PLEASE NOTE: If you’re pregnant, you should probably skip this post.
I read something today that brought back a sad memory. In the abstract, it doesn’t really hurt anymore and that is where I keep it. It is the place where I keep all painful memories; that vague place where thoughts and feelings have been forcibly separated. I believe it’s what they call a ‘coping mechanism’.
I can talk about my miscarriage rather clinically and dispassionately now, as if it happened to someone else but sometimes, something — a word, a phrase, a similar story will crack open that door and the memories start furtively darting out, refusing to comply and go back where they belong.
For the second time in two days I have been reminded of the baby that is no more. The one I wanted so badly. My husband was less enthusiastic about the prospect of being a father. He admitted that he was scared but had conceded at my insistence.
We were at a wedding when I started cramping and spotting. I had noticed, in the days previous that I had been feeling less…pregnant. But I was 11 weeks and nearing that first trimester finish line. I assumed that was the reason for my feeling better.
Later that night my doctor met my husband and I at the hospital as my cramps were getting stronger. The doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was told to come to the office the next morning for an ultrasound as there was no technician available.
I went alone, hoping against hope that the doctor was simply mistaken and the baby was fine.
There was still no heartbeat. The fetus only measured 8 weeks. Inside me was our tiny baby and it was no longer alive. I wanted to yell and scream and curse God but I didn’t. I just cried quietly. Nobody comforted me; just a few pats on the back from the nurses and a date for an outpatient D&C the following Friday.
In the days that followed, I cried and mourned and sometimes denied that this was happening. Why hadn’t anyone told me that as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage? Why didn’t anyone tell me not to become attached?
Sometimes I swore I could feel my baby move inside me, not wanting to accept that it had probably died weeks before. Not understanding how God could foist death upon me yet again and force me to carry it around inside me.
Was it me? Did I do something to make this happen?
Bad karma? Bad luck?
The night before my D&C, I started having contractions. One way or another, it would finally be out of me. But as painful as the contractions were, the baby was not delivered. It was like some cruel joke.
I finally accepted the inevitable when I was on the table in the OR, counting backwards; my sadness drifting away with my psyche on a cloud of general anesthesia. The baby would soon be gone; cut out with a sharp surgical instrument, destined to become medical waste. Everything that could have been would soon be gone. It about ripped my heart out.
My husband was racked with guilt because he hadn’t been more excited about the baby. I simply mourned her (she was a girl in my mind). I still think about her on rare occasions. I’ll do the math, figure out how old she would be now. I still have the EPT somewhere and for a brief moment, when I see it, I’m reminded of how happy I was when those two pink lines appeared.
I was told a thousand times by well-meaning friends and family… “Sometimes there is no reason. It just happens. You can try again.”
While their words seemed awkward and cold at the time, they were right and I did go on to have two more children, both healthy and perfect in every way.
It’s been almost 8 years and until now, I’ve never discussed my feelings about this at length. Nobody that knows you wants to hear about this kind of stuff. They just want you to move on and be normal. So to spare everyone else the discomfort of rubbing elbows with the unpleasantness, I’ve never allowed myself the luxury of talking or writing about it, which always felt vaguely disrespectful. It feels good to acknowledge, out loud (so to speak), that she existed.
And please don’t worry. I’m really okay. This has just been hovering around in the back of my brain, sort of quietly nagging at me to give it a voice, to give it credence. So I finally did.
And if you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening.