Sunday, November 9, 2014

34 Weeks

When I found out I was pregnant with both my babies, I tried to curb the excitement for a while.  I knew the alarming rates of miscarriage in the first trimester and I knew it could very well happen to me.  I tried not to plan.  I tried not to think ahead.  I tried to not picture our lives with this new baby yet.  And I felt so much relief with each week that went by, each week that we became closer to announcing our news, each week we were out of that scary period.  Like every expecting mother, I was so relieved to hit that second trimester, that safe zone.  We announced that I was pregnant with Lydie on Facebook on June 16th, with Ben in our new double stroller, wearing his big brother shirt:

I started to show later this time, I wore my own clothes a long time.  I was surprised by that – I thought you always popped quicker with the second. 

I wanted a girl so badly.  That’s another post for another time, but I really wanted a girl.  But I was convinced Lydie was a boy.  Later, Justin said I should market my strategy.  I was so convinced that she was a boy – I figured it would be “Heather and the boys” for the rest of my life, that I would have been completely content if she was actually a boy.  So on July 28, when the ultrasound technician said, “You have a son at home?  He’s going to have a sister,” my jaw dropped.  I asked her to double-check about 15 times, so much that I think I insulted her.  “I do this for a living,” she said dryly at one point.  I was ecstatic.

And then I started to dream of the girl she would never be.  (That’s also a post for another time.  I have a lot to write about.)  Then I really started to plan our life together.  And that day, Benjamin and I went shopping.  And I couldn’t resist this onesie, which we used to announce our little girl on Facebook:

I did not have a miscarriage. 

She could have lived on her own- just fine really – at 34 weeks.  If we had seen any indication that things were wrong, we could have gotten her out.  She might have been in NICU (which always seemed horrific to me before but doesn’t so much now) for a week or two, but she would have been just fine.

I can’t stop trying to figure out when I felt her last.  When was her last kick?  When did her heart stop beating?  And how did I not know?  I keep reliving the moment that we didn’t find the heartbeat. 

When Justin and I came home from the doctor that Wednesday, when we came home and stared at the wall, I felt shifting in my belly.  I felt pressure.  I felt like I was going crazy.

I asked the doctor that evening at the hospital what that pressure was.  She told me that Lydie’s bum was probably just floating up in the fluid, putting pressure on me.  How could I, as her mother, know that?  How could I have known that wasn’t her moving?  When did her heart stop beating?  What was I doing at that moment in time?  How did I not know?

The term is “stillbirth,” meaning Lydie died in utero.  She was born dead, such an oxymoron.  I did not have a miscarriage.  I had a perfect little dead baby who could have lived on her own. 

I just read about a couple that lost their baby at 40 weeks and I felt bad for them.  I actually felt bad for them.  They had 6 more weeks thinking their baby was healthy and coming soon.  I think every week that goes by makes your loss that more acute.   

Is it horrible that I have wished that Lydie was in fact a miscarriage?   If this was going to happen, why couldn’t it happen sooner?   Why did I have to have so many dreams and plans for my little girl, if she was never going to be here?   

Every week that went by, we were closer to meeting our baby.  She was supposed to be here in 5 weeks.  I kept reminding myself how soon that was. 

What are the statistics on that?  What are the chances of having a baby's heart stop beating at 34 weeks?  I'm not ready to google it quite yet, I'm not ready to know how rare it is and wonder why my baby had to be the one.  

I’ve had people say to me, “I know you feel – I had a miscarriage.”  I’m not trying to negate your pain.  I know you understand loss.  But I think each week further along makes losing your baby so much harder.  Lydie was a person, she was fully formed, she was just about ready to live in this world.  All my dreams have died along with her.  A piece of me died along with her.


  1. You couldn't know. It's not your fault. You thoughts and feelings are yours, are normal, are valid. I don't know why people say they know how one feels--never true. Good bless you all.

  2. I've been reading your blog, and wanted to reach out. I was 32 weeks pregnant with my first baby, my sweet Sadie Amelia, when her heart stopped beating (found out later it was a cord accident). She was born dead on 14 November 2014. Thank you for sharing all of this. I'd love to share my experiences with you as well, if you are interested.

    1. Absolutely, Linds. I am so sorry you also lost your daughter. Sounds like our timelines are very similar and I would love to talk more. Please email me:


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