5 Lessons From Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

Misdiagnosed Miscarriage @ AuthenticVirtue.com

Thank you, thank you for celebrating Baby Duncan’s re-announcement into the world. For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I were delighted to discover we were pregnant after two years of hoping and dreaming. Then, we were informed we had lost our little one  — after two weeks of waiting for the miscarriage to naturally progress we still hoped, but also prepared ourselves for the loss. However, amazingly, two weeks later we were given beautiful, happy news: Baby Duncan lived and was thriving!

Many women experience miscarriages — it’s a unique, difficult event. In many ways I walked through a miscarriage: receiving the death sentence from our practitioner, losing hope, losing blood and clots, and waiting for the loss of life. It’s an event that changes our hearts and lives forever.

Though rare, there are also many women who experience misdiagnosed miscarriages. My goal is to share a few lessons I’ve been given from our experience. I want to give hope to women who have been told they may miscarry as well as lend courage and practical insight to those who have indeed lost their lovely, darling baby.

5 Lessons I Learned From Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

Get a Second Opinion or a Second Ultrasound 

When a couple receives news that they may lose their baby it is devastating. And while many women lose their babies quickly, miscarriages can take several weeks for the process to occur naturally. During that time, I would encourage the couple to get a second opinion and ultrasound.

Physicians make errors and equipment do fail. After being diagnosed with our miscarriage I discovered a site called The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage. Several hundred women were misdiagnosed due to tilted uterus’, low HCG levels, mistaken blighted ovum’s, or quick assumptions and human error.

If your diagnosed miscarriage is taking time and you are experiencing little to no cramps, I believe it is perfectly acceptable and practical for you to ask for a second opinion or ultrasound.

If Possible, Let the Miscarriage Proceed Naturally 

When a couple is diagnosed with a miscarriage they are given options with how to let the miscarriage proceed: medicine to induce the miscarriage, a D&C surgical procedure, or allowing the miscarriage to proceed naturally.

Friend, one thing I am grateful for in my story is that we gave our “miscarriage” time. I am thankful our midwife explained that the body heals faster given time to proceed naturally. I am grateful we avoided medicinal or surgical methods.

If possible, give your body time to process naturally. Of course, there is no judgement; a miscarriage is already a difficult and life altering event. However, if you do decide to advance your miscarriage through medicine or surgical efforts please get a second opinion and ultrasound before you proceed. 

There are misdiagnosed miscarriages and there are women who, unknowingly, took actions to purge their babies when in fact, they were never experiencing a miscarriage at all.

Let Yourself Mourn and Heal 

Sweet person, if you’ve been told you may miscarry give yourself the time and space needed to grieve. Losing a baby at any stage is a difficult, trying experience because you have lost so much. You may feel numb, angry, and depressed. You may feel nothing at all. It’s okay, I know, I’ve been there.

The “strong” thing is press on with life but that is not the real, authentic, needed thing to do. You lost something very precious to you. Take time to scream, cry, and eat a few overflowing bowls of fruit loops.

Then, when you’ve truly given yourself to mourning, heal. My friend Angel has beautiful, life-giving words for those needing to heal. She experienced the loss and gains of ovarian cancer and discovered that, even after a year, she needed healing.Her words might be just the thing you need — I know I needed them.

Let Others Love You 

It’s easy to go through life’s sufferings and trials alone. Women with miscarriages may feel that their “problem” is too small to bother others with. If you had already announced your pregnancy, you may feel needy and embarrassed by the attention announcing your miscarriage brings.

All of these feelings are normal.

Sweet friend, let others help you. Though I was embarrassed by my need I was blessed when people stepped up to fill it. I had one friend pick up coffee, lunch, flowers, and a endearing gift when she heard of our loss. Another promised to bring dinner when I lost the baby and loaned me her heating pad for comfort. Several folk went out of their way to ask me how I was doing. My parents planted a rose bush in honor of our baby and the whole family came to help us move when I wasn’t feeling strong enough to do it on my own.

Dear one, it is especially important to let your husband help you. Your mate may not be expressing his grief as vibrantly but he still feels it. For Dalton, what hurt him most was watching me suffer. Letting your husband hold you while you cry, encourage you, and bless you not only helps you heal but helps him as well.

Continue Taking Care of Yourself 

This is simple yet incredibly profound. After we had been told we lost the baby I sort of turned into a zombie. 😉 A not-showering-all-week, when-did-I-brush-my-teeth-last-?, no shave summer, zombie.

