In late August/early September I started having dreams that I was pregnant. I haven't been on birth control for several years, and while I always knew it was a possibility, I didn't really THINK it was a possibility. If that makes sense. But I had some expired pregnancy tests in the bathroom drawer, so I took one every few days - negative. Until I got a faint line the day my period was due. WHAT?! I immediately started Googling "false positives on expired pregnancy tests" and that got me nowhere. So I headed to CVS for a new test. Chad had come home by that time and when the very obvious second line showed up, I rushed down to the kitchen, test in hand, and just stood there laughing and crying like a lunatic. Holy. Crap. I was pregnant.
We were definitely in shock, but started to get excited. We had still never decided if we were going to have another child, and it seemed like this was the answer! It was just meant to be. No decisions to make. I set up an initial appointment with a new OB (I had issues with my old office), which also meant I would deliver at a different hospital than I had with Amelia. We told our immediate family and some close friends because I just didn't feel like keeping the secret. They were all thrilled, of course.
I had my first appointment and ultrasound with the new practice at 7w3d. There was our little blob! A heart rate of 138 and measuring 6w5d but the doctor was ok with that. She did see a tiny pocket of non-active bleeding that she wanted to recheck in a few weeks but told me she wasn't concerned at all and it was probably from implantation. My due date - May 10. Three days before my own birthday, and always the week of Mother's Day.
And with that, we told a few more people. Including Amelia, whose reaction was a little underwhelming, but c'est la vie. She's four, after all. I allowed baby fever to officially take over. I signed up for all of the apps and emails, started ordering new maternity clothes because the seasons wouldn't line up for my old ones. I made lists of names. My belly got bloated almost immediately and it was hard to button my jeans. I was starving all the time, got lightheaded and nauseous a few times to the point of needing to buy Seabands. I planned our Facebook announcement since we already had family photos scheduled for October 25 - the end of my first trimester.
We were still freaking out over the logistics - rearranging rooms, my being in a new (work from home) job with no short term disability. Two kids in daycare to pay for. Yikes. But we would make it work.
Last Friday, I told my coworkers over our weekly Skype video chat. I was just shy of nine weeks, but with only four people in our group and the nature of telecommuting, I just felt like I needed to share since one other team member was already pregnant and we needed to plan.
The night of Monday, Oct. 5 - the same day I got Amelia's big sister shirt in the mail along with a home Doppler an online friend of mine was kind enough to loan me - I started spotting. The doctor had told me that pocket of blood she saw could lead to brown spotting so I tried not to be alarmed. It was brown. And then there was some red. But more brown. I tried to calm down and called the office first thing in the morning. They told me to come in at 11:50. Chad was working, and I just prayed everything was ok and went alone.
As soon as I saw the ultrasound come up on the screen, I knew.
There was no heartbeat.
The exact day I hit the nine week mark was the day I found out there would be no baby after all. Unbeknownst to me, it had stopped growing at least a week earlier.
I have never had a loss before. But I knew what would come next. The doctor told me my options. Since we were planning to go out of town this weekend to a concert with my friend three hours away, we agreed that a D&C was the best way to go. No fear of the unknown. I was scheduled for the next morning.
I went through the Starbucks drive thru on the way home, and was told the person in front of me paid for my PSL and wanted me to have a good day. I managed not to cry until I pulled away from the window.
I came home and immediately started getting rid of everything. I boxed up the maternity clothes I had hung up in the closet, bagged up what could be returned. Hauled what was left to the basement. Hid all of the Preggie Pop Drops in the back of a cabinet. Deleted the apps, the pictures, unsubscribed from the emails. I was ANGRY. I refused to look at myself in the mirror or look down because that little bloated bump that I'd been excited to accent no longer meant anything. I buttoned my jeans out of spite even though it was uncomfortable. Every time Chad hugged me that night I cried. We "untold" everyone we needed to. The calls and texts you never want to make. But I kept trying to be me - handling a crisis, compartmentalizing. Let's just take care of this and move forward.
I wasn't allowed to eat after midnight, but didn't have to be at the hospital until 10:15. Long morning. We arrived, checked in. I was taken to be prepped for surgery. I sat in a gown, alone, and started crying because THIS WAS NOT HOW MY FIRST TRIP TO THIS NEW HOSPITAL WAS SUPPOSED TO END. THIS WAS NOT OK. But I got it together again. Made small talk with the nurses. Then when they took my temperature they discovered I had a low grade fever - I knew it was from the sinus problems I'd been fighting. The anesthesiologist arrived and told me he was 99.9% against going forward because of the fever. Too risky. And the crying began anew. One of the nurses went to get Chad, and I lost it when he came in. Sobbing. They told me they were calling my doctor to see how to proceed and left us alone. I kept sobbing that I couldn't do this, I was not going home. The night before I had been so terrified that I was going to have a miscarriage at home before I ever even got to the hospital and there was no way I was going to be sent home that day. I just couldn't do it. Just when I thought this couldn't be any worse, somehow it was.
When the nurses came back with the anesthesiologist they told me the OB had said she could still do the D&C, they would just use other means than general anesthesia. That there could be a risk for infection, and I had to sign a consent acknowledging the risk. Did I want to proceed? YES. God, yes. I signed the form the anesthesiologist gave me, and while I tried to ignore what I saw in his doctor-y handwritten scribbles, I saw the word "abortion." And yes, I knew that technically that was true, but oh, what a terrible thing to see. This was not a choice. Absolutely not my choice. Finally I was on my way to surgery. Still making small talk, trying to be cheerful and cooperative, but the last thing I remember is being in that bright white operating room and seeing the white board across from me that read "D&C with suction." I will never, ever, ever forget that. THIS IS NOT OK. But it will be ok...
So. Here I am about 24 hours later. And the question has been asked 100 times. "How are you doing?" And how do I answer that? Physically I'm doing alright. A little pain but nothing unbearable. Emotionally? Well, 48 hours ago I was pregnant. Today I am not. And I am back to square one of "Do we do this again?". So I'm angry. No, actually I am FUCKING PISSED. When we got the "surprise" it just seemed meant to be. God's will and all that. So what does it mean that this has been taken away? Is this supposed to make us realize we did in fact want another baby? I don't know. I know there is no explanation, that these things happen. But this is like the ultimate cruel joke. I feel at the moment like this cannot be the end of our story. That that cannot be my last trip to that hospital. That I need redemption and a happy ending. But there is healing to do, and discussion to be had, and planning to consider.
I shared this on my Facebook wall last night:
"Because about a month ago we got some amazing, surprising news.
Because today we got some heartbreaking news.
Because I was planning to make a very different Facebook post in a few weeks.
Because it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I know that we are far from alone. Please know that you aren't either. <3"
I was touched by how many people reached out privately. To tell me they are currently or have recently gone through very similar things. I hate that this happens to anyone. But I am glad they felt comfortable sharing their stories with me. My heart goes out to everyone who has ever dealt with a loss, now more than ever.
And as for our story, I guess the next chapter is up in the air.