It’s taken me over a year and a half to be able to sit down to write this post. Naturally, it’s not something that I like to recall, but it’s still something I think about often. Even though I have a beautiful baby boy whom I love so dearly, I think about the first “baby B” more than I’d like to admit.
I was terrified that I was going to miscarry as soon as I got my first positive pregnancy test. I know that most women probably are, but my paranoia seemed to be a little over the top. I panicked at every twinge and pain and I Googled almost anything that could be a “symptom” of miscarriage. Every time I went to the bathroom, I feared that I would see blood. And then one day, I did.
This next paragraph may be TMI for some of you. Skip it if you don’t want these details. It didn’t start out as bright red obvious miscarriage blood, which gave me some hope. At first, there was just a bit of brown discharge. I turned to Google and knew that this could be considered normal for some pregnancies. Most sources said it was probably implantation bleeding, and there were plenty of women who said they had bleeding during successful pregnancies. After experiencing my second pregnancy, I know that bleeding–even bleeding for several weeks–didn’t necessarily indicate miscarriage or other problems. I tried to think positively, but deep down, I feared the worst.
Then the discharge increased. It still wasn’t bright red, but there was more of it. Since Google could no longer assuage my fears, and my first appointment was several weeks away, I called my OBGYN during my prep period at school.
After telling the nurse what I had been experiencing, she asked a series of questions.
“How long has this been going on?”
“A few days.”
“Do you feel any pain or cramping? Have you passed any clumps or clots?”
“Maybe a little, but nothing severe. No, I haven’t passed anything.”
“Have you done any heavy lifting lately?”
“No.” I hoped that these answers would earn me some gold stars or brownie points in the eyes of the fertility Gods.
Even though nothing I had said would necessarily provide any hints towards miscarriage, the nurse wanted me to go to the hospital for an ultrasound. After hanging up the phone, I immediately burst out in tears.
I walked to my friend Diana’s classroom, whose classroom is around the corner from mine. She had a class, but at the time I didn’t care. She was also pregnant (and found out on the same day as I did). She came into the hallway, and I told her what was going on and that they wanted me to go to the hospital. She immediately said that she would drive me home and that she didn’t want me driving. It had been snowing and the roads were icy. Despite my protests, she insisted. She had a co-teacher who could cover her class for the rest of the day (it was near the end of the day). I called David and told him the news. Diana and I talked in the car, but I was afraid if we talked about it too much that it would make it real. “They are probably just being overly cautious. I’m sure everything is fine.” She told me. Later, she confessed to me that deep down she knew. I don’t know how she did–and maybe I did, too, but I was too afraid to admit it–but she did.
David and I went to the hospital and after waiting in the waiting room at the hospital, I was finally called back for the ultrasound. The technician only spoke a few words to me throughout the entire process. Then she sent me back out to the waiting room to wait for my doctor’s phone call.
It seemed like we waited forever, but in all honesty, I don’t remember how long it actually was. Finally, the phone rang and the receptionist called my name. My OBGYN was on the phone with the results from the ultrasound.
She verified the first day of my last period and told me that there was no amniotic sac or fetal pole on the ultrasound. However, she did not say that meant I 100% miscarried. Since I was only a few weeks pregnant, she said it would be too early for anything to show up. Next, she sent me down to the lab for blood work. A quantitative pregnancy would give us answers for sure.
I was pricked with a few needles, got my blood drawn, and then was sent home. My doctor was supposed to call me at home when she got the results. I was told that this could take a few hours.
By this point, it was around 7 in the evening. We hadn’t eaten dinner (not that I was hungry) and my car was still at the school. We picked up a pizza and I retrieved my car and drove it back home. I ate a few bites of pizza and we sat on the couch for a few hours…waiting.
Finally, my cell phone rang, and even though I was hoping for some crazy miraculous freak of nature positive prognosis, my doctor gave me the news I was already expecting: I was losing the tiny life inside me.
In addition to this news, she also told me that I am Rh-negative. While this in and of itself is not a huge deal, it can cause problems later with future pregnancies. Thus, I was told that I needed to return to the hospital on the following day in order to receive a shot of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent sensitization. None of that made sense to me (and it still doesn’t) but I returned to the hospital the next day. I had to have my blood drawn again because they had to verify I was Rh-negative. Even though my blood was drawn the day before and it was in my chart, it had to be drawn again. We had to wait two hours for the Rh-negative results, and then I received the shot in my lower back/butt. I had to get this shot again later in my pregnancy (third trimester, I think) and also after giving birth.
What I won’t tell you are the real details of the actual miscarriage, because honestly, I couldn’t put it into words, and I wouldn’t want to try.
I do think about our first “baby B,” though. I wonder if it was a boy or a girl. If it was a boy, we would have named him Porter, but then our Porter wouldn’t be here today, which is a weird thing to consider and think about. Would he look like our Porter does now? Would his mannerisms and personality be the same or would he be completely different? These are not questions I’ll ever know the answers to of course, but they are questions that still haunt me at night when I lie awake.
After I miscarried, someone who also miscarried once told me that if she wouldn’t have miscarried then she wouldn’t have the daughter she has today. While I do not want to say I’m glad it happened by any means (because I’m not), I do consider that point. If I wouldn’t have miscarried, Porter wouldn’t be here (or at least the Porter we know today…a different Porter could be here, which is enough to make my brain hurt). It doesn’t make the memories of the miscarriage any easier to deal with or less painful, but I am so happy and grateful to have Porter with us today.
*I had several pregnancy tests at home, so I did continue to take a pregnancy test every day for several weeks until it no longer was positive. This was tortuous, and I can’t explain why I did this to myself, but some weird logic told me that maybe everyone was wrong. I thought that maybe if I kept getting positive pregnancy tests then I actually was pregnant.