I am writing for Pregnancy and Baby Loss Remembrance Day, coming up October 15th, and as prompted by Sisters 'n Cloth.
I can't remember if I've ever written my story. But... here goes.
My daughter was born fall 2008. When she was about a year old, we decided it didn't seem like a terrible idea to have another baby. It wasn't long before we got pregnant in late November of 2009, and we weren't even actively "trying". I started getting bloated and nauseous very quickly. A lot of mothers keep the good news to themselves, but I was so certain nothing would go wrong that I happily paraded about announcing my pregnancy. By my calculations, I would have been due August 2010.
One Friday afternoon in December, I began to spot. My best friend was pregnant at the time, and at the beginning of her pregnancy, she'd had a good two weeks of heavy bleeding. We both agreed it was probably nothing. The next day, I went shopping with my cousin. The cramping was getting worse, but still I toted my one-year-old tot from store to store. You can tell me that letting her walk wouldn't have made a difference, but I can't help but wonder.
That evening, the bleeding worsened as well. I kept denying it in my head, telling myself that everything was okay, but that I should go to the hospital "just in case".
When I got to the hospital and began changing into the gown, I was greeted with a massive clot, the sort of size I'd never seen in my life. And that's when I knew. Though I still denied it.
They did the ultrasound and couldn't find a heartbeat, of course, but I still insisted that, even though I was close to 7 weeks, it was probably impossible to find anyway and that the baby might be okay. They sent me home with a diagnosis of "threatened miscarriage," told me to rest, and advised me to set up an appointment with my OB/Gyn the next week after having labwork.
The worst part of a miscarriage might possibly be the waiting. Waiting for labwork, waiting for something to happen, just waiting. Sunday, however, when the cramps became as severe as labor pains, I couldn't deny or pretend anymore. It was REALLY happening. To me. I had my hubby pull out the sleeper sofa, and I laid curled up on the thin mattress alllllllll. day. long. It hurt. Inside, outside, all over. Someone told me it's like being in labor without the baby. That is exactly how I felt. There's no escaping it. The entire day was a constant reminder that all the plans I'd made and the whole life I had imagined were gone, would never exist.
I was out of work for a week. I just stayed home and... well, hid. When I went to the follow-up, I didn't really need to hear the doctor say my hcg levels had dropped. Of course I knew. I didn't really want to hear that it wasn't my fault. I didn't want to hear that the baby probably wasn't developing correctly or maybe was never even there. To me, I had lost a baby. Real or not, broken or not, a baby.
I was told to wait three months by one doctor, six months by another. We found out we were pregnant again in the beginning of April, 2010. This baby would have been due in December 2010. I remember being so eager to find out if I was pregnant, buying the test and rushing home to take it. It was positive - a faint positive, but definitely positive.
Immediately, an overwhelming sense of dread came crashing down on me. It was almost suffocating. It was a strange mix of terrible fear and a sense of foreboding. This time, it wasn't even a week before I started bleeding.
I think, by this time, I was numb. I just wanted to get past it. I didn't want sympathy or hugs. I wanted to pretend it'd never happened. How could I possibly acknowledge that my failure of a body had killed two consecutive babies, babies that were perfectly healthy in my mind, no matter what science says? I was only out of work for two days.
Months passed. We were finally ready again. Or something like that. This time, I told no one, not even my husband. On a Monday in late October 2010, I bought a Dollar Tree test on lunch the first day of my missed period. It was a negative. I shrugged, tossed the test in my pocket, and tried not to feel crushed. I was careful not to throw it in the trash because I didn't want coworkers seeing it. The next day and a half were spent waiting for my period - which, by the way, did not come.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. I was sorting laundry and emptying my scrub pockets. (Because of course I always take pens home with me.) Lo and behold, this little Dollar Tree test had grown a second pink line overnight! I felt strange and anxious - but not necessarily a bad anxious. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a "real" pregnancy test the next morning.
The next test was, of course, positive. This time, I don't know what I felt. Maybe I was a little excited. Apprehensive. Nervous. Uncertain.
The "danger" weeks passed at a snail's pace. I was convinced something was going to go wrong. It made it hard to feel settled, even after I got past that elusive seventh week I hadn't managed to see through previously. The first ultrasound at thirteen weeks made it finally seem REAL. There was a real baby in there, and it looked like the baby might really be born!
This is not to say that my happy ending came here. I had a rough, painful pregnancy with sciatica from four months on. At times, I could hardly walk. I had contractions for most of my third trimester. I was worn out and resentful. I think part of me was afraid to get attached because I was convinced, even still, that something was going to go wrong.
My son was born at the end of June. A big 8 lb. 7 oz. 21 in. chub of healthy baby.
I didn't like him at first.
Sure, he was adorable. Sure, he was pleasant and sweet and precious. But I could NOT get attached. I think part of me was still terrified, still in disbelief that something this amazing could happen to us.
And then it happened. He began to kick, and coo, and smile, and then laugh. And I fell head over heels in love with this little man. As a matter of fact, we now have an agreement. He is only going to love his mommy - and nobody else! - for the rest of forever. (We'll see how long that lasts.)
I guess the moral of the story is that happy endings DO exist. I would never blame God for the tragedy of the miscarriages I experienced, but I certainly thank him for the wonderful and miraculous blessing He gave me in my son - AND daughter.
That being said, I'm done! I'm so done with pregnancy and childbirth! One boy, one girl, and our little family is complete. Thank you for allowing me to share my story, which I firmly believe is a big part of the healing process. And the only advice I can offer to someone through a miscarriage is to just let yourself hurt. Let yourself grieve, let yourself heal, and lean on your loved ones. And maybe one day - by childbirth or adoption - you will finally hold a baby in your arms and feel that unimaginably potent love that only a mother knows.