|I had a miscarriage
||[Aug. 2nd, 2015|11:01 pm]
So livejournal still exists.
I just need somewhere I can talk about this and there is no one to talk to. And I think maybe I don't want to hear what anyone else has to say. But I can't stop thinking about it.
I wrote about it a few times on a couple different reddit groups. I talked about finding out, and the impossible logistics of having a miscarriage alone while having a (n almost) 2 year old. And I talked about how I am so sad.
I am still so sad.
I found out on Tuesday (it's Sunday now). I went to Kaiser for my nuchal translucency scan at 12 weeks, 1 day. It makes me cringe to remember this now -- that morning, I had a passing thought that I could get to the ultrasound and find a dead baby. And I thought, it would be better if it were me, since I already have a child; since I didn't have to go through years of infertility or expensive interventions to have this baby. And then I thought, but it's not me. The odds are something like 1% of 1% -- only 1% have miscarriages after seeing a heartbeat (we saw one at 8 weeks); only 1% have no signs of a miscarriage.
But it was me.
Sean was out of town, and my car keys had disappeared the day before (they are still missing). So I took an Uber to Kaiser and realized on the way there I didn't have much battery left on my phone -- and I would need my phone to get an Uber home. Even going into the appointment, I was anxious about the stupid phone problem and the stupid car problem.
My doctor was running late, so they took my vitals and did the ultrasound first. The ultrasound tech was friendly and chatty until she got the thingie on me, and then there the baby wasn't. A 12 week old baby should have looked mostly human, it should have jumped onto the screen and been bouncing around. But the only thing in my uterus was a small, alien-shaped hunk of tissue. Not human-shaped. Not a baby. Not moving.
I watched her take some hurried measurements. I watched her pull up the flat line that should have been my baby's heart beat.
I asked if anything was wrong. She asked what I meant. Is it ok? I asked. Is she moving? (I don't know why I said she, it just came out.) The tech lied -- yes, nothing to worry about, everything is fine, the baby is just too small and we'll have to reschedule your appointment. She made a point of showing me my paperwork and saying, I'm just going to set this aside and we'll use it next time, when you come back, after we reschedule. She said she would have to get my doctor to talk to me.
I knew and didn't want to know that there was no baby. I tried listening to an episode of The Moth while waiting for my doctor -- an episode where Jim Fallon, a neuroscientist I know, talks about finding out he has brain activity and genes associated with psychopathy. I knew the story already, couldn't focus, didn't want to think about psychopaths. I wanted to think of some way my baby was still alive and ok and growing. But there wasn't one.
The doctor called me in and very solemnly and kindly said that there was "no cardiac activity." We did another ultrasound and I heard the deafening silence of no heart beating -- just white noise.
She told me about my options, and when she left I cried as hard as I could for a few minutes, and then they sent me to a room to wait for a nurse to talk to me more. And the whole time I'm still trying to figure out how much battery I have left on my phone, how I'm going to get home.
I scheduled a D&C and then realized I had no one to drive me home from it. The only people who live in Los Angeles and knew I was pregnant were:
-- my husband, who was on a business trip to Minnesota
-- the house cleaner, who we asked to come every week instead of every other week because my morning sickness was so bad
-- Luke, who was on the east coast doing something for his art project thing
-- Sean's best friend
So I texted Martin.
I thought about a handful of girl friends I could call who didn't even know I was pregnant, and it seemed pretty fucked up to ask them to drop everything in the middle of the day on a Wednesday to drive me home from my miscarriage when I hadn't even told them I was pregnant. And the whole reason you don't tell people when you're pregnant is so you don't have to tell them about your miscarriage. For a while I felt worse about the whole thing, like what the fuck is wrong with me that I don't have a single girl friend I can call up when the most emergent of emergencies is emerging?
Me: hey, I need a big favor. can you give me a ride tomorrow?
Martin: I'm extremely busy
Me: I'm having a miscarriage and I need a ride home from the hospital. They need to do a procedure and I have to be medicated for it
Martin: Wow, I'm sorry. I'm still not sure I can make it though
But he did. I got up at 7, inserted a misoprostol pill at 7:30, put on a pad in case I started bleeding uncontrollably, walked Maya to daycare, called an Uber, got to the OB/Gyn waiting room in Kaiser, and took 2 Norcos and a Valium. I started to feel better almost instantly. For the first time since I'd found out 24 hours earlier, I wasn't holding back tears; everything felt manageable.
