When I was in nursing school, my friend Lori, knowing how obsessed I was with L&D, invited me to shadow her for a day in her job as an Labor and Delivery nurse.  Since you never know what is going to happen in L&D, she wasn’t sure what I’d get to see, but I couldn’t wait.

We arrived at 7 am, and Lori’s supervisor, knowing I wanted to see a baby born, assigned us to a patient who had a scheduled repeat cesarian that morning.  No other woman was in active labor, and this would be my best chance.  Having been a hand-holder, coach, or mother in vaginal births only, I had no idea what to expect.  I had always thought there was something so odd about going to the hospital to have a baby when you weren’t in labor.  I had seen women in the elevator at the hospital I interned at, going up to have a baby; no pains, no discomfort, nada, just giddy and nervous, laughing with their partner in an elevator.  It was curious to imagine waiting for someone to painlessly remove your baby from your belly and hand him or her to you.  Knowing the due date, almost to the time of the birth of your child; it seemed surreal.

That morning, Lori prepped the patient, the procedure room, me (sterile gown, shoes, hat, mask, lecture) and dad (more of the same), and we wheeled the patient to surgery.  Mom was understandably nervous and said goodbye to dad (someone would bring him back when the procedure was about to begin).  The surgical tech was in the room, ready, and she told me where to stand: a tiny little tile at the foot of the bed that I was not supposed to step out of.  I wasn’t to touch anything or help out once the procedure started; just watch.

I watched the anesthesiologist insert the spinal while Lori hugged the patient and kept her in position.  This was the patient’s second c-section, so she knew a little of what to expect.  They strapped the patient to the table, arms strapped out in a T, like Jesus on the cross, legs strapped down at thigh and ankle.  This all looked terribly frightening to me, but the patient was already losing feeling in her lower half and hardly recognized what was going on down there anyway.  Lori let her know she was going to place the urinary catheter, and the anesthesiologist set up the drape.  I don’t really remember anything between that and the physician coming in.  I made sure I was in my tile’s borders.  Someone brought Dad in.

Because this was a teaching hospital, the OB had a resident assisting her and standing opposite her.  The surgical tech was on the same side of the bed as the obstetrician, and slightly behind her, to quickly hand her tools.  I was standing still as a statue at the foot of the bed, trying to be invisible and see everything.  The anesthesiologist joked with the mom and dad at the head of the bed behind the drape, and Lori was logging things in the computer a few feet from the resident.  The patient was draped so that her belly was exposed, and the OB scrubbed the incision site before she began.

Everything happening in that room was fascinating to me, and I wanted to see and hear it all.  This is what I remember:

