The Child We Lost

This is a post I wasn’t sure I’d ever write. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to write it. But with October being SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month I decided now seemed appropriate to write this post. We currently have 4 children and my wife is pregnant now. This is her 6th pregnancy.

When our first child was 11 months old we were trying for number 2. It was the first of July and my wife informed me she just had her period, so it’d be another month before we’d have a chance to get pregnant. We attended a 4th of July party and the host asked my wife when she was due. When my wife informed her that she wasn’t pregnant the host seemed very confused and apologized and explained that she really thought someone told her about the pregnancy.

Well the whole thing seemed strange enough to my wife that she went and took a pregnancy test the next day. The test revealed that she was pregnant. She took another just to confirm. Still pregnant. We were super excited. She made an appointment with her doctor for the next day, we were planning to leave for vacation in one week. The doctor said blood work confirmed her pregnancy but it was so early they couldn’t detect the baby yet with the ultra-sound.

She returned in 2 days to the doctor’s office but they were once again unable to locate the baby. Her doctor informed her that she was going on vacation herself but to come back in 2 days and see her partner. It was now the day before we were planning to leave for a week long camping trip to the far tip of Cape Cod. My wife had a mid-morning appointment before work.

I was at work waiting to hear back from her. I got a call from her. Her voice was trembling as she told me the doctor had found the baby and it was in her Fallopian tube.  She had what is called an Ectopic Pregnancy. They needed to do emergency surgery before her tube ruptured.

I went numb. Not only were we going to lose our child, I had a chance to lose my wife. It was too much to process in an instant. I went to tell my boss I had to leave. She was having a meeting with 3 of her supervisors including the company owner.

I must have looked horrible; as I poked my head in the room they all somehow immediately knew something was wrong. My boss came right over to me and I could barely get the words out. She gave me a hug, told me everything was going to be okay and told me to go.

I had about a 45 minute drive to meet my wife. I called my parents and a few other close friends to tell them what was going on and to ask for prayer. I also called our friends who were watching our son for what was supposed to be a couple hours and informed them what was going on. They, of course, said not to worry about him, he could stay as long as necessary.

I meet up with my wife at a Target. We had a little bit of time to kill before she had to be at the hospital. It was the most surreal Target shopping trip I’ve ever been on. I remember walking around looking at stuff but I was like a zombie. I couldn’t really wrap my head around what was happening. I ended up buying some dress shoes that I still wear to this day.

We made our way to he hospital. Since my wife’s doctor was in California on vacation, her partner was performing the surgery. We got checked into the hospital and she was prepped for surgery. I remember saying good-bye hoping it wasn’t the last time I’d see her. I was directed to a waiting room and told someone would get me when the surgery was over.

The waiting room was just for family of people who were in surgery. The room didn’t have any windows and it was very poorly lit. There was one other family in the room when I arrived. They were nervously talking quietly to each other. I sat down in a small seating area tucked away on the other side of the room. I didn’t know what to do. I prayed. At some point the other family left. I kept trying to prepare myself for the worst possible scenario.

I just sat there. I have no idea how long I was sitting there. Time seemed to not exist. I have never felt so lonely in my whole life. I think I was occasionally texting people updates, but I had nothing to update. I felt like I needed to move or walk around but I just sat motionless in my chair staring at the wall. The door opened and a small old woman came walking in. She looked as scared and lonely as I felt.

She sat down near me. Some time passed and we sat in silence. It might have been 3 minutes or it might have been 45, I have no idea. Somehow we began to speak to each other. I can’t remember who spoke first. Her husband was in surgery and he was getting a hip replaced (or maybe a knee). I was thankful for her company.

Good to their word, someone finally came and got me. I was told surgery went well and lead to an area where I was told she’d be coming soon. I waited in the hallway for a few moments and her bed was wheeled down toward me. We hugged, she was still very groggy from the anesthesia. She was taken to a recovery room. I honestly don’t remember much about being in that room.

We were told the surgery went very well and her tube had not yet ruptured and her tube didn’t need to be removed. My wife wanted to leave the hospital as soon as possible and since everything had gone so well, she was discharged after a couple hours in the recovery room. It was getting really late into the night by now. Our friends told us our son was asleep and he was welcome to stay the night but my wife wanted to see him so we went and picked him up.

The next day was supposed to be the start of our week long camping trip. I don’t remember the exact details of the next morning. I think there might have been a follow up appointment in the morning. At any rate, we asked the doctor if there was any reason why we couldn’t still go on our trip. He said we could still go. So we packed up our camping gear and headed off.

