Sometimes, I forget that it even happened. It slips from my mind so easily, like a ghost of a memory that I only have a vague recollection of. I didn’t want to write about it. I hesitated to give it permanence. But then, it is permanent. Even now, I struggle with that concept–that it happened, that it was real. It all feels so very surreal in ways I can’t possibly begin to explain. I’m desperate to ask, to question… is this normal? Does everyone suffer this way afterwards… or is it just a product of my already broken mind?
It’s easy to try and quantify it, as if that gives it more gravitas. It took nearly eight months and in the blink of an eye, its gone, never truly having had a chance to begin. It came so suddenly and left quicker than a blink. Perhaps that’s why I struggle with it. It doesn’t seem tangible and yet… it happened. To me. Worse things I have endured and yet I struggle with this one the most.
I realized, suddenly, last week that this is now not only a part of my personal history, but my medical history, as well. From now on, I will have to note it on all of my forms. A constant reminder. As if what lingers in my mind, in my heart, isn’t enough. The disappointment, the guilt, the anger… all of these things are so much more tangible to me than the actual event.
But it happened. To me.
It’s a mantra I repeat, in an effort to heal, to grow. I remember feeling as if perhaps the world felt like giving me a pass. Maybe this was my real birthday gift. I found out the day after we returned home from Pennsylvania, the Monday after Thanksgiving. I woke up early and I remember staring at the lines and just being puzzled. Is this real? It didn’t feel real. It wasn’t like before, when the world felt like it was falling in on me all at once. I felt a sense of detachment that I should have known did not bode well. I hesitated to tell my husband, keeping the secret tucked tightly against my chest.
I told him when I felt like it was safe, but even then, the words didn’t feel real. None of it did.
A week later, it began. I was hopeful. It was slight. Surely, everything was fine. This sort of thing didn’t actually happen, right? Not to me. I’d been burned enough, scarred enough. But what is enough? There are always new possibilities, new ways in which we can be damaged. And yet I hoped.
It got to the point where hope was no longer an option. I called once, the Thursday before the weekend. I was given assurances and passing advice. I spent the weekend in quiet turmoil. I kept my husband in the loop, unable to brave the possibility alone. We both kept telling ourselves that we only had two weeks until my appointment and that everything was fine–would be fine.
Then, the following Monday, it began. Fear coiled around me like a snake, seizing hold and refusing to let go. I called and they rushed me in. Blood was taken with promises of a full panel and assurances that it would be okay. People who didn’t know showed joy at my return, their faces falling only when they observed my somber expression. I held it together, even when they did the ultrasound and then when they did the vaginal ultrasound. Christmas music played in the background. My ultrasound technician was wearing a jolly elf outfit. The room was dim.
My husband’s face paled as she took the measurements, the observation screen turned off. She asked me to confirm my due date, keeping her tone even. I knew the question was a bad one, however. I knew. His panic attack heightened as she left, giving us no answer but: “someone will be in to talk with you.”
I cleaned myself up and tried to rouse my husband. He was white, eyes vacant, sweat rolling down his face. When the doctor came in, he was still trying to recover. I sat and listened as the doctor explained that they’d found a fetal pole and a perfectly sized sac, but no heartbeat. That could be normal. It could all be normal. There was still hope.
But I had no hope. My hope had died the moment I looked at the screen after the ultrasound tech had left us alone. The photos were still up on the screen. I remember just staring at them. I can still see it in my head now, a perfectly persevered photo of something that would never be.
I was fine until I had to sit, alone, and have my blood work taken. Without my husband there to care for, I broke down, tears spilling out with no way to stop them. I felt awful, disturbing the blood tech, but it me so suddenly.
I took that day and the next off work. I raged, I screamed, I cried until I was breathless. When my daughter came home, I tried acting as normally as possible, but she still clung to me, reluctant to leave my side. I snuggled her as much as I could, hating when she went to bed and I was once more left to face what was happening, still dumbfounded and confused.
I went back for two more blood draws over the next few weeks. The bleeding intensified, becoming one of the worst ‘periods’ of my life. The pain was passable, but my anemia was triggered by the bleeding and I spent the two weeks in both an emotional haze and a physical one. I went about life normally, ghosting through work and daily activities. I explained away my doctor’s visits with tales of my anemia and complications therein.
At the last blood draw, I requested that I be informed of the results. We were leaving for Florida and I needed to know before I left the state for over a week. I didn’t want to go, honestly. Christmas seemed such a hollow concept. I muddled through everything, my mind absent, my soul fraying at the edges. I put on the guise of being okay and sometimes, I even believed it. But then the reality would hit me and I’d realize–it happened.
It hit me hard the Friday before we left, when I was emailed my results. Looking at the levels declining, I was given a timeline of my loss. My heart broke, the medical confirmation so much harder to bare than my gut feeling. I cried in my office, alone, thankfully, due to the Christmas holiday. I remember showing my husband and feeling upset, but okay. It was strange.
It’s only been a few weeks and I still am in the throes of grief. It comes and goes, each time getting a little better. I know I’ll be okay. I know I’ll weather it. Even now, as I type this, I know this. But it doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t make it hurt any less. It doesn’t stop the pain that follows when I realize that I had been pregnant–pregnant enough to vomit, to feel tired–and then I wasn’t. The symptoms were gone in a blink, and that’s when I knew. That’s when I called.
Guilt. Sadness. Anger. Confusion. There are no other words, no explanations. It simply was and then it wasn’t. I struggle with the concept, with the reality of what’s happened and that it happened to me. How, why? Why, of all my previous tragedies, does this one seem the least fathomable?
This will never be a topic of conversation for me; it will never pass idly from my lips. I will note it on my forms, I will store it in my mind, and I will acknowledge it because it deserves that, it deserves to be remembered. But I don’t feel the need to talk about it at length–I don’t want to express my pain, my loss, with anyone else. I’m not ashamed, I’m not scared, I’m just… numb.
Every day gets better. Eventually, I’ll be better. Right now, I’m powered down and running on autopilot. This past weekend has been my best yet. This first time I’ve cried in days has been right now–typing this–and it’s a release. These tears are a release, not an expression of agony or inner-turmoil. I feel somewhat vindicated by them, as if the weight lessens each time I allow myself to simply feel.
Every time I forget and remember, it begins anew, but each time, lessening in its intensity. The weight feels a little lighter, a little easier to heft. The concept still eludes me, still dances on the edge of my periphery, but it is fact, whether my mind wants to accept it or not.
It happened. To me.
At six weeks pregnant… I lost something that was never meant to be.
I had a miscarriage.