Monday, April 7, 2014

say it

i have been trying, for days, to find my way through something very difficult. something no one ever talks about; maybe something no one thinks they can or should talk about. finally i have realized that it's not that i want  to talk about it, but that i need  to talk about it. it was the fact that i read other women talking about it, read other women hurting over it and confiding in those who have been through it, that i knew i needed to just say it. just say it, kristina. 

it's been no secret that i love being a mom. no secret that i love my child. no secret that i've wanted to grow our family, for my son to have a sibling to grow up with. beaz has asked me regularly for about a year when he gets to be a big brother. e and i finally decided, march of last year, that we were both ready for it. it was an exciting thing at first, the anticipation of another child. then it became stressful and heartbreaking as every month i waiting for that pink double line, only to be disappointed. finally, in august, i had this feeling, just a knowing feeling, and we got our wish. the excitement was so explosive i could barely contain it. we kept it pretty quiet, you know, "in case," and we were so happy. a few weeks later it all went away. i remember, when i realized what was happening, whispering the words "no.... no. no. no. no no!" knowing that something that i had wanted so badly was slipping away and there was nothing i could do about it. the following day i was at the hospital with my best friend by my side, sitting in the waiting room of the lab. her hand around my shoulders while i waited to get my blood taken so i could get my RhoGAM shot. i'm Rh negative, so i need the RhoGAM after each pregnancy to prevent build up of antibodies against any future pregnancies. the shot took an hour to prepare, so we went back home to wait. the whole day i tried my best to keep strong, keep my self contained no matter how much my heart was screaming. an hour later i sat, hand in hand with my bestie, while we waited the obligatory 30 minutes after the shot to ensure there would be no reaction. then we went home and used our favorite cure-all to distract me: old episodes and bloopers of the office and junk food. the physical pain lasted maybe a day, and then it passed, but the emotional pain left my heart a little tender permanently.

a few months went by and i felt ready to jump back in with renewed hope. again, months crawled by and i felt bitter and discouraged as nothing happened. then, at the beginning of march, while edward was away on a business trip and beaz was with my parents for the weekend so i could work, i decided to just take a test for the hell of it. i had suspected it would be negative, but out of habit and that slight hope it might be positive, i peed on that little stick as i had done for months, and left it in the bathroom. because i hadn't been anticipating anything, i actually forgot about it for about 20 minutes. then, while i was trying to recall what i had forgotten about, it occurred to me that i had taken the test. i walked into the bathroom and picked up the little stick, giving it a glance of little interest. there it was, a very faint second line. my heart leaped: i was pregnant! i remember muttering "well, that was unexpected." i didn't tell edward until he got home that night-- actually, i didn't even tell him at all. he had been anticipating it and made a joke about it and my straight face broke into a grin. "are you really!?" he said. "yup, i just found out this morning!"

i made it a point not to get overly excited this time. i was focused, driven, to be healthy and calm so i could have a good pregnancy. i worked out almost every day, i cut out sweets, caffeine, fried and processed foods. i had migraines nearly every day, i felt super pregnant. i was tired constantly, but could hardly sleep at night. i cared about none of that; in fact, i welcomed it. it just served as a reminder of what was happening to my body. i waited what felt like an extremely long 8 weeks to have my first appointment with my OBGYN. he was my doctor when i had beaz and i knew and trusted him implicitly. when we met in his office, we discussed my previous loss. he closed my file and looked at me, "i'm not even going to make you go through all of this right now. i just want to get you through this first trimester, then we can talk about all of this paperwork and genetics and stuff. just tell me of anything i need to know and we'll leave the rest until later." we had a long talk about everything we felt was important and left the stack of paperwork alone. i was feeling good, feeling supported. i was lead into the exam room where i followed the usual routine. it's not like i was my first time or anything. my OB came into the room and told the nurse there would be no exam "down there" because of my history. he wasn't even going to risk it if he didn't have to. he went straight to the ultrasound. his first comment "your bladder is HUGE. you need to go pee!" i laughed, "i have had so much water today, sorry!" the nurse wrapped me from the waist down in those lovely paper "blankets" and helped me pad down the hall to the bathroom. we made our way back to the room, spirits still high. he set me up for the ultrasound again and decided he needed an internal approach. he switched the ultrasound up and we finally got a view of the sac. then the walls came crashing in.

