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Chapter 2: Our Second Loss

During the months following our loss, we were deeply touched by the outpouring of support from our families, friends, and our church community. We had no idea that so many people in our lives had gone through the loss of a child, some even going through ectopic pregnancies just like we had. We were given constant encouragement that this isn't the end of our journey, but only the beginning.

As the conversation around our loss began to wane, we started to look towards that bright future: it was time to try again.

For me, it was different this time. It's easy for someone who has been raised in an environment where “everything is going to be ok” to go through something and look to the other side of those events for a pattern or a meaning. When we lost our first child, I didn’t know any better, so I grieved, was heartbroken, and was ready to move on. This was just a setback, but we were back on the path and everything would be ok because that's how things are supposed to go.

Deep down I was treating our loss like I would a failure. Not that we failed at anything, but that the correct response to it would be to pick myself back up, evaluate what happened, make any changes that needed to happen and move forward. It was a fluke and there is no reason to think there is anything else that could go wrong.

When we found out we were pregnant again the summer of 2012, just 9 months after our loss, it felt like this was the plan coming together. This is the happy ending to the story. We went through something terrible, but now we were on the other side of it and our story ends with a healthy baby and a future of more children.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had started to go cold inside, which translated into a hardened exterior. I was so “all-in” the first time around, that this time it was different. I didn’t feel like talking to Kristi’s belly, or getting excited to tell anyone that we were pregnant. We shouldn’t be fooling around, this was serious, only one tube left and this was the pregnancy that was going to work. The walls were up.

What came along with that was my own need to control what I feel is out of control. Before, pregnancy was something that happens without much intervention. You get pregnant, they check on things as time passes, but mostly you just get ready to have this baby in 9 months. Now there were variables. Things needed to be handled. I became short with Kristi, which was a departure from the norm for us. A couple years later she would tell me that I had changed, and she was right.

The week of July 14th, we were invited to a friends wedding. Nobody knew we were expecting outside of family and our closest friends, and we definitely weren’t going to tell anybody after what had happened. The wedding was out of town, but not far. Enough that we got a hotel for the night before so we could help with the setup.

Everything had been going fine, but that night at the hotel I had said something or done something to start an argument. I don’t remember what it was anymore, something insignificant, but it was out of character for the old me. We rarely fought, but the tension had been building and I had no idea how to handle it. There was frustration, grief, anxiety, panic and a mixture of so many other emotions that I was not expecting, and I was taking it out on her.

We went to bed and got up the next morning to go to the wedding. Things were still tense, but we had something to do. Put on a smile, be there for our friend, and we can talk later. I hadn't even begun to learn how to deal with my emotions all by myself, much less in a way that makes any concession for another person.

Kristi went on to do her role, hand out programs I believe, and I milled around doing what I could to help out. I walked around to the front of the church and saw her coming out of the bathroom, she had a look that I thought was a residual of the night before. She walked up to me and as cold and stern as I had been with her, she said “I’m bleeding”.

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m bleeding, I think I am having a miscarriage”.

I was annoyed. “Of course not, that could be a lot of things. How do you know it’s a miscarriage?” She was always so negative, at least that’s what I thought, but I would eventually learn that she knows her body more than anyone I have ever met.

What she was saying couldn’t be true, this was our happy ending. Things weren’t going to go wrong this time.

“I will make an appointment tomorrow to go get checked, but I already know”.

On the way home afterwards, she was feeling worse, so she called the after-hours number and they told us to go to the women's hospital. By the time we got there, the test was a formality, she already knew. When you lose a baby at 5 weeks, they call it a "chemical pregnancy" because the gestational sac is too small to show up on an ultrasound, so a blood test is the only way you can check anything.

The doctors told us that the baby had just started to form and was very small, so there wouldn't be anything more that would have to be done after the bleeding. They told us that there wasn't really a reason that causes these early miscarriages most of the time, at least in most cases nothing preventable.

There was a reason, I was mean to her. I was cold. I caused tension. It was as much my fault as anything. At least that’s what I kept telling myself, because that put me in control. I blamed myself because at least if it was my fault, then I knew there was something that could be fixed or done differently the next time.

It felt so much like defeat. Again. Now what? Now the thoughts start coming in that this may be it. Once is a random occurrence, but twice? Even though they were in no way related, I couldn't help but begin to think that maybe our story wasn't going to be one with a happy ending. Unlike the first time, everything happened very quickly this time. With only a few weeks between a positive test and our loss, it almost didn't feel real. Except for the pain, and the sadness, and the numbness. The walls that I had started to put up after the first loss would continue to grow stronger, and it would eventually take something miraculous to begin to put a crack in my cold, hardened exterior.

Return to Chapter 1                       Continue to the next chapter (Coming Soon)

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