Written by: Nicole Sbordone, LCSW
Click here to read Nicole’s Story: A Complicated Miscarriage (Part 1/2)
After waiting a few cycles and having one last ultrasound to get the all clear in March of 2020, similar to the first pregnancy, I got pregnant right away. I had a feeling I was pregnant and so the positive pregnancy test just confirmed my suspicions. My HCG numbers came back nicely and the OB’s office scheduled me to come in at six weeks, given my previous miscarriage and my age of 36 (considered a geriatric pregnancy, doesn’t that just make you feel young and full of zest?).
Needless to say, I was quite anxious going to the first appointment. COVID just started becoming a thing and my husband wasn’t allowed to attend the appointment. I also had to wear a mask which just felt weird. The ultrasound tech I had been seeing wasn’t there, so things felt extra nerve wrecking. However, the tech was incredibly sweet and knew my whole history. And if you’ve been up to speed on everything, you know it’s quite a lot!
She reassured me that we may not see a lot because it was only six weeks. Well sure enough, I saw this tiny speck on the screen. It reminded me of a piece of dried rice. It was that small. All of a sudden, it started moving… there was a heartbeat! I was shocked and kept asking the tech if that was my uterus on the screen. Yes, I really did. She said everything looked great and gave me a timeline of where I was. I’d be due Christmas Eve. What?!
I drove home that day feeling completely surprised and started to tear up. It felt surreal. My husband had already opened the garage door waiting to see my reaction. I showed him the ultrasound pictures and we hugged. We were pregnant!
I felt scared during my pregnancy. Who doesn’t after experiencing a miscarriage, especially the complicated one I went through? Every appointment I was nervous and needed a lot of reassurance that the baby was okay. My doctor saw me more in the beginning because of my history. Every week that went by, I would think something would go wrong, but things were going smoothly. We had all of the screenings done and wanted to find out the gender. I cannot explain to you how happy I was to find out we were expecting a baby girl! Nothing against baby boys, but secretly I wanted a girl.
I’ve always enjoyed working out, especially running. I was active before my pregnancy and knew it was healthy to remain active. My husband had bought me these marathon running shoes that I had been wanting for about a year. Thinking nothing of it, during my second trimester, I laced them up and off I went. Not even two minutes in, I fell. You know when you know you’re going to fall and it’s super slow? That’s what happened. I fell on my face and hands, and last to hit the pavement was my stomach. I think it was maternal instinct to land that way.
All of a sudden, I felt blood dripping down my face. My hands hurt and I could feel my top inner lip also bleeding. I finally realized what just happened and sat up, reached for my phone to call my husband, making no sense in only telling him I fell but not where I fell. I was worried about the baby. Like freaking out.
We drove to the hospital. Again, because of COVID my husband couldn’t come with me. I was FaceTiming him, my family and my in-laws. Just hysterically crying and already going through eight thousand scenarios in my mind. One of which was: What if I lose this baby? Everyone was telling me not to think it, but I already went there. The doctor came in and told me that my nose was broken. “I don’t care about my nose, how is my baby?,” I cried out. They did an ultrasound and there was the heartbeat I longed to hear. Everything was okay. I came back home and returned those running shoes an hour later, feeling relief but immense guilt for what happened. I cried a ton that day.
Having doctor appointments during a pandemic was also challenging. My husband could only attend one ultrasound appointment. Especially because of the miscarriage, I wanted my husband to be able to experience this pregnancy, so that was limited and difficult.
Many people would comment on my belly and ask about the baby moving. I had an anterior placenta, which meant the placenta was in the front. So, it was like a big pillow between me and the baby, which meant I didn’t always feel movement. That was tough and made me even more scared during the pregnancy.
I frequently was asked if this was my first or second child. I would say, “second pregnancy” and get quizzical looks. It’s amazing how such innocent questions can bring up such painful emotions. I didn’t know how to answer.
The morning of Thanksgiving 2020, I woke up feeling a bit different. I remember saying to my husband I thought the baby was going to come early. Actually, I had a hunch she was going to come early for a while. Everyone told me I was being ridiculous as first-time moms generally go 40 weeks or even longer. During every ultrasound we had, her head was literally against my cervix. I had casually started to pack a hospital bag just to be safe. I’m Type A so that’s what we do!
It was a fairly normal day. I went to the gym, then we went to see my parents and ended the night at my in-laws’ house. We were taking pictures because we hadn’t taken any throughout my pregnancy. All of a sudden, I felt a gush. I said to my sister-in-law, “I think my water just broke.” No one believed me as I awkwardly ran, or rather, waddled, to the bathroom. The leaking was so bad that I couldn’t even attach my sanitary pad to my underwear. I was sitting on the toilet, and in walked my husband, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law and my niece. Fancy meeting you all here! It was agreed that we would go to the hospital.
Thanksgiving night, my husband and I were frantically packing our hospital bags and I was still leaking and continuously changing my shorts. It must have been a sight to see. Our daughter was originally due on Christmas Eve, but clearly had other plans. She made her entrance on Friday, November 27th, 2020 at 4:27 pm. She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces. I was in labor for just under 24 hours. After the final push, they put her on my stomach. I was crying so hard, I couldn’t even see her and kept saying, “Hi baby! Hi baby!” I was beyond emotional, and just utterly in love.
Getting pregnant and having a successful pregnancy seems quite the miracle after you experience a miscarriage. I can’t tell you how many times I drove to the OB’s office terrified that I’d hear bad news. There are so many things that can go wrong. I went from one extreme experience to another. It’s mind boggling. I still think about the baby we lost. What would it have been? Would it have looked like my husband or like me? We’ll never know. But we’ll also never forget.
There are nights I rock my baby girl to sleep and just gaze in her eyes. I tell her how much I wanted her and how much I love her. She is our rainbow baby. Truly a miracle. Our beautiful miracle.