Once Upon a Time, We Lost Our Rainbow Baby
Today is the day after losing our second baby. Today, I would have been 8 weeks along exactly with our second baby; I would have been 30 weeks and 3 days along with our first baby. Today, my womb is empty. Again.
It really hurts to say that.
I tried during this whole second pregnancy to be positive while still being emotionally reserved. It only worked a little bit. I have a feeling that this healing process is going to look quite different from the last one. I can already feel the bitterness rising up, rearing its ugly, poisonous head, ready to strike, aiming directly at my throat.
The baby that was to be due two days after the one year anniversary of my first miscarriage is gone. Now I get to live in the fact that we have lost two babies in less than five months time. We get to live in that very sad, very frustrating reality.
This time yesterday, I was in my doctor's office being seen by one of the other doctors at the facility (mine was not able to be in the office this week; she is both a family physician and an OB, and she was scheduled to be at the hospital all week). I had an appointment with her last Wednesday when I was 7 weeks and 1 day along. Everything was picture perfect. I had the teeniest bit of discoloration that morning, but it was nowhere near the color of blood, and I wasn't cramping, so it was of no concern. She told me that I wasn't going to get a Pap smear or pelvic exam until the second trimester, just to be safe, based on my history... fine by me. I got my blood drawn and left.
The next morning, Thursday, I started spotting. And I lost it. After my initial freakout, I gathered my wits and my mock-inner-strength and vowed to keep it together until I knew more. At that point, though, I knew that I was losing this baby, too. My sweet friends in our Community Group at church tried to be encouraging as they responded to the news, but I knew it in my gut. My symptoms had decreased over the past 48 hours (which could be normal), and there is no way to explain away a woman's intuition.
The spotting increased over the course of rest of the day and continued into Friday. That night, I had some minor cramping alongside the achey, stretching-of-the-uterus feeling. I was so confused. On Saturday, the bleeding increased even more and I began to have cramping and sharp pains where I knew they should not be. On our way home from dinner with Patrick's parents, I knew that it was going to happen and asked if we could stop and get some pads. We pulled out the pullout couch in the living room where we slept, me with a towel underneath, just like last time. I knew that I was not going to church the next morning, for the fear of losing my baby in public and mimicking our previous experience was too frightening to even think about. I don't remember a lot of Sunday, just two days ago, except that I slept on the couch while my dear husband went grocery shopping for us; I hadn't gone in two weeks and we had zilch. Cramping, bleeding, and passing clots and tissues filled both Sunday and Monday. I kept telling Patrick that I wanted to get this stupid miscarriage over with already. Defense mechanisms were at work, folks.
Like I said, this time yesterday, I was at the doctor's office. We had called the on-call doctor on Saturday night and didn't get much help. We already knew what to expect, but we didn't know at what point it was recommended that we go to the ER; I was being a brat about racking up thousands of dollars in debt for them to just tell me that our baby was dead again. That being said, I called my doctor's office at 8:30 on Monday morning, which feels like an eternity ago. The nurse talked to the doctor on site and they both suggested that I come in for an exam at 9:30. We both got ready to go, and Patrick packed a bag with a change of clothes, pads, washcloths, books, and even snacks to take with us - this poor man has been scarred by miscarriage in a public environment, too.
Long story short, I was told that my cervix was closed, and that I had some bleeding but my mucous plug was still there. Was I surprised in the least? No. I got the same answer the last time that I went to the ER and ended up passing my baby approximately two hours later. I was diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage, had blood drawn again, and was sent home to await my ultrasound appointment at 5:00 that evening.
Longest. Day. Ever.
Lots more cramping, accompanied by lots more blood loss, as well as the passing of clots and tissue, but not nearly as much as the last time around. I was alone, but I tried to keep busy while being planted on the pullout couch bed, or whatever the heck that thing is called.
Patrick came home from work, grabbed the duffel bag, took me to the hospital where my ultrasound was scheduled. Let's just say, I'm freaking tired of ultrasounds at this point. I knew by looking at the screen that nothing was there. I knew by the questions that the ultrasound technician was asking me that the baby was dead at the very least, gone at the most. She was ridiculously sweet and called to see if she could get ahold of my doctor, whom I adore.
My doctor asked to speak to me on the phone. When I answered, she simply asked, with deep concern in her voice, "What happened?" That's when I started to cry. I informed her of the timeline of events, and she informed me that I must have passed the baby this weekend because there was nothing on the ultrasound screen.
Damn. I knew it.
I don't want to relive those moments walking out of the hospital, trying to get to the car before I broke down completely. Patrick, my dear, sweet husband, tried to console me as we were walking out, but I knew that I needed to get to the car as quickly as possible. We headed home, I yelled about life not being fair, about whores and drug addicts getting pregnant when they don't even want the babies (not my proudest moment, but an honest one), and we both told each other that we were sorry. Because we were, and we are. Because this stupid situation sucks and it is no fun for anyone involved. Because we got to tell people, family and friends, that we have lost another baby. Because we were sad. We still are. We will be. We got home, but I immediately decided that we needed to get out of the house. It was only 6:30 pm and it was dark outside, making it feel like an eternity until it was time to go to bed. We ate at The Wedge downtown. We texted friends and family and informed them of what had happened. I choked down tears along with my humongous cup of Coke, which I was drinking only out of spite.
I have had to miss two days of school. I miss those 10th grade turkeys when I don't get to see them one day, so being gone for two makes it really difficult. I am supposed to be teaching my Shakespeare unit to my pre-AP kids, but my amazing mentor teacher, who has been so kind and understanding, took over while I have been gone; the same thing goes for teaching my on-level kids The Hobbit.
This is my third day out of commission, and I'm vowing that it is my last. I cannot stay in the house, not seeing anyone at all, for an entire week like I did last time. I guarantee you, I will still be an introverted hermit for a while, but I have to at least get out of the house and get back to some sense of normalcy.
When my kids ask me where I have been, though, I plan on telling them that I had the plague. The Bubonic Plague. The Black Death. Outrageous answers like that work with sophomores, which is why I love high school.
If you have read this far, I just want to conclude with a little bit of positivity - mostly as a reminder for myself when I go back and read this post one day.
This miscarriage has not been nearly as physically painful, nor as traumatizing, as the last. As far as the physical pain is concerned, I truly believe that it was easier because we had so much of our church body praying for me on Monday. We are still very upset, of course, but I had to get this off of my chest - I couldn't wait three months to write about it like I did last time.
My head is confused, my heart is hurting, and I cannot even begin to figure out what state my soul is in. This is going to be a long emotional recovery, I'm sure.
Please, friends and family, do not misunderstand me:
- if I don't want to talk about it, or if I seem to be hanging out somewhere in the margins of life, please do not take that as me not wanting you to ask me how we are doing. Please, continue to ask, but please do not poke and pinch and prod.
- if I open up to you about it, please, please listen, and refrain from finding an answer to give me. Just listen.
- if I reject your offer to help, please remember that it is because I do not know how to graciously accept help if I do not want it; it is in my nature and my upbringing to convince myself that I can do it on my own, and that it is rude to accept things from other people without giving back. I just don't know how to. It is much better to ask my husband this question. You won't get the answer that you want from me.
I love you all. I love my husband. I love my Lord and Savior, even when it doesn't make sense to. And I love our babies that we can never hold in this lifetime.
Babies. Plural. That hurts. It really does.