Shattered Hearts

The Friday of Labor Day weekend, Alex and I learned the devastating outcome of this first pregnancy.

After our 20 week ultrasound our doctor casually told us that in a couple of weeks we were scheduled to get another ultrasound to get more pictures of the heart. At this time I asked if the doctor wanted more pictures because something looked wrong with the heart or if the photos weren’t detailed enough – the nurse replied stating the latter.

After being reassured, Alex and I posted on Facebook the gender of our baby and started getting even more excited about our firstborn. I began the process of registering for gifts, Alex and I signed up for baby classes at the hospital, and we even started planning out the décor of the nursery. Three weeks later our dreams would be crushed.


Alex and I went to the follow-up ultrasound and the technician basically repeated everything we had done at the first appointment. The next day at work I received a phone call from my doctor, he said that if he called us into his office we would know something was up and with it being a long holiday weekend he thought he should just tell me the results over the phone.

The new ultrasound photos and measurements had shown that my amniotic fluid level was basically zero. The doctor explained to me that when there is no amniotic fluid it means that the baby’s kidneys aren’t functioning. Normally kidney problems would be something that could possibly be dealt with after birth but without amniotic fluid the baby’s lungs would not be able to develop to a point of viability. The doctor summed up that our baby would possibly live for a few minutes after birth but would definitely die shortly after. An appointment had been scheduled with a specialist the next week but the doctor said to not get our hopes up.   I quickly ran to my boss’s office to sob uncontrollably while calling Alex to share the news. The baby I so desperately wanted was not going to survive.

Alex and I went to the appointment with the specialist and after another long ultrasound the specialist confirmed the previous results. Not only would our baby not survive, but I was to continue carrying the baby until 34-36 weeks before I could safely deliver by cesarean. The rest of the day was spent crying, telling our immediate families, and packing away baby gifts we had already received. The next few weeks were very emotional having to tell our bosses, friends, and dealing with the reality of our situation. Not a day went by when I didn’t cry.

Why couldn’t I have just miscarried?

Why did this have to happen with my first pregnancy?

Now any future pregnancy I might have will be constantly fraught with worry.

I am not getting any younger.

Why do I not get to be a parent when there are so many people in the world who are and have no business being one?

I am thankful that I am able to prepare for the inevitable outcome. It would have been so much worse if I had had a baby shower, gotten the nursery ready, etc only to end up with no baby. I am thankful that I have such an amazing husband. Alex has come to every single doctor’s appointment (basically once a week) and has been the most supportive partner anyone could ever wish for. Our families have been wonderful and our bosses have been very flexible.

Currently, the plan is to deliver the first week of December in Sioux Falls. Five hours away from our home, Benny, and our jobs.   Our doctors explained that in the microscopic chance that our baby survives the immense care needed for lung and kidney support could not be met by the hospital here in Rapid City.   I am just ready for this whole situation to be over so that we are able to grieve and eventually move on.

(Originally published Oct. 20th, 2015)

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