as i watched the screen, trying to remember what i should be seeing, my doctor sighed. "this doesn't look good.. this is abnormally shaped. i don't like those edges. i don't see anything in there, either. kid.. i don't think this is a good pregnancy.. you should be 8 weeks.. but i'm measuring 6 weeks, 4 days.." i inhaled and held my breath. shit. fucking shit. fuck fuck fuck. no. please no. i couldn't exhale. i couldn't say anything. i just stared at the screen, holding my breath. my eyes burned as i tried not to cry. he pointed out what he was seeing, and i knew he wasn't telling me anything that wasn't obvious. there was nothing there. he pointed out a small shadow of something to me. "i can't tell what that is, it could be something. i want you to come back in one week so i can monitor it. the edges of the sac looking like this, a little sharp like that, makes me think it's the start of it breaking down. i'm sorry kid, i can't tell you anything until next week. you know me, i won't do anything until i know for sure, but if by next week there's no progress and you haven't started to lose it naturally.. i'll have to schedule a D&C." i smiled, or what i think was my best impression of a smile, and he left the room. i remember dressing, so slowly. i looked at my phone and saw a new text. e, who was stuck at work and had been waiting for news, asking if everything was okay. "no.." was all i could respond. i stared at the image frozen on the screen and my heart shattered. i walked out as bravely as i could, no tears. my doctor was waiting there for me, "one week, tuesday would be the best. i need you to call me immediately if you start spotting or bleeding. i have to get you in for the RhoGAM right away if that's the case." i made my appointment at the front desk and turned to leave. i marched quickly across the parking lot to my car, unlocked the door, and my face crumpled. the tears came, though i was still fighting them the whole way home.

e came home from work to be with me. i looked him in the eye, through my tears, and told him as much as this hurt, i was glad to know now. i was glad my body, for whatever reason, was going to reject this pregnancy if it wasn't the 'right one.' i had already read about miscarriages that happen early on in pregnancy, and, though there is no true rhyme or reason for most of them, there's believed to be a link between a poorly developing pregnancy and miscarriage. survival of the fittest: our bodies tend to reject a pregnancy that may not be developing right. a lot of these miscarriages happen so early on that we wouldn't even know we were pregnant. in that moment i was grateful my body was taking care of me like that and i wanted to trust it. but it was a short lived gratitude. i woke up the next day and found my body was rejecting this pregnancy as predicted at my OB appointment. i waited, as the spotting stopped for a few hours, to see if it was just post appointment spotting. a few hours later, i knew it wasn't. i called the office to find my doctor was out for the day and they insisted i go to the ER to get my RhoGAM shot and be checked out. i spent a few hours in the ER, surprisingly calm and accepting of what was happening, and then was sent home to let my body miscarry naturally.

the miscarriage really didn't get underway in any real affect until the following evening. suddenly i was in immense pain. the cramps were excruciating and nothing touched the pain. extra strength tylenol and heating pads were only mildly comforting. i spent the following days saying "it will get better tomorrow, it won't hurt like this tomorrow," only to wake up in more pain with each day that passed. i spent my days in bed or on the couch, accepting any help with beaz that i was offered. e spent the whole weekend caring for him while i could barely managed to sit up. that's when i started to resent my body. i started to feel like my body had betrayed me, denying me of something women are naturally born to do: carry and birth babies. i suddenly felt angry, frustrated, disgusted. i was hurt.
and just as suddenly, i was aware of one thing.. beaz.

he was truly my miracle. how had i not seen that? how was it that my pregnancy with him was so normal? so without consequence, without complications? i felt lucky that i had even been able to experience that. it didn't stop the hurt. i still want to grow our family, i still want that for him and for us. he's so loving, so generous, and so wishing for a sibling (well, a brother, but i know he would love a sister just the same). all of this made me understand my own strength. instead of giving up or giving in to the despair, it has made me ferocious and determined. even if we never get a second child, i will not be resigned to feel defeat. i will love beaz, and not feel incomplete if we never have another, but i will not throw up my hands, either. i owe it to myself to seek out answers, and to empower myself to move forward. i will not be too afraid to try.

i don't know who said it, or where it came from, but a quote i read once has been helping me through this: an arrow can only be shot forward by being pulled back.  if that's true, then i feel i am about to go very far.

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