Thursday, August 26, 2010

pizza, gin and loss

I've been dreading this for days. More than dreading it. Thinking that writing it all down will make it hurt more. But also knowing that I wanted to write it all down for ME. So that I never forget.

So that I never forget how it felt to lose my tiny baby.

The last few weeks had already been stressful; our ultrasounds looked fine, but the hCG numbers did not. Everyone said "not to worry- if the ultrasound looks ok- that's a good sign! You saw the heartbeat! The chances are a lot lower that something bad will happen once you see the heartbeat."

I had really started to believe that. I believed that my baby was just not going by the textbook rules, and since the ultrasound was good, it was all ok. Until I started bleeding on Saturday.

I started bleeding and cramping, just PRAYING that this was one of those times they talk about that "just happens".

"Sometimes women just bleed when they're pregnant and there's no real telling why! Could be your uterus growing, could be a blood vessel popped in the placenta; could be many things." This is what it said online; in books. I believed again, hoped again; until I started cramping. All of the articles and books said "a little bleeding is ok, as long as you're not severely cramping." Oh.

Well, by Saturday evening I was bleeding a lot, and cramping badly. I called the emergency line of my doctor, and a nurse practitioner called me back ordering complete strict bed rest for the rest of the weekend, and told me to stop my blood thinners immediately. Told me to try to get in to get an ultrasound first thing in the morning on Monday.

I think my brain was battling itself about what to believe. On the one hand, we had JUST seen the blueberry on Thursday; measuring 7 weeks and a good strong heartbeat. So, how could something be going wrong? On the other hand, I was in PAIN. And I just knew this wasn't normal cramping. This wasn't just my uterus growing; it felt wrong.

I stayed in bed all weekend. It kind of sucked. Just laid there in pain, racked with worry. But Ian took AMAZING care of me. I don't know what I would have done without him. On Monday I woke up and called to make an appointment for an ultrasound, and got one for 11:45am.

I think that both of us knew something could very well be wrong when we headed out that morning. The weather sure wasn't helping things look less ominous. The skies were dark and gray and it was raining- HARD. Clutching our umbrellas and each other, we headed out for the scariest appointment either of us had ever been to. When we got off the train at Lincoln Center, we had to transfer to a bus to get across town. Heading towards the stairs to take us up to street level, we saw that it had started raining even harder. Just DUMPING water down the stairs- we waited it out a few minutes and after we saw that it wasn't letting up, we made a break for it, laughing as we ran through the rain, our umbrellas really not doing anything, trying to reach cover. Laughing about the rain and how soaked we were getting felt good; like a nice distraction.

Once we reached the ultrasound place, and I was dressed in my hospital gown and in the tiny room with Ian sitting silently in the corner- time stood still. The ultrasound tech looked at the screen, and I looked at her face. I couldn't see the screen, but Ian could. But I couldn't see Ian's face. She didn't say a thing. I wanted to yell, "can you see anything?? Is my baby ok?" but just like in those nightmares we've all had- the ones where you want to, but you can't scream- I couldn't make myself say anything. Her silence pretty much gave me my answer. She said she was going to go develop the films and show the doctor and she'd be right back. As soon as she left, I asked Ian, "Did you see anything? Did you see a heartbeat?"

He didn't. But he sweetly added "maybe I just couldn't see it from where I was, or maybe I didn't see it right." I know that then- both of us knew. But I still was clinging to hope. PLEASE. Let us be wrong.

She came out and said that my doctor would have the results in 20 minutes and that we should call them then. She didn't tell us the results. I think maybe she couldn't, because she's just an x-ray, ultrasound person- not a doctor. I think she's probably not allowed to say anything.

After I got dressed, we wandered. Killing time. Looking for a Starbucks that had seats open for us to wait. After 20 minutes had passed, I called the doctor, but they didn't have the report yet. I begged them to please call as soon as they had any news. We waited and wandered for well over another hour after that before I called again. I was cold (wet socks from the rain) and tired and sore and sad and just wanted the news. Needed to know. I also think that every pregnant woman in New York was out and walking around that afternoon, because I think they all passed us at some point.

They put me on hold and when she finally came back on the line I knew before she said anything, what she was going to say. Her "thanks for holding, Mariah" said it all. Full of sadness, pity, trepidation. I don't remember how she started it out, but I do remember my heart dropping in to my stomach when she said the phrase "fetal demise". I'd never heard that before, and it sounded so much worse than "miscarriage" to me. Like a good patient I took down notes as she told me what the doctor thought we should do next. Keep taking the progesterone so that you can hold on to the fetus. They wanted to be able to do a D & C so that they could check the fetus for chromosomal issues. If there were problems with it on a chromosome level, then that would explain why I was miscarrying. But if not; they'd need to do more research and tests to see what caused the fetal demise. Writing it all down, not really processing it.

Heading home, we were numb. I honestly don't think it had hit me yet. I just felt like a zombie. I thought something was wrong with me, because at that point, very few tears had been shed. "Why am I not crying?"

We got home and just sat on the couch- kind of frozen. Then it was decided that we needed drinks. Gin and tonics. Oh, and pizza. A little mild self destruction with crappy food and alcohol felt very, very necessary. We talked very little that evening about the baby. We had been worrying and thinking and talking about it all weekend while I was on bedrest, and I think we needed to give ourselves a break. We sat very close on the couch, holding hands, nursing our drinks and watching TV. Neither of us wanting to talk about it yet; protecting ourselves. I couldn't talk to any friends or family (though I had briefly spoken to my mom) because I just needed to protect myself a bit longer. Recapping anything or talking through how I felt at that point would have been too hard. Though, it still is. I've already had to stop several times in writing this.

