Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The end of one thing and the beginning of another

Miscarriage is a strange thing. It's different for everyone, but for me it was like losing something before I ever had it. It's a little like living between two worlds. To me, it wasn't really a "person" yet (we hadn't named it or anything) but at the same time, I feel like I lost something that was part of my family. Does that make any sense? When I think about this baby that will never be, I feel like I want to write a letter to it about how much we loved it and were looking forward to welcoming it to our family. When I think about writing it, I think that maybe I'll write it and then stow it away for when the baby is old enough to understand it. And that's when I remind myself that though there may be other babies, this baby will never be. Note to self: I guess there is a denial stage.

I have a beautiful one year old who is the light of my life. I have a loving husband who I adore and we're living the American dream (dollar by dollar, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, but living it nonetheless.) We got pregnant the second time without too much effort and were thrilled to watch the ultrasound screen that showed the beautiful and strong heartbeat (160-something beats per minute) at 8 weeks 5 days.

Everything seemed normal to me. I had no bleeding, cramping, or spotting even. I was still having morning sickness, cravings, hormone headaches, and was very, very tired. I was looking forward to the date, a couple of weeks in the future, when I would be moving into my second trimester and would be able to share my happy news with people outside of my family.

Then at the 11 week ultrasound (which I went to alone because it was supposed to be a simple screening for Downs Syndrome), the ultrasound showed that the baby was only 9 weeks 5 days and had no heartbeat. Smack. There it is. This can happen to me too. Not that I EVER took my first baby for granted - I know how fragile life is, and I only breathed a little easier about him when I knew he had passed the cusp of viability. But no matter how much one prepares oneself to potentially be in that 15 -25% (depending on who you're listening to) whose pregnancies end in miscarriage, I don't think you can ever be ready.

So the day after I found out, I was scheduled to leave for a week of vacation in the next state. I thought I could wait until the Monday I came back to have my D & E. My first reaction was maybe to ignore it and "not let it ruin my vacation." Turns out that's a whole lot easier said than done. Grieving is hard enough. Then add the knowledge that once the D & E is done, you'll have to start grieving all over again. My husband and I drove home mid-week and I had the procedure so that I could start moving on.

All that being said, I've been thinking a lot about God lately. I went to church for my entire childhood and was confirmed in junior high. I rarely go to church now, but I still consider myself a believer. So now that the reality of miscarriage is here, I feel at least a little comforted by thinking about the fact that this baby just wasn't meant to be. It sucks that my husband and I had to fall in love with it before it was taken away from us, but I believe in fate. I did not do anything that made this baby die. My body is capable of growing a baby, so that leaves the conclusion that there was something genetically wrong with the baby and it would never have been able to live outside of my body if it had been born. This is the thought that helps me to sleep at night. (Maybe the thought of the Ambien on my bedside table helps me to sleep too, although I haven't taken one yet.)

So where does that leave me? Bleeding. Fun stuff, right? For those who have gone through it, I'm sorry. This is no fun. For me, one of the worst things is that I'm looking forward to trying again, and the timeline seems endless. Bleed for a couple weeks... Get your period within 4-6 weeks... Babies come when they feel like it, I guess, but I was hoping to deliver before or during the summer (I was due in March) so that I wouldn't have to have a newborn in the dead of winter. And did I mention that I should be three months pregnant?

Ironically, I just realized that today is the day. Today is the first day of my would-be second trimester when I should be making excited phone calls to friends and relatives. And instead, it's the one week anniversary of the day that the remainder of the pregnancy was suctioned from my uterus, and I'm sitting here thinking about the timeline. Six weeks brings us to late October. My doctor says I can try again once I get the first normal period (all doctors have different recommendations) so that brings us to November. (That is, if I even get my period within 6 weeks. I read someone's blog last night who has had two miscarriages and both times didn't get her period until the 7th week.)

So IF the stars align, and IF I get my period in the prescribed timeline, and IF we get pregnant easily, MAYBE we'll have an August baby. Hmmm... What will be harder? Grieving the loss of something I never had, or worrying every day about a possible new little person growing inside me? I've been wondering how women who have had "missed" miscarriages (like mine was, with no sign of trouble) can sleep at night carrying another baby without wondering if its little heart still beats in rhythm with hers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss :(