I wrote the following piece in December 2010, when I still had time to actively blog. It’s not a “feel-good” piece. It’s about loss. It’s about reading about it, and hearing about it from acquaintances, and seeing it on TV and hoping it will never happen to you. And then it does.
Between then and now, our second child, Addison Elizabeth, has joined our lives (March 2012) and is the perfect piece to our puzzle. I don’t like to think “What if”, because that means we wouldn’t have Addy. Fiery, fiercely independent, unabashedly girly Addison, who loves mommy’s make-up and shoes and dancing and fresh curd from the cheese factory. I just always think about this particular loss around this time of year – that’s the month he or she would have been born. It still hurts, a little, to reflect on it – the worst day of my life thus far. And then I glance over at my 3-year-old spitting image of me, in her purple tutu and her big brother’s fedora, her golden-brown curls bouncing as she jumps around to the music her pals the Imagination Movers made, and she pleads with me to dance with her. She knows that music and dancing and smiling and laughing makes everything better.
She’s only three, but I’ve learned so, so much from her in those three short years. That it’s okay to be sad sometimes, and to wonder what might have been, and to not feel quite like yourself, and that you don’t have to try to make people laugh every waking hour of your day. But she makes ME laugh. And that makes me want to try to make people as happy as she makes me. She, along with her big brother, have been so important in helping me to heal from this.
Sometimes laughter IS the best medicine. That’s why I take my “job” so seriously – If you’ve got it, use it.
December 3, 2010
Last week, I went for an ultrasound to date a pregnancy that was in its 10th week. We had only just told our immediate families a few days earlier that we were expecting, as what was the rush, really? When I was pregnant with Hayden, we told everyone super-early, because I was SO ILL that I needed a really great excuse for trying not to puke all over them. This time, I asked them not to tell any extended family or friends yet, as I had an ultrasound in a couple of days’ time and wanted to make sure everything was “kosher”.
Ultrasound day came, and I got the news that, in the back of my mind, I had been expecting all along: no fetal heartbeat in a pregnancy measuring about 9 weeks’ gestation, which means I had lost the baby about a week earlier. I was thankful that I had gone to the appointment alone, and the ultrasound tech said he’d get the official report to my family doctor ASAP. Now I had to go home and tell Josh that things were “not right”, and that I didn’t know where we were going from here.
From the very beginning of this pregnancy, I had been uncharacteristically paranoid. I didn’t even begin to FEEL pregnant until around 8 weeks, when I started feeling a tad queasy when my stomach was empty. With Hayden, I was violently ill around 5-and-a-half weeks. I was excited, but just felt in the pit of my stomach that something wasn’t right. My mom found it odd that on the day of my ultrasound, I wasn’t ecstatic to go – I just wanted to get it over with. I knew as soon as I laid down on that table that I was going to get bad news.
The report that came through my doctor’s fax machine the next day was inconclusive. Apparently, the mother’s heartbeat can be picked up via ultrasound and be mistaken for the fetus’ heartbeat, so the suggestion was to wait 2 weeks and perform a follow-up ultrasound. WAIT. TWO. WEEKS. To find out whether or not I’ve lost a pregnancy. A BABY. Honestly? If I had had to wait an additional 2 weeks to find out the same result, I would have imploded. Luckily, with a couple of “connections” I have, both in my family and in the health care field, I was able to get an appointment with my OB a few days later. He squeezed me into an already overbooked office Friday, and a repeat ultrasound with him confirmed what I had already come to grips with. He gave me several options about how to proceed from here, and we both decided that I’d have treatment with Misoprostol in preparation for a D&C on Tuesday.
Monday came, I went to the ER to see my doctor and have the Misoprostol inserted, and was to return home and come in for a D&C the next day. I knew there was a risk of cramping and some bleeding as the medication did its thing, but none of us knew what I was REALLY in for. In the less graphic version, I became very “unwell” Monday evening, ruined 3 pairs of pants, and ended up miscarrying at home. It was awful. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Thank God my sister and Josh were here that night, because I was in NO shape to take care of a 2-year-old. Always the optimist, I figured after Monday night’s experience, there was no way I was going to need a D&C. So you’ve GOTTA know there’s more to this story, right?
A follow-up ultrasound on Wednesday, one to confirm that my uterus was now empty, showed “retained products”. Which meant that I still needed a D&C. (Insert string of expletives here.) So, that’s how I spent my day yesterday – getting hooked up to intravenous fluids and general anaesthetic and having the procedure. But it’s over. Finally. It’s been a LONG ten days.
I’m on the road to becoming my “old” self again, I think. I’m able to talk about it, and write about it, which is helping tremendously. I also have Hayden, who is just about the greatest distraction known to man. He’s just SO excited about Christmas, and I’m glad that all this is behind us now so we can celebrate the holidays together. This whole experience has just made me realize how much I really, REALLY want another child. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the next couple of months bring. Y’all better be prepared for me to chronicle all the mundane and excruciatingly detailed weeks of my next pregnancy. Pop-Tart cravings and constipation not excluded. You’ve been warned.