Published Feb 22, 2022
WARNING: Vulnerable information is shared below. Potential triggers possible. Read with caution.
By Amanda Popp
Let’s try here.
Maybe you have bowels in the way of finding the heartbeat.
I lay on the exam table of my OBGYN and felt a bit embarrassed that she told me I was “full of poop” and that’s probably why we could’t find the heartbeat.
I had just gone through my initial exam. Everything was measuring normal and the last thing we had to do was listen to the heartbeat of our 12 week old baby.
I sat in the waiting room scared out of my mind. This baby HAD been a bit of a surprise…the honeymoon “worked” and we were pregnant within a month of being married. Once we got over the initial surprise, though, we were so excited to be having a baby. It never even occurred to me that we could potentially not be having a baby.
The wait felt like an eternity, but we were called back by the sweetest ultrasound tech to ever be. She set me up for the ultrasound and I stared at the screen anticipating seeing for the first time, the baby we were excited to meet.
All of that changed in a matter of moments. She was quiet. She spoke in hushed tones that it looked like our baby had died 6 weeks earlier. She used the cursor to show us where our baby was. I stared in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
She said that she would print a picture for us, even if we thought we didn’t want one, we might later on. I wanted it, now. I wanted the picture of that baby I was still carrying inside of me, that made me gag in the shower that morning because of the smell of my “unscented” face wash.
Shaun and I sat in the waiting room again. Sitting in stunned silence as we waited to see my doctor. I don’t remember much of what she said to us, except how extremely sorry she was. I remember only asking “when can we try again?”
We opted for the D&C. Because it was late in the day on a cold February Friday in 2004, I needed to wait until Monday for the appointment.
All weekend I cried with every shower. Willing myself to stop gagging. Willing my body to realize I WAS NOT HAVING A BABY. My baby was dead. My baby wasn’t going to be born in September. It was already born into heaven weeks earlier.
Monday came and I went in for the procedure. A procedure that forever changed my life. A procedure that haunts me so many years later. Whatever medicine they gave me to “be out, but not completely out” didn’t work. I remember everything. Every single noise of the entire procedure. I won’t describe it here, but it was gut wrenching horrible and I can be trigged easily by certain sounds to this day.
I journaled a lot through the experience, and I wrote to God. Thanking him for the child he gave us…and that he now was with in heaven. Praying that in heaven our baby could meet the brother and dad of my husband. Praying that in heaven my grandma could snuggle with my baby like she had me so often. Praying that we could be pregnant again. Soon.
Soon we were. Within four months I was buying a pregnancy test and oversharing with the Walmart cashier how I couldn’t wait to find out if we were pregnant! We were. Our rainbow baby girl was born a little over a year after our storm. We were blessed 15 months later with another girl. 15 months after that with another girl and 13 months after her with our first little boy. (If you’re keeping track, that’s 4 kids in 3.5 years)
Then, six months after our son was born…we were pregnant again. It was the first pregnancy I cried about. I couldn’t believe it. My husband looked at me and said “we’ve done this before, we can do it again!” I wiped my tears and my scared feelings turned into happiness. He was right. We could do this!
We decided to tell everyone on Mother’s Day. I went in the following Thursday to a free clinic for an ultrasound. I saw our little baby’s heartbeat flickering away. The nurse told me the due date and was so excited to write “HI MOM HI DAD” on the ultrasound picture.
Saturday night, the bleeding started. I didn’t tell my husband. I wasn’t worried about it. I had just seen our baby. Sunday morning the bleeding continued. My heart sunk with each trip to the bathroom. I knew this couldn’t be good, but held onto a glimmer of hope. By Monday morning the bleeding was worse. I called my doctor and they scheduled me for an ultrasound. The nurse told me things to watch for with my bleeding and that if I passed any grey tissue to bring it in with me.
I cried all day. I cried and begged and screamed at God. I told him, demanded really, that I wanted to hold this baby. That I wanted this baby. I begged him to not take this baby away from me.
The cramping started as the morning went on and there was a moment that I knew. I knew I had delivered our baby into the toilet. I grabbed a sandwich bag and plucked my baby out of the toilet. Later in the afternoon, as I prepared for my doctors appointment I carried my baby in my coat pocket. I handed over my baby to the nurse in a sandwich bag before I walked into the ultrasound room.
The ultrasound tech confirmed what I already knew. I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
Again, even though this baby started as a bit of a surprise, I wanted that baby. We decided to try again. We were pregnant again quickly.
I went in for an early ultrasound. I couldn’t wait to see our baby. Except, there wasn’t one. My uterus measured correctly, but there wasn’t a baby. The ultrasound tech and my doctor thought maybe my dates could be off, and to give it a few weeks to come back and check again.
I knew, though. (I mean, with 4 littles and trying to get pregnant…you sort of know exactly when things are happening…) I knew the dates weren’t off. I prayed for 2 weeks for my heart to be wrong. I prayed that the dates were off and we’d be having a baby.
But, we weren’t. The Lord took that baby home, too. I ended up having a D&C again, and this time with different medicine that allowed me to NOT remember anything.
2009 was a year of so much pain. So much heartache. I don’t even remember much of it. I know in May and August of 2009 I gained two more babies in heaven.
One thing the Lord showed me through the losses was HIS faithfulness to me and my family. He spoke to my heart after the losses about the prayer I demanded of him. The prayer that I would get to hold my baby.
In my head the ONLY way that prayer could be answered was by delivering a baby in 9 months. He showed me, though, that it wasn’t the only way he could answer that prayer. He reminded me that he answered my prayer exactly how I’d asked him to. I had held that baby in my hand as I plucked it from the toilet. I safely held that baby in a sandwich bag as I went to the appointment that afternoon. While I wanted a different outcome to holding my baby, he quietly reminded me that he cares. He listens. He has ways that are not ours. He is faithful.
His faithfulness to our family is remembered, through our “double rainbow” baby girl. We gave her the middle name Faith to remind us (and anyone willing to hear the story) of his amazing faithfulness.