I’ve always been a writer. I can remember writing a poem about a dog in the third grade that won some type of poetry contest, a story in fourth grade that took ordinary and made it extraordinary, and there were several more poems and short stories all through junior high, high school, and into my various college years. Some won awards, some were shared in class, others were never seen by anyone else’s eyes but my own. I had a passion for writing that I could not explain. As I walked to school every day in the seventh grade, about a mile or so, I would narrate myself. I didn’t just tell about what I was doing, stepping off of the curb and tossing my head back for a quick look over my shoulder, but also my motivations, as I crossed the street before passing the Catholic school, because quite frankly, it gave me the creeps.
But, as always seems to happen, life happens. My writing outside of school couldn’t fill a single-subject spiral at this point, and that depresses the snot out of me. So I have decided to put myself out there… Here.
I got a fancy journal for Christmas. It might have been six years ago. A while back… sixteen months ago… I got re-married. I decided that I would use the journal to record all of the wonderful things about my marriage to, really, the most incredible (if sometimes irritating) man I have ever known. So on our honeymoon, as we flew from Chicago to Dublin, I could not resist but to take out my journal and begin writing. The words gushed out of me, through my pen and onto the paper in a way that they had not in so long. But when writing something as it is happening, it is not easy (for me, anyway) to choose a tense. As I wrote, I switched from past tense (as most things tend to be written) to present tense (because, duh, they were happening right then).
In my frustration and disgust at having obviously ruined the fancy journal by my inability to just pick a tense already, I never wrote in it again. the end
Or it could have been the end. A year later (a few months ago) my husband and I decided to start building a family (or adding on, as I already have two children from my first marriage). So I decided that I would start writing about our journey together in creating life and raising our kids together. But again, I could not bring myself to use the wretched, disgusting, filthy, ruined journal. What if I wanted to give it to my child when he or she was old enough to appreciate it? My future child, obviously a very intelligent one (ahem), would scoff at the poor use of form and deny any relation to me. I couldn’t chance that! So I put it off some more. Then I was soon pregnant.
My third pregnancy was a little different than the first two. First of all, the morning sickness was real this time. And on top of that, this one started during cold and flu season. Always the responsible one (no, really), I had already gotten my flu shot. But the cold I got shortly before conception (I had to make it a point to not take any medicine while trying to conceive) lasted until, well, a couple of weeks ago. But aside from the physical maladies, something magical was happening. Call it hormones, call it going off my meds (heh), or call it divine intervention (though I wouldn’t), but my brain started going again, full speed, and faster than I ever remember it going before. I wanted to write so badly I could feel it.
But I had a problem. I had always written in notebooks before. But I prefer writing on the computer for ease of editing. Since I could not decide a medium for my writing, I continued to procrastinate. I finally decided to get a special tablet, with a keyboard, that had a Word program on it, so that I could take it to work, fit it in my locker, and write as the mood struck. All I had to do was wait for our tax return and I could get started! Yay me for making a decision!
But then something happened that I was not ready for. Even with all my reading and studying on the subject of pregnancy (I read “What To Expect” twice per pregnancy, as well as others), nothing could prepare me for the loss of my husband’s would-be first child.
At nine weeks, the doctor did an ultrasound. The heartbeat was good and nothing seemed out-of-place. He measured the fetus and placed me right at six weeks, six days. … No. That was not right. I was charting my period, testing for ovulation, and planned the day of conception to a tee. I knew exactly that day I had conceived and exactly what day I would be expected to deliver. The doctor gave me some noncommittal assurances and was on his way. After that, my husband and I made the next OB appointment at a much better, much larger, and much further-away hospital for four weeks later.
A little over a week later, I started to bleed.
I told myself it was nothing. I had had some spotting with both of my previous pregnancies and had been fine. But a nagging voice kept telling me I was too old now. My health was not good enough. Maybe there was something wrong with my husband’s health. I waited a few days, put in a couple of calls to the nurse, and decided to wait it out. It got worse. When we finally made the trip to see the doctor, the heartbeat was gone. I could see before the tech said anything, as the ultrasound picture was on the wall directly across from me. So visible, so strong and noticeable just two weeks ago, the heart was now invisible. There was my womb. There was the little dumpling inside of it. But nothing moved now.
Overall, my experience at the women’s health center in this hospital was amazing. I had never had any medical experience where everyone was so compassionate and honestly concerned for our well-being. My “procedure”, to complete the miscarriage, was scheduled for the following Monday. (That’s today. Or was early this morning. Now it is bedtime as I sit in bed next to my husband and type.)
But next Monday was just a little too long, and what I so feared would happen began to happen one day sooner. Sunday. In the medical world they call it “tissue”. You see the articles of pro-lifers putting down the use of this term as used in regard to abortion. Tissue. I began to pass tissue on Sunday. I had started to cramp as the hubby and I ran errands earlier in the day. By lunchtime I was in bed, stuffed full of Motrin with a hot pad on my achy tummy. I had avoided … voiding … since I had gotten the news (Thursday). I was afraid that having a bowel movement would cause other things to move along. With all the cramping, it could not be avoided. However, nothing out of the ordinary happened and I figured I was out of the woods, at least for a while longer. I went back to bed, re-positioned my heating pad, and played games for a while. After a while I went to the bathroom again and that is when it happened. I sat down, began to pee, and whoosh came a lime-sized lump of “tissue”. I had been keeping up on fetal size week-by-week as any good mother-to-be would have done. I was absolutely positive that I knew exactly what had just slid so easily out of me. Sooo…. I clamped my knees shut as tight as possible, screamed a little, and immediately flushed.
That crap freaked me the hell out.
I ran downstairs where my husband was on the couch. He asked if I was okay, having heard my puny scream, and I jumped, practically into his lap, for comfort. All I could say is that, “Something came out,” and proceeded to sit in silence, curled into a ball under his arm, as he held me and kissed the top of my head. More tissue came later, but as the bleeding continued, we kept our appointment for the procedure.
Again, all the staff we encountered were amazing and they were all very sympathetic to our situation. Of course they deal with dozens, or even hundreds of these cases a week, but to treat each family as though they matter just as much as any other is still a huge feat. The surgery went smoothly, and was still necessary as all the tissue had not passed. The nursing staff even seemed a tiny bit astounded at my informed questions. Not only do I read the books, but spent five years working on the “clean” side of the medical field, so I know a bit about medicine. After dazzling and charming the nurses, I got to see my hubby again. Again, he is the most amazing man I have ever known and he was spectacular throughout the ordeal. Wheelchair downstairs, car ride home, lunch, prescription, home.
The hardest time I have had throughout all of this was on Saturday night. My first non-work-night since learning our baby’s fate, I let loose the waterworks on my poor, unsuspecting, but still very amazing husband. I think the cramps had already begun and I knew what was coming. I was terrified every time I went to the bathroom and appalled at the thought of the dreaded number-two. I knew that I still carried a child inside of me, but that it was “unviable”. This hurt as much as losing it in the first place–the idea that it wasn’t lost at all. I knew exactly where it was, and was not very thrilled with the idea of finding it again.
Many of my friends have had these losses and I tried my best to sympathize. I never believed that it would happen to me. I’m an old pro by now. I’ve got this. But I guess I learned that I can’t control this. This is something that has to happen in its own way, in its own time. And we are staying positive. We are talking about continuing to try. We are making plans, and my baby registry still exists, waiting for a new due date and the addition of gender specifics.
And even though we have experienced a loss, and even through the pain, we still have each other. We are so strong together now, as much as we have been in the four-and-a-half years since we have been together. And look where it brought me. Back to writing again, finally.
Here’s to moving forward.