Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Flood of Memories

Today is the 7 year anniversary of my miscarriage of our first child. It's sort of ironic that it is also the day that my monthly "visitor" showed up. Pardon the pun, but it brought back a flood of I thought I'd share here.

We'd been pretty certain for a few weeks that I was expecting. I was craving Vanilla Coke and white cheddar popcorn; I was puking, ALOT; and of course my monthly visitor failed to visit. We hadn't told anyone yet, we were basking in our private moment. We went to my moms for a 4th of July weekend picnic. I walked in her door and she took one look at me and said "your pregnant!"....I'd failed to notice that the "pregnancy mask" discoloration had developed on one side of my face....she was more observant than I.

So I skipped the home pregnancy test and instead, on Monday I went by my OB/GYN on my lunch break and had a test done there. Positive results of course! A due date of March 22, 2003. The doctors office had an opening the very next day and scheduled me for my 1st prenatal check up with the nurse practitioner. I floated out of the doctors office and called my husband at work and announced "It's official, you're going to be a daddy!" We had picked out names before we knew we were pregnant, so the baby became known as "Rachel Elizabeth".

We called our parents, friends, pastors sent emails to everyone we knew. We were going to have a baby! Word spread like wildfire!

The next morning I was a little crampy, but didn't think much of it. Then I noticed some spotting, and wondered just a little. My appointment was mid-morning, so I went to work and thought nothing more of it. The nurse practitioner was very chipper and excited with me while we were doing the standard questions. She asked if I had any questions or concerns...I said no not really...but I am spotting a bit this morning. She assured me it was probably just implantation bleeding, but suggested we do an exam. I was told to redress and that she'd be right back. So I sat waiting, thinking about buying baby things, what colors to use in the nursery. The nurse practitioner came back in and told me to come with her to their lab, they wanted to do some blood work. At 35 I was clueless about pregnancy or what was "normal" at a first visit. The nurse practitioner took me to their waiting area by the lab and told me to hang out there for a bit. I started reading baby magazines and imagining myself with a belly and waddling like a duck.

Finally the nurse practitioner came back and took me into the doctors office and introduced us, then she left. There was no small talk, no softening the blow, no sign of sympathy or emotion. "Your HGC (human pregnancy hormone) level is very low for you to be this far along in your pregnancy. Come back on Thursday and we'll draw more blood. As of right now, I'm listing this as a non-viable pregnancy and you can expect to miscarry anytime. Do you have any questions?"

I'm pretty sure I said something to him in response...but I don't know what. I remember walking to my car and driving back to my office. I remember sitting there looking at a black computer monitor and wondering if I'd misunderstood somehow what was said. I thought about calling my husband, but I didn't think that was the kind of thing to tell him over the phone.

We prayed, and asked everyone to pray with us. By Thursday I was starting to bleed heavier, and my HGC levels were much much lower. Sunday morning we went to church and sat in the back row instead of our normal second row. I was in pain, physically and emotionally and I wanted to be left alone, but I wanted to be at church. Unfortunately, word that we were losing the baby didn't spread as quickly as word that we were pregnant. After the third person came up and hugged us and said how thrilled they were for us I couldn't stand it any longer. We went home, so my body could continue to purge in private and so I could cry. I cried a LOT....I'm crying now remembering it.

Monday I returned to the doctor and he confirmed that I had miscarried and took care of any remaining "tissue" that hadn't purged on its own. For several weeks after people would come up to us and say congratulations!....I never knew what to say. Do you just say "thanks" to keep them from feeling bad? Do you say "I appreciate it, but I'm no longer pregnant" and then suffer through the "oh I'm so sorry, I didn't know, is there anything I can do?"

I kept to myself a lot, which is how I handle things. My best friend said I needed to "just get over it". I did with time get over the harshness, the whirl wind of emotions from "it's positive" to "you will miscarry" in 24 hours. But do you ever get over losing a child? wondering what they would have been like, what they would have looked like, how they would have impacted their world?

In less than 8 weeks, I was back at the same doctors office. The gal working in the lab said "it's positive! you're pregnant!" And I sat there looking at her blankly...enough so that she asked "Is this a bad thing?" I wasn't sure if it was or not...I was frightened to think of a repeat. I couldn't fathom how this could have happened between the first miscarriage and recovery and now a second pregnancy...mathematics did not work. This couldn't be right, I couldn't be....could I?

Olivia was born April 25....a little more than a month after Rachel's due date. It still doesn't compute mathematically, but the proof is in the puddin'!

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