It was actually the perfect thing for us at the time. The opportunity to get away from everyone and reconnect with each other and heal. It all happened so incredibly fast I hardly had time to process it all. Within a matter of hours I went from being excited over a pregnancy to being thankful my wife was alive. Had my wife never had the conversation with the woman at the party, she would have never taken a pregnancy test. Had she not taken that test, her Fallopian tube would have ruptured on our camping trip and in all likelihood she would have died.

Ruptured tubes are the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the first trimester and it’s only within the last half century or so that modern medicine has been able to detect or treat such an emergency. If this had happened during my grandparents generation, I would be a widower today. For each of her subsequent pregnancies we breathed a lot easier once the doctors were able to detect the baby within the uterus.

My heart goes out to all the parents who have lost babies. It’s a challenging thing. Everyone experiences it differently. Some want to talk about it, some don’t. Some want to be surrounded by friends or family and some just want to be alone. I think I read somewhere 1 in 4 women have experienced the loss of a baby. That’s a lot of women. For the majority of these women there was also a brokenhearted father-to-be.

So while we are taking this month to rightfully focus largely on the women who have suffered SIDS, Infancy and Pregnancy loss; let us also remember there might be some guys out there hurting pretty bad too.

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29 thoughts on “The Child We Lost”

  1. I’m at a loss for words… I hung on every word you wrote and I feel a deep sense of sympathy in my heart for what you and your wife went through… And thank you for raising awareness for all others who have lost a child too.

    1. Thanks for your words Lia.
      This isn’t something I’ve actively thought about in a little while. I think it was good for me to write it down. A great reminder to appreciate life right now because you never know what can change with one phone call.

  2. I began to feel tears running down my face by the second paragraph! Thank you for sharing your story story and for raising. My heart just aches for what you both went through!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx

  3. I’m sorry you and your family had to go through that. I’m glad your wife is ok.

    We lost our first 3 pregnancies. Our first daughter was born at 20 weeks. We got to hold her and watch as her heartbeat slowly stop. Her name is Emery. We lost our next 2 pregnancies very early. It’s heart breaking to hear of anyone who’s lost a child, no matter the age.

    We now have a 4 year old, 2 year old and one due in January. They’re amazing! The pain from the loss of our other 3 children is always there but that’s how we love them; through the pain.

    1. Oh Greg, thanks for sharing. I can only imagine the pain and heartache that you went through with Emery. That must have been very difficult, I’m sorry that was something you and your wife had to experience.
      On the other end of the emotional spectrum: congrats on your upcoming addition due in January!
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story.

  4. Thank you for sharing from your perspective. We have 2 little ones waiting for us when we get to heaven. Most of the time when I think about them I think about how I feel and what I went through. Thanks for the reminder that the Dad’s experience the heartbreak too and sometimes don’t talk about their feelings because of the physical nature of their wife’s loss. ❤️ to you and your sweet family.

  5. Man, I can only imagine how pressing of a time that was for you and your wife. Glad to hear we’re in this day and age so that the docs could operate successfully on your wife, but so sorry to hear about the loss. You have such a beautiful family, and can’t wait to see you share your 5th addition!

    I have no clue how you do it with 4, but I’m still plenty happy with my one little girl. Thank you for sharing your story, Mike, this helps to better appreciate things we take for granted.

    1. Thanks RC. It is so very easy to take what we have for granted and it can all be gone in a moment.
      Sometimes, I don’t know how I manage with 4 myself. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you and the family are doing well.

  6. I love when the universe sends those angels our way. What a blessing, thanks for taking the time to write this post, Mike. Your miracle and loss can now be an inspiration to us all.

    1. Yes, dad are overlooked a lot but it is tough on them too. Sometimes dads feel like they have to be strong for the mom and don’t get to grieve properly. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note.

  7. Gosh what an awful thing for you both to go through. So stressful. My friend had an ectopic pregnancy and it can be very scary. Your post is so beautifully written and I’m sure it will help many people x

  8. This is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your personal feelings and story. I think my followers would love to read this to and have it as a supportive article on the blog, hope it is ok to share.

  9. There is so much heart, openness and integrity in how you’ve written this. Thank you for sharing a life experience and hardship that others in a similar situation so desperately want to talk about.

  10. Wow. This is truly heart-breaking. It takes a lot of courage to post a story like this, and I commend you for doing so. Reading this article was an eye-opening experience.

    I’m thankful that your honesty and ability to share such a personal story could help bring awareness to such complications. I’m sure there are many readers going through this type of trauma and were able to find comfort in hearing this story.

  11. I am so sorry that you experienced this. And send thoughts to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story though and helping others.

  12. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. This must have been so heart-breaking to write. I have had four miscarriages and baby loss is so tough. I think the father-to-be and his grief often gets forgotten about. It is so important for men, like yourself, to share these stories. Thank you for writing this and hugs to your family. Mrs H xxxx

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