(Sorry for the TMI)

I simply didn’t have the mental or physical energy to do anything let alone wash my hair. Now, looking back, I see that that hindered me and kept me from growing out of the fog and sadness I was in.

Of course, you won’t feel your best and if staying in your pjs helps then do it. Just don’t do it forever. Give yourself grace while taking steps to take care of yourself.

Most of all, trust. 

Losing a baby is so difficult and no one can understand or care for you except for the One Who made that baby and then, in His divine wisdom, took it away. Our Heavenly Father loves the miscarrying woman; He will gently carry you through the waves of grief and days of darkness you may experience. He will comfort you when all else fails.

Some days you may not see His loving hand but it’s there — carrying you when you can’t even seem to get out of bed.

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Celebrating Our Baby Again (And Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage)

Misdiagnosed miscarriage and still pregnant and celebrating!

Well, sweet people, imagine you’ve been given the worst news, experienced two weeks of mourning, and then were given the excited proclamation that hope still lived and thrived.

Welcome to my world of being pregnant with baby Duncan and our misdiagnosed miscarriage.

The facts: 

We’re still pregnant! (Isn’t God good?)

Baby Duncan is 10 weeks and 3 days old with a thriving heartbeat, moving arms and legs and as big as a prune (so cute!) That’s him/her in the picture above at 9 weeks. 🙂

I have a subchorionic hematoma which means I have a blood pocket which has caused the spotting and bleeding and much of the heart ache within the last three months.

The miscarriage was misdiagnosed due to my conception dates being wrong. Due to my irregular cycles, Baby was much younger than first thought. This is part of the reason our midwife missed seeing him/her and assumed we had had a miscarriage.

Although low, I am still considered at risk until the blood pocket is absorbed into the body or empties out.

The Story: 

On June 4th I went in for an ultrasound so we could understand how much longer our miscarriage would take. At this time we had been in the waiting period for two weeks.

Dalton wasn’t able to attend this appointment so I drove to the midwife’s alone, talking out loud, asking the Lord for His will to be done. I’m a very whimsical, imaginative person so hope is very easy for me to cling to; because I know I tend to wear rose colored glasses I spent most of the two weeks preparing myself to be practical, that I was, in fact, going to lose this baby.

But hope is a beautiful thing and deep in the corner of my heart I still asked God to be merciful and let the diagnosis be wrong.

I hopped on the big bed as the midwife jellied my belly and began looking for signs of our miscarriage’s progression. We were both silent, she as she checked and double checked (and checked again!) her screen and I as I looked at what appeared to be a baby where no baby had been before.

I nearly panicked when she remained silent for so long thinking something was amiss or wrong when she spoke words I still love to repeat:

Well, Frannie, there appears to be a baby in there! 

Of course, you can imagine the mass confusion, hysteria and nervous questions which came flowing.

Undeniably, there was an 8 week old baby with a steady heartbeat.

Since that moment, God has filled me with beautiful, amazing hope and praise.

I’ve since been referred to a specialist in Columbia, Missouri. I went in for an ultrasound with him at 9 weeks and he confirmed that baby appeared to be fabulous. The heart beat is high (170 per minute) and growth is perfect for our new due date, January 9th, one day after my birthday.

You can imagine the amazing, emotional roller-coaster life has been. I’m incredibly in awe, shock and wonder. I’m still going to have this baby. Dalton is still going to be a Daddy. God has still given us a little one, that for now, looks like we’re going to keep.

The Fears: 

Of course, fear is never far around the corner. Just last night we spent several hours in the ER due to sudden bleeding. But when the kind ER doctor turned off the lights and began the ultrasound she encouraged us with the words, “Baby’s heartbeat still looks great.” She believes I experienced bleeding because the blood pocket was emptying. Because baby looked so great and I’ve experienced no major cramps she felt she could encourage our hearts and say that all is well.

I’m also afraid of sharing news when I’ve already been wrong. I’m afraid of making mistakes and the thought of announcing our pregnancy, announcing a miscarriage, and now re-announcing our pregnancy freaks me out. I want the whole world to celebrate Baby Duncan (because all life is worth celebrating!) but I’m afraid I’ll have to make another major announcement and that scares me.

Finally, I’m scared of truly having a miscarriage. I’ve already “lost” this baby once; I’m afraid my heart couldn’t take it again.

The Truths:

Despite all my fears the truth is very simple: we have a healthy, growing, heart-beating baby who has surprised us all.