  • The OB’s hands were shaking when she used the scalpel to very carefully begin cutting into the patient’s abdomen.  I wondered if that was normal.  It may have been nerves, or adrenaline, or both, but in spite of the shaking, her cut was as straight as a lance.
  • She did not cut right through all the skin immediately, like you might imagine: she made a shallow cut through the first few layers of skin, then another and another, until she was through the epidermis, and into the adipose (fat) tissue.
  • By this time, there was some blood, but the resident washed it away between each of the OB’s cuts.
  • This was a thin patient, but I was fascinated by the visibility of the collections of fat in the subcutaneous tissue.  Holy cow!  The fat looked like pats of butter under the skin: shiny, yellow-ish, and appeared in clumps.
  • I was utterly fascinated by how much this procedure seems like a highly choreographed dance; everyone knew their part and played it perfectly.  The OB hardly said a word for the first part of the procedure, the surgical tech knew what was needed and had it in hand before OB even had to ask.  I wondered how long they had been working together, or how long the surgical tech had been doing that job?  The surge tech didn’t even have to look for a tool, she mostly had them in order of which ones she knows will be required, in what order.  She barely glanced down to grab something. Hardly any time had passed at all, yet so much had happened.
  • Slice, slice, slice, through layers of abdominal muscles.  By this time, the tissues are bleeding pretty heavily, and it’s harder to see exactly what’s going on, but the team moves like a machine, and the resident is continuously washing away blood.
  • In the next moment, I am shocked by all the yanking and pulling.  Holy sh*t, the resident and the OB, after each layer of tissues is completely severed, are putting their hands on top and bottom of the incision, and pulling the opening open further.  To better see the next layer to be cut, obviously, but this pulling apart is getting more and more forceful, and if you’ve never seen it, it’s shocking.
  • My next thought is, holy crap, the ‘grabbers’ are out.  These are stainless steel “retractors”, and I think I’ll just have to insert a picture for you to get the idea, but once the muscle and connective tissue has been cut through, or maybe before (I don’t exactly remember), these tools come out and they look wicked.  They are used to yank, yes, yank, open the hole that has just been cut, and hold it open so the OB can see the uterus and get that baby out.  Clearly necessary, otherwise the skin and muscle and facia would just lay flat and how could you see anything at all?
  • By the way, now Mom’s intestines are flopping out on her belly.  (Yes, c-sec moms, outside your belly, your intestines are slinking out of the incision and laying on your abdomen.  Your glossy small intestines, making their appearance on the outside).
  • I’ve seen a lot of intestines from the inside of the body, but never from the outside, and I’m fascinated by those sausag-y things.  Oddly enough, this (intestines) is what makes me suddenly realize what a damn dangerous procedure this is!  One missed nick with that incredibly sharp scalpel could spell disaster, sepsis, but I digress.
  • At this point, I don’t know how long I’ve been standing there, seems like just a few minutes, but all the yanking, tugging, blood, and amazement is making me lightheaded.  There I am, standing in my scrubs on a tiny tile, trying to be professional and cool, but feeling like I’m about to faint.  My mind flashes to “that guy” who passes out during the birth of the baby and I can’t let that be me!  A few slow breaths and an iron-will not to make Lori regret giving me this incredible opportunity keeps me on my feet.  The next moment makes me SO grateful I didn’t just pass out!
  • Amniotic fluid, spewing out like a fountain from the patient’s abdomen!  Literally, a fountain of fluid shoots out of the freshly cut uterus, and gushes into the drape.  This is remarkable and I am in awe!  The OB has just cut into the uterus, that amazing muscle, and we have the first glimpse of why we are here!  (Why did I never before consider what happens with the amniotic fluid during a scheduled c-sec?  Have you ever wondered?).  Now you know it spews out like a beautiful waterfall.
  • This next part goes so fast; the OB has her hands inside the mother, almost to her elbows it seems (she’s petite), and out she pulls a beautiful and surprised baby in her grasp!  A miracle!
  • In my mind, this poor sweet baby: I mean, she had no hints that this was going to be the day she was born: she was just chilling, no contractions, no disruptions at all until someone rudely pulled her out of her warm home and into that freezing surgery room!
  • OB scoops the baby out and holds her high, so mom and dad can see her squinched up little face and perfect self.  It’s a girl!  Mom and Dad are crying.
  • The pediatric specialists whisk the baby to the warmer (they were in the room the whole time, I just hadn’t really noticed them them before – they came in with dad).
  • I don’t know what to keep my eyes and mind on at this point, it’s impossible to see everything.  Mom and dad are laughing behind the curtain, the baby is behind me, under the light on a warmer, getting weighed and poked and swaddled.
  • I turn back toward the patient and out of the corner of my eye, I see the OB pull our her placenta drop it onto a surgical tray.  Then, shock of shockers, the OB pulls out the patient’s uterus.  Yes, she just plops the uterus on the patient’s abdomen, holy crap, among her intestines.  She inspects the uterus, that beautiful pink, muscular organ, and then sews it up while it’s outside the patients body.  I had no idea this was how it was done (did you?)!
  • Once the OB is satisfied with her stitches (and she’s very meticulous), she pushes it (none of this is delicate) back in, along with the intestines that are poking out, and begins the detailed process of sewing the patient back up, layer by layer by layer of tissue.
  • This OB is very very particular about her stitches.  This is the only time I have heard her teach the resident, and she lets the resident do a couple, with detailed instruction.  These stitches would probably make Betsy Ross proud, and after having seen the violence of what a c-section actually looks like from the foot of the bed, I am grateful on the patient’s behalf, for the time and care and expertise the OB is taking to repair the patient as expertly as possible.
  • When it’s over, Lori and I follow the patient to recovery and Lori watches her very closely for the rest of her shift.  When a mom has a cesarian, the nurse is 1 on 1 hers.  C-section complications are serious and Mom needs to be carefully evaluated.

