As I lie on the couch, completely exhausted and numb from the days events, I feel stinging on the side of my face. The stinging runs down my face and onto my cheek. It hurts. It feels like my face is being burned deep into my skin. I reach across my face and wipe the tears away. I pause for a moment, “These tears hurt so badly. I have never felt such stinging.”
As I wipe, the stinging subsides. My mind drifts to all the moments of joy; to all the moments we will never experience. I hear my husbands wailing in the basement. It’s his own grief. I cannot carry him. I can barely breathe. My face starts stinging again. I cannot make it stop.
As we tell people the news, “Do you need anything?” is a common question. I can’t answer it. I know I will just say no thank you. Truth is, we DO need something. We need meals. We need time as a couple. We need love. We need support. My response remains, thank you and nothing more. No one asks again.
I wonder if this experience will be better or worse than last time. It already feels dramatically different. I have so many more questions and concerns this time. Not just for me, but for the proper dignity this baby deserves. We learned that our baby died today.
I want to chop off my hair. I have an immediate and overwhelming need to cut it off. But I can’t, our priest is coming over. It will have to wait. I think about what I will wear and all I can see is my fat. I am disgusted by it now. Before, it was manageable. I chocked it up to the bloat from my pregnancy and the fact that this is my fourth pregnancy and women apparently show more quickly.
I dress in front of the mirror. “I’m fat. Just fat!” I think to myself. I hate my body right now. The joy I could see with my expanding waistline is shattered. I want to cut off my belly just as badly as I want to cut off my hair. My day didn’t start out this way.
It was a busy morning for Timmy and I. Jason would be in a class that day and unable to go with me to my appointment. A few days ago, I began to stress about that. I didn’t want to go to this appointment alone. After seeing a bit of blood yesterday, my anxiety compounded. I wasn’t sure what we would see when we went. I didn’t want to go through that alone with my 23 month old.
I asked a friend to go with me, explaining that I might be having a miscarriage in hopes that should would know I was truly in need. She knew and she took the time for me. I pumped that morning, noticing once again that my milk supply was increasing. An increase which I first noticed on May 2nd, five days before. It was concerning to me but I have never lactated during pregnancy so I didn’t know what to make of it.
After I pumped, I woke up Timmy and got him fed and dressed. I wanted to stop by the store to pick up a card and some cupcakes for the nurse that I yelled at yesterday. It was such a strong desire and doing so could possibly make me late but I couldn’t arrive empty handed.
I told Timmy we were stopping at the store before heading to the doctors office. He just kept repeating, “Timmy doctor?” I smiled. As I pulled him from the car seat he said, “Timmy walk?” I explained we had only a few minutes and I would have to hold him. I rushed through the store, picking out cupcakes and grabbing a blank card in which I could write a thank you and apologize for yelling.
We checked out and I drove quickly to the clinic. My friend was already there in the lobby. She greeted me with a hug. I reluctantly hugged her back. I have such a hard time letting anyone in but I needed her there. We made small talk as I waited to be seen.
I was called back but had to go alone for vitals. Once checked, they returned me to the waiting room. More small talk.
A room was ready shortly after and we headed back to the room. As we entered the room, the midwife was exiting. She looked at me. She could see the fear on my face and gave me a look of “what’s up?” I briefly said, “I need to talk with you.” The door closed behind me.
I undressed and sat on the exam table. The ultrasound machine warming up next to me. I noticed the perfume the nurse was wearing. I didn’t like the smell. I didn’t want this to be a smell I would remember so I tried to block it from my receptors.
I sat quietly as my friend was telling me a story about her son. All the while, I thought, “Is this machine going to give me good news or bad news?” I wanted to explode.
My midwife entered and I explained to her that I had bleeding yesterday. We talked about how much and she said she was going to take a look. I remember asking her for just a speculum exam and not anything more. She agreed and said that was all she planned.
A quick check revealed no blood and a closed cervix. It was time for the ultrasound. She fumbled with the condom that goes over the wand. I giggled and said, “that happens in real life too.” She had attempted to put the condom on the wrong way. She giggled.
It was the last of the giggling for the day. As the cold, hard wand entered my most private parts, I closed my eyes briefly as I took a deep breath and blocked out the violation. I turned towards the ultrasound monitor as my midwife moved the wand around to find the baby.
The beautiful, round gestational sac was there. Inside however, I could no longer see a baby. Even though it had only been a few seconds, I exclaimed, “That’s not a good sign.” Hoping desperately she would reprimand me for not being positive, she too expressed it was not a good sign.
For five minutes the room was silent as she moved and manipulated things. She took a measurement, claiming it was what she thought was the baby. She turned on a special device that shows blood flow. There was plenty of blood flow in my uterus, but none in the sac.
In the image that was the baby, there was no flickering heart as we had previously seen two times before. No blood flow to be seen any where. She tried to pinpoint the baby’s heart and turned on the audio. The line, which once showed blips of a beating heart was now flat-lined. Death…once again.
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