I’m experiencing all the normal pregnancy related symptoms like nausea, bloating, food cravings and aversions, growth cramps, and fatigue. (Whoo-hoo for being sick even though I don’t always feel that way) 😉

The only worry is my blood pocket which many women experience and still have healthy babies

I don’t know why we went through this. I don’t blame our midwife; I believe I am her first miscarriage misdiagnoses after 20 plus years of experience and successful checkups and deliveries. Her equipment isn’t the top of the line tech you’d find in a specialist’s office but I know there are women who have had miscarriages misdiagnosed by even those expensive pieces.

Right Now:

So, here we are, celebrating our baby’s life. I am so thankful that God saw it fit to let baby be well despite all the worry, fear, and misdiagnoses. I praise Him for being good to us, carrying us through a very stressful time. I’m also grateful for all the amazing friends and family who have been quick to celebrate, then support, and now celebrate again.

Currently, I’ve been ordered to a less active life. But according to Dalton that means almost complete bed rest. 😉 He’s been such a darling, sweet, caring husband. He means to do all the laundry, dish washing and other chores I typically care for until the bleeding subsides and we’re assured the blood pocket can cause no more alarm.

We are so blessed; mainly because through all this crazy upset God has carried us both through magnificently. Even though our experience has been so hard God has walked us through and blessed us with growing love for each other and His goodness and Person.

So, that’s it. Welcome back into the limelight Baby Duncan. We think you’re pretty amazing.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Losing Baby Duncan

You’re never really prepared for your pregnancy to end in miscarriage.

But that’s just what’s happened to our little baby. I haven’t really known how to share this with the my friends and readers (who are like family). As a blogger, I like to wrap my writings similar to Christmas presents: darling presentation full of glittery, exciting beauty.

But this is the furthest thing from exciting.

We went in for our 8 week ultrasound; the midwife and I chatted about her flower garden and about blogs and writing as she jellied up my stomach and began probing around with her expert hand. Almost immediately she saw that things were missing and not growing properly.

Folks, this is the hard stuff.

It’s been several days since we heard this news and adjusting to not expecting our baby this year is hard. It’s really, really, really hard.

But you know what?

God is so very, very good.

It’s been a hard week but God is the same God Who created Baby and then took him home. Jesus is the same Intercessor Who understands my numb experience like no one else. My Abba Daddy knows what it is like to lose someone precious to you. He’s carrying me like a mother lamb — even though, technically, I’m not caring for a young one any more.

I believe that God is great. And in the midst of this sadness and loss He is still great. He still knits people together and He still welcomes little one’s who never met their parents into his arms and kingdom.

I believe God is good so I believe, amidst all my sadness, doubts, fear and sorrow that this miscarriage is good. It is good because God promises all things to work together for our good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Here are some good things God has already wrought from our loss:

The first face our baby saw was the Lord’s. 

Increased understanding and relationship between Dalton and I 

An overwhelming amount of prayer and support from friends and family

Friends who have miscarried are seeing the Lord work through their loss 

Our compassion and understanding for women with loss is growing

My understanding of what good sympathy is and isn’t is changing

We now know that we can indeed get pregnant

My appreciation for Dalton is growing and growing (because he’s simply the best and the loss of his first child is proving that — he is honestly the strongest, best man and he gets more gem like every day. How blessed am I?)

Our baby is with the Lord — that means he or she is walking, talking and rejoicing in the presence of the best One Who ever lived. He or she is already far more sanctified, glorified, and purified than Dalton and I. He or she is already conversing with people like Moses, John the Baptist, and Corrie ten Boom. He’s singing with angels. He’s enjoying everlasting life and praising God for His great goodness. 

We haven’t lost anything — we just have to wait longer to meet him.

Don’t think I’m not hurting. It’s just that I’m called to rejoice in all things — even in the midst of intense grief — and I guess this is what it looks like.

Thank you to all the people who loved our baby with us. Carrying Ollie for 7 weeks (short for Oliver or Olivia) was one of the greatest privileges I have known. I’m glad God let the last week be filled with joy and maternity shopping and hope instead of the fear I had been experiencing. I’m glad for the people who are loving us and blessing us through the aftermath.

I’m sad. But I’m also glad because God is good and He has given us good things … even in our loss. It took me a while to feel at peace with sharing this intimate part of us — but I’ve had a quiet day full of tears and rest and simple, household chores and God has sent a tremendous freedom in sharing what is hurting most.

