Jason was home, and we were all coming out of our Thanksgiving turkey haze just in time for basketball season to start for the kids. My two oldest boys were playing for the season, which required two separate practice times at two different locations, as well as piano lessons and Scouts for the oldest, plus school, work for me, visits with our foster kiddos’ family, etc. All of this, plus our days were still fully focused on Jason’s recovery, and at the end of every night, I was drained and achy and exhausted.
Thoughts of “what if” pricked at the edges of my mind, but the overwhelming voice of absolute denial allowed me to maintain my refusal: the “what if” was simply not possible.
One night, on a whim, when the thoughts became less of a prick and more of a stab, I ran to the store to pick up a test after dropping one of the boys off at basketball. In the hour between that drop-off and pick-up, I had to get home to fix dinner, take care of kids, and now pee on that little stick. I had given in to the whim not because I believed I was pregnant but because I was tired of the thoughts that came unbidden when I noticed one of the classical pregnancy symptoms appearing. I took the test to shut out the voice in my head that sang that “what if” chorus more and more often, as new or worsening symptoms appeared — symptoms I had steadfastly ignored while in the throes of Jason’s illness and my own temporary single parenthood.
And the answer was yes.
I took a second test, surreptitiously, which you know is all but impossible to do when you are a mother with children in the house, and here I had managed to do it twice.
And the answer was yes.
I could barely breathe or think, or even walk or talk for that matter.I practically floated out of the bathroom and beckoned for Jason to come into the room so that I could share the news away from the prying eyes and ears of curious little ones.
He limped into the room, and we closed the door, and out came that little stick with the YES, YES, YES, which was immediately followed by shock, disbelief, and an embrace that carried the weight of eight years of infertility. YES!
Our joy followed us everywhere. Given our past, we would usually have been a little more mum about this glorious turn of events, but we couldn’t hide our excitement, and we told everyone we knew, and they all celebrated with us.
I was cautiously optimistic. I’m a worrier by nature, so I expected the worst. I was unable to calm that worry by seeing my doctor because of some insurance issues. So we waited and dared to hope.
Every night I would pray and ask that this little baby be protected, this little person that had been promised to us. I prayed for health and strength and all of those things that we pray for when we’re scared and hopeful. And then I’d pray for that sweet confirmation I had felt to please once again warm my soul so that I’d know everything was okay while we waited to see the doctor.
That confirmation never came. I prayed harder, more thoughtfully, powerfully, tearfully, and still I never felt the Spirit whisper to me that all was right. The doubt I had felt following the two years of noes came to mind, and those feelings of doubt burned and singed my faith, and I thought perhaps that is what was keeping me from feeling that all was well.
Soon after, the dreams came. Bloody, sad, terrifying dreams of loss. It was like a faucet I could not turn off, and once they started, they would not stop. Every night I’d dream of different ways in which I miscarried, and I’d wake up gasping, panting, crying, aching. I’d pray for relief, begging that if the baby was no longer growing, to please, please, please give me a sign.
And the dreams continued.
I was 11 weeks pregnant when I finally, thankfully, was able to get in to the doctor — the amazing doctor that had delivered both Andrew and Elizabeth and had been so loving, so patient, and so kind. He was thrilled to see me again eight years later. He sent me for an ultrasound, and when the tech touched the wand to my belly to reveal emptiness, I knew. Tears rolled down my cheeks as the tech looked away from me, quietly taking notes and pictures. My mom held my hand, reassuring, trying to maintain the hope that I no longer had, trying to reassure me that everything was going to be okay.
The news was grim. By my counts I should have been 11 weeks, but the flickering image on the screen registered at 5 weeks. There was still a chance though, and we made the plan that if my body did not spontaneously do what it was supposed to, I’d come back in for another ultrasound to confirm what we suspected, and we’d simply schedule a D&C after that. The probability was I had miscarried at five weeks. The possibility was a miracle had happened and I was simply 5 weeks along, and not the 11 or 12 weeks that I had expected.
A week later, just a day before my scheduled appointment, my body did what it was supposed to do, and I miscarried the little baby I had been carrying for three months. This, regrettably, wasn’t my first miscarriage, but it was by far the most difficult. The feeling of finality definitely more present. Most of it took place in the ER when my symptoms became too overwhelming to manage on my own. And after several hours, I was sent home, doctors realizing I had gone through the worst of it while waiting for test results. Surgical interventions were no longer needed.
They sent me home in a haze of Dilauded, a parting gift from my nurse who was finally able to give me some relief from the physical pain. Jason held my hand as I walked out, then drove me home and tucked me into bed, keeping his own sorrow in check in support of me, and I slept. And for the first night in over a month, I didn’t dream.