Unthinkable Loss: Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Written by Christie Hoos

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UnthinkableLoss_290x220“We can’t find a heartbeat. I’m sorry, your baby is gone.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – there obviously had been some crazy mistake. At first I thought they must be in the wrong room. I felt sorry for that poor woman next door – I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes right now. Or maybe it was the ultrasound. These machines malfunction all the time.

I could still feel my baby moving and we had listened to the heartbeat just that morning. Why did this stubborn doctor keep insisting that my child was dead. I was angry that he was upsetting my husband, who was already so worried. I had to make him understand.

“Check it again! Check it again!” I screamed.

The nurse wheeled the doppler machine over to the bed and squirted the cold jelly on my swollen belly. When we heard a faint thump-thump-thump I was so relieved – but the nurse shook her head. It was my own pulse we were hearing, not the rapid swishing sound I had come to love. There was only silence.

It finally hit me – my baby was dead.

All the hopes and dreams that I had for him were gone in that instant. I have no words to describe the pain, the utter despair I felt then. I had always told myself that bad things happen to good people and someday I would be put to the test. I guess I didn’t really believe it though, because I was so surprised. It had never occurred to me that I might lose this baby.

He was our first child. After four years of wise and slightly less-than-patient waiting on both our parts we were ready to build a family. When we saw that pink line on the test stick we danced around our basement apartment like a couple of idiots. We wrapped up one pink bootie and one blue bootie and sent them to each of our parents.

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Waiting for Baby

Then began the wait – it seemed interminable. Everyone kept saying how the time would fly by – but to me it slowed to a crawl. Before long I had far more maternity clothes than regular outfits. We even began to pack for our move into a new house.

I gave no more than a passing thought to the concerns my husband had about my defective left kidney. After all it hadn’t worked most of my life and the doctors assured us that it was not a problem. Even when my blood pressure climbed we were told to relax. My right kidney function was excellent and I was being closely monitored. This defective kidney was little more than a nuisance. In fact we learned that even in a kidney transplant doctors will leave the old kidneys in.

It was our last week in the basement suite and I had just entered my sixth month when I began passing blood. Remembering our panicked trip to the ER just 2 weeks earlier with severe abdominal pains I was embarrassed to return. I had felt so silly to be sent home with what was probably indigestion, but this seemed to be an awful lot of blood.

Here we go again! I couldn’t believe this is happening now. We were moving that week and I still had a lot of packing to do. This was going to be one of my busiest weeks at work. I hoped they wouldn’t keep me in the hospital long.

I was admitted that evening and started on a course of antibiotics for what was most likely a kidney infection. The next day each doctor who examined me had a new theory. Perhaps it was kidney stones. Or maybe it was a clot wash – rare, but not unheard of.

After a few hours of agony in the night and a small blood transfusion I began to feel much better. In fact the doctors began to talk about sending me home. We called all our friends and family with the good news. That morning I listened to my baby’s heartbeat for the last time.

This isn’t the way it was suppose to be.

The days that followed are a blur – pain, my mom’s voice on the phone, a nurse holding my hand, our pastor praying for us, the pain when I cried, my husband’s worried face . . . I still “felt” the baby move. It was most likely bladder spasms or the very common “phantom kicks” often associated with in utero death.

A Cat Scan revealed what the doctors had no way of knowing- my kidney was bleeding profusely. It was not draining properly – so while everything appeared to be clearing up, in fact the blood was pooling in my kidney. As it filled up it began to expand, putting pressure on all my organs and my womb.

I was scheduled for surgery immediately. Before being wheeled away I received my 7th unit of blood. The doctor took my husband aside and explained that the kidney was a ticking time bomb which could rupture at any time – it was already approximately the size of a basketball.

I wasn’t afraid, in fact I didn’t really think much of it – I just wanted it all to be over. Less than a week after surgery I was wheeled up to Labor and Delivery. The next morning at 9:10 a.m. I gave birth to my son Noah William Hoos – 1 lb. 6 oz. and perfectly formed. It was the most bittersweet moment as I held his tiny body close to mine!

“I love you so much my precious boy! I can’t wait to meet you someday! I am so sorry this happened!”

Where do we go from here?

I find it difficult to explain what I am going through. Grief, for me, comes in waves. It appears unexpectedly and sweeps through my soul. There are times when I had a smile on my face, I may say that I am fine, I may even convince myself that it is true, but just around the corner lurks another wave of sadness.

