Shhh… It’s The M Word

This blog is raw.  It is real.  It is not for the faint of heart.

Miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is estimated to occur in 25% of recognized pregnancies.  There are various reasons for this awful heartbreaking medical incident that no one talks about.  50-60% of miscarriages are chromosomal abnormalities of the fetus.  The rest is a mix of something wrong with the mother, or something happening to the mother while she is pregnant.   When I got pregnant, I was shocked to read the statistics of loss.  No ones talks about the shattered hopes and dreams of miscarriage, because who wants to talk about dead babies?  Who wants to talk about their loss?

Well, I want to talk about it.

This pregnancy was unplanned.  The father and I had only been together for four months.  I didn’t know how we were going to do it, emotionally or financially.  There were times I thought about abortion.  There were times he backed up that idea.   There were times I hoped I would miscarry because the stress and uncertainty were overwhelming.  But deep down, I wanted this baby.  Perhaps deep down, he wanted it, too.  Despite the overwhelming odds, I thought we could be a family.  I would get a better paying job.  We would move in together.  We would have a baby  and get married someday.

Hopes and dreams have a way of turning into tears and nightmares.  After two months of roller coaster emotions, of me acting like a crazy pregnant lady while he struggled to accept he was going to be a father and did his best to deal with my nitpicking, all of our stress and worries and fears were for nothing.  As if it were nothing but a big cosmic joke, I had a miscarriage on Christmas Eve.  I woke up cramping and bleeding.  I knew immediately something was terribly wrong.  I called the clinic and they told me to come in.  My mom drove me there, and when I stepped out of the car, I had to rush to the bathroom.

When I got in there, I pulled down my pants and the pad I was wearing was soaked with blood.  I sat down on the toilet and a large blood clot came out that was the size of my palm.  I shrieked and cried.  I knew it was happening.  I didn’t realize until later that the blood clot I passed was actually the baby.  Later, when I had an ultrasound and saw my empty uterus, the uterus that once held a baby with a heartbeat, I felt strangely calm and relieved that the fetus had passed already.  But then I realized that it happened in the bathroom.  In a toilet.  I flushed my baby down the drain like it was a dead goldfish.

A baby died inside of me, and now it’s in a sewage treatment plant somewhere in Oregon City.

The rest of the day was cramping and bleeding, but nothing unbearable.  This was the reason I went to the ER that evening.  At the clinic that morning, the midwife told me the worst was yet to come, and when it didn’t, I started second guessing her diagnosis.  She didn’t run any tests or set me up with an ultrasound.  I knew I needed concrete proof of my loss, so I took matters into my own hands.  I drove to the ER alone, and was one of two patients, so things moved rather quickly.  The staff there was so nice.  They ran all the right tests, and took me in for a scan.  As I said before, my empty uterus let me know that the worst part was over.  Physically, at least.  I was still having some sharp pains that lasted for about five days, but now the bleeding is almost done, and I no longer have any pains.  The only evidence that there ever was a baby is my positive pregnancy test that sits in a bag shoved deep down in my closet.

I have been reading so many miscarriage stories online, and when friends and family hear the news, they tell me that they also had a miscarriage, or they know someone who has suffered from this loss.  You never hear about these stories until it happens to you, and then people come out of the woodwork to tell the tale of their loss.  Until then, no one talks about it.

Because who wants to talk about dead babies and dead dreams?  Who wants to talk about how a miscarriage makes them feel like they are broken, damaged, ugly, unworthy, unlovable, undesirable? 

I do.  My hopes and dreams are dead.  I feel all those awful feelings.  I look in the mirror and wonder how anyone will want a woman whose baby died inside of her, a baby she flushed down the toilet.

To make matters worse, in a way that I didn’t think was possible, the father and I have split up.  The stress of the pregnancy and the subsequent loss was too much for our young relationship to bear.  He was out of town when I called and told him the news, and he came home as soon as he was able to so he could be with me.  A couple of short days later, everything changed.  Now, he wants to be alone, and all I want is to be with him.  I feel guilty in admitting that I feel more upset over the loss of him than I am over the loss of the baby.  It is like a nightmare that I cannot wake up from.

