Posted by: Court | June 17, 2009

Gone baby, gone

On May 2nd, a month after we’d moved into our first home, we found out we were expecting our first child. We were surprised and thrilled beyond words. We waited a week, when I was almost seven weeks pregnant, and started telling people – parents, grandparents, family friends, church friends, work…

Each Sunday night, I read “Your Pregnancy Week by Week” to see what our baby was up to that week. We called the baby “the human bean,” (after my childhood belief that “human being” was actually pronounced “human bean”) or “the blueberry.” We walked giddily around the baby aisles in Old Navy and Gap Kids, picking out a cute onesie and daydreaming about the future.

On Saturday the 16th, I woke up feeling crampy. I had been cramping thus far throughout the pregnancy, and figured it was just due to my body expanding for the baby. But something didn’t feel quite right. I climbed back into bed after watching TV downstairs while my husband slept, and asked him to pray. After he prayed, I felt a bit better, and we packed to head down to the lake.

As Tim was loading up the car, I went to the restroom and noticed some dark brown blood. I had read that this could be normal, as brown tends to reflect old blood. Still, my husband and I decided it would be best to head in to the minor emergency center to get it checked out. I went to the restroom once more before we left and cried out. The blood was bright red now. I came back out of the restroom to find Tim sitting on the couch, head bowed in prayer. I put my hand on his shoulder and fought back tears.

Our drive to the minor emergency room was mostly silent. It was raining, and we held hands the entire 20-25 minute drive. When we arrived, I walked up to the check-in area, relieved that nobody else was in the waiting room, and, voice shaking, told the receptionist that I was almost eight weeks pregnant and that I was bleeding. With those words, the tears started coming. Saying it out loud, in a medical facility, made it seem much more real. She was very kind. She told me that she’d had two miscarriages, that she understood my worries, and she brought me back to a patient room to lie down while Tim filled out the paperwork. She covered me with a warm blanket and said to come get her if we needed anything at all.

Only minutes later, the doctor stepped in, raindrops on her purple sweater (I later learned that the center had only opened minutes before we arrived, so the doctor must have been right on our heels). She was very kind as well, telling me that she’d be happy to check me, but that eventually I’d need an ultrasound, and they didn’t have a machine at their facility. She said it would save time and money if I went directly to the ER, but that if I’d rather be seen by her first, she’d be happy to care for me. We thanked her but agreed that it would be more prudent to head to the ER.

Tim dropped me off at the entrance, so that I wouldn’t have to walk through the rain again, and went to park the car. I went in to the ER and pressed a button to summon someone from the back. There was a married couple sitting in the waiting room, with two older women. I looked around nervously as I waited for someone to appear at the desk. A minute or so later, a male nurse arrived and I told him I was pregnant and bleeding. He asked how far along I was, and I told him, “almost eight weeks.” He nodded, and handed me some paperwork to fill out.

I filled out the paperwork and sat and waited with Tim for around ten minutes. The door to the back opened and a different male nurse came out to talk to me. He said, “So, you’re pregnant and bleeding?” I nodded. He asked how far along I was, and I told him. He left to go into the back again. I had feared that he was speaking kind of loudly, and I’m pretty sure that was the case, because after he left, I noticed one of the two older women looking sadly at me. I ignored it, mindlessly watching poker on TV until I was called back.

Basically, for the next five hours, I gave a urine sample, had blood drawn, had an IV put in, had the IV removed so I could have an ultrasound, nobody came to put my IV back in so Tim had to go get a nurse, and then the doctor came back. He told me that my HCG levels were around 700, which is what they’d expect for someone who was 1-4 weeks pregnant.  He said they hadn’t found anything on the ultrasound, which would be expected if I were only 1-4 weeks pregnant, so he wanted me to follow up with my OB to check my HCG levels in two days. He said it was possible that I was less further along than I’d thought. I stared at him, then managed to get out, “I haven’t had my period in eight weeks, so…” Clearly I couldn’t be only 1-4 weeks pregnant. Bless his heart – he was an ER doc, not an OB, and didn’t quite have the words to say. I think we all knew where it was going, but he didn’t have the right way to say exactly what to expect.

The doctor said there was blood in my urine. He acknowledged the fact that it was most likely the product/result of the miscarriage, but said he wanted to put me on antibiotics just in case, because UTIs can cause miscarriages. I’ve had UTIs before. This was no UTI. He left the room and the nurse came back about 15 minutes later with my discharge papers.

We drove to Walgreens to get my prescription filled, and bought some candy that I wanted while we were there. I think we ordered pizza for dinner that night, not wanting to go anywhere. I read and napped a bit, and then we decided to watch the season finale of The Office. Which was fine and dandy until the last two minutes or so.

Pam goes to the ER for a sprained ankle and it turns out, wow, she’s pregnant! Tim and I watched that scene in complete silence, as my eyes filled with tears. Then they just started flowing. It wasn’t fair.

I’m trying to understand the grieving process right now. According to americanpregnancy.org, the process goes as follows:

Step 1: Shock/Denial: “This really isn’t happening; I’ve been taking good care of myself.”

Step 2: Anger/Guilt/Depression: “Why me? If I would have…” “I’ve always wanted a baby so bad, this isn’t fair. I feel sadness in my life now more than ever.”

Step 3: Acceptance: “I have to deal with it. I’m not the only one who has experienced this. Other women have made it through this, maybe I should get some help.”

They say that each step takes longer to go through than the previous one. I think I moved through step one pretty quickly, although from time to time, I still can’t believe it really happened. And at first, I felt a profound sense of denial – like the entire thing was an out-of-body experience. As if I were watching a different married couple go through the motions in a scene from a movie, crying for them, and praying that it wouldn’t happen to me when I got pregnant.  I was always scared that it would happen to me for some reason. And when it actually happened, it was hard to process and accept that it had indeed happened.

The first few days, I wasn’t angry. I spent most of my time at home, except for an outing with Beth to Target, where I tried to avert my eyes from the rows of onesies and blankets as we passed the baby section. I think by being at home, I wasn’t aware that the world was throttling forward without my baby. Which was probably best for those first raw few days.

So I wasn’t angry, but I was distraught. Heaving sobs as I stood in the shower, confused, still slightly in denial (This isn’t real – this can’t be happening to me). I sobbed the first three days until my body was just worn out from the process. Since then, I’ve only had a few good solid cries, but I tear up at work on a daily basis. I usually tear up at church but suck it up because I don’t want to draw attention.

I seem to be stalled out in step two currently. I do recognize that I’m not alone in the least, but it feels that way sometimes. Even those I know personally who have been through miscarriages don’t really stop to listen. I feel like I could talk about it all the time, but never have the opportunity.

I hadn’t cried in a while, but spent a good amount of time crying last night. I’ve been frustrated that I call out to God and hear nothing back. I know in my heart of hearts that He hears me and is so sad for me, but I think I just need more of a sign. People talk about distinctly hearing God’s voice, and I was looking for that. I spent time in Adoration, shut off the radio on my drives to and from work, cried out to Him before bed last night, and still heard nothing. It felt horrible. I’m just being honest.

It’s been four weeks and four days since we said goodbye to our little human bean, but it feels like an eternity. I’ve been sad because nobody asks how I’m doing anymore. Some people never did.

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