Friday, April 6, 2012

Miscarriage, or, How I got My First Broken Heart

This is a post four months in the making. Actually, I think it's going to have to be a series of posts because there is a lot of stuff bouncing around in my brain. My hope is that, in sharing my story and some of my thoughts and feelings, I might somehow help someone out there who is going or has gone through a miscarriage.

Because, y'all, it is not something to go through without a little help. I was blessed to have a lot of support, and I don't mind telling you that some of that support came from people and places I did not expect. I appreciated every little well-wish, prayer, note, text and bit of advice and wisdom I received. I especially appreciated the women who shared with me the stories of their own loss through miscarriage. I'm part of that club now; the club that nobody wants to be a part of. I found the others here to be incredibly supportive.

Most of the people who read my blog already know the story (since I am either related to or married to most of my small readership). But, just in case you have stumbled across this purple brick road from somewhere other than my family tree, I will share the story of how I came to experience my first real broken heart.

Matt and I already have two fantastic sons, and we talked about maybe having another baby eventually. But it had always been a decision to be made later. Then, in October (while Matt was out of town for a five day bike trip) I discovered that the good Lord had taken the decision out of our hands. I was pregnant! I was excited. I was scared. I was a little frustrated at having to wait FOUR MORE DAYS to tell my husband. I had been faithfully taking The Pill. (By the way, that statement on the little insert that talks about oral contraceptives being 99.8% effective? They are not kidding.) But there they were. Two very clear, pink lines.

When Matt came home, I told him. We told the boys. We told our families. We went to the doctor and got the first ultrasound. The picture of what our four year old called, "a splotch" went up on the fridge.

And time marched on.

We got a second ultrasound, saw the heart beat and even saw a little wiggle. We told our bosses and coworkers. We started to throw around some names. We nicknamed the baby "iBaby version 3.0." (actually, the baby's godmother to be came up with that one!)

And time marched on.

I went in for a third ultrasound because there was some question about the due date. Matt went to work that day, I went to the doctor's office. It was routine. My biggest concern that morning was whether I could finally get an abdominal ultrasound, or if I would have to "drop trou" again. Ahem. I walked in, joking and laughing. We tried the belly, but couldn't get a good picture. I changed out of my pants and into a large napkin, and the doctor started the ultrasound. Size looked good; we were narrowing down the due date!

And then time stopped.

There was no wiggle. No flutter. No heartbeat. iBaby was gone. The doctor was very kind, although he used words like "blighted ovum" and "25% chance" and "chromosomal abnormality." I think. I'm not sure. It was hard to hear him over the very loud voice in my brain that kept yelling, "THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING." I made the very long walk to the other end of the medical complex to get a better ultrasound. A tech and another doctor were very kind as they delivered the same verdict using many of the same words. They gave me a picture and sent me on my way.

I was numb. I barely cried during that hour. My brain had a hard time accepting this information. The whole time, I had a text-versation going with my husband and my best friend. Both offered to meet me at the office, but what could they do? I was holding it together, mostly out of shock. I kept thinking that someone would catch me in the hall or call me and say that they were sorry because it had all been a mistake, and what were the odds of two different ultrasound machines in two different offices breaking on the very same day... 

Matt met me at home and we talked. We hugged. We prayed. I cried. A lot. We planned. We had to figure out how to fit this into our life, our family. We had to tell everyone. We had to tell our boys. I had to schedule a DNC because it seemed that my body was as unwilling to accept this news and let go as my brain had been.

And time marched on.

Three days later, I had the DNC. My doctor was kind enough to forgo describing exactly what the procedure entailed. I didn't want to know. I still don't. That morning was hard. I woke up with a baby in me, and I went to bet empty. In more ways than one.

And time has marched on.

I'm okay with it now. Four months and a lot of reading, crying and praying later, I can honestly say, "I am okay with my miscarriage." This does not mean that I'm not still sad. Or that my heart isn't broken anymore. Or that I don't sometimes turn my face to God and ask "why did you give me this?" I still cry. I still think about it every day. My heart still hurts.

They say time heals all wounds. They are mistaken. Some wounds never heal. This is one of them. For the rest of my days on this earth, I will have this break in my heart. It is not healing with time.

But, with time and prayer, I am learning to live with it. I might even be learning to be thankful for it. But that's a post for another day...

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