For others who are needing healing read my friend Angel’s words. They’re just right for someone needing to heal in the loss and gain life’s sufferings bring.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10,11

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Resting in Jesus Means Letting Him Refine Us // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

Ah … it’s a good day at the Duncan house. Coffee is poured, candles are lit and, best thing of all, my heart is finding a place to rest.

You’ve all been such gems listening to my worries and sending encouragement my way. Thank you. Thank you for being the Body of Christ and being such a good friends.

We went to our first ultrasound and saw our little one, all seven weeks and four days growth of him. We couldn’t hear the heartbeat but our midwife felt confident that baby’s positioning and size were marks of a healthy, growing baby.

Isn’t God good?

The funny thing was that I left the clinic still worried. It’s like my heart had become addicted to worrying because worry is the only thing I can control.

Dalton challenged me to do something different.

He challenged me to trust in God. To place my trust in His great goodness and love and power. He challenged me to rest in God’s care, let go of worry, and enjoy this time.

You know what? He’s right. He’s 100%, perfectly, wonderfully right. Giving up worry and control isn’t easy for me — I like holding the reins on my life. But I’m starting to suspect that the 2+ years of waiting to conceive and now disconcerting spotting aren’t accidents.

God is placing me in circumstances I wish I could control but can’t. As one friend said, “God has a way of allowing or giving us exactly what we need in our life to help refine us.” I think it’s time I let Him.

So, first step? I’m going to start celebrating Baby Duncan like he/she will be arriving December 28th instead of thinking of the worse possibilities. I’m going to start literally preparing for my little one. I’m going to start giving thanks for baby’s future instead of dreading what I fear is his/her present.

I’m going to have a friend over for coffee and cinnamon rolls and we’re going to laugh and celebrate our good God.

How are you going to start trusting God today?

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

When Your Love Affair with Getting Your Way Gets Out

Dealing with not getting your way with AuthenticVirtue.com

Have you ever been completely wiped out by your self-will?

Today was one of those days. One moment I’m rejoicing in life then something deep, emotional and fearful sweeps over me. Suddenly, I’m agitated, grumpy and morose. I start fighting Dalton over the most ridiculous conversations. Today’s argument: Do animals sin?

You should have seen the ugliness coming out from me over that unique conversation. (Wait, no, I’m glad you didn’t.)

Dalton pressed his way through the store aisles with his business while I slumped behind feeling like I was out of control and didn’t know why. What’s wrong with me? Am I hormonal? Emotional? Tired? I’m a child of God, I know better then this. I know better then this.

We talked on the drive home. Dalton, I don’t know why I’m acting like this; I don’t know why I’ve been arguing with you all week, I just feel like I have to win even if it’s dumb.

His gentle response? Maybe it’s because you haven’t been getting your way this week. 

Ouch. He’s right. I haven’t been getting my way this week. I’ve had a lot of issues going on this week that crossed my will: a dispute with a family member, Dalton not able to get work off for my mother’s birthday, my relatively tight work schedule which keeps us away for Mother’s Day, plans postponed … and my flesh is hating it.

I feel like I keep my requests to a minimum; as a realist personality I know life has limitations and it requires you to be careful with budgets, making plans and scheduling work. I know these things because I’m a by the rule book kind of gal who respects boundaries and black and white possibilities.

So I’m careful about most of my wishes — I don’t request wild, expensive, impractical things (normally). And in my mind, my frugality deserves being rewarded. When I ask for something I expect to get it. 

UGH. How did that bit of old man survive the sanctification process? How in the world did I miss crucifying that bit of fleshly thinking? How did I allow such selfishness rule my thinking and behavior, unseen, for so long?

It does no good to pout but that’s what I want to do; it feels good to mourn my sinful nature. But I need to fly to the mercy seat of God and let Him pull this ugliness from me. I need to let Him complete the work in me and address my love for my getting my way. He alone can let godly sorrow work good things in me — not days of binge cookie-dough eating and pouting.

I learned relearned a few things today:

  1. Even if you feel justified in getting your way God requires His people to have submissive, meek hearts to His revealed will — even when it means not getting your way.
  2. I’m not there yet. I still have a lot of growing, maturing and sanctification to go and that’s okay.
  3. Marrying husbands who gently point out truth in your life is an absolute gift. (Go for guys like that.)

Friends, can you relate? Tell me what God is revealing in your heart and life right now? Let’s grow together and pray for each other. Leave a comment so we can get started. 

Choosing joy, forgiveness and coffee this evening,

Frannie