Friday, May 13, 2011

Goodbye Tiny Baby: a miscarriage story

This blog is my slightly censored diary. This record of my evolution as a mother and a woman is mostly for Ada's benefit. There is no guarantee that I'll be able to recount it all for her later. Knowing her history and having a wider look at her mom is important. I hope it will help her understand and accept herself when she is older. To provide a realistic reflection of all that life is I am obligated to record the good things as well as the things that aren't so great. Right now I need to let the words spill over about something not too great. 

The night we got back from Santa Barbara over Easter weekend I took a home pregnancy test. The word I have waited to see - "PREGNANT" - popped up in the oval-shaped window almost immediately. My first reaction was disbelief - I had a negative test at 11 dpo. Then I made a conscious choice to let myself feel what was really happening inside. A huge smile and excitement overwhelmed me. I showed the test to Tim who smiled but cautioned me to not get too excited just yet. I scurried off to the bedroom to calculate my due date, study my chart, review dates in my head and start planning how we would make room for another baby in our cramped apartment.

I dutifully went in the next day to have my first beta drawn. The next one 48 hours later had more than doubled. It looked like a good start! I sent emails and made phone calls. I scheduled appointments. I stopped drinking coffee. I looked on for a cute t-shirt to announce to the grandparents that Ada would be a big sister. I was genuinely, actively thankful that after years of struggle on so many fronts things were looking up. Still, a part of me was uneasy about this pregnancy. Tiny details were just vastly different from my pregnancy with Ada and I couldn't reconcile what I knew to be scientific fact with what seemed to be happening. It just didn't add up.

I already had an appointment with the same RE we were seeing when we got pregnant with Ada. I kept that appointment 'just in case'. Last week when I sat down to meet with him I offered up my timeline, my cycle summary, and list of supplements. He wanted the history first so I gave it to him. One pregnancy. One live birth: vaginal, uncomplicated. At the end of that long history I told him about the positive test and he smirked and reached over to touch my arm, jokingly saying, "I'm gonna kill you." I defensively launched into why I had doubts and getting a first appointment takes so long. He told me to empty my bladder and meet him in the room across the hall. "Don't be mad at me," was all I said. The embryo measured behind what I expected. There was no heartbeat. Maybe it was too early so I should come back next week. We talked about our plan in case this pregnancy was not viable. 

I know from experience that waiting for something like this isn't exactly easy but at least this time it was familiar. This situation was similar to and different from the lost two weeks when we thought Ada didn't have a corpus callosum. That was devastating and still easily the worst thing that has ever happened to me. This time I knew something was wrong. This time, I wasn't so attached to the baby inside me. This time the baby hadn't moved and I hadn't watched my body change. As I so often do these days I consulted my mantra for the year:  "History is waiting to be written". I go back to this when I need to make a conscious choice about which part of me needs to show up. Be firm or flexible? Go for the run! Make a better choice. Hold my tongue. Take a deep breath. In this case, I decided that it was not under my control so I would take care of myself for the next week and accept the consequences, whatever they were.    

The human body is an amazing thing. Women's bodies are especially amazing in that every month they prepare so that when new life takes hold our bodies shift and change to not only accommodate it but to nurture it. Once that baby is born our minds and lives shift and change to not only accommodate that baby but to nurture it - the heart and spirit have a tremendous capacity for expansion. It really is a miracle that any of us are born healthy - what an incredible and intricate process early development is. I've studied it enough to know that each cell-to-cell communication is a delicate but precise dance of information exchange. But nature is wise and when that process is too far from perfect she puts on the brakes. When I arrived at the clinic for a recheck ultrasound my mouth was dry and my palms were sweating. I waited to see what I knew in my heart was true - the embryo had died and all the tissues were beginning to reabsorb. I'll never know what was wrong with this baby and it doesn't very much matter. I'm sad to say goodbye to it but am grateful to say goodbye now when it is still early.

Given that I am an emotional creature I expected to feel an intense sense of loss and I keep scanning myself to find it. Am I just ignoring it because I'm masterful at ignoring my own feelings? I don't think I am. I am sad and disappointed but not feeling intense grief. I know now that my chances of going on to hold a precious newborn baby in my arms again are pretty good. Expanding our family is as exciting a thought as it's ever been. I hope that the next couple of months bring us this joy again but with a living baby at the end of it. We will move on. In the meanwhile I will keep running. I will do good work. I will create. I will love the baby I already have and she has been the most effective healing power of all. 


I can't count how many times over the past 2 days I have wanted only to hold her close to me. We have tickled, read books, danced like giggling fools, and gazed into each others eyes. It feels so good to be with her. The tenderness I feel toward her is enhanced because I am reminded of how incredibly blessed I am to have a healthy baby here with me right now. 

The procedure to remove the embryo and supportive tissue is over and I am home. Ada and I will go to Stride-Rite later for some new shoes because life keeps going on around you even when your own little personal universe stands still for a few moments. 
Back to our regular life with an eye ever on the future. 

7 Lovies:

trina said...

i'm sorry hon.

Mari said...

As always, I love how you convey so many emotions through your words.

Sending you lots of love from far away. You've got a great attitude. I'm rooting for you. (((HUGS)))

Kristina said...

You are an amazing writer, an amazing mom, and an amazing person. They say eyes are the window to the soul but your writing really reveals yours.

I am truly sorry you went through this. Big hugs!

Serendipitie said...


Ty's Girl said...

I am so sorry. I was so thrilled when I found out you were expecting. It will be all the more sweet when you get pregnant again and then get to hold that precious baby. Love you!

Lisa said...

I am so so sorry. I lost a baby very early on as well, before PJ. It's never easy. Hugs.

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