I am tossed like the ocean – pounding waves and crashing surf, yet only a few miles below the surface the deep waters are still and calm. Beneath the turmoil I have an abiding peace. It is what the Bible calls “a peace that passes understanding.” It doesn’t make any human sense to feel that peace right now – but I do. I know that everything will be okay. I know that I am not alone.

As a child I made the decision to trust Jesus Christ with my whole life. I did not understand everything about Him and I still do not, but I knew that He loved me and I believed that only He could take care of me. It was not very eloquent, but I meant every word when I prayed:

“Dear Jesus, I want to go to heaven when I die. I know that I do lots of bad things and I am not good enough on my own. Please forgive me. Come into my heart and stay with me always. Thank you for dying in my place. Amen.”

Because of this simple prayer, said so many years ago, not only do I have a peace that could only come from God, but I have hope. I know that one day I will see my baby boy again and what is even more amazing – one day I will see God face to face. I do not need to worry about my future, because it does not depend on what I do. Jesus has earned my place in heaven – all I had to do was ask.

The Bible says “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed . . . Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16)

Epilogue

It has been more than 5 years since I wrote this article about my firstborn son. Many people would be surprised at how much I still miss him. There have been times of struggle, of anger and hurt. Especially when our son Simon was also stillborn (more about Simon). Yet again, there was God himself walking beside me.

Life is so unfair and I don’t understand the “whys” of it all. But I do know that God is faithful, no matter how I feel in the moment. I am convinced that He is the answer.

Since many people have asked, yes, we have had other children. Noah has 3 little sisters here on earth. They are a blessing and a gift. I wonder if hearts that grieve do not have an even greater capacity for joy.

devo-interact-icon-42x42Are you struggling with the pain of a miscarriage? We are here if you want to talk.
My son…who is in heaven

14 Responses to “Unthinkable Loss: Miscarriage and Stillbirth”

  • Alfred says:

    There is more than a year between the last 2 responses to this article. Now I’m wondering whether the most recent was done in ridicule, or if it was an expression of great pain. If it is the latter, than my heart goes out to you!
    It is now 48½ years since our first-born was stillborn! God healed that wound when exactly 2 years later, to the day, our daughter was born! I’ve often wondered what this oldest son of ours would have been like. The words of Jamie (January of 2012) really spoke to my heart: “The goal of grieving is not to ‘get over’ the loss but to be able to fully express our loss and sorrow.” If you are hurting so badly that you seem to be unable to express your loss & grief, take heart as you read of these others who’ve come through similar situations. God knows exactly where you are! HE cares, and He loves you!!!

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  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up anyone who is going through stillborn or any other deaths of new born babies, that I believe that God had changed His mind of you having a baby, that was not prefect in His sight. I pray that God will provide another baby that is just right for all to see. In Jesus Mighty name amen

  • Michael Jantzen says:

    Hello Susan,

    As a father of three with another to be born soon, I couldn’t imagine experiencing such loss. You have been very close to this. Last year my first cousin’s baby was stillborn. We all grieved with her. As terrible as this was for them, I have also seen God’s faithfulness as family and friends (and God’s divine offering of peace) surrounded them. You say that you want to encourage them when the time is right. Let me pray about that:

    “Lord, thank you that Susan can be an instrument of your compassion. Help her know the exact time and way to show that. Help her be especially good at just listening and ministering to the three year old in her care. Amen!”

    Take care

  • Susan Gateley says:

    My friend lost her baby boy exactly a week ago today. He was 8 1/2 mos. and born sleeping.
    I am the daycare provider for her almost 3 yr old little girl and was as excited as any Grandma
    could be to have a brand new baby boy to cuddle. I am grieving for this family. If I could I would
    take all the pain, hurt and suffering away from them. But they need to go through these hard
    feelings to heal. I have cried more this week than I have in a while. I want to be here for my
    friend for whatever she needs.
    Your story has encouraged me that with God, we can get through hard, horrible times. Thank
    you. I will encourage her, when the time is right, these same things. And I will remind her that
    She will see him again someday!

  • Lee says:

    To Beth and all the other mothers who have lost their babies, my prayer is that somehow, some day, all of you will find the strength to keep the faith and hope that all of you will reunite and hold each other close in Heaven. I lost my husband after 44 years and I am grieving terribly. Whether it’s 44 years, 2 months, 9 months, a loss of part of your life is the same no matter the time.
    I don’t know if I can give advice because I myself cry a lot, but I am hoping that through my sharing my pain, and understanding yours, we can all face each day one by one. With love and caring, Lee

  • Brenda Miller says:

    Estelle, I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious baby girl. How tremendously deep your grief must be, my dear sister, and of course you will never forget her. I am grateful that you have found the shares on this site a blessing to you.

