He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

April 2, 2010

A Spark of Hope, Extinguished

This won't be an easy post to read, but I'm feeling a powerful need to write it right now. I had another miscarriage. I'm sure most, if not all, of you who read my last post guessed that my "secret" was that I was pregnant again. As much as I was dying to announce it, Matt and I had decided this time to wait until we were safely into the second trimester to tell anyone other than close family. Well, we didn't make it that far.

My last miscarriage happened at 8 weeks. This past Saturday, when I reached the 9 week mark without any apparent problems, I was so overjoyed that I had to reign myself in from spilling the beans in my Livejournal. It was a benchmark I had been anxious to reach, and with only 4 more weeks to go until the second trimester it felt like I was practically there, and everything was going to be okay with this baby. The next day, the spotting started.

It was Sunday night when I first saw blood. I freaked out, panicked crying close to hyperventilating, and Matt had to calm me down. After that we just tried to stay calm and hopeful until we knew for certain there was a reason not to be. Monday morning I called my doctor's clinic, and they managed to work me into their schedule for Wednesday morning. I went all day Monday and all day Tuesday without any more bleeding, and my hopes were ratcheting back up, until about 1 AM Wednesday morning when it started again.

Later that morning, my mom picked me up and took me to my appointment. We'd ordered a new bed last weekend and it was scheduled to be delivered that day, so Matt had to stay behind in case it arrived that morning. As we sat in the waiting room, I still managed to stay hopeful. My mom told me about all of the women in her church and circle of friends who were praying for us, all of whom felt certain that I was going to have this baby. Also, the spotting had been bright red, which I'd read usually has something to do with the placenta not being attached correctly, but that the baby could still be fine.  Finally, the doctor saw me, and the physical exam didn't show any cause for concern, but she ordered an ultrasound to be sure.

We had to wait another hour or so before they could get me into the ultrasound, and by then I was starting to feel like everything was going to be okay. When we finally got back there, the US tech was great. She explained how she wasn't allowed to tell me if anything was wrong, but that she could tell me if everything was fine... which meant that her silence would indicate that there was no heartbeat. My mom held my hand as she performed the US, and after several agonizing minutes waiting for her to take all of my lady plumbing measurements, we finally saw my baby up there on the screen. I held my breath as she measured it, and then looked over at her. The grim look on her face told me everything I needed to know, but then she looked me in the eye and shook her head to confirm it.

I felt like I cried my soul out while my mother held me and cried with me there on the ultrasound table. The tech slipped out to give us a few minutes alone, but before she left I managed to ask if she could print a picture for me. I'm glad I did. It's comforting to have tangible proof that this baby existed. I didn't get that with the last one.

Once I was able to pull myself together, we were taken back to an exam room to wait for the doctor. When she arrived, she confirmed that there was no heartbeat, and that the baby died at 7 weeks and 3 days - one day before my last blog post. She suggested that we undergo genetic testing before trying again, which I don't know how or if we'll ever be able to afford. She gave me a choice between scheduling a D&C or waiting to see if I passed it on my own, and I chose the D&C. I passed it naturally last time, and that ended up requiring two trips to the ER and a lot of physical pain and stress that I would just as soon avoid this time if possible, and at this point I was ready to get it over with.

I went home, where Matt and I curled up in bed and just held each other for a long time. When we finally talked, it became clear that we're both too frustrated and beaten down to make any decisions about whether to keep trying, so for the time being we've decided not to decide--to give ourselves at least six months off from even thinking about it, and to go back to living our lives the way we did before we started trying. We even discussed the possibility of using the money we had put back for the baby to take a badly needed vacation somewhere warm and relaxing. We spent the rest of the evening putting the new bed together, because we were both feeling numb and we needed a project to distract us, and because Matt wanted me to be able to sleep off my surgery on a comfortable mattress.

Thursday morning I had the D&C. It went smoothly, and afterwards they loaded me up with pain pills and antibiotics and sent me home to recover. I was sore and had lingering nausea all day from the general anesthesia, but I didn't mind. It kept me distracted from the real pain of the whole situation.

I've pretty much felt empty and numb since I left the doctor's office on Wednesday, but since waking up this morning I've been pretty weepy. I think I'm just beginning to really process everything, and I'm sure at some point soon the dam will burst and my breakdown will be spectacular. Matt is, of course, grieving, but he did a better job than I did of staying detached and not getting his hopes up prior to the second trimester.  I, in fact, did a lousy job of it.

Outside right now, it's raining and thundering ( and hailing - April in Oklahoma's getting off to a proper start), which matches my mood. I may take some more pain pills and go back to bed after I post this. I haven't gotten a good night's sleep since the spotting started. I'd hoped that the pain pills would take care of that, but even drugged last night I didn't fall asleep until after 1 AM, and I woke up crying just after six this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I've been pretty weepy all morning. I'm not sure what the rest of today will bring. I need a day (at least) to just rest and grieve, but we need to run some errands and I need to make some phone calls and cancel some baby-related appointments. Right now I'm grateful for the distractions, but I know that soon I need to give myself time to process everything before it sneaks up on me and we get that spectacular breakdown that nobody really wants to see.

I wanted to apologize to everyone I've fallen out of touch with the last couple of months. The first trimester fatigue hit me pretty hard, and while I was pregnant I literally was only ever awake long enough to get my work done -- not even long enough for that, really. I'm wondering how much sheer stress might have been responsible for this miscarriage. We were relying solely on my income, and with the fatigue I wasn't able to put in all of the hours I needed to to keep us afloat, which was stressing me out pretty severely. A couple of weeks ago we learned that Matt's finally approved to receive SSDI, plus I got approved for WIC to help out with groceries, both of which allowed me to be able to cut back on my working hours and took care of the majority of my stress; but by then it was already too late for the baby.

Anyway, at least I don't have the fatigue to contend with anymore, so I should start having more time for being social once we're done licking our wounds. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep cutting back some on my freelance hours and throw myself back into editing my novel (something else I haven't had time to so much as think about since getting pregnant and becoming full-time Sleepy Jean) and other creative pursuits, because I know those have the power to heal. For the foreseeable future, we're both going to focus on improving our physical health, and also on squaring away our finances, so that hopefully when the time comes, money won't need to be a factor in deciding whether to have that genetic testing done.

By the grace of God, I know that we're going to get through this and be okay. I just wish "okay" didn't seem so distant right now.

6 comments:

Kim said...

I know you don't actually know me, but I just wanted to tell you how truly sorry I am, and that you and your family will be in my prayers.

J. M. Bauhaus said...

No, but I've followed you enough to feel like I know you. That really means a lot. Thank you.

wanabemore said...

I'm so sorry... I'll be praying for you.

J. M. Bauhaus said...

Thank you, Angela. We can definitely use the prayer.

Liz said...

*Hugs* Sorry you had to go through this again. I can tell you it's tons harder to get past the second time, make sure you take care of yourself. Stress can't cause it, don't try to beat yourself up over something you can't control, and tell the people who are already asking you if you plan to try again to shove it.

J. M. Bauhaus said...

Thanks, Sis. I'd love it if, when I'm feeling better, we could get together and have lunch or something. I know it would do me a lot of good to talk to somebody who's been through it. Love you.

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