• Hard Stuff

    Day 2: Restless

    When people say that they were up all night long, I usually take that to mean they had intermittent periods of sleep. I assume they got some sleep. Some type of rest to re-energize them even if it were a few scattered, interrupted moments.

    I was up all night.

    By 2am, my restless body and busy mind gave up. I sat up in bed and began to cry, loud enough to wake up Ryan next to me. It was the deafening-type cry when your shoulders tremble and your chest shakes. The ugly, uncontrollable cry.

    By 4am, I was downstairs. My bed had become crowded with a husband, a preschooler, a dog and a cat. There was no space for my jittery, anxious body.

    I laid on the couch staring up at the shelves above me. Once again and unsurprisingly, I cried. Quieter this time, but heavy. The previous day’s events replayed over in my mind.

    No heartbeat.

    No heartbeat.

    No heartbeat.

    I deleted pregnancy apps off of my phone to avoid the weekly “Your Baby is the Size of a…” alerts that I had become so accustomed to receiving on Fridays.

    A lime.

    12 weeks is a lime. 2 inches long, half an ounce in weight.

    I circled the kitchen, periodically stopping to devour a frosted snowman sugar cookie. There was nothing on TV other than infomercials and televangelists.

    I texted friends, selfishly not caring if my middle-of-the-night text woke them up.

    “I can’t sleep. I want my baby.”

    By 7am, the house was stirring. I had to get Caroline on the bus, braid her hair, force feed her pancakes and disregard the fact that mom being in her pajamas on a Friday at 7am wasn’t weird. Ryan told them the night before. Caroline, full of compassion and intuitiveness, is much too smart to lie to. She wanted a baby. We all did.

    I did some writing while listening to a stranger’s uploaded playlist literally called “Songs for Sobbing.” They were right; I sobbed. Johnny Cash, Coldplay, Bon Iver, Fleetwood Mac…an eclectic mix of melancholic melodies and pained lyrics.

    The day moved like I was walking through molasses, but I guess that’s how it feels when you don’t have a night’s sleep to splinter your days. Days and nights have no discernable beginning or end. I felt like I wasn’t counting minutes, but was counting down to the next meltdown.

    The worst meltdown came in the bathroom. The most mundane task of peeing turned into an unexpectedly painful reminder of why my day felt so long. I was bleeding and even though I knew the source and the outcome, I was blindsided by its presence. I’m a woman after all. This is commonplace. Monthly.

    Not this time.

    Outside the bathroom, the kids were playing Legos and Ryan was preparing them dinner. I tried to stifle my cries, but Ryan slipped in to console me. This isn’t how I envisioned our marriage, even on our bad days. He’s seen me on my worst days, in my most vulnerable of moments, but this was different. Unflattering. Unpretty. Raw. Painful.

    It’s getting worse. It’s happening.

    It was as if my body heard the doctor’s confirmation and kicked it into high gear. Every ounce of denial disappeared.

    I still have two and a half more days of this.

    This is Day 2.

  • Hard Stuff

    Day 1: Raw

    It’s been a long, long time since I used this thing. Life got in the way as it usually does. So why am I writing again? Because I need this space right now. I need a safe spot to share, to vent and to release. Also because I’m experiencing something that 25% of women have or will experience yet no one talks about it. So I will. 

    Today won’t be remembered for a mild snow storm that extended my morning commute by twenty minutes. Today won’t be remembered as the time I accidentally wore my leggings inside out. Today won’t be remembered as the time I rarely had an hour to myself and selfishly watched the new season of “The Bachelor” before my daughter got off the bus.

    Today will be remembered as the day I lost my baby.

    Tomorrow was supposed to be the celebration of the end of my first trimester. A reassuring time when miscarriage statistics dwindle and parents are in the acceptable zone to safely share the news with the world. Given that this was our third baby and our first screening came back normal, we happily announced to those closest to us. I loved being surrounded by people’s excitement and eagerness. Now, I find myself clinging to those same people for grief and mourning.

    Days prior, I had started spotting. Uncredentialed internet doctors chalked this up to “old blood”, hormonal surges, cervical irritations and most of those supportive people I previously mentioned told me not to worry.

    I worried.

    The spotting intensified. It changed color. Cramping started.

    My doctor examined me, noting the source of the blood. She couldn’t find the heartbeat and like the doctor two weeks ago, she blamed it on my high-maintenance, severely tipped uterus. “Let’s do a quick ultrasound.”

    I knew. I think she knew.

    We sat in the dark ultrasound room and as soon as the probe zoomed over, it was confirmed. “Oh Allee, I don’t see any cardiac…” she said sweetly as her voice trailed off. My baby was gone, but yet I was staring right at its little profile. A profile that had changed and developed so much since our first scan. What once looked like a blurry ink smudge now resembled a perfect baby who had paused its short life. It’s static presence will forever be engraved into the deepest corners of my mind. A black and white image of a future I’ll never see, of a person I’ll never get to know.

    We went to a small room to discuss the next steps. I just stared at the floor as she explained the procedure to “remove” the pregnancy. “Take these pills an hour before the procedure, take these ones four hours before, cramping and bleeding afterwards is normal, have somebody drive you…”

    I left with a pamphlet on grief, envelopes of medication and an appointment card reminder to return in four days. On my way out, I passed a happy couple who was taking pictures of their sonogram to obviously send out to their friends and family. They looked overjoyed. A few weeks ago, I was that woman. Now I am the red faced, swollen eyed woman who just miscarried. A selfish part of me wanted to stop and lecture them to not rush to excitement, but a bigger part of me wanted to witness that contagious, unparalleled feeling of anticipation. We were both having moments we’d never forget, but were on opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I came home to an empty house, at my request. For maybe the first time in my life, I sat in darkness with no TV or radio producing background noise. I just cried. I sobbed, really. I stomped my feet. I yelled. The reality that I was still holding a lifeless being engulfed my every thought– caught in pregnancy purgatory. I am pregnant, but not expecting. I am a mom to three, but people will only ever see and know two.

    When I asked the nurse “why,” she said that miscarriages are common and is often the body’s natural way of stopping something that wasn’t developmentally correct. If miscarriages are so common then why do I feel so alone? When someone dies we announce it in newspapers and hold memorials, but here I am carrying my departed baby and I am nervous that people would find my mourning to be dramatic and brush it off as “sad, but common.”

    I feel as if I am simultaneously drowning in grief and suffocating with fear. I don’t want to face Monday’s appointment and I don’t want to face the future of trying again. I am at the bottom of a hill that I do not feel like climbing up again. My happiness was inside of me and now there will be a hole that I know many people share, but I wanted to be different. It sucks to be a statistic. 

    This is Day 1.

    As I lay down on the bed
    Try’na come to terms with what has just been said
    I don’t know where I should look or what to say
    Is this happening to us today?

    If I could then I would scream
    I’d wipe the tears off of my face
    Wake me up if it’s a dream
    This is more than I can take
    I’d give everything I own
    If someone else could take my place
    Will someone else please take my place?

    How can life be so unfair?
    I can’t breathe, in fact I’m choking on the air
    It’s all over, I can see it in on your eyes
    Pull my hand down, heavily I sigh

    If I could then I would scream
    I’d wipe the tears off of my face
    Wake me up if it’s a dream
    This is more than I can take
    I’d give everything I own
    If someone else could take my place
    Will someone else please take my place? — Take My Place, Lily Allen