Ironically, I waited until 12 weeks to even announce that I was pregnant.
Unfortunately, sometimes the big guy upstairs has other plans.
This post won’t be a happy one, I’m afraid, and it’s taken me awhile to figure out the words that I want to convey.
What happened is, that I lost the baby. It’s a funny phrase, really. It’s not like I misplaced the fetus or anything.
I had gone to the ER because I had started bleeding and obviously bleeding and being pregnant is not a good combination. I sat 3 hours in the waiting room and another two in an actual room for an ultrasound. When I finally got one, the woman doing it said nothing, which is never a good sign. She simply pressed buttons on her machine, her lips set in a grim line.
“Is everything okay?” I feebly asked, because the silence was driving me insane.
“I can’t discuss results. The doctor will do that,” she answered, her tone clipped.
Something was wrong. I knew it. Had everything been okay, surely she would have flipped her screen around and pointed out the tiny flutter of a heartbeat. “See?” I imagined her saying. “Your baby is okay.”
But she didn’t.
It was silence and clicking, silence and typing. Then she was gone.
I had to do a pelvic exam after that.
“What’s going on?” I tried again as the doctor walked in.
“We’ll discuss everything after this,” he assured me.
Look, I get that it’s an ER and that things are done differently. But it seems cruel to keep people waiting like that. He did the pelvic exam and then promised to be back in the room with information.
The information was this: I had something called a blighted ovum, meaning the baby had never really formed. The fetus was only measuring at eight weeks, no heartbeat.
I was supposed to be almost 13 weeks.
He also said I was bleeding because I’d probably be passing the fetus within the next few days.
The doctor said this quickly, with barely any emotion. Again, I get it’s an ER. But you don’t say something like that with no emotion. Maybe he has to harden his heart because of all the bad news he has to tell families. Still.
After he left, I was numb. I didn’t cry. I was just…numb. Tom seemed to be too. He sat there, stoically, not saying a word.
“Well,” I finally said. “That’s that.”
I mean, I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t want to break down. I just wanted to get out of there. Go home. I pulled up my pants and realized I had them on backwards.
“Are you okay?” Tom’s voice came out foreign. It was all cracked.
“Yeah,” I muttered, pulling my pants on correctly. Buttoning them was still tight. I had just made the comment the other day that my stomach was getting larger and that I might have to switch to maternity pants soon. Now, I suppose I wouldn’t need them.
We left soon after and honestly, I don’t think Tom and I got much sleep.
The next day Natalie had her princess camp. I drove her to it, no problems. I was still in disbelief but I knew I didn’t want to lie around and wait for something to happen. I was going to go about my day as usual. I did call my OB/GYN and had an appointment scheduled for the next day.
Tom and I even took Tommy to see Men In Black 3. We had promised him that we’d do something special, just the three of us, and Tommy was thrilled. Everything felt almost normal, as though we hadn’t even been to the ER the previous night.
Back at home, Tom and I lazed on the couch and then I felt it. A gush of blood. I rushed upstairs to get a pad, but really, it wasn’t horrible. I thought that was it. I mean, I had never had a miscarriage before, I didn’t know what to expect. The robot ER doctor didn’t really explain.
We had to go pick up Natalie from her camp, and I was still feeling okay. When we got there, I got out of the truck to retrieve her and that’s when it felt like my insides all came out. I apologize for being gruesome, but it was awful. Blood was dripping everywhere and I immediately felt dizzy. I rushed back to Tom.
“I….help…” I muttered.
He jumped out of his seat and carried me over to the passenger side. He could see the blood dripping down my leg.
“Do you need me to call 911?” he asked.
I shook my head. I don’t like attention on me. “I’ll be…fine.” I shut my eyes for a moment. Goodbye, baby.. I knew it was leaving my body.
Tom grabbed Natalie and we drove home. That’s when another gush happened and I almost passed out.
“I’m calling 911,” Tom said, and dialed.
We didn’t know what was normal. All I knew was that I was losing a lot of blood and that I felt faint. I could hear the sound of the sirens as we pulled up in our driveway.
“Don’t move,” Tom said.
I have never been in an ambulance before. They pulled up, and it wasn’t just them. When you call 911 on base, police cars show up, along with the fire truck. So our house was surrounded by all sorts of vehicles. I could see the neighbors around us peeking their heads out windows. I didn’t blame them. I’d have done the same. I was loaded onto a stretcher and as soon as I shifted, another gush came out of me.
It was scary, I’m not going to lie. I got an IV put in, as well as an oxygen mask.
Tom called one of our friends to pick up the kids, who thankfully didn’t seem scared. Tom was distracting them, as well as the people in the police vehicles.
I didn’t pass out on the drive to the hospital. I sort of wanted to so I could block out everything, but the EMTs kept talking to me.
Tom followed behind in his truck so he was there when we got to the hospital. I was wheeled into a room and they lifted me from one stretcher to the other.
The rest is really all a blur. I know at one point they wanted me to have another pelvic exam and a nurse lifted me from the stretcher to a wheelchair because the exam is usually held in a separate room. This was when everything went black. Tom says what happened was that I suddenly turned pale, that I looked like death, and the nurse was just staring at me in horror saying, “Are you okay?” Tom basically had to push her out of the way. He lifted me up and placed me back on the stretcher. When he did this, we think the fetus came out of me because suddenly tissue was all over the floor. All over Tom’s shorts and shoes.
I came to when an older, more competent nurse came in to check on me.
“Are you with us?” she asked, hovering over me. I could see the young nurse work hard to clear away the tissue that I had just expelled, maybe so I wouldn’t have to see it.
“Yeah,” I muttered.
She increased my oxygen and gave Tom some towels to clean up with. His shoes were completely ruined so she handed him some socks to put on.
“I’m sorry,” I said to Tom, even though it wasn’t my fault.
“Who cares about my shoes?” he said. “I’m glad you’re okay. You seriously looked like death. It scared me.”
The doctor came in and chastised the nurse for throwing away all the tissue.
“We need to send that to the lab to see if it was the…” he lowered his voice. “Fetus.”
I had another ultrasound after that which showed that yes, the fetus was gone. All that was left was blood clots so I had a pelvic exam to try and remove those. It hurt. The doctor basically had to scrape inside me and even then he couldn’t get it all.
I was able to go home soon after since my bleeding wasn’t as intense as before. I was told that it would be like I was having a period for about a week and that I needed to take it easy. I was told that it wasn’t my fault that I had the miscarriage, that these things happen, and of course I knew this. Still, I couldn’t help but be annoyed with Tricare, our health insurance, because it was them who said I couldn’t have an early ultrasound since my previous two pregnancies had been normal. Had I got one early on, we would have seen that something was wrong.
I’m getting better every day. I’m choosing to look on the bright side of things. I have two healthy children. Some women can’t even have one. Some have endured countless miscarriages and if you are one of those women, I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine going through this more than once. I know that it wasn’t my fault that I lost the baby, but I did whisper to Tom, “What if it thought we didn’t want it?” because admittedly, we all freaked out a bit when we found out I was pregnant.
“It wasn’t that,” Tom promised.
The truth is, we had all gotten used to the idea of another baby. Natalie would kiss my stomach and call it her baby brother. She would tell strangers, “Mommy is having my baby brother!” as though I were doing it as a personal favor to her. Tommy was still not as happy, but he was dealing.
I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog so I can gather my thoughts. I know I’ll be okay in the end. I have the support of my family. My Mom is here to help out as well. I know I’ll always remember the surprise gift we got.
Once upon a time, we thought we were having another baby.
And we will never forget.