Because I'm a writer, I have to write this.
I'm starting this post at 12:30 at night, Thursday morning. I'm not sure when I'll post it. I've been watching the clock as time moved into the next day, and the worst day of my life turned into yesterday. I'm wishing right now that yesterday was just a nightmare I just woke up from, and that tomorrow won't bring yet another nightmare I won't be able to forget.
I had started a different post yesterday but never got around to finishing it. I was going to title it "My Valentine's Day from h. e. double hockey sticks." Cute, right? My Valentine's Day really sucked hardcore.
I was going to write about how I threw up all over myself on the way to work. You know. The usual pregnant lady bitching about the nausea and why isn't it over yet? What a way to start Valentine's Day. I also got chocolate that morning, though, and chocolate can make most things better. Right?
I was going to write about how, yesterday afternoon, G busted his eyelid on the coffee table. He dropped his sippy cup on the floor, bent to pick it up, and somehow didn't see that coffee table coming out of nowhere.
We can joke about it now, but at the time there was blood and a lot of talk about stitches. We were told to go to the children's ER, so off we went. After making it through triage, we waited two and a half hours only to be told, hmm, you know, it's more superficial than anything, so we'll leave it alone. We made it home late after being at the hospital for almost four hours. Poor G hadn't eaten since 3 o'clock because stitches near a toddler's eye means sedation, so we'd been told not to give him anything. Yeah, I'm still kind of pissed about that.
I was going to write about the super awesome Valentine's Day package my mom sent us in the mail. G still hasn't gotten to open it, though.
Of course, Valentine's Day is now the day before yesterday.
Yesterday, we had a routine monthly exam at the OB to see how baby #2 was doing. We had G with us since it should have been a simple in-and-out visit. I believe my words were, as my OB squirted gel onto my stomach, "I can't wait to hear the heartbeat for the first time."
I guess I should have kept my mouth shut.
The seconds ticked by. My OB searched and searched and searched for that heartbeat. I stared up at the ceiling. Where are you, baby? Say hi for mommy, okay? Stay calm, stay calm.
My OB left and returned with a rather old ultrasound machine. We were probably the last appointment of the day, and not many people were still around. It was pretty easy to see that there was no movement in the chest cavity to indicate a heartbeat.
I think that's when I started crying. My OB didn't say much yet, but I knew. Oh, I knew. She mentioned that the head seemed misshaped. I asked if that was because the baby had started to decay. She said probably, yes. I don't think anyone ever said, your baby has died. Maybe there are some things that just don't need to be said.
My OB called around to find a real ultrasound technician. It took a while, but one was found. They stayed late for us, taking measurements of the baby. The technician asked if I wanted to watch the monitor. I didn't hesitate and said yes. I owed my baby that much, to catch my last glimpses of him or her. I couldn't look away now.
The baby didn't look that bad. I saw a head, the body, some hands, some feet. It was beautiful. Hi, baby. I'm sorry Mommy couldn't protect you. I'm sorry we can't meet you in August like we were supposed to. The technician scanned the chest cavity and the heart rate pattern came up. Only straight lines. I'm sorry we never got to actually hear your heartbeat. It was so strong at 9 weeks. I love you, I love you, I love you.
The technician didn't say much. I was handed tissue by various people. I did ask her how far along the baby was measuring and she said 14 weeks. I was 14 weeks along that day. The baby had likely passed sometime in the past few days.
We went back to our OB. The office was pretty much shut down, with just her and her nurse there. We talked about why this might have happened (who knows?) and since it was my first miscarriage, it didn't raise my chances of having another (though it was a later miscarriage), and here were the options of how to pass the baby (naturally or D&C; we've now decided to do the latter).
She gestured at G, who was in Dave's arms and being so patient. She said to focus on what we had, that we had proved a pregnancy of ours could turn into something so beautiful.
I nodded. But inside, I was selfish. I wanted my other beautiful baby too.
She said she could probably do a D&C on Friday, if we wanted. That's what we've decided to do now. Apparently passing a baby this far along naturally can be very painful. I want to do what's best for me, and I also want to do what gives my baby the most dignity.
I'm not at all grossed out by the fact that I'm still carrying my baby right now. I won't be able to ever hold him or her in my arms, but I can hug he or she with my whole body for the next two days. I can whisper that I love him or her, I can say I'm sorry, and I can promise that I will see them again one day.
Tomorrow, I will be put under anesthesia, with a breathing tube down my throat. When I wake up, my baby will be gone. I won't get to see him or her or take him or her home with me. I won't be pregnant anymore. I'll have to finally make myself say goodbye. The image I want burned into my brain for the rest of my life isn't one from these last few days - the misshapen body of my baby, the heart rate monitor that showed no heartbeat, how much flatter my belly will be tomorrow evening.
I want, most of all, to remember how much my baby, looking perfectly healthy, moved at our first ultrasound at almost 9 weeks. How he or she wiggled hands and feet and threw that head about, testing the waters of this newfound movement. I will cherish the images we have of our second child, and think, so very often
Mommy loves you.