After 6 healthy pregnancies (the last was a homebirth!!), I found I was pregnant
shortly before my husband was to deploy to Afghanistan for 6 months. The pregnancy was not in my
plans, but neither was the subsequent miscarriage at about 6 weeks gestation.
The baby was very tiny.
Perhaps because I was so early in the pregnancy, or perhaps because God is merciful, I didn’t have a physically terrible time of it. However, my hcg count didn’t come down like it was supposed to, and the doctor started suggesting all sorts of possibilities. Normally, I am a wait-and-see kind of patient, but I was in a bind: 6 little kids at home, no husband, and my best girlfriends were not around (one was in the middle of moving away and the other was 2000 miles away for work for 2 weeks). The doctor wanted to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, even though I was confident I had passed the baby. As she went over step 1, step 2, step 3 of the detective work needed, I decided I needed to jump to step
2, which was a D&C, because at that moment my in-laws were driving down to my home for a pre-planned visit (they lived 3 hours away). I was alone for the D&C, but least I would have someone to take me home from the hospital.
The D&C did NOT rule out an ectopic pregnancy because there was no POC (!) in my uterus. Step 3 (on the Monday after my in laws left) was to take a shot of some drug that is really nasty…perhaps an abortifacient…perhaps a cancer drug. Again, had my husband been around, I would not have feared a rupturing fallopian tube as much. But the idea of having to call 911, with nobody around to be with my children at 2 am, was terrifying. Whatever this drug was, I could not nurse my toddler for 2 days. It was an awful time.
However, again, God being merciful, neither the D&C nor the drug caused any of the possible and likely side effects: nausea, vomiting, even fatigue. I felt FINE.
Then, several weeks later, when my cycle began again, I had the worst menstruation ever. It hit me right after the kids were asleep (thank the Lord). I was throwing up, I was doubled in pain from the cramps. The pain lasted only for a few hours, but the bleeding was very heavy and went on for 4 or 5 days like that.
Fast forward to last summer when I found I was expecting again. I tried not be be afraid, but it is hard to not be human. I made an appointment with a birthing center (not easy to get home births in my new area). I explained about the last pregnancy. Unfortunately, for me, they have this fabulous set up where newly expectant mothers all in-process at the same time and they encourage them to get to know each other and support each other throughout the pregnancy. I was really not interested in this, given my situation, but it is what it is. My appointment was set for about 10 weeks gestation. I went in and got my packet of info and forms and sat in the special room set up with a circle of folding chairs. Other couples came in. My husband was at work. I was OK with that. He went to most of the appointments with our first. At least he wasn’t deployed.
One midwife came in and said that the woman who did ultrasound was available and did anyone want to have an optional early ultrasound? Of course, at this stage the ultrasound is vaginal, and some women don’t have insurance
coverage. Had this been one of my other pregnancies, I might have declined.
But this time, my hand shot up fast (and first).
The baby only dated 8 weeks 5 days. Yes, I was sure of my dates.
And no heartbeat.
My husband left work and met me for lunch. He would have left for the rest of the day, but I told him not to. When I am sad, I just want to get busy…cleaning, gardening, sewing…anything. I don’t want to sit around and talk about it. Or have him tiptoe around me.
I had planned a girlfriends’ weekend with my 2 friends mentioned during my last miscarriage for a few days later. We were running in the Army Ten Miler (10 mile race) in D.C. I feared I would begin to bleed and not be able to go.
I went – no bleeding at all. I raced. We talked. Between us, we have at least 27 children: 18 on earth, 2 in utero, and the rest in heaven. It was the best thing, spiritually, that I could have done.
I had a follow up with the midwives 2 weeks after the ultrasound. I had not begun bleeding. They talked D&C. I feared that the baby would be mangled. I didn’t want to have another surgery. I didn’t want to end the pregnancy myself. I called one friend on the way home and said we needed to start praying for the bleeding to begin. I planned to call more at home. The bleeding began on the way home. I bled like a normal period for nearly a week.
And then it was so bad that I thought I was going to die. My husband had not yet left for work. He cleaned up so much blood. He went to the store at 7 am when it opened to buy more and heavier pads. I gave my body 1 hour to slow down…then I gave myself another 30 minutes. Finally, the bleeding abated enough that I knew I would be ok.
I had so many many clots. No baby. I guessed that she had fallen into the toilet. It made me sad.
4 days later, I started cramping again. This time it was in the afternoon. It was just like 4 days prior, and just like labor cramps. After several hours of cramping, the flood gates opened again. Again, I worried about dying…this time my husband was at work. I gave myself an hour. It was enough. Lots of clots, and a placenta-y mass. I did not dissect it, but chose to believe that the gestational sac was enclosed. It was all I had. I buried her in the backyard and planted tulip bulbs over her. I would be about 38 weeks now.