Week 12!! It was the, “it’s safe to tell people” week. The week I could scream out loud how happy I am that after almost two years of trying and one loss, we’re having another baby. The constant nausea and fatigue subsided. The four hour naps after work were over. I saw the heartbeat and a beautifully sized baby twice. My tummy was growing and all seemed right. What the hell happened in one week that the heartbeat stopped? Why is this happening again?
Everyone says, “These things happen, it’s so common, your body was doing what it needed to do, you’ll be ok, it’s not your fault, as an older woman there’s more risk.”
Yet all feelings lead to failure, blame and sadness. Last year I was fortunate to suffer my loss in the privacy of my home. As painful as it was, I had comfort. This time I had to have surgery alone. Since the first visit I was solo. Sending Sean pictures from my few visits. That was nothing new since I was alone majority of my pregnancy with Michael. Sean lived upstate and I lived in the city.
For this pregnancy it was the new policies with COVID. I didn’t mind going alone. My doctor was very sweet. She knew of my previous loss and did an ultra sound at six and ten weeks. I kept Sean up to date through text.
It was my 12 week check-up. I had told some family, friends and some co-workers. I went into the appointment so excited. As she started to scan my belly, I had instant fear. I didn’t see the heartbeat. The baby was laying in the lower right side not moving. I talked myself out of it.
Just then she slightly gasped and said, “there’s no heartbeat.” I crumbled. Just crumbled. I was shaking. So confused. She left to get the doctor. He came 15 minutes later and confirmed it. All I could say was, “Why.” He simply said, “we don’t know why these things happen, they just do.”
I was brought upstairs to meet my OB for an unscheduled visit. I sat in the lobby sobbing into my mask. Watching pregnant bellies walk by. I eventually made it to the exam room. It was probably 30 minutes of waiting but felt like forever. They were so busy, so I understood I’d have to wait.
I just wanted to get OUT! I couldn’t breath and I just wanted air. There was a lot of talking myself out of an anxiety attack.
My OB offered surgery or to wait and take time to process it all. I knew how physically painful my miscarriage at home was. I was much further along, so I opted for surgery.
I went to work the next morning at 4am. Laughed and smiled through my pain. In some odd way, radio is my sanctuary. My escape. I’m so lucky in that way.
They called me at 10am and said to be at the hospital by 11am. I checked in, got my IV, wheeled into surgery and was knocked out cold. I woke up in post-op crying. I had two nurses wiping my face and trying to calm me down. After some time they wheeled me outside and dropped me off at my car. Sean and Michael were there waiting. What an odd day.
I texted Sean before the surgery that if I make it out, “I’m getting Taco Bell and buying a Peleton.” I did both.
There wasn’t much physical pain. Just sore throat and irritated lungs from being intubated.
In reflecting on the two days, I realized I wasn’t ever alone. I was surrounded by support from the ultra sound tech who had to share the unfortunate news, a hug from a familiar face in the hallway, the nurses in pre-op, the nurse who administered a COVID test, Doctors in the OR and the nurses in post-op. Some held my hand, wiped my tears and one told me grape jokes to calm my nerves before anesthesia knocked me out. I’m so thankful to all the medical staff that went above the medical and offered some sense of calm.
After the surgery I had to go see my OB. I had asked to have the baby tested. I also decided I wanted to know the sex. While we were in LBI on vacation we got a call on a Sunday evening.
It was a girl. She had trisomy 21. 💔
I was stunned. I had not even considered that. She told me with my age the odds are 1 in 150. I’m not sure why but knowing all that gave me some sense of closure. I wracked my brain for weeks trying to figure out what happened. I think about her a lot. What would she look like? How much joy she would have brought no matter the circumstance.
Coincidentally I received a bracelet from “The Spotlight Project” a week later. The spotlight project helps support individuals with disabilities. They had reached out for some publicity support. What are the odds. I wear it all the time.
Just a few weeks ago I reached out to my OB in the city. She summed it up that my eggs are the risk. I can get pregnant but my eggs are 38. Lots of risk for chromosome issues. She suggested IVF. Egg extraction, find the viable egg and do IVF. I’m going to schedule a consultation and we’ll see what happens.
One thing that is not lost on me is how lucky I am for my beautiful son. I realize how fortunate I am to have him, when so many are praying for their first. My heart goes out to any couple experiencing the struggles of pregnancy and loss. It’s cruel and unfortunately more common then we realize. What we can change is the way we talk about it. So it becomes less isolating. Talk with friends so we feel less alone. As women, procreation is on our shoulders. We should be able to vent about our struggles and unite in our shared experiences.
I told my Mom I felt it was important to share my story. If I can help even one person feel less alone, it was the right thing to do. I pray she’s in the arms of my Dad, who I’m sure is tugging her ear and making her laugh. I’m at peace. Not sure what the future holds. Either way I have all I need. ❤️
Love to all those on the baby making journey!