vomit-symptoms of pancreatitis and gastroenteritis. She was put on 4 different medications and a limited diet. I had ultrasound appointments weekly to check on Baby and we continued to see a heartbeat. Hope grew along with the size of Baby #5.
After we knew we'd successfully sold our home and what equity we had to work with, we went back to House #2 that was my dream layout and made a better offer that resulted in a counter and we accepted. Jason likened the selling/buying of a home to a football game. Thus far, we'd had a good first half. I kept thinking in my mind, "We have TWO MORE QUARTERS TO GO?! What's left?!"
Oh, there was so much left.
February 8th, after the flurry of 5 showings on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4th), I slowed down enough to realize, I'd been kinda crampy all week. I was so swept up in packing, taking care of Laidy, Loch and Ella with her meds, that I chalked it up to fatigue and lifting/packing boxes. I called in for a triple check of an ultrasound and kinda laughed it off to the on-call nurse over the phone. I even told Gerard I was calm and at peace to go to the appointment alone. The second I saw the screen during the ultrasound, I knew I no longer saw a flicker of Baby's heartbeat. I was facing the worst news by myself. The tech went and got the doctor and I sat in the exam room. In the quiet. In the dark. Alone. Thinking, "I'm the only one who knows this right now. How do I tell Gerard? How do I tell others?" There were no tears. Just quiet thoughts.
The doctor came into the room and forwarded me on to my OB's office-he'd called them to let them know I'd be on my way over and they'd work to squeeze me into their Friday afternoon. (Side note: NEVER AGAIN will I schedule an ultrasound on a Friday.) I thanked him, asked the tech for the pictures of Baby and headed to the car. I called Gerard, told him we'd lost the Baby, that I was headed over to my OB's office and apologized that I had to tell him this news over the phone, "I'm sorry you have to tell me over the phone." Was his reply. And then, "Do you want me there?"
Gerard admits it wasn't the best choice of words and what he meant was, "Where are you?" I headed to my OB's office up the street and checked in at the front desk. I let them know I would be outside the front door making a few phone calls and to come get me when they were ready for me. I called my parents and spoke to my Dad. "Oh Baby, I'm so sorry." was his choked reply. Then my tears started. I left my sister a choked up and stutter-filled voice mail since I knew she was at work tending to patients of her own. I texted work colleagues who knew I was pregnant and Bible Study family. (Another side note: I think if we're ever pregnant again, we're not telling a single soul for quite awhile. In our excitement, we told FAR too many people. Taking that many folks on a roller coaster that ends in disaster isn't pleasant.)
My OB is the best OB in the world. There were hugs, tears, questions to remind me of surgery processes and recovery. I had Large Group Contest the next morning-I was slated to run the Jazz Center at our school and we were forecasted to get a snow storm. I texted friends and family again to pray that the snow storm would cancel the contest.
We got a compromise-a late start to the contest due to icy road conditions caused half our jazz entrants to cancel. It would be a light day with just 4 jazz bands to come through our doors. I needed to be there from 9:00-2:30pm. I made it through by the skin of my teeth, smiling at directors as they came in, working with students to help run the day smoothly, during the lunch break, I sat in our school's gym alone (sometimes in the dark because they are motion-sensored lights) as I readied my Solo Contest ballots because I knew I'd be missing school the following week. I texted Gerard to let him know the miscarrying process was ramping up and that we'd need to go to the ER to meet my OB when I got home from the contest. This would be enacting our Plan B, Plan A had been to do surgery on Monday, but my body made it clear I wouldn't make it that long. Gerard lined up a babysitter, prepped dinner for the kids.
I got home with a sigh of relief, greeted our wonderful friend who watched Laidy & Loch and had brought them all sorts of puzzles and new coloring books to busy themselves. I changed clothes and we headed out the door. Checking into the ER felt like an out of body experience as I told the front desk nurse what was happening. They got me into triage, took my information and got me into a room as soon as they were able. My OB wrapped up her own daughter's birthday party and met me in the ER. I was prepped for surgery, signed paperwork for Baby to be sent to Hamilton's Funeral Home after its trip to the Pathology Lab for testing. The past two times this has happened to us came flooding back to my memory.
It's still hard for me to grapple and accept the fact that my medical history looks so messed up and now details THREE "missed abortions" as the medical community refers to miscarriages. I didn't cry in the ER until I laid down on the OR table-"Not again, Lord! Why am I here again?!" My OB put her hand under the white blanket covering me to stroke my arm and hold my hand as the anesthesia took hold.
I woke up from surgery well-they'd honored my request for no fentanyl and no Tylenol with codeine. With our first miscarriage and D&C, fentanyl and codeine took away my appetite, made me irritable and nauseous, further complicating my recovery. Miscarriage #2 and now, #3 had a much more smooth recovery and I could focus on the emotional side of recovery instead of combating negative side effects physically. We made it home in time to tuck Laidy into bed and I snuggled with her until she drifted off to sleep. As I held her in my arms, I remembered the 18 months it took for us to get her, the one month of clomid, seeing her heartbeat at 8 weeks gestation, the tech telling us she had a "beautiful heart" at 20 weeks, the induction of labor, the difficult recovery, how perfect of a baby she was to sleep through the night at 12 weeks. My mind drifted to the two miscarriages we had while trying for a sibling for her. The timid joy I felt when we found out about Lochlyn's existence, the fear, the reservations that come with a pregnancy after miscarriage, finding out Loch was a boy and the OB appointments that we joyfully had Laidy find his heartbeat with our doctor assisting, the smooth induction of labor, the textbook perfect recovery, how exhausting of a baby he was eating twice a night for the first year of his life.
"How many more times are we going to go through this, Lord?" I fell asleep asking that night. The answer is inaudible to us right now.
As we were in the moving process, people would come up to us and congratulate me and I'd hesitate for a moment to wait to hear what they were congratulating me for. The week we were moving, I was supposed to be announcing a pregnancy. I didn't know that people congratulated you on a new home-call me socially awkward, I guess. Also, the week we were moving, our Old Orchard house got a new roof-twice. There was a roofing snafu/miscommunication and our roofer needed to re-do his work. This put Ella in ICU again, so she stayed there for close to a week while we loaded the u-haul and got the new house set up for Life.
I miscarried/had surgery Feb. 10th. Recovered the following week in the midst of Parent-Teacher Conferences, Show Choir Show Case final home show extra practices for Gerard and a Show Choir Contest on Feb. 18th, accompanying 70 of my students for Solo Contest on March 3rd, and packing our home into boxes and tubs.
Moving Day found our front yard looking like this: