*** This post contains sensitive information intended for the catharsis of the author, and may not be suitable for the faint of heart. Proceed at your own risk.***
Five years ago, my friend Kevin and I re-connected and started dating after he came home from living in Turin, Italy for seven years. We had met in College, taking Art in 1990. In the past five years we’ve traveled, enjoyed life, art, being and eventually living together.
A year and five months ago, he proposed to me in Montreal.
Six months ago, we got married, had a fabulous honeymoon in Europe.
Three months ago I found out I was pregnant.
Two days ago, January 5th, 2010, I had a miscarriage.
We found out I was pregnant on October 13, 2009. I was 8 days late and I am never late. I woke up at 5.30 in the morning and decided to do a home pregnancy test. The pee stick confirmed it all – POSITIVE. I rushed and woke Kevin up and almost shoved the pee stick in his face. We were so excited, we documented the moment in pictures.
I had set up an appointment with my family doctor the week after. They confirmed my hcg levels and told me I was about 5 weeks pregnant and my due date would be around July 18-20.
Weeks went by, we had delayed the very first ultrasound till after the holidays since we were traveling to the States for Christmas, to spend time with my sister and her fiance and the holiday schedule was running hectic.
I had all the pregnancy symptoms but the nausea and vomiting. I had the breast tenderness, fatigue, increased appetite, etc. In hindsight, I noticed that my breasts seemed to start feeling normal – I chucked it up to passing the second month and was bound to start feeling better.
On our last night in Houston, I noticed an increase in my spotting. I had some the previous day but it was a bit more that next night. Failing to bring our Pregnancy Bible book, we naively consulted Google. All searches pretty much said “Spotting during pregnancy is NEVER normal. All signs point to miscarriage.” After a solid hour of freak out, a call to my best friend Lisa who just recently had a baby and to my mom, Kevin and my sister managed to calm me down to try to get me to sleep. I calmed down, but never got my sleep. We went to the hospital’s emergency room as soon as we got home – the doctor told me that my hcg levels were high, that my cervix was closed and spotting happens in some pregnancies, and most pregnant women that experience this still carry to term. I had a follow-up appointment at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Department at another hospital just to be sure that everything was okay.
I didn’t think anything else of it. I was convinced that I was indeed okay and so was the baby after the previous trip to the emergency room. I was finally given an ultrasound. I knew something wasn’t right when both the doctor and the nurse were silent as they were looking at the screen. Finally the doctor pointed out to my uterus, the gestational sac and the fetus. The crucial part missing was the fetal heartbeat. In mid-sob I asked her if she was sure. And she said “Unfortunately, I am”.
I don’t know how I managed to drive myself home that day. I just remember following a Jeep most of the way home, and the next thing I remember was my husband opening the car door to help me out and hug and sob with me right away. I was given a prescription for Misoprostol to take that night, to induce the miscarriage. What I’ve experienced was a missed miscarriage. The doctor gave me 3 choices: to wait for my body to expel the fetus; a D & C (dilatation and curettage); or the pills.
There was no way in hell I was going to wait for my body to do what it was supposed to do on its own… I couldn’t wait for a window of 3-5 days! A D & C had to be scheduled and the whole thing was invasive. It was a no-brainer that I was going to go for the pills, the lesser evil among all choices. It was less invasive… but not any less traumatic.
About 8 hours after taking the pill, I had severe back and abdominal pains. So much so that I had to yell out to my husband to help me. Help me do what, I don’t really know. He woke up, I think in a panic, and started rubbing on my lower back which seemed to ease some of the pain but not enough to stop me from wailing. In the next couple of hours, I went through the most traumatic event of my life thus far. And there are no words that can describe the pain and despair I went through. All I kept on thinking was… after all these years, and now that I am fully ready and willing to be a mom, I had to go through the most vile and inexplicable horror of losing my poor child.
Muffled sobs replaced the wailing. Thinking…”If didn’t have my hair coloured weeks ago; if I didn’t have that little sip of wine; maybe I should have rested instead of having people over at the house weeks before; or had not enough calcium in my diet, or shouldn’t have missed taking folic acid…” Or maybe it was just plain old KARMA, because I’ve been such an acerbic, callous bitch and vitriol cow in the past, either to myself or to some deserving and undeserving people…. maybe it was because I’ve become so smug in my happiness with my husband. But I was thinking, I finally deserved to be happy after getting rid of that asshole ex I’ve been with before him. So somebody please tell me, what the fuck it was that I did, didn’t do or should have done in order for this not to happen? We had just started telling friends and family about the pregnancy and now had to undo the good news. Who now feels like a tool?
Turns out, 1 out of 5 pregnancies lead to miscarriage before the end of the first trimester. Chromosomal abnormalities is one of the top reasons this happens. Do you think this makes me feel better? Not one bit. And if you’re going through the same roller coaster ride a miscarriage brings, you won’t either.
I was semi-normal yesterday. We went back to the hospital for a follow-up. Both the doctor and the nurse asked me how I was doing… I wanted to say “I think I’m holding up well for someone who just flushed their baby in the fucking toilet, how about you?” I have to go back tomorrow for more blood work, to see if my hcg levels have gone done and then again on Monday for a follow-up ultrasound to see if everything is clean and fine and dandy.
Today, I woke up at 4 am and I was cantankerous from the get-go. My husband made me eggs and bacon for breakfast and I barely touched it. When he tried to soothe me with his touch I barked at him to stop. He then asked me what was wrong. I stayed quiet and bit my tongue but I really wanted to club him in the head for asking me such a stupid question. Hellloooo, how quickly we forget!?! He cleared my plate, changed for work and kissed me goodbye and told me to call him for anything I needed. How about calling to tell you that I need to not be sad about losing our baby? That’s what I was thinking. But I immediately felt guilty. I cannot take it out on him even if it’s so easy to do so. So instead, I cried and cried some more, stayed in bed until he came home for lunch. He fixes me lunch, brings it to me in bed and patiently hugs me and lets me cry for the nth time and told me that I didn’t need to do anything today but stay in bed for as long as I liked.
My husband is a solid human being. He is also very good in this husband business, good thing for me. I had almost forgotten that he was going through the same loss that I was. See what a selfish bitch I can be? I know some women would tend to say that because he didn’t go through the physical symptoms of being pregnant and then the miscarriage, it will not be the same pain for him. Looking at my husband, the sensitive soul that he is, he is also deep in grief for his loss of a child. And I have to apologize to him for briefly neglecting to see this. If there’s one thing this horrible experience has taught me, it is that I can always count on him to be with me and there for me. If there was anybody I had to go through this with, I couldn’t have picked a better person, Kevin.
My friend Amy also helped me immensely today. You know what you said/did, and I cannot thank you enough for it.
To all my friends that sent phone, email and text messages of love and support, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I also think that Heather B. Armstrong, the chief Dooce of all Doocery, happens to be the best thing that has happened to internetdom. I almost love her as much as I do my husband during this miserable time. You have no idea who I am Heather, but your quick response to my email and all of your doocery on your site somehow helped me prop myself up from bed this afternoon and think that I shouldn’t stay here all day tomorrow.
I really hope I stay out of bed tomorrow.