We lost our first baby. It’s hard for me to fully comprehend how many different emotions make up those five little words. And this is the first time I have shared this story openly, and I am ready. It happened 7 years ago, and when I think about that time it feels like another lifetime, and like it was yesterday all at the same time. My husband and I were like so many other couples. We waited several years after getting married to start a family, and when we decided we were ready to remove our multiple layers of birth control, and really take the plunge, I could not get pregnant. We tried for almost one year, and had a plan in place for fertility next steps, and then I got pregnant. Hot diggity dog! We were over the moon.
My first trimester was full of excitement, non-stop nausea, and pure naïve bliss. It was this beautiful, special secret between my husband and I, and it was magical. We knew absolutely nothing about babies, and my changing body, or what the hell we were doing. So we went to all my doctor appointments with our list of questions, read so many books, and soaked in every ounce of info we could, and completely loved it. It was in my second trimester when everything changed. I had an ultrasound during a routine doctor’s appointment, and we were mesmerized by seeing our sweet baby on the screen, moving around, listening to those heart beats. It was glorious! This was the way it was suppose to be, and everything was moving along nicely. During the ultrasound, the technician barely talked, she said maybe two words. She was really focused on what she was doing, and avoided engaging in our blissed out love fest. We left the doctor’s appointment floating on air, and we both went back to work. And then I got a phone call later that afternoon. It was my doctor. She wanted me to come back into the office the next day for another ultrasound, and left it at that. I said yes of course, but could sense that something was not right in her voice. So we went back.
And to be completely honest, this is where I really do not remember the story with 100 percent clarity. You know those cold, damp mornings when it’s really foggy and you are trying to drive cautiously, and when you turn on your headlights to help you see the lines on the road, but it only becomes harder to see? That’s what I see in my mind when I go back to this part of the story. Lots of blurry fog.
We went back for the second ultrasound, and sat through the process in silence. We still heard the heartbeat, and everything looked the same to us. What was happening? We were told to go back out and wait in the office waiting room, and they would come get me shortly. We waited in silence along with the other 15 pregnant bellies and countless images of sweet baby faces on brochures and magazines. Then the nurse came out and called out “Amy Tucker.” We got our stuff and went into the examination room. The cheerful nurse came in and congratulated us on our baby, and went into talking about what we could expect for our care starting in the first trimester. I politely stopped her and said that we have already been to several appointments, I was in my second trimester, and just had a follow up ultrasound. And then we got the ‘oooohhh’. She looked at my chart and said we called the wrong Amy Tucker, and we were escorted back to the waiting room. There was another pregnant Amy Tucker in that same office, at the same time, and with a healthy baby. The torture began.
Throughout the next two weeks we experienced so many appointments, specialists, a CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling procedure), and countless moments down on our knees begging for this nightmare to end in anything positive. We learned our baby was a girl, and she was very sick. Her nuchal fold, which is the skin on the back of her neck, was abnormally thick. The CVS showed that her heart, brain and lungs were compromised, and she had severe hydrops, which is lethal swelling. She had Turner’s syndrome, which is a chromosomal disorder in which she only had one X chromosome. It occurs in 1 in every 2,500 girls. We were told that it was a miracle she lived this long, and in most cases the baby is naturally miscarried in this situation. And we were told she would never survive outside of my womb. It was a death sentence.
Time and space stood still.
We went through a raw, vulnerable and incredibly devastating process to determine what to do next. We decided to have a D&C (dilation and curettage). It was the worst moment of my life. How did my entire world come shattering down in a few short weeks? How could this possibly be happening? Did I do something to cause this? Were my husband and I suppose to be together and grow a family? Was this punishment for any lie, hurt, or pain I inflicted upon anyone else? Could I sacrifice myself in any way to make my baby survive? The runaway train of guilt and sadness began. I was desperate to find a reason, some sort of explanation to make sense of all the pain and suffering.
The morning of the D&C I sat by myself on my patio and asked my baby and the universe for love and forgiveness. I talked to my sweet baby and told her how much she was loved, and that I will always be her mother, and she will always be my baby. Words cannot even begin to express my emotions that morning. As I sat there looking out into the sky, a small colorful bird flew in front of me, and sat on the back fence. It was looking at me. It was there for a reason. And then two more birds flew down and sat next to the small bird on the fence. It was like I was seeing my baby, my husband, and myself all sitting together on that fence. And it was a moment of peace. I knew in that moment we would always be together in body and soul as I watched the birds fly off into the wide open sky. And now every time, even to this day, whenever I see a colorful bird flying in the sky, I say hello and talk to my sweet beautiful baby girl.
There is so much more to this story after this horrible experience, but I will end here with a feeling of hope. My husband and I went on to have 2 more babies, a boy and another girl. They are 7 and 5 now, and fill our days with love, light, adventure, and exhaustion. I still think about my first baby girl all the time, every day in fact, even 7 years later. I think of her with love and kindness, and I often talk out loud to her knowing she can hear my every word. I can feel a connection to her, and it’s so comforting when I think of her now. I recently went into a Pier 1 store (which the last time I was there was probably 1997), and I walked in and immediately saw a painting. It was of 5 birds sitting on a line. I stood frozen and literally gasped for air. It was our Tucker family, all 5 of us. Together and complete. My husband, myself, and our 3 baby birds. I bought the painting, and now it hangs over my tub in the bathroom. I look at it every day as I am getting dressed, or as I take a bath, and I look at it as our true family portrait. It brings me tremendous comfort.
It’s incredibly moving when women start to share their stories. We all need each other so much during this transition into motherhood, no matter if the baby ends up in our hearts or in our arms. So many women have experienced a loss, and my heart goes out to all the moms, dad, and families that are experiencing grief. You are never alone, you are strong, and you are loved.