Rachel’s Story (Part 2)
Although my ob told me that this was fluke and that would have a very small chance of reoccurring (less than %1) I’ll be on pins and needles in my next pregnancy until I pass 16 weeks with a healthy child. Every visit to the Dr will be anxiety inducing until I know my child is ok. How could I ever go into another ultrasound without feeling scared to death? The ultrasound had been such a happy thing before and now I would always have that memory that it’s how we found out my child had passed. The only thing that would change how I felt would be to have another healthy child who looked perfect on ultrasound.
When I found out the news I wanted to bury my head. I wanted to cry – and I did. I wanted to wake up from what I felt was a nightmare to be told that my child would still be born a healthy baby in September. I had seen two images of my child who was gone. I didn’t want to see anymore. I felt barren in everyway. I felt cheated that I had to go this long thinking I was carrying a healthy child. Four months. I was only a few weeks away from feeling the first kicks.
My husband wasn’t with me because we thought it would be a routine uneventful visit. But that’s the thing that you learn to realize after something like this – anytime you get to confirm that your child is healthy – it is an event. They then ushered me to another room where I got directions for the D&E that would take place the next day. All I could think about was how I had to go home with my child who had passed still inside of me. I wasn’t able to reach my husband immediately. I was hysterical.
When I got directions for the next day, I asked if there was another way out besides through a room full of hopeful and happy pregnant women. I didn’t want anyone to see me. Because an obviously pregnant and crying woman coming out of an appointment isn’t a good sign. I didn’t want anyone to think that they would share the same fate – no matter how remote the possibility. I wanted to protect them in some way.
I left. I didn’t want to encounter another soul on the way out and I didn’t. I went to the parking lot and got in a minivan that was purchased weeks after finding out about this baby who would never be. I thought – we wouldn’t need this damn van anytime soon. I called my best friend. I had to tell someone – someone who knew me – someone who cared about me. She shared my tears. Seconds later my husband clicked in – I answered. I told him the news. He asked to come to the office. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be there any longer. I wanted to get as far away from that visit as possible.
I drove home in tears. I called my parents. Everyone gave their sympathies. My husband met me at the door. He gave me a hug. It was the best hug. It felt warm and safe. He knew my pain. It was his child too. I grabbed my son. At almost 21 months he was unaware of the situation but just hearing "mama" warmed me. For that entire night I would think I was fine only to burst into tears in a second. I cried so much that night that my contacts blurred over.
I still gave our son dinner – we played with him. I still gave him a bath. He still needed me. My husband read his bedtime stories – I wanted to rest. I started to think that would be the last night my child would be cradled within me – dead or alive – this was my child. A child who I would never hold – a child who would never curl their tiny fingers around one of mine. This was my child. I cried again.
And that’s just it – when you lose a baby people come out of the woodwork sharing stories of someone else they know who suffered the same loss. They think it will be comforting for you to know you’re not alone – but the thing is at that point in your life—in that very moment – you still feel isolated and alone. Just because you mourn momentarily doesn’t mean that you will not think of that child long after life has moved on. The next morning before dawn my husband and I laid in bed. We held hands and cried. We knew what this day meant.
That day I had my D&E. I was fine until we got into the hospital. Then I started to fear the procedure. When I was in pre-op I asked how common it was. The nurses said that full moons seem to bring on the D&E’s. They made it seem as common as extracting a wisdom tooth. Who were these women I thought? Had I passed them in the grocery aisle? How did they get through? Did they have children already?