I never thought I'd be announcing a pregnancy this way. It just never occurred to me that at this stage I'd be talking about my second pregnancy as something that's already been and gone.
I didn't realize that the first time I'd blog about it I'd be reflecting on how I never got the chance to birth, meet, name, give life, or show love to my second baby.
When I went in for an early ultrasound at eight weeks pregnant, I expected one of two things: I'd either see a healthy, thriving baby, or that I'd be offered condolences; that they were sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but there's just no heartbeat to be found; that my baby had passed. I'm not entirely sure which outcome I was expecting, realistically, since I'd been spotting intermittently throughout the duration of my pregnancy, and I knew that even though I wasn't particularly losing sleep over it, that miscarriage would be a distinct possibility. Because at the same time, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this pregnancy was real. I felt it. I experienced all those familiar symptoms I had the first time around - the excessive fatigue and hunger, the mood swings, and those little uterine twinges that reminded me that a tiny human was coming into being within my body.
While lying on the table, though, with that cold goop on my abdomen and the ultrasound wand moving slowly across my lower belly, something in the back of my mind - or my heart - raised a red flag. There was my baby - albeit smaller than I expected it to be - but with a beating heart that just didn't seem quite up to par. The ultrasound technician didn't say anything, but when she timed the heartbeat, I knew something was wrong. She eventually stepped out, to go get the doctor on staff to come in for a consultation; and I waited in that dimly lit room for just long enough to know that their hushed discussion out in the hallway was probably focused more on how they were going to tell me than it was on what they were going to have to say.
I can only recount little blips of what the doctor told me - I think most of what he said washed away as his voice filled up the room and my ears, and eventually started to sound like white noise. "The baby is far too small for how far along you are - and its heart rate is very slow. You have a first OB appointment scheduled directly after this, I know," he said, "...but I'm going to recommend that you not bother going. We'll schedule another ultrasound a week from now, and if we don't see substantial progress, we'll know for certain that this baby isn't developing properly and we'll take matters from there." "I'm sorry this isn't good news," he continued, and asked if I had any questions. "No? Okay. We'll see you next week." Questions? I had a million of them. I had zero. I had a ringing and a buzzing filling my head and I needed to run away. I was thinking everything and nothing and everything and nothing. I was numb and I was exploding.
That day became a day of mourning. I cried harder than I've cried in a long time. I cried until I had a splitting headache, and I cried until I just couldn't anymore.
I tossed and turned that night, and somehow woke up the next day feeling less attached. It became a day of holding on, loosening my grip, letting go, and then questioning everything I was feeling. Did I still feel pregnant, from an emotional standpoint? No. I must have let those feelings slip away. But physically, did I? I couldn't tell. Was my baby's heart still beating? I had no idea. Would it still be beating the following week, when I laid back down for another ultrasound? Your guess was as good as mine - though I hastened to believe that it would be.
The days that followed, though, became torturous. I clambered back up that muddy slope, desperately trying to cling on to every shred of hope and every minute possibility that my baby would be okay - that we'd all somehow miscalculated the dates - that the baby wasn't meant to be any bigger yet or that its heart wasn't quite ripe enough to be beating any faster. I calculated dates, I obsessed, I grasped at straws - and I implored the universe to speed up time and yet somehow slow it all down to a dead stop. I didn't know how to make it through an entire week not knowing what was happening - but never in my life had I so desperately wished for a day to come as I had simultaneously wished I could stop time so as to keep it from ever ever ever arriving.
My fear was fighting so strongly against my desire and I so deeply longed for and loathed Thursday, September 25, 2014. Waiting for that day to come was a torture form that I was anxious to be rid of; because I felt that if this book was going to close, I wanted it closed now. No more limbo. Please.
And when the day came, and I laid down on the table for that follow-up ultrasound, and saw my tiny, lifeless baby on that screen, it was like something in me finally felt free to exhale. Like the torture I'd been feeling all week prior wasn't so much associated with the impending loss as it was with the utter uncertainty that existed surrounding the whole thing. I had grieved, I had celebrated, I had prayed, I had begged, and I had hoped - and then finally, at long last, I was able to breathe. A little shallower, albeit, and through tears, but it surprised me that I ended up feeling more relief than anything else. At last I knew.
So I lost my second child. At nine weeks gestation, that little baby let go. I'll never know why, and I'll never understand, but I'm doing my utmost to trust that my body was in control.
My body now, though, is suffering those pains of loss. The surgery I just came out of, the aftermath, the medication, the sleepless nights, and the residual grief are all my very-real and very-present now. My body aches, it hurts, it groans. And I'm tired of being tired.
I know I have a long way to go with regard to figuring all this out for myself - I hope I actually manage to do it someday - but in the meantime, I'm walking along with this heavy heart of mine, doing my utmost to rise up and out of this great sadness I'm carrying over the loss of my little babe.