Cesarian sections are so very common today.  It can be easy to forget how serious and dangerous and miraculous such a surgery is.  Because of this experience, I will never take them lightly or for granted.  Little did I know, a couple years later, I would find myself facing the birth of my third child via c-section.  We found out he was breech when he was already a week late.  I was left to go into labor on my own, but knew he would be delivered via c-section.  I was crushed and terrified. Lori was the second person I called, after my husband, to cry to. More on that later.

I hope you all are having a great week!  No, my stinking period has not come yet, but I am not pregnant, according to the pregnancy test I took today.  Much love!

 

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PS. Retractors above!

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Bring it, Aunt Flo

Bring it, Aunt Flo

What is it about fear of pregnancy that makes one feel so pregnant?  Sore boobs, fatigue, waves of nausea: check.

To be fair, my breast tenderness has been present since before my miscarriage, but of course I attribute it to pregnancy now.  Maybe I’m just tired from worry, and my turbulent teenager, and my two toddlers, and my night classes and job interviews (seriously comically bad job interviews y’all, more on that later)?  The nausea, well, usually it washes over me when I’m obsessing about the fact that I might be pregnant . . . or does it hit me and then I start obsessing about possibly being pregnant?  I dunno.

I’m counting down days until Saturday when my period is due, and flying through my cheap pregnancy tests in the interim.  I only have six left, out of 25.  All negative so far.  However, I looked back at my pregnancy with Rio, and I didn’t get a positive pregnancy test until 3 days before the expected day of my next period.  Which would be tomorrow for me.


Looking back at those pictures, I remember how thrilled and shocked I was to see those two pink lines, so very faint and perfect.  We had only started trying that month, and it had taken us 3 years with big sis.  I took two more tests as the day went on, just loving those tiny pink lines on paper, and watching them get darker and darker as the days went by.

If I am blessed enough to see those two lines again this week, my heart will open right up and I’ll fall instantly madly in love with this baby, I know it.  Right after I pull myself up off the floor, and stop throwing up while hyperventilating and crying.  Right afterward.

Here’s to all the preggos out there!  I know it’s hard and beautiful and magically uncomfortable.  At least you don’t have to deal with Aunt Flo.  Hang in there mommas!

Small Victories

I took a shower by myself today, with the door open so my toddlers could come in and out, and it wasn’t terrible!

For the nine months that I had two under two, this was but a dream.  Everything was so hard for so long and no one could be left alone for even a second, but now that my littles are 35 months and 20 months, good times and freedoms are a-comin!

I locked the door to go to the bathroom this morning, with Daniel Tiger babysitting in the living room (thank you PBS!).  I was pretty sure that if I was quick, I was going to have a BM all by myself, with no one screaming about anything, or crying outside, or creeping their little hands under the door and yelling moooooomyyyy to try to get in.  This victory has been a long time coming (credit to Daniel Tiger).

Back to my mid-day shower (oh, the luxury).  I’ve been trying this for some time: securing their room, closing the baby gate, locking all the other doors down the hall, and leaving the bathroom door open so I can hear them and they can come and go as they please.  The goal is to shower more often than twice/week, which is about how often I want to waste my time once the kids are in bed and kitchen cleaned up by taking a shower before I fall into bed at the end of the day.  The first several times I’ve tried this, Wave and Rio both stood outside the shower and pulled the curtain open again and again, getting themselves and the floor soaked, and whining non-stop, which resulted in the fastest showers ever (but at least I was cleaner than I was 180 seconds before)!

Today, they each came up a couple times to check on me, then went on with their play.  Let the happy shower dance commence!  I shaved my legs, and thought about washing my hair, but decided that would just be begging for a toddler crisis.  Don’t temp the gods, E!

It’s good to celebrate the little things, especially these little things!

A few nights ago, I slept in my own bed, with my husband, from 10:30 pm until 5 am. No one woke me up crying, or to pee, or because they wondered where I was.  On any given night, W or R has woken me by 3 am at the latest.  This night, I woke with a start at 4:30, wondering why I was still comfy in my very own bed instead of cramped on an uncomfortable futon with toddler arms and legs sprawled across me.  I tried to relax and get back to sleep, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that aliens had abducted my kids (what other reason could there be?). I crept into their room at 5 to find them sleeping soundly, and crawled into bed with them to save myself the trouble of further worry.