Furthering this guilt is that I don’t feel as sad as other women feel when they lose their babies.  Some women spend weeks crying and barely functioning.  I feel low, but not completely inconsolable.  Yes, I wanted this child, but I wasn’t ready for it in any way.  I didn’t have any time to emotionally or financially prepare for it to happen.  Now when I think about all the things I can do, I get excited about them, and then that excitement is marred by guilt for looking forward to drinking whisky and eating sushi.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I truly do not know how to move forward.  No baby.  No boyfriend.  No job.  I have spent the last two days questioning everything in my life.  After the miscarriage, the father and I went to Astoria for a getaway.  I thought it would make us stronger, but instead it revealed the disintegration of our relationship.  As he napped during the second afternoon, I left the hotel room and walked around Astoria in a daze, completely alone, realizing that I was in the process of losing everything I had ever wanted.

I don’t know if I believe in love anymore.  I don’t know if I can trust again.  I have realized that I need to stop believing men when they say “I love you” because they take it back in an instant.  When I got pregnant, I didn’t want him to feel obligated to stay with me.  I didn’t want him to be bitter and resentful that his life was changing.  I was giving him numerous “outs” out of the relationship.  I told him over and over again that all I wanted was for him to be a good father.  He fought to stay with me, and I thought it was because he loved me.   Now that the fog has lifted, I believe that he was only staying because of the baby.  Now that there is no baby, there is no obligation to tough things out.  He can run away, bury his feelings, and there is nothing to stop him.

I thought I would be mourning this loss with him.  I thought I would be making new plans with him.  Instead, we don’t have future plans.  He is making his own plans.   He wants to start over and pretend it didn’t happen.  Out of fear of losing him completely, I asked him if he wanted to go out on a date.  He said yes.  Now that just feels like a joke.  I am trying my best to be understanding of his feelings.  I am giving him space.  I am letting him go.

When I got pregnant, I knew it was time to finally take down my wall and begin to really experience love again.  I had been working on my Grand Gesture (see previous blogs) and was making progress.  I was allowing myself to fall in love.  Despite my all of my fears, I was so excited to start a family with him.  I am doing everything I can not to be bitter and resentful.  Not just to him, but to everything.  I have suffered from four heartbreaks this year.  I don’t know how much more I can take.  I am at the limits of my sanity.

No baby. No boyfriend. No job. No love.

I am still hanging on to a shred of hope for my future.  For a future love I might have.  I dream about holding a baby in my arms someday, with a father who stays by my side no matter what, even when I get pregnancy-crazy.  Even when things get really, really hard.  Maybe that dream still exists for me.  Someday I will get married, and then I will take a pregnancy test, and it will be positive.  I will run out and pick something up that is meaningful to him, like a bib with his favorite sports team, or a cheesy “World’s Best Dad” mug, and I’ll put it with the positive pregnancy test somewhere, like maybe his favorite chair.  He will come home, go to sit down, and find out he’s going to be a dad.  And there will be tears and laughter and it will be good and right.

Someday.  Someday I hope to believe in love again.  There is a scene in You’ve Got Mail, one of my favorite movies, where Kathleen and Frank are breaking up.  Unlike in real life, their split is completely amicable.   They are laughing and he asks her if there is someone else.  She replies: “No, but there is the dream of someone else.”  This is what I am holding on to…  The dream of something else.

Until then, I’ll just do my best to believe in my ability to heal and move forward.  I don’t know what that will look like, because I don’t know how to do any of this.  But, I will figure out a way.  I have to.  I was in a coffee shop today, and this man was on his way out.  He stopped by my table, and said in the most kindest voice, “I don’t know if anyone has told you yet this year, but you are absolutely stunning, and you should know that.” I fought back the tears that threatened to spill out of the corners of my eyes, and I replied, “Thank you, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that today.”  It was as if he just knew I needed someone to tell me that I’m still worthy.  That I am not broken.  That someone will again desire me.

I hope more than anything that I never have to talk about dead babies ever again.  I hope I never experience this anguish for a second time, and I would never wish it upon anyone.   But if I ever hear of another woman suffering through this terrible loss, if this ever strikes one of my loved ones, I will tell her my story, I will tell her she is beautiful, and maybe it will make her feel a little less alone.

Until next time, I leave you with the Immortal Roy Orbison  ~ B

You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen and Frank:

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