I’ve been so very blessed in my twenty-eight years on this earth. I had a sheltered, happy childhood, and the things I’ve wanted most in my adult life have come fairly easily. It’s not that I’ve been entirely unfamiliar with heartache, suffering and loss. I’ve known each one in passing, like random acquaintances at a party. I can easily recognize them, but they haven’t ever come into my home. You can imagine my surprise then, when I realized they would be imposing their company on me during the “most wonderful time of the year.”
My husband and I weren’t trying for another baby…not exactly. We had just started discussing when Baby E should become a big sister. I suggested that we should try in December for a September baby. My husband didn’t really say anything, so I took that as a yes. As we waited for the prime baby-making days to roll around, I became anxious and started peeing on sticks. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I had read online about a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant, so I thought I’d better go ahead and get a negative test result. That way when we made a baby later, we wouldn’t have to be confused about when it had actually happened. Well, low and behold, without actually ‘trying,’ there was our baby! I couldn’t believe my eyes, so of course I peed on several more sticks until I finally accepted what I saw. This was really happening. What an awesome Christmas present!
I briefly considered waiting until Christmas to tell Mr. Mustard, because I thought it would make such a special, memorable gift. But Christmas was over a week away, and I was dying to tell someone. I knew he would be upset if anybody knew before he did, so I made plans to tell him that night. I drove all over the city with my daughter, looking for a ‘big sister’ onesie, but we didn’t have any luck. I ended up putting one of the plastic buns from her play kitchen into the real oven and waited for him to get home. When he asked what we were having for dinner, I told him to look in the oven.
This is where it gets fun. My husband (who actually has a very high IQ) did not understand what I was trying to say. Instead of putting two and two together, he jumped to the conclusion that I had lost my mind.
“Honey…you can’t cook this. This is plastic. What’s going on?”
I told him to think about it. He stood there and looked at the bun, and asked if he should be ‘getting it.’ I said yes, just think.
“I don’t understand. Where is the food? What’s this even doing in here?”
I asked him what ‘this’ was.
“A hamburger bun”
I asked him where the bun was.
“In the oven…ooooh!”
It wasn’t quite the grand reveal I was hoping for, but once he figured it out he was shocked and excited. We started talking about making room for another baby in the house, and he had all kinds of ideas on how we could make it work.
The next day I peed on more sticks, because I am insane like that. I saw more and more pink lines, and I held the tests up next to each other and compared the darkness of the various lines. They were getting darker alright, but not as quickly as they did before. That’s right, I had kept the pee sticks from my first pregnancy in a zip-lock bag for comparison, because I am insane like that. Mr. Mustard asked me to please stop peeing on so many sticks because it was a) expensive, b) disgusting, and c) only making me crazier each time. So I slowed down my peeing party, but I did not stop completely.
I got some Clear Blue Digital tests with weeks estimator, and peed on those. The first one said 1-2 weeks, which sort of made sense with the dates we had in mind. A few days later, the second one said 1-2 weeks, but that didn’t make as much sense. A few days after that, the third one said 1-2 weeks, and I knew something was very wrong. The dates no longer made any sense at all. They tracked back to the first week of December when I was very sick, and we had not done any baby dancing at all.
I called my doctor and went in for an HCG test. It came back at 20. Now, 20 is hardly ever a good number on this type of test. Your HCG level is supposed to double every two to three days early on in pregnancy. With E, my first blood HCG was 30, but that was okay, because I happened to know it had been exactly ten days since conception. This time, I had already been testing positive for eight days, and I had guessed I was at least five weeks along. I asked the doctor’s office if I could have a second blood test to compare the levels. They said they would call me back, but they didn’t, and the office closed.
That evening was Christmas Eve, and we had planned on telling our parents the following day. Mr. Mustard got very sick on our way to my mother’s, so I found myself standing in the pharmacy department at Walmart, buying him some medicine, and hey, while I was there…some more pregnancy tests. What can I say? I needed to know. So that night I took another First Response test, and I got the faintest line yet. I continued to pray for a Christmas miracle, and I even dreamed that we got one. But on Christmas morning I snuck a Clear Blue Digital test and got the dreaded message ‘not pregnant.’
Baby #2 is gone. I have no idea what happened, or why. I don’t know if there was anything I could have done to save him/her, but I can’t help wondering ‘what if.’ I don’t live a high risk lifestyle, with a lot of drinking/smoking/roller coasters/seafood/etc. I don’t take any medications and I don’t have any health conditions that I’m aware of. I don’t know why my baby wouldn’t have been healthy. We would have loved him/her, and E would have been a wonderful big sister. She loves babies. I wonder if God is punishing me for not being as patient/giving/selfless as I should be? I imagine there are hundreds of women around the world tonight, taking pregnancy tests and hoping they don’t see that second pink line. Many of them will find out they’re carrying babies they don’t want…some will even abort. Meanwhile, I saw my pink line fade away. I had to find out I lost a baby I very much wanted. Where is the sense in that?
As I ponder why this happened to us, and where we go from here, I am also pondering why society takes the view it does on miscarriage. Why can we only discuss it in hushed tones, if at all? Is it because society in general doesn’t understand? I have already realized people tend to say the wrong things (that’s a whole new post). Is it to protect grieving couples from well meaning but hurtful comments? Or is it to protect society from the knowledge that something so senseless and horrible is actually much more common than most people know? Is it the inherent shame and guilt that comes with knowing that, if anyone is to blame for this, it could only be me (the grieving mother-to-have been)?
I’ll probably post more about this because it is so common, and because the only reason I can fathom that God would allow me to go though this ordeal is so that I can write about it and perhaps help someone else feel less alone.