Seven lovely hours of uninterrupted sleep. An afternoon shower. A BM without someone hanging on me. I could get used to this . . . Eventually.

All you moms and dads of of two under 2, hold strong!  You’ll get there!  Anyone with me?  Do you remember when it suddenly seemed easier? When was that for you?  Planning two under two?  Be brave, strong one, its worth it.

A Different Kind of Waiting Game

My husband and I decided on whether or not to try to have another baby.  We decided against it. However, before we decided against it, we decided FOR it, and had a day of unprotected sex. We have since come to our senses, and now I’m in purgatory while I wait for my period.

How did I get myself into this?

I was originally on the fence about trying again.  You can read my trepidation list if you want to hear me go on and on about it.  The gist is, I was really sad after my miscarriage, and I wanted that baby back, but I was not 100% committed to everything it takes to get and birth and raise a baby.  The fears were outweighing the desire.

My husband was 100% pro baby.  He really wanted to try again, not just because he was sad about our MC, but because he really wanted a 3rd (my 4th) child.  He wanted to hold another baby, to see that baby with our existing children, to love and cherish one more little person.  We had many conversations about it, and his love and readiness and certainty finally swayed me to the pro side.

The plan was that we would only try for a few months: I felt like I could get completely behind it, as long as it happened sooner rather than later, as we are practically still in baby mode and I’d want any future child to be as close in age as possible to my little ones.  I was just about to go back to work, but haven’t yet, and another big reason to try now then let it go was that I want to move forward with my career and we wouldn’t be able to afford 3 in daycare, so I’d be putting that off again, until we have a kindergartener.  We decided that if we weren’t pregnant in 2-3 months, I would get on birth control, we would rethink the plan, and hubs would likely schedule his vasectomy (which was originally scheduled for April 28).

The day we made our big decision, we had unprotected sex twice, we were so excited to try!

The next morning, unbeknownst to me, my husband woke up sick with dread (what have I done?)!  The implications of another child crashed over him in the night.  The financial implications, the work, the change, the stress on my body, stress in the house, stress on the other kids, stress on the pocketbook, etc, etc,.  He suddenly felt crazy for having pushed for it, but he kept it to himself for a while and continued to think on it.  He told me when it was obvious that something had changed, and I asked.

I felt relief at his confession.  I had been getting scared about all the same things, and feeling nervous and alone and avoiding the bedroom, so it was welcome news . . . except, what about those couple of occasions?  Technically, it was within my fertility window.  It seems silly to worry about one day’s unprotected intercourse when you spent years unprotected and unable to get pregnant, and I’m sure nothing will come of it, I think . . . but I keep googling and everyone talks about how fertile one is after pregnancy or a MC, darn you google!

It’s been 16 years since I stared at a pregnancy test hoping to see a negative result, but there I will be.  Thankfully, when we were set to try, I ordered a bunch of cheapo tests on Amazon, so I have plenty.  I’m sure I’ll start poasing tomorrow, 6 days before my scheduled period, just to give myself a false sense of security.  Counting down to May 6; and hopefully my period won’t be late!

So we wait.

Irrational/Rational Pregnancy Fears

I got a call from my OB Tuesday, my hCG levels have gone down over 50% since my last test on Saturday, so I appear to be in the clear.  My body is taking care of things on its own, thank goodness, and I feel lucky for that.  One more blood test next week should be the last.

However, the burning question is consuming my mind: do we want to try for another baby now?  This was such an unexpected surprise pregnancy.  Such an unexpected joy, followed by a lost sadness that left me feeling empty.  We had made a space where there was no space before, space in our hearts, at our table, in our imagination of our family . . . and now that space is empty.  I can’t figure out if I want to fill that emptiness because I’m grieving, and I fiercely want to fill the void; or if I actually want to try to bring another tiny human into the world and into our family.

