When Barry and I first started discussing a future family, I spent hours scouring Pinterest for creative, touching, and perfectly memorable ideas of how – when the time came – I would tell him that I was pregnant.
About a year later, here’s how it actually went down: I stumbled out of the bathroom one Friday night and wordlessly shoved the positive test into Barry’s chest (who wasn’t aware I had even taken a pregnancy test).
This child was so very, very much wanted. We wanted to start a family. A family that included a tiny person with maybe my red hair and stoicism, Barry’s dimples, and musical prowess. But still, I was scared. And I cried. And then I felt guilty for crying. And then I cried about feeling guilty for crying.
The reality staring at me from the little white stick in my hand made my chest hurt. I wanted to march back to Target, slap the test on the customer service counter and tell them to take it back. That I changed my mind. I wasn’t ready.
And then I sucked it up because it wasn’t about me anymore. And then I bought a crib and approximately 36 onesies.
I bonded with the embryo I was incubating and found myself talking to her (or him) when no one else was around. Topics of discussion primarily revolved around how nauseous I felt every hour of every day and if she (or he) could ease up on the hormone blitz, I’d find a way to repay the favor in about seven months.
We were nearing the end of the first trimester when an ultrasound confirmed what several weeks of spotting had already suggested — there was no heartbeat. I was given three options: let nature take its course and my body would eventually expel the uterine contents on its own, take medication to induce the process at home or schedule a dilation and curettage (D&C) for surgical removal.
I chose option number two and went home – pills in hand – to finish what nature already started.
I’ll skip the sanguineous details other than to say I took the pills the next morning and the contractions commenced shortly thereafter. The next few hours were a blur of pain and emotion. And then it was over.
Just kidding, it wasn’t really over. Two days later I woke up with a fever and ended up hospitalized with what’s known medically as a septic abortion (or septic miscarriage, if you prefer). As it turned out, I was among a small percentage of women for whom the pills don’t entirely work, which led to an infection requiring an emergency D&C.
The thing about miscarriages is that they’re not uncommon. They’re not taboo. And most importantly, they’re not your fault. Or my fault. Or anyone’s fault. But that doesn’t really mean much to someone who’s experienced one because ultimately, it’s losing a piece of yourself.
I’ll admit that I was a bit traumatized by the experience and without Barry by my side, I may have drowned in my own guilt. My original due date came and went and not only did I survive, but several months later, found myself staring at another positive pregnancy test.
Our baby girl is due this coming January and after a somewhat stressful first trimester, we’re elated that things are progressing beautifully. And for someone measuring roughly the size of a banana, her bladder kicks are no joke.
I don’t have a grand moral to this story or any sage advice with which to close, but please know that if you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss, I am so sorry. We’re unwitting members of a club that we never signed up for and despite being millions of women strong, it’s still a pretty lonely place to be. I get it.