Brace yourselves, this is going to be long.
This time last year, I woke up to a basic Monday. I had the day off because Christmas was on a Sunday and I had no real plans that day.
I was coming off a somewhat bittersweet holiday. My sister-in-law informed the family on 12/23 that their 20 week baby wasn’t likely going to survive and it broke my heart for a thousand different reasons I can’t explain. I felt so deeply for them. Ryan and I were considering flying home just for that three day period to be there with them, but we also didn’t want to act rashly and impede where a family needed to grieve, so we stayed home.
At that time, there were three people pregnant in my family. My sister-in-law Annie, who got the bad news, my sister-in-law Megan…and me. I hadn’t told anyone yet because we were only sitting around 8 weeks and I hadn’t had any form of an appointment. Despite my concerns from my prior history, I couldn’t find a doctor in Tacoma who was willing to see me earlier than 10 weeks. I realize there’s minimal things they can do, but the fact they wouldn’t even see me to discuss my past medical history before then was not something I was thrilled with or comfortable with.
On Monday when I woke up, I was going about my business and then was met with telltale signs that I was having a miscarriage. I knew there was something wrong. I tried explaining to Ryan that I didn’t feel right and knew there was something wrong, but sometimes people just don’t really understand – not for lack of trying, but just because they aren’t you.
Against my better judgment (because I knew there was basically nothing that could be done for me), I went to the hospital to get checked out. Elle was sick and I had to go by myself.
This is where I’d like to point out that I think the only real reason this majorly sticks with me the way it does it because of the way I was treated at the hospital.
I was there the day after Christmas by myself for over 10 hours. I never saw a doctor. I never actually went back to a room and got to stay there and lay down. I was bleeding and cramping and I felt terrible, but I had to sit in a waiting room with a bunch of sick people for the entire day.
I never saw a doctor. I saw someone else (can’t remember the title). She’d do an exam, then she’d turn around and have me get completely dressed and go back out to the waiting room and sit there. They’d draw blood, then they’d send me back out. They did an ultrasound and the ultrasound tech was absolutely terrible.
“Are you sure you’re pregnant.”
“Well, I am here because I don’t think I’m pregnant anymore.”
“Are you sure you were ever pregnant?”
“Yes, I took 12 different tests and they were all positive.”
Over and over and over again. She’d tisk to herself. She’d ask me if I knew what being pregnant felt like. She asked if I had other kids. She’d tisk some more. Ultrasound techs aren’t really allowed to say much and she didn’t, but what she did say was both telling and rude and made me feel absolutely terrible. Like I wanted to crawl into a hole and die because I felt stupid and violated and as if my concerns weren’t valid.
Finally, several hours in, they tell me my levels are very low and that I am either newly pregnant (which I knew I wasn’t) and it wasn’t showing up yet OR I was never pregnant OR I had a miscarriage. I already told them this when I got in there. I wanted it confirmed and checked on. What I did not want was them talking to me like I was a child and reassuring me that maybe I am just not far along, perhaps I just got pregnant, etc.
No. I knew what I knew.
They sent me home with pain pills, gave me a shot to make sure my body didn’t reject any further pregnancies, and a $2700 medical bill for a 10 hour day in hell.
To say I wish I never went is an understatement.
Somewhere along the day, my phone died, so I really was all alone. The few people I was talking to weren’t able to talk to me because I had no phone charger or service. I was tired, hungry, sad, frustrated, violated. So many things. I cried the entire way home and then when I got there, I didn’t say much and just laid on the couch and pretended I was fine.
But I wasn’t fine. I was extremely depressed. In the few days that followed, I tried to go to work, but couldn’t because I developed a fever and didn’t feel well. My body felt like I got hit by a freight train and it was a constant reminder of what was going on.
I process things differently, so I don’t really think that I was mourning the loss of a baby at the time. I think I was just sad because of all the things that had transpired over the weekend and didn’t know how to react. Physically I felt ill, but to say I was attached to a baby at 8 weeks is a stretch for me personally. I know many people who are attached easily, but I have never been someone to form a bond so quickly.
I knew there was something wrong before I actually miscarried. I didn’t “feel” pregnant. 6 weeks came and went and I didn’t have morning sickness, where with my daughter I had HG. People reminded me that “every pregnancy was different,” and they’re right, but I knew. I had some spotting and people reminded me that “it was normal,” and they’re right,m but I knew. Something was not right and nobody would see me in a doctor’s office to quell those fears – and then suddenly I was the one that was right and I didn’t want to be. I would love to be wrong.
I think it took me several months to admit to myself that I was feeling something about it. To everyone that already knew I was pregnant, I just texted them and said I wasn’t anymore and that I didn’t want to talk about it. I lost 14 pounds in a week that December and in photos, you can see how gaunt my face looks, but you don’t know what I am hiding.
I hid it from everyone else. At the time there was so much hurt and pain surrounding my sister-in-law that I protected everyone else from feeling anything for me. I didn’t want him to think I was affected and I didn’t feel like he was affected at all. I didn’t tell anyone at work except the person who was covering for me. I just told them I had a fever. I came back and acted unaffected. Or for Ryan. I tried to protect him too. To this day, I don’t really feel like he was affected at all. That’s his right. It does hurt me a little to think he’s not affected, but people process things differently and I remind myself of that every time I think about it.
Over the next few months, it was like one thing after another. Grant (my nephew) was born in February and against all odds, appeared to have a fighting chance. I was down there when he passed away and although he was not my baby, it felt like losing a baby all over again and I was extremely affected. Again, I did not show it. I cried in the bathroom and shielded my sister-in-law and brother-in-law from the pain I was feeling. I was there to comfort them, not the other way around.
The day of Grant’s funeral, my grandma died. My friend lost her baby at 16 weeks along. About 2 weeks later, my grandpa died. I was functioning, but I was not really coping. I was sad, but I didn’t have time to mourn any losses individually. I lost 4 people in three months and it was impossibly hard.
By March, there was only one person left pregnant in my family and it was not me.
When August rolled around and my sister-in-law who was a week ahead of me in pregnancy had her baby, I was reminded that I was also supposed to be taking a baby home and didn’t. I was greeted with different news – that we were expecting another baby. Happiness was met with a twinge of sadness because the timing was curious, but I do feel like the timing was exactly what it was supposed to be.
Today is somewhat hard for me. Physically I am sick because of this pregnancy, but I am so, so glad that I am sick because for me, it means that things are going the way they should be going. We’re almost 24 weeks along and I have been waiting for viability this entire time, holding my breathe, hoping things will go okay and so far they have. I am lucky and counting my blessings, while also remembering that I should have a 4 month old right now. It’s bitter today, but it is also sweet. I will not forget this day ever and I do not look back on it fondly, but the weeks leading up to it, I remember and feel good about that small window. People will think we have 2 kids and I will know that we have three. I will keep that to myself in almost all conversations, but am sharing it now. I will always remember.