I keep obsessing over what another pregnancy would mean for me, in order to try to talk myself out of it, I think.  It would mean:

  • That I would (ideally) have FOUR kids!  Four is a lot of kids.  I never thought of myself as a person who would have four children.  For over a decade, I was pretty sure I would only have one child, in spite of my efforts for more.  I always imagined that women and families with four or more children are the types of people who always yearned for a large family; women who were born nurturing and motherly and dreamed of many children.  Perhaps I’m completely wrong on this one.  If you are in the four (or more) boat, did you always dream it?  Or did it grow on you (pardon the pun)?
  • Pregnancy is HARD.  Beautiful and magical and hard.  I get terribly nauseous, which makes me grumpy, and the exhaustion of the first trimester is life-draining.  Can I afford that?  I have three children and a husband to love and care for.  Can I handle three months of sickness and a desire to crawl into a deep, quiet hole and sleep?  When I’m pregnant, especially with my daughter, I can be a bit . . . fiery.  My husband has to deal with a very fierce wife, which starts to strain the relationship after a bit.  Suddenly, I have very strong opinions about things I never cared about in the past and things I won’t care about in 9 months, but in the moment, I really mean it!  I don’t know if we (he) is ready for all that again.
  • I have a healthy fear of birth now.  The cesarian section birth of my 11 pound, 1.1 oz, breech baby boy made me quickly lose my innocence.  It was a very scary experience, not just the surgery (I’m a read-head and my body does not do well with any type of anesthesia, my BP tanks and I have to be watched very closely and dosed with intermittent vasopressors and stimulants), but the fact that my baby was so unexpectedly huge, and they had a very hard time getting him out of the standard-sized incision they had cut across my abdomen.  After what felt like 10 intense minutes of violent tugging and pulling and pushing, I heard the obstetrician ask for the scalpel again.  He was stuck, and she had to make the incision larger to get him out; thank goodness she did.  It was terribly traumatic in the end, particularly since I have stood at the foot of the bed and watched a c-section as a nursing student, and even in my foggy headed, low BP brain, I knew mine was getting dangerous.  Once my baby was finally out, the previously silent room erupted in excitement, gratitude, shock awe at his size; holy cow!  So, now I’m a VBAC candidate, which I never thought I’d say, because I was sure he’d be the last.  The danger of that birth, the amount of blood I lost due to all the time it took, and the danger to my baby terrify me to think about now; too many what if’s.  Ignorance is bliss when it comes to birth, and I am no longer ignorant.
  • Macrosomia and Gestational Diabetes: The smallest of my babies was 8 lbs, 9 oz.  My largest was 11 lbs.  They say that babies get bigger with each successive pregnancy, although my first was bigger than my second.  During my last pregnancy, I passed my glucose tolerance test by one measly mg/dl.  My obstetrician should have had me repeat the test but she didn’t.  I only gained 30-35 lbs for my last two pregnancies, so I think she assumed I was low risk for gestational diabetes (unrelated to DM), based on my smallness, which is erroneous thinking.  In any case, clearly I had gestational diabetes and my poor baby was getting pounded with sugars from my body; otherwise he would not have been 11 pounds!  In the 9 days prior to my last miscarriage, I obsessed non-stop about everything I put in my mouth, because I desperately want a VBAC, because I’m terrified of c-sections now, and I HAVE to make sure I have a smallish (for me under 9 lbs) baby in order to have every chance of successful VBAC.  If an OB thinks I’m going to have a big ol’ baby, he/she is going to be pushing for that section, I know it!  That said, the last thing in the world I want is to put my baby in danger or have an emergency cesarian after trying to deliver vaginally.
  • I was about to go back to work!  I signed both my littles up for full time preschool starting in August, and was ready to switch careers.  I’m 3/4 through a paralegal certification, and was looking forward to getting back into the workforce.  I could still do that with another bun in the oven, but paying for 3 kids in daycare makes no sense.  We’d be upside-down; I only make enough to make paying for 2 kids worth it, so we’d have to juggle some things and possibly change the plan.
  • My body!  I started working out really hard at Orangetheory about 5 months ago and I’m feeling really strong and powerful and fit.  And I hate working out hard, but I love Orangetheory, so . . . maybe I can just start over after baby #4?
  • Chromosomal Abnormalities!  I’m advanced maternal age, so of course I’ll be worrying myself sick about that!

OK, enough already.  This my “Irrational/Rational Fears” list.  I know it is long, but I feel good to have gotten it out, and hopefully you’re not crosseyed from reading it.  Yesterday, I was SURE I wanted to try again for that little love.  But I woke up today thinking about how lucky I am and how perfect my little family is now; a big part of me feels guilty for even thinking about asking for more.  I’m still not sure.