At bedtime was when we both first lost it. We just lay there and cried and cried, and sobbed and held each other. That gut wrenching crying that occasionally makes no sound, but distorts your face with pain. It finally was hitting us. Loss. Our baby. The one for over a year we had planned and dreamed about, hoped and prayed for. And the one for the last month or so, we had instantly loved.

Once we had calmed down a bit, and decided to try and sleep, I was brushing my teeth and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I looked at the refrigerator, where we had proudly displayed the picture of our little 7 week old blueberry. And then I looked up at the microwave and the clock read 11:11. And I've never felt so much pain and sadness in my entire life. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I just collapsed on the fridge and sobbed.

I will spare you the details, but we knew before going to the D&C yesterday that I had probably already lost the fetus. The very kind doctor confirmed it, showing me the ultrasound of my completely empty uterus. Informing me that though I'll continue to bleed for a while, there was no need for a D&C. I guess I was happy and sad about this. Happy to not have surgery, but a little sad that we couldn't rule out a chromosome issue as the problem.

There are so many things that break my heart about all of this. I'll never again get to be pregnant for the first time. I'll never get to excitedly call my husband and say "guess what???" without also being completely freaked out. I realize that we'll be excited when I get pregnant again, but it won't be the same. It will be excitement with extreme caution. With a huge amount of worry that we'll lose the next one too.

We had a few baby things that Ian put away yesterday. A couple of gifts and one thing I had bought on a whim. I also need to put away all my pregnancy books. I'll try to do that today.

I haven't gone back to work yet, and perhaps I will tomorrow. I feel like I have a form of agoraphobia right now. Being around other people and talking to anyone else besides Ian sounds bad and really hard. I know I'll have to eventually, but, for now it just sounds painful.

I haven't spoken to my doctor's office yet, since we got the ultrasound results yesterday. I suppose I'll need to get some "next steps" from them. How long should we wait to start trying again and all of that. Not that we're ready yet. But we will try again. I feel like wanting to be a mother opened a big hole in my heart. Just waiting to be filled. Then when I finally was, the hole grew in anticipation of the space this little one would fill in both our hearts. Now that we've lost the baby, the hole is still there. Bigger than ever.

I will never forget my first pregnancy. I will never forget the joy in my husband's voice when I told him I was pregnant. I will never forget how insanely happy I was when the nurse told me. I'll never forget all of the plans and dreams we had for that tiny one and how much we loved it instantly. I'll never forget all of Ian's "pep talks" he gave to my belly, when the numbers weren't going the way they should. I could never hear what he said, because he whispered them to the baby, but he gave them every night. Said good night to my belly every night as well, and kindly explained to the baby that I would be down there whispering to him or her if I could, only I couldn't bend that way. :)

This has without a doubt, been the biggest roller coaster of emotions I've ever been on. I know things will get better and get easier, but it will take a little time.

For now, I'm blessed to have such an amazing husband and wonderful family and friends to support us through this. Even after all that has happened, I do still realize this: Because of them, I'm a very lucky girl.



  1. oh mariah ... i can't stop crying as i read this. i am so, so sad for you guys. this must be beyond devastating and i can't even imagine. i'm so very sorry.

    thank you so much for sharing this story with all of us. i know it's doubly hard having to relive the moments just to put them down in this blog for us to read.

    we all love you so much and have you and ian in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to. you are already the best parents there are and are truly and inspiration to the rest of us.

    don't feel bad about work ... just take all the time you need to grieve and to heal. that's what's important right now.


  2. Mariah, the tears just won't stop. We love you both so much and I'm just so sorry.

    Thank you for sharing with us--I can ONLY imagine how hard it is. Words just can't express.

    You and Ian are such amazing, caring, wonderful people, and I'm so glad you have the amazing partnership you do.

    Thinking of you lots and lots and lots and lots.

  3. I'm a new follower to your blog. I, too have PCOS as well as Factor V Leiden. Just wanted to leave some support. I can't imagine your pain. I can only send you love and warm wishes from my little corner of the world.

  4. Mariah, I am so sorry. I can't imagine what you two are going through right now. I am thinking of you both.

  5. I am also a new follower of your blog. There are no words to express how sorry I am! Good thoughts and prayers are with you and hubs. Don't give up on your dreams of a baby!


  6. I'm so sorry for you two. My heart goes out to you, and going through a similar journey myself, I can only begin to imagine what a huge disappointment this is for you. Give your hearts time to heal.

  7. We are so sad for you. Our hopes, prayers, and best wishes go out to you in this heartbreaking time. Thank you for sharing your story and we hope you will feel supported and loved, as you are such special people. It is so necessary that you are taking the time to experience your grief and process what has happened -- that is incredibly brave.

  8. Hello, Mariah- This is Carole, Joe's mom. Your beautiful words about this first great pain you shared together were a gift to us and to your lost little one. My love to you both. I'm not gifted with knowing who to put things into words. I wish I could make it better for you. You and Ian and blueberry are all in my prayers.

  9. Very sorry to hear about this, Mariah...don't know what to say, really. Thank you so much for sharing these very personal things with us all -- this is a story that many women experience, but few have the bravery to talk about in-depth.

    But like they say, this is just proof that you can actually conceive a child. You have plenty of time left. And doggone it, the universe just couldn't continue to deny two more deserving people.

    I just know that one day, our kids will be climbing trees in Discovery Park together, a few years from now. Bet on it. This blog will most assuredly have a happy ending. :)

  10. Everyone- thank you so much for your kind, sweet words. I remember being worried about posting about pregnancy on a blog, thinking "well, if something happens, everyone will know!" but now I'm so glad I did. Everyone's support is amazing and keeps my spirits lifted. Thanks again. :)