I have started this post in my mind almost everyday since I started my own blog back in August. I want to share the moments of that day exactly a year ago, November 10, 2004, for two reasons: 1) I want the baby, who I will refer to as Baby May (which refers to the month due) to be memorialized both honorably and honestly; and 2) I am hoping this helps me move beyond this soul-obliterating grief I have been feeling for so long that has been perpetuated by our failure to conceive again and brings some resolution.
Please take this as an opportunity to delurk as yes, I am looking for validation. Today I have no shame, no pride in asking for such, as it will only inhibit the emotions, which in written form is problematic in itself.
And with a deep breath, I begin:
November 10, 2004 Jerry picked me up from work so we could go to lunch together. I didn’t realize until much later that I was finally starting to not feel so wretchedly tired and the awful, dirty-sock-in-the-mouth taste was not as overwhelming. We did a quick lunch, just 30 minutes as I had been missing quite a bit of work, sometimes not coming in until 9:30-10:00 a.m. due to morning sickness.
After Jerry dropped me off back at my office, I visited the ladies room for a quick break. It was when I wiped that I saw the spotting. Tiny, bright red spots on the paper. There was nothing in my underwear to indicate that the spotting was anything but very recent. I called by OB immediately as my pregnancy had been uneventful to this point; and my pregnancy with Max was just as uneventful. It was only 12:30 and OB wouldn’t be back into the office until 1:00, they could see me then. With only a few words to a fellow co-worker about where I was going, and her reassuring words echoing in my head, I left my office noting I should be back by 2:00pm.
Once at OB’s, I appeared to be patiently waiting, but on the inside I was vibrating with nervous tension. I had called Jerry to let him know where I was. “Do you want me to meet you?” he asked, but I told him I would give him a call later once I had seen OB as it was probably my paranoia taking over. I was escorted to the exam room, and I gave the nurse the details of the spotting. It sounded so innocuous even to me, that I wondered why I was even there, but she assured me that they would make sure everything was OK so I could get back to work. More waiting ensued. OB finally came in, along with a nurse in training. He got out the Doppler and I tried to relax on the exam table. The Doppler seemed strangely cold for having been pulled out of his coat pocket, and I heard the familiar static as the wand moved over my just swelling belly. It was only 9 days earlier that we had done this for the first time following a normal US. I remember he remarked at that time how easy it was to find the heartbeat. He did not say it this time. As he tried again and again to maneuver the Doppler in a way to find the little *bump, bump* of Baby May’s heartbeat, he tried to joke about how my digestive system was covering up the sound of the baby’s heart. That went on for several minutes, until he shut off the Doppler to tell me that we should just do an US. He also tried to reassure me that everything was probably fine, and it was just my guts’ loud rumbling that prevented him from picking up the heartbeat with the same ease he had several days ago. But, in that moment, I knew something was wrong. As OB exited the room I started sobbing and the nursing student squeezed my hand quickly before following.
I still did not call Jerry. To get him to the OB’s office just in time for me to find me looking a little sheepish over nothing was not going to help get his work done. I waited alone for over 25 minutes. The one US machine was in use, but I would be next said the nurse who popped her head in after 20 minutes to inform me of the delay. It was then I called Jerry, and asked him to meet me for the US. I hadn’t stopped crying the whole time.
When I was finally escorted to the US room, I advised the receptionist to send Jerry in when he came. I was prepped with the cold slime on my stomach and the machine was turned on. Just as the wand touched by skin, Jerry came in to stand beside me. I found it odd that the tech did not have the screen facing me as she always had in the past, but instead it was turned just enough away from me at an angle that allowed me to see only the distorted blackness of the screen. She moved the wand slowly and Jerry held my hand while watching me. I will never, ever forget what the tech then said to us following those horrible moments of silence “I don’t see a heartbeat, either.”
My heart broke into a hundred-thousand shards of pain and I wailed. Jerry almost fell upon me in his own stunned grief and we clung to each other. Painful waves of anguish washed over us again and again. I briefly remember in that haze the tech rubbing my knee in sympathy before excusing herself to get OB to look at the images. I was sobbing loudly and uncontrollably and I felt like retching. OB and the tech came back in and quietly looked at the now frozen image on the screen while they measured. “12 wks gestational age” was the size of my little baby, who had already stopped growing when I had come in 1.5 weeks ago.
OB quietly and professionally explained to us what are options would be, which was to let the MC naturally take its course or a D&C and all that each entailed. He told us to call him later that night with our decision if was to be a D&C as he would have to schedule the OR room. They left Jerry and I alone again and told us we could take as much time as we needed there and showed us the rear exit of the clinic if we wanted to avoid the waiting room full of still-expecting patients.
When we finally left, my car stayed in the parking lot as I was physically incapable of driving. Jerry took me home, put me into bed and hugged and held my hand, until no more tears would come. He went back to work, and I took a deep breath bracing myself for the immediate phone calls I knew I had to make. Each phone call started off calm but before I could finish the sentence, “we lost the baby” I was again wracked by sobbing. I called my mother, my best friend, and a fellow co-worker who were left in shock by the abrupt news. The platitudes started even then, and now, a year later such statements like, “It’s part of G*d’s plan,” “You can try again,” and finally, “At least you still have Max,” still sound like nails on a chalkboard.
By 5:00pm, I had called OB to let him know that we would move forward with the D&C. He was obviously affected by this as well and told us that he would make sure to have the baby sent for analysis since we were as far along as we were, but that the results may come back inconclusive. He said not to blame myself, as he was sure it was nothing I had done to cause this. The D&C, scheduled for the following day, was when I would have been exactly 15 weeks pregnant.
When Jerry came home after picking up Max from daycare, I remember them both coming into the bedroom and Max, who was just weeks away from turning 3, stood next to the bed and said, “Mommy, are you going to be OK? Daddy said you were sick.” I lied and said, “Yes, I’m going to be OK.”.
…to be continued…