If you got to the end of this ramble, bless you!  Take care out there, and if you have any insights on VBAC’s, 4 or more kiddos, body after multiple babies, or any of the other ramblings, please share!

Wednesday’s Cheap Tricks

Wednesday’s Cheap Tricks

I stole this idea from my daughters pre-school and the kids love it!

It’s a NEST!  But really it’s one of those $10 plastic baby swimming pools with a comforter in the bottom, covered by a blanket. I had the baby pool in my shed from two summers ago with a little crack in the bottom, so I hosed it off and brought it inside. For my 1.5 and 2.75 year olds, this is an easy + comfy spot to hunker down and “read” or pretend to be birds or puffins of rabbits or whatever.


Considering how much they charge for children’s chairs, this is a cozy little steal!  I hate buying stuff that the kids won’t use for long, so this bit of recycling makes me happy!

HCG Too Low. Almost Certainly an Ectopic Pregnancy

My OB called with the results of my blood test. HCG of 198, which is way too low to be 6 weeks along. This is likely an ectopic pregnancy. I have a follow up blood test tomorrow. 

And now I’m scared. If the worst happens and I have to call an ambulance and be rushed to ER, who takes care of my littles?  I’m home alone with them. Do they bring them in the ambulance?  Do they leave an EMT behind to babysit until a relative shows up?  I don’t want my babies to be traumatized.  Should I be developing a just-in-case plan?  Should I tell my husband to stay home with me till we get this settled?  Am I being a paranoid ninny?

I’ve worked in healthcare and never heard of the single-caregiver-needing-emergency-care-when-kids-are-home thing. Certainly, there has to be protocol, right?

I’m just going to hope for now that I don’t have to figure this out the hard way. Fingers crossed. 

Ectopic, Partial Miscarriage, or “Other”?

So, I peed on a stick this morning, 6 days after I started bleeding from what I assumed would be like my previous 3 MC’s, and I got THIS result (in like 4 seconds):


Seriously.  Both lines appeared at the same time (one fainter than the other for all of 90 seconds).  I don’t even know exactly why I took this test today, just to torment myself, probably, but I’ve been feeling off since the MC, and had some nagging suspicions.  This MC was not as violent as the ones I’ve had in the past: no terrible, gut twisting cramps; no heavy bloody gushing for days on end that makes you feel like your insides are falling out; not even much tissue loss.  So, of course I wondered (read: hoped against hope).

This test was the very last one I found under my sink, and it expired in 2015, so that may have had a pinch to do with the results, but I didn’t think so. Fast forward 7 hours and I’m at my new OBGYN’s office for an appointment to get some answers.

First, she did a vaginal and cervical exam to look for any other source of bleeding.  (After the heavy-ish flow Saturday afternoon and some of Sunday, I’ve been intermittently leaking brownish blood since Monday.)  She didn’t see anything abnormal and said my cervix was closed, good.  I was a nervous wreck during this experience, praying that my baby was going to miraculously show up on the ultrasound, alive and well, even though I knew those were crazy thoughts.

My OB then inserted the ultrasound wand (ugh) and began to look.  An image flashed over the screen above my head and I squeezed my eyes shut, then snapped them open.  There was nothing to see.  No baby.  No mass.  No blighted ovum.  No sac.  My ovaries looked normal.  Nothing to see here, people!

The Verdict: We Don’t Know.

I POAS at the start of my visit, in the lobby waiting room, and the nurse came in with my result: Positive.  My OB ordered a blood test, to test my HGC levels, and scheduled me for a follow-up blood test in two days.  She’ll call me tomorrow with my first result.

So this is one of three things:

  1. An Ectopic Pregnancy,
  2. A miscarriage that is either incomplete, or in which my hormone levels are taking longer than usual to decrease, or
  3. A pregnancy that is just too new/small to see yet on ultrasound, which I can’t believe, no matter how much I want to, because I should be 6w2d today and the baby would be there, or the sac at least, right?

Out of options 1 or 2, I choose 3, thank you very much Universe.

Has anyone else been in this boat?  What was the situation for you?

I Dread Good Friday

I have had four miscarriages.  The first two occurred on “Good” Friday, two consecutive years in a row.

