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I write this not knowing what the future holds

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Trigger Warning: This story contains subject matter relating to miscarriage.

Pure exhaustion, beyond any flu; vulnerability that can’t be tamed, tunnel vision, a certainty of my last breath and last heartbeat right here on the middle of my living room floor, my home which I feel so safe.

The fear that surrounded my every thought and every move after this moment has brought me here.

Rewind 9 months

I wanted more than anything to have one more baby, I felt like it would complete our family, that I would know that this is the last, and that my youngest (I have two girls) would make the best big sister.

My husband did not want another, was adamant, and it was devastating to me. However, his technique was not fool proof and I half-guilty took that pregnancy test knowing the two lines getting ready to change everything.

He tried not to act excited but something in him that day changed. He told his friends immediately and I knew, that Mr. Tough Guy wasn’t as tough as he seemed.

The running joke on his lobster boat was that there was some type of contagion going on as his sternman had just found out that his spouse was pregnant and just a few weeks later, his third man announced the same. Three guys on a lobster boat all with pregnant ladies. What are the odds?

Lots of excitement as the holidays came along, my brother’s wedding around the corner, and then stop.

Cramps, maybe I ate something, the intensity rises, maybe I’ll lay down, fear, googling, I have to go pee.

My water broke all over the floor…at 10 weeks.

The first words I could utter as I sat confined to the toilet was “I lost my chance.”

If I ever questioned the love that my husband had for me it would never be questioned again after that night. 4 hours of trying to lay down, trying to make it to the toilet, blood everywhere, on his hands and knees cleaning it up. He looked at me and said, your lips are white, either I take you in the truck or I’m calling the ambulance. His words sounded so far away and I said, your truck. About half way to the hospital I remember laying in the back seat feeling as though I wouldn’t make it, that my heart was giving out. Nurses and doctors whisked me out of the truck and within minutes had me hooked up to an IV, taking samples, ultrasound technician “no baby”, then my doctor, “emergency surgery”.

My placenta wasn’t detaching and I had been bleeding out for hours.

Within minutes, a nurse was holding my hand, told me she was going to be right there, and sleep.

I woke up pain free, joking with the nurses, grateful to be alive…somewhere around 3 am the sadness set in. Grieving was hard. I found wonderful friends, people who became strangers, signs of hearts and rainbows surrounded me.

The ride home from the hospital was quiet.

Then my husband, “If you want to try again, I want to too.”

Life slowly started again and in my heart I knew I wanted to try again. Spring had made it’s appearance, my 33rd birthday was around the corner and my husband and I had a plan to keep quiet about this, just in case. We had announced early with the last pregnancy and therefore had to tell the world when we miscarried. That was hard.

Two pink lines made their grand appearance after my birthday but this pregnancy took on an unfamiliar role, one that I didn’t expect. Constant worry and anxiety. The genetic results of the last pregnancy had come back normal, so what went wrong? Was I too lax with what I put in my body, did I exercise too much, what went wrong? I probably asked myself 1,000 times. I questioned EVERY THING. Each day felt like an accomplishment; no cramps, no bleeding. I had a countdown chart to 12 weeks, the ultimate Safe Date. Even though I knew, that this was just a majority. I knew ladies who had miscarried beyond 12 weeks.

My pregnancy was not smooth; I threw my back out for the first time, tripped across the back yard and fell on my stomach, migraine city, shingles 3x, Covid-19 pandemic, homeschooling…stress took over.

Then just as I pictured it in my head, I wiped and there was blood.

“Lay down and rest, it’ll be ok.”

The next morning, my youngest daughter, who always snuggled up to me in the morning woke me up.

“Mommy, you see the little girl?”

Me: “Little girl?”

“Yes Mommy, she’s sitting on your bureau and she’s smiling at us.”

I tried to shake it off, but inside, I felt this is the first baby, we had named Sophie, coming to take the other baby. This was the cynical side of me that had taken over with this pregnancy.

No more bleeding. Maybe Sophie was just saying hi.

Fast forward to the ultrasound appointment that I so anxiously awaited. My husband would only be able to Facetime due to Covid.

In my mind, I had prepared myself for the worst.

And in perfect timing, like a bad dream, the ultrasound technician uttered the words, “there’s a gestational sac, there’s the ovaries, there’s the placenta….I’m going to be honest with you. There’s no baby.”

I can bring myself back to the moment in an instant, floored. No matter how much you prepare yourself, you go in the bathroom, clean up, and the tears flood. My poor husband, home, helpless.

What should have been a joyous day where my husband had the kids and I was to go to the local gardening shop to pick out a bush in honor of Sophie, turned into a Friday from hell.

Blood work, OB apt, garden center to pick out two plants, Covid 19 test, surgery scheduled for Monday.

The weekend was filled with dread of the impending surgery.

Six AM Monday I cried my way through saying goodbye to my daughters and husband and like it shouldn’t happen, he dropped me off at the hospital entrance alone. Some of my longest walks have been in hospitals, mostly memorizing the style of floor through my tears.

Everything went as smoothly as it could go and I found myself saying, “It is what it is.” I mean what was I going to do about it?

The same nurse came in and promised she would hold my hand again, she was a Godsend.

Terrified, I held her hand and off to sleep I went.

Trying to move past the moment as quickly as possible I ate so I could leave and get back to my husband. I was so nauseous. Off we went home. I quickly dove back into work and keeping as busy as possible. I had a hundred stressors and no one seemed to understand that I needed a break, not even myself. I kept hearing myself say, I need a break, but as a lot of mommies do, I said this will pass and I will be ok, and continued on with my day.

Two weeks later, STOP.

Pure exhaustion, beyond any flu; vulnerability that can’t be tamed, tunnel vision, a certainty of my last breath and last heartbeat right here on the middle of my living room floor, my home which I feel so safe.

That day was June 22, 2020. My first panic attack. My first sign of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Today is July 15, 2020 and I am still alive and survived what I thought was going to kill me. I’ve had multiple attacks and was put on Ativan (I hate medicine) to find reprieve from constant attacks. Once I figured out what I thought was going on, I had learned that your hormones will suddenly drop 2 weeks after a miscarriage. Perhaps I had a chemical imbalance? My OB fast tracked me to a psychiatrist who is helping me find the right fit to get me balanced again (again, hate medicine but she says it’s short-term), my therapist answers my calls, multiple ER visits, doctor’s calls, hiring a babysitter for a once a week break, and me ultimately moving myself and children in with my mother who is home fairly constantly to help me are all the things that have helped me get to writing this.

Postpartum is talked about with moms who have babies, but it isn’t spoken of much when it comes to miscarriage. It might be argued that with miscarriage women go through all of the hormonal changes more quickly, as they are not breastfeeding and their cycles come back much faster in a lot of cases.

I write this not knowing what the future holds, but knowing that I’m doing my best to get through this.

I want women to know that you are not alone and there are wonderful people out there to help.

Listen to yourself. Take breaks. Love yourself.

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