I feel like I knew. But maybe that’s how it feels when you’ve carried doubt and reservation with you. Maybe it was just the fear I felt. It put signs everywhere, making it hard to get our hopes up, lining a silver cloud with grey.
Again, at 9 weeks, we miscarried. This time I was there for the ultra-sound, not called at work with a ‘family emergency’ like the first time when Allia was all alone at the clinic.
I cannot imagine what that must have been like. Today we were together. But so many things felt strange.
There were signs. I felt it in my gut. But maybe they aren’t signs until you have the news to prove your fears were realized. Otherwise these things siphon out of your mind and get stored away as worry. Needless worry.
Last night I was reading a collection of short stories in bed, aloud to Allia, the first was called “House Hunting” (by Joyce Carol Oates) and as I started to get sleepy I scanned the lines ahead, looking for a logical place to break for the night; there it was
“That’s when we lost the baby”.
I read it silently and agreed with myself to stop there. No need to jinx it. No need to put that worry in her mind. It felt really weird to tell the doctor today – that’s the last thing I read before we went to sleep.
All my superstitions aside, I know that having seen those words, choosing not to say them, would not have changed things.
Last time we lost the baby a few days after the 9 week mark, or somewhere close. We’d had the ultra sound and went for our eleven weeks, expecting no problems.
This time I could see the ‘hold your breath while I scan’ efforts and had even asked if we’d hear the heartbeat today and watched the technician struggle to get a better reading – any reading, it turns out. I knew, I thought I knew, that something was wrong. I asked when Allia went to empty her bladder. I felt it when the technician avoided my question and her energy had changed as she told me we’d wait to talk to the doctor.
We cried big quiet tears while the exam continued and bad news was delivered. The heart must have stopped in the last day or two. Everything else seemed fine.
Before the exam I’d said out loud, when the tech asked if we were excited, that we were holding off until we’d passed this critical benchmark. Did we know it then? The last thing I said, as ultrasound jelly was spread on her abdomen was ‘whatever happens, I love you’.
Ouch. And I do. It’s just so hard to see it happening again.
Is there anything we could do differently next time, we asked?
Yes. But it would cost $18,000 for the kind of genetic screening and embryo testing that would eliminate a percentage of the risk that a natural, untested pregnancy would have. We are still ‘within the normal range’. We would be likely (70%) to carry to a full 40 weeks on our third try. Statistically likelier.
I could see it from the beginning, Allia had held back, even keel, trying to avoid being too excited, lest we encounter the same heartbreak of the first pregnancy. You ask yourself if that had anything to do with it? Did anything have anything to do with it? You want an answer.
Today she said she felt guilty, like she was letting people down. Herself, I understand. Me, never. My parents, never. It’s unspeakably sad. How does the brain process a loss that happens inside you? – one which can’t be rationalized, even though you can cite statistics and likelihood and the possibility that we may have a perfectly normal pregnancy next time.
We talked about how to ‘let nature take its course.’ Whether a DNC or pills would be the best option this time. I don’t see how it could be worse than the way it ended last – too vividly and in a mess of gore. I don’t know if I could handle that again. At least in a hospital it would be supervised and finished, less drawn out. Whatever she decides, of course.
Two miscarriages at 35, likely because the embryo wasn’t a strong enough candidate to survive. So common.
Many people have two losses before carrying a baby to term. To term. All these terms are so disconnected from the real language you feel in your guts.
We just read about Zuckerberg, who spoke out about the silence around miscarriages and fertility. He revealed the struggles he and his wife had experienced. We have dropped the act. I don’t have the heart for it.
I feel like sparing other people’s discomfort is one more way you have to hurt yourself – by keeping a lid on the feelings and allowing others the blissful ignorance about your loss and pain. Life goes on as normal. Except for the part that hasn’t gone on.
At least we know we can get past this. Having done it once already. It leaves questions though. I am afraid of carrying a baby. Knew, for me, that it was two years off – except that now, for her emotional well-being, maybe Allia will need or want a break. Maybe it would be easier to have me start cycle monitoring now. I don’t know how a third time would impact her. How do you prepare yourself for the worry and stress of trying to care again. Could we just wake up three months into a pregnancy, the scariest part (other than birth and parenting…) over?
I started a painting today. Allia is sleeping.
“For Frances, August 18 – 2015” – a name we would not have chosen for real, but for this it seems right.