My hubs and I had been trying to get pregnant for years, when in March of 2012, after some mildly invasive fertility testing (here) and a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” (relax, keep trying, you’ll get there!), I fell pregnant!  We were over the moon, and started planning prepping right away.  We told our friends.  We told family.  We were blissfully niave to the evil smackdown of miscarriage.  I was seven weeks pregnant and we were talking baby names.

Four days later, my husband, 11 yo son and I were at my employer’s work party, on Good Friday.  The smell of crawfish was nauseating me, and I felt like I might barf.  My hubby gushed on and on about how amazing the crawfish was, and he convinced me to taste it; my stomach lurched in rebellion.  I smiled through it and we left an hour later; my husband to a gig, and my tween and I went home.  By the time we arrived, I was feeling crampy-twinges, but blaming it on the food.  An hour later everything changed.  I wiped and saw red.  Red.  Red.  No.  Noooooo.

I sat on my front porch, terrified.  My son was inside watching a movie.  I called the local birth center I planned on birthing at.  By the time the midwife called me back, I was soaking the toilet paper I had shoved in my panties as rebellion against wearing a pad.  I WAS PREGNANT, DAMNIT!  I was pregnant, and I was not going to wear a damn pad.  The midwife asked me questions and told me what I didn’t want to hear.  I was breaking apart inside, but I couldn’t let on.  My son came outside, hungry, and I suggested we go to dinner at his favorite pizza joint nearby.  I told myself that if I ate their beet salad, with the quinoa and the walnuts and the baby greens, then the health of that meal would sustain my baby, and make him/her hold on and stay with us.  I just knew it would work.  It had to.

But I kept bleeding at the restaurant, and the cramps got worse.  I choked down my salad and water.  I smiled at my son and listened to his stories from school.  I didn’t call my husband; I wanted him to enjoy his evening and not worry, he couldn’t change it anyway.  My beet and quinoa and walnut salad couldn’t change it, so what could he do?

We went home and I don’t remember the rest of the night.  I probably let my kid watch TV till bedtime.  I remember getting in the shower and feeling the clumps of tissue falling from my body, and weeping hysterically.  Weeping and letting the shower mask my sobs, and wash my tears, while watching my baby get washed down the drain.

My husband came home and held me.  He regretted me not calling him.  He was crushed about our baby.  He took care of me.  We grieved.

I went to work on Monday and couldn’t stop crying.  They sent me home.  My boss kindly sent an email out to say we’d lost the baby, so I didn’t have to tell everyone personally.  People treated me kindly when I returned, women shared their MC stories.  I felt less alone because of them.  And a glimmer of hope crept in, because they all had healthy children.

I moved forward, eventually.

The following year, I was pregnant again in March.  I worked at the same place.  I was over the moon thrilled.  I didn’t even think about Good Friday or any bad omens.  I kept my news close to my heart.  I hoped, I hoped, I hoped.

At 7:15 am on Good Friday 2013, as I brought a patient back to the pre-op area, I felt a cramp low in my belly.  Fear surged through my body, my hands instantly got cold.  I could hardly remember what I was supposed to be telling the patient, even though I had been saying the very same thing for years.  I felt something warm and wet drip into my underwear.  I handed the patient a pen to sign the paperwork, and left abruptly, walking in a daze to the nearest bathroom.  Red in my panties.  Red when I wiped.  A painful cramp gripped me.  Tears began to fall uncontrollably from my eyes.  I shoved a wad of toilet paper in my panties, washed my hands and walked out of the bathroom.  My beautiful friend Maria caught me as I exited, looked at my face, and took me to a corner of the pre-op area.  I stuttered out what was happening, and she shook me and looked me in the eyes and told me to go.  “Go now,” she said, “go home.  I’ll take care of your patients.  I’ll make excuses for you.  Go tell Heather what’s going on and leave, now.”  She turned me around and pushed me toward the manager’s office.

Thank God for Maria.  She took such good care of me in that moment.  I will love her forever for it.  I was 6 weeks, 2 days pregnant, and I lost my second baby that day on not very Good Friday.

As I write this, Good Friday is in 4 days.  I was pregnant last week.  I had a miscarriage 3 days ago. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to wait until Friday to lose my baby, but I dread the day nevertheless, remembering all the precious ones I’ve lost.