A few days ago, I was pregnant. For 12 weeks. And now, I’m not.
I’m sharing this here because miscarriage is something that women don’t talk much about, though it’s common – I can barely talk about it myself, but I can write about it. One in five pregnancies ends this way. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier, but it makes it feel less lonely.
When Sean and I went in for the 12 week check up and first trimester screen, the woman who performed the ultrasound was very quiet. Too quiet. I knew, as we walked to an exam room, that something was wrong. And when my doctor came in, she confirmed it: no heartbeat. Then she gave me a hug, and handed me a wad of tissues.
At 10 weeks, which happens to be around the same time that this little being stopped growing, we’d started to tell people. We’d seen the bean with a heartbeat, I’d been puking for weeks on end, and my pants no longer buttoned – when your clothes stop fitting, it’s pretty hard to hide.
We even told the boys, and Axel said, “Oh, a baby! Can we have a baby sister?” Jonas, a little confused by it all, unzipped my hoodie and poked at my belly saying, ” Baby? Baby?”
I’d begun to dream of names. We got ready to go car shopping. I sorted through my maternity clothes. I’d begun to picture us as a family of five, and think about what that would mean for trips to the zoo, airplane flights, and bedtime rituals. Before Axel, I had a miscarriage, but it was very early. I was sad, but I didn’t yet feel pregnant. I hadn’t told myself that being sick for days on end was worth it because of what we’d get at the end. I didn’t gain a few pounds. I didn’t even think about that pregnancy as a future baby.
This time around, it’s harder, mourning the loss of something that wasn’t yet ours. We had to tell the boys – especially Axel, who has at least something of a grasp on the idea of a baby – that the baby had gone, and we wouldn’t be having one anymore. That conversation was much harder on me than on Axel, who just wanted to know if we could have one someday.
During all this, I’ve had three coping strategies: crying, lots of hugs from my husband, and making a mental list of all the things I can do now that I’m not pregnant. Eat sushi! Have a martini! Wear my polka dot swimsuit! Fit into a bridesmaid’s dress for a wedding this summer! Ride roller coasters! Gorge on lunchmeat! Go skydiving, get Botox, and dye my hair pink! Not that I’m going to do either of those last three things, but I could, and that, along with the exclamation points, cheers me up.
I’ve already eaten some sushi. Hopefully a few of these things, a bit of time, and regaining the ability to button my pants will make me feel better.