    Lord Jesus, please hold Estelle tenderly close to Your heart and comfort her in this time of unimaginable pain and heartache. Assure Estelle of Your neverending love, despite her pain and the depth of her loss. O Lord, I ask that You send people into Estelle’s life who can truly understand and be a source of compassion and help to assist her as she goes through the stages of grieving for as long as it takes my dear sister. Envelop Estelle in Your everlasting embrace of holy Love, Lord Jesus, and let her know beyond the shadow of a doubt that You will never leave her nor forsake her. I pray these things in Your holy and precious Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

    Estelle, if you would like to talk to someone privately, please feel free to click on the following link and one of our mentors will respond to you confidentially and securely:

    http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

    May God continue to comfort you, and please know that I remain in prayer for you, Estelle.

  • Estelle says:

    I just lost my baby girl 2 days ago. I was 6 months and 2 days pregnant and went for my regular check-up and there was no heart-beat. I gave birth to her the next day and since then have been overwhelmed with sadness. After she came out i wanted nothing more than to have her back. reading your stories has given me hope that it will get better. I will never forget her, and will always think of her, however someday i hope the pain is less and that thinking of her will not bring me tears.

  • Sharon says:

    dear rodgurl87– prayer–father God i pray for comfort over rodgurl87 be with this lady even now comfort her and send christians along her path to encourage her surround her at this time and wrap your loving arms around her i pray all of this in JESUS name amen my sympathys to you i am praying for you

  • Rodgurl87 says:

    Your story touched me so deeply I lost my son Oct 3rd 2012 and I was only six months and he was only 1 pound 5 oz it’s so sad that this happens to good people i miss him so much and my prayers go out to anyone who has experienced this. My advice is just stay strong for your loved ones and to pray for hope and to know that your child is in a better place. I miss and love you so much Rasaan Mommie loves you.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Those are some pretty harsh charges against God. What do you base those accusations on?

  • uglygal says:

    I HATE GOD BECAUSE HES A MURDERER AND A RAPIST!!!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Beth, grief is different for each person and for each loss. When someone says ‘should’ around grief they really don’t know what they are talking about. You probably have had an extended grieving period because you have found few places to talk through the loss and pain you have felt.

    We never really ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one. We learn to deal with the pain and find ways to function but the loss of that person is never filled. The goal of grieving is not to ‘get over’ the loss but to be able to fully express our loss and sorrow. The more you are able to examine your hurt with people you respect and trust, the better able you will be to find ways of living with that loss.

    One of the things that has helped our family through the loss of a child in miscarriage was having the comfort of God in our lives. Knowing that He has a plan even in the middle of very painful circumstances has given us confidence to face life and experience joy and hope. There have been a lot of times that we have been able to support others who have also lost a child so early in their life and we have been able to comfort them with the comfort that we have received from our Father in Heaven. It is helpful to be able to cry together with others who can relate to the experience that you have had.

    Let me encourage you to find a GriefShare group near to you. GriefShare is a 13 week program that draws together people who are trying to cope with the loss of a loved one. They use great teaching from experts in the field of grief and combine it with the value of a support group sharing personal experiences together. I know you will find it to be very helpful. You should be able to find a group meeting near you by going to their website http://www.griefshare.org/findagroup. Let me also invite you to connect with one of our online mentors. We have people who are great listeners and have very good ideas of ways to move through your grieving process. You will find a Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor.

    Lord God I pray for Beth as she mourns the loss of her two daughters. I pray that You would bring comfort into her life and help her walk a path through the grief. I ask that You would bring people in her life that can listen to her hurt and provide words of comfort and guidance for her. Guard her from the hurtful words and expectations of others who are trying to be helpful. Amen.

    Lord Go I pray

  • beth says:

    Thank-You for sharing. We lost to daughters to stillbirth Arielle would be 14 and Eden would be 5 I still miss them they were both full-term ,9 month babies. No one understands how i can miss them so much when they never came home.They were still part of me. Why can’t people understand? people say i should be over it by now.. should I? no one wants to speak about them when i do… Thank-you again for sharing

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