Life Updates,  Miscarriage,  Pregnancy

Our Baby Had A Heartbeat

This has been the hardest week of my life. And I know it’s not going to get easier anytime soon. We had so much hope. We never thought we’d experience a third loss in a row.

On December 18th, we had our first ultrasound. I was so nervous, and we were in the waiting room for over an hour. When we were finally called back, the ultrasound technician was so happy and positive. She was with us during our last loss, and it was obvious how excited for us she was. As the ultrasound began, I held my breath…but quickly exhaled when I saw a big black spot–the gestational sac! There’s something in there! Quickly she finds the baby, we all immediately see the little flickering of the heart. 120 beats per minute. We even got to hear it briefly. I keep replaying that moment in my mind. I never want to forget.


There were some concerns during that ultrasound. For one, I had estimated that I should be somewhere between 7-8 weeks along. However, the baby was only measuring about 6 weeks. But there was a heartbeat! I didn’t think anything would go wrong. Plus, my uterus is severely tilted–maybe they were off on the measurements. But there was another concern. The baby had implanted “high and to the right” in my uterus. Nothing more was said, only a referral to a specialist to “double check”. I thought that since it was in the uterus it was okay.

I left the appointment slightly concerned about the measurements and placement, but I had more hope than ever before. We texted our family and friends, showing them the pictures of our baby. We put the scan photos on our fridge…something I’d only dreamed of being able to do. We were so happy, and I started to relax about everything.

On December 21st, we had our appointment with the specialist. I wasn’t too nervous until I laid down for the ultrasound. The technician was quiet and focused. She took a lot of images of my uterus and the overall placement of the pregnancy. My husband later told me that he knew at that point that it wasn’t good. The technician asked if we’d seen the heartbeat previously, and I told her we had. “Okay, let’s see if we can find it.” She focused in on the baby, and everything seemed different than my ultrasound just days before. There seemed to be more detail…and when we saw the baby, the flicker was missing. I kept waiting for her to say something, but she just finished up and said she’d be back with the doctor to discuss everything.

The doctor came in, and he was really very nice. I don’t remember much about this part, but we remember his kindness and how informative he was. He started by saying that the placement makes this an angular pregnancy. There are apparently varying types of ectopic pregnancies, and angular is one of them (even though it’s in the uterus). He said it’s not an interstitial pregnancy (a pregnancy located in the opening of the fallopian tube), where the risk of rupture is greatest in the first trimester. Rather, with an angular pregnancy, there is a risk of rupture in the second and third trimesters.

Then, he said, “Normally, we would discuss options, but it’s a moot point. You said they found a heartbeat before?” As I said yes, he already began to shake his head…“We weren’t able to detect a heartbeat today.”

Angular pregnancy
This view shows a straight on look at my uterus. You can see the location of the angular pregnancy.

After that, it was all a blur. He explained a few things about missed miscarriage, and encouraged us that we wouldn’t need to wait to try again. All I could think was this can’t be happening again… When I finally was able to speak, I said, “We just went through this in October.” He gave me an opportunity to talk about that, and gently talked about having some testing done. While this is our third loss, our first loss was never medically recognized, so we wouldn’t be able to qualify for testing at this point. I don’t even know if I’d want it. I know that my screwy hormones played a main role in my previous losses, but this loss…there’s no explanation. Everything was perfect with my hormones.

I was immediately sent back to my regular doctor to get the first round of bloodwork done to confirm the missed miscarriage. The next morning, my doctor called me with the results and to offer her condolences. It really meant a lot that she called me personally. My HCG was over 15,000. Tomorrow I go back for my second set of bloodwork. I don’t know what to expect–my symptoms are still raging.

That’s the hardest part this time. We’ve known for almost a week now that our baby’s heart is no longer beating, yet I still feel pregnant. My boobs are still so sore. I’m still exhausted. Nausea is still coming on strong, and I still can’t even smell coffee without gagging. There’s been no cramps or spotting. I don’t know what to think. I was hoping that everything would happen naturally, but now I don’t know…

Having symptoms while knowing that the baby I’m carrying is dead is enough to drive me mad if I dwell on it too long. It’s torture. But this time of waiting to miscarry is also causing me to torture myself with hope. Maybe they got it wrong. Maybe I’ll have another ultrasound and the baby will be alive and measuring perfectly. I am resisting these thoughts with everything in me. I believe that a miracle, even at this point, could definitely happen. I believe that God works miracles. But I also believe that, for me, right now…He won’t.

My faith has really taken a huge hit with this loss. The whole way home after our specialist appointment, all I could think was that prayer doesn’t work. I know it’s not true, but most days I’m not strong enough to fight the lies. I’ve never been so broken and scared. I don’t know what to expect from here. I don’t know when the physical miscarriage will begin. Will it be different than last times? Will I actually see the baby?

This was definitely not the news I’d hoped to be sharing. I should be 9 weeks today. We were planning to let everyone know on New Year’s Eve. I never expected that our story would include three babies lost, and I am having a hard time understanding why this keeps happening to us. I know I’ll never understand, and I know I’m not the only one. It’s just been a draining year…especially since October.

I just can’t wait for this year to end. I don’t even have hope that next year will be different. We are definitely taking a break from TTC this time…probably until I’m finished with the spring semester. We’re just so discouraged and heartbroken. I don’t think we’ll ever be the same. Please pray for us.