They were incredibly kind to me. I realize now that every time I have been annoyed at a doctor's office for being slow and stupid and disorganized, I was the asshole -- they are dealing with people who have much bigger problems. That day, I was the person with bigger problems, and they took very good care of me. The doctor was so kind and warm and normal, and we had just like a completely normal conversation while she sucked dead fetal tissue out of me. I tried not to watch as she filled one and then two and then three jars with bloody frothy waste from my uterus.
It hurt a little bit, but not as much as I expected. The hydrocodone and acetaminophen and a Toradol shot they gave me probably helped. Mostly, it was uncomfortable, like a pap smear or a cervical check.
And then it was over. I wasn't pregnant anymore. I guess I hadn't been for weeks, though.
They had made such a big deal about having someone come up and meet me in the waiting room. But the nurses weren't paying the slightest bit of attention, so I just walked out. I felt fine, physically. A little fuzzy thanks to the drugs, but no pain or dizziness or faintiness.
There was a farmer's market outside Kaiser. I bought peaches and plums and strawberries while I waited for Martin. On the drive home, we mostly talked about work and this stupid idiot talk I have to give Saturday that I completely regret agreeing to.
At home, I ate some food and contemplated how normal I felt. Way more normal than being pregnant. Sean had asked his best friend to pick up Maya and bring us dinner from my favorite neighborhood place, but it was such a hassle because of the car issue -- I felt really bad asking him to walk there and back, and I felt so normal, I told him not to come. I picked Maya up myself and went through all the motions of being a normal person and did not mention to anyone I came across that I had a dead fetus scraped out of my uterus just hours earlier.
Sean came home that night and was home for one day before leaving again for a fun trip. Maya and I spent the weekend hanging out and wow there is nothing like a toddler to make you forget about your own dumb feelings.
It has been an unremarkable weekend but just like every weekend we spend like this, it's been so good I don't want to forget any of it, even the dumb annoying stuff. Saturday morning she asked to put on sandals and a hat, and we walked to the Coffee Bean and I got an iced coffee and she got an orange juice, and then we went to our Saturday morning music class at the baby yoga studio. And she was awesome and sang songs and was the cutest and I chatted briefly with the other moms who have just-about-2-year-olds.
She really didn't want to nap and I spent hours trying to get her down but she was so cheerful and fun the whole time and was happy to read books together and play with her dolls until she finally fell asleep around 3:30. I woke her up a little after 5 so she wouldn't go to bed too late, and we went to the park and it was all golden-dusky and beautiful and we went on slides and swings and climbed things and talked about toddler stuff. At bedtime she really wanted to jump on the bed so I turned on the Lady Gaga Pandora station and we jumped on the bed to Jason Derulo and collapsed on the bed laughing over and over again.
After she went to sleep I stayed up too late drinking too much and reading and watching stuff about miscarriages and being sad.
Today (Sunday) I dragged Maya to Target and she took off her sandals and demanded to walk around barefoot and I felt like a terrible mom. It did not help that I was there in part to buy her pacifiers and bottles, which most good moms have long removed from their 2 year olds' lives, but I am anxious to have any help possible to get her off the boob.
I also bought myself a shirt I don't need that doesn't fit because I am uncomfortably fat in the abdominal region and now it's not because I'm pregnant, I'm just fat.
And then we came home because of the sandal situation, and to my great surprise Maya passed right out and took a great nap and I ordered everything I've ever wanted from Instacart, including Hoegaarden since I'm not pregnant and I can drink anything I want. And then they had a thing where you could pay $0 for delivery instead of $5 or whatever if you buy 2 Ben & Jerry's, which seemed like a no-brainer.
And then Maya woke up and we went to the pool, and then we played and she watched videos quietly while I cooked dinner, and then for some reason she wanted to play in the shower together so we took a shower, and then she fell asleep early (for her), and I was a little sad because I had such a perfect and fun day with her.
So, it was a good weekend, after a bad week.
I still wish that it had not happened. I wish I could go back and undo the miscarriage. But maybe there are silver linings: I felt so ambivalent about being pregnant again, and now I don't -- I even remember thinking, I wish I had that feeling like I NEED to be pregnant -- and now I have it, I need to be pregnant again. And I had wanted Maya to be a little older before we brought a new baby around, so now she will be.
And who knows, maybe it is an important experience. Not a good or enjoyable experience but an important one. I feel like I had no concept of what a miscarriage was like until it happened to me, and now I know. It's not knowledge I would have wanted to have, but it's knowledge that so many women have, and maybe now I can say the right thing to them instead of the wrong thing or the nothing that is being said to me right now.
And that's the story of my miscarriage.