Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to us by the anonymous writer of Infertile Spouse Confessions. We are so grateful to her for trusting us to continue sharing her journey. As with all of the pieces in our Confessions Series, she will remain anonymous.
For more: Spouse Confessions: I Can’t Have a Baby
First and foremost, thank you to all the readers who commented. Thank you for perspective.
I knew I was pregnant before we knew for sure. Something felt different. Then day one of mensies came and went but my husband, ever the skeptic, wanted to wait before we tested. So we waited. The next day we went to a farmers market and I was simply exhausted. There was a vendor selling meade (honey wine which I typically love) but it tasted “off” to me so we did not get any. The third day of Aunt Flow no-show we finally tested. I peed on the little stick and in less than five seconds the plus sign appeared. Pregnancy confirmed!! We rejoiced and took silly photos. My sweet husband made me cry twice: once telling me I am not “broken” and the other suggesting that the “Peanut” tattoo be a phoenix. I said yes. It was a Sunday so I was not able to book any appointments but I started trying to find out the next steps with Tricare.
Monday came and went and I was unable to book anything, one because they thought it was not yet “week six” and two because their appointment line was down. I would not have been able to book anything anyways. I happily suffered the pregnancy symptoms for another week before being seen. I was exhausted, all the time, and my breasts ached. My skin itched, especially my scalp, which I discovered is another symptom. I was moody, like crazy mood swings moody. I did notice enough to apologize to my husband.
We went to the OB orientation and got fluids drawn to confirm pregnancy and other vitals. We got the purple book on what to expect when expecting. We signed up for the ultrasound and all the other required appointments. I tried to keep my questions to a minimum, both for the sake of time and because the internet answered most of my silly questions: Is itching normal? Why am I so tired? How much food should I be eating? etc. We went home happier than we have been in a long time.
Another week and hubby could not hold it in. He told his mother so of course I had to tell mine. We mentioned we would not be sharing the news with the rest of the world until we were “out of the woods” at week twelve. They both agreed that was a good idea but were happy to hear of another grandchild.
Then I started spotting. We tried to remain calm since it was not much but I was so scared. We took it easy that day. Luckily it was a Sunday so we did not have much to do. In the early afternoon the spotting turned to bleeding and we went to the emergency room. I could not keep it together. My husband had to answer the intake nurse’s questions. I started to cramp and I could not stop crying. She was sweet and they were quick to get me in a room. Then we waited. We waited for a nurse to get me hooked up to machines, making it so very difficult to go to the restroom. We waited for various doctors and technicians and students who all asked the same questions. We waited for baby-safe pain medication because my cramps were unbearable. We waited for a trip to ultrasound.
We waited to find out we had lost another baby.
I thought a full day in the emergency room was the end, not a week of aches, cramps, and constant bleeding. I thought it would be like last time, over before I knew it. But then I thought this day would never come. I thought I would continue to go to all those scheduled OB appointments. I thought I would be getting my ultrasound next week. I did get my ultrasound. In the ER. No heartbeat.
We lost our baby in the backstage basement bathroom at a military life seminar. I wept when I saw her, shrouded in blood. I choked as I watched her circle the drain. I pulled myself together to return to the full day seminar. It made no difference if I was in the auditorium or not. I could not focus. I was not hearing a word of what the exuberant speaker was so engaged in sharing with us. I was in pain. Not just physical pain. Not just the cramps and aching and dizzying headache. It was the sensation of our baby’s life support ecosystem being ripped from within me. My womb falling apart.
The heartache consumes me. I feel empty, a hollow shell. I am lost in grief again.
What now? What is the next step? Where do we go from here?
We had our follow up appointment to confirm my miscarriage was progressing normally and my hCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were decreasing appropriately. Sitting in the OB clinic with baby photos and pamphlets was not easy. Answering the pregnancy questionnaire paperwork was worse. How many weeks are you? How many pregnancies is this? How do you feel? A young male student took my vitals and timidly asked the questions, getting my medical history. No surprise, my blood pressure was elevated. He was so sweet but I was so angry. Again, my husband had to answer some of the questions. We told him of our difficulties with previous doctors. He asked the questions about emotional health and if there was anything that he or the clinic could do. I told him we would like to be taken seriously and get a referral to the infertility clinic. He said he would let the doctor know.
I got another transvaginal ultrasound, this time in a room full of technicians and students and my husband. Although my womb was empty the doctor announced that it looked normal. “Normal is nice to hear,” I piped up from under the paper blanket. She then described to my husband and I what all the shapes on the screen were. When it was all said and done she explained the next steps like weekly blood draws to monitor my hormone levels until I am back to normal then she would refer me to infertility. I would not need to see my Primary Care Provider again. She would be ‘handling’ us. I felt a sense of relief. Finally we have proof and medical staff who care.
Thank you, Penny. You honored us with your life. You honor Peanut. Hopefully, your brief time on this earth will allow us to become future parents.
With great joy and sadness I would like to announce that we are no longer pregnant.