Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Losing What You Barely Had

I haven't been too busy on here recently. There are numerous reasons for that, such as lack of cleaning led to lack of pictures led to lack of posts. But there has been something else, something much bigger, going on. I was pregnant. And yes, the was is the most correct tense. It started on a hot Texas morning three weeks ago when I stood barefoot in the bathroom blow drying my hair and watched two pink lines show up on a stick. The shock that I felt after eight months of trying and countless negatives can not be expressed. But for those of you who know me, it's safe to say you can understand just how jubilant and excited I was. There was tons of jumping up and down, a hushed tone so as not to wake Peyton, and a thrilled call to my mother who almost dropped the phone. I chose to tell Peyton later at dinner with a surprise gift that held a beautiful silver rabbit music box. That Wednesday was jam-packed with emotions, and I can say that all the joy contained within me was matched with sheer terror.

"Sheer terror" might sound dramatic. But honestly, I knew that things could go wrong to this teeny tiny being that I'd been dreaming of for years and there wasn't a thing I could do to stop it. I like to be in control, yet in this situation I was housing something that I could not promise to protect. Those two lines had opened me to the potential of a pain and a loss that I was begging not to have. And throughout all the assurances that I was young and healthy and nothing would happen, I was put of my mind scared.

To say that every time I have gone to the bathroom I have checked for blood would not be an understatement. If I averaged seven times in a day over three weeks, that gives me a whopping one hundred forty-seven instances of worry. It got better, but I still wondered. Funny enough, I still haven't seen a drop of red. Science beat nature out this time.

Last Thursday Peyton and I excitedly went to see our bean for the first time on ultrasound. We were warned it would be just that, a bean, with a flickering heart. I say excitedly because even through all my worry, I still had hope. I might not have had morning sickness or extreme fatigue or even the feeling that I was pregnant, but I still wanted to believe that a baby was growing peacefully within. So we watched the black and white lines move around and got excited to see one blob in particular, but no, that was only the amniotic fluid. Yet that, that marvelous black liquid bag, was proof that something was in me. We continued to peek around but learned no more because there was no embryo to see. Absolutely normal, we were told, it was simply that the embryo was younger than we had assumed and would need another week. We were sent to get blood work and invited back in another week to look again.

On paper, it all sounds reasonable. And in many cases it is. But I knew. I just knew that something was not right, and as much as I wanted to believe the doctor and know that it was okay, my heart said otherwise. On Friday I waited with bated breath as the nurse found my blood hormone counts, the straw I was clinging to that everything was fine. But, of course, it wasn't. My progesterone was low and my HCG (the hormone released by the embryo) was within the enormous range of normal but could only be looked at with a comparison to another count. So more waiting ensued as I was put onto progesterone supplements and told to have my blood redrawn the following Tuesday.

This, coupled with the ultrasound, had me prematurely grieving and trying to protect myself from what I thought to be the truth. I told people I knew it was over; I told them that it wouldn't come back good. I went through the process of letting go early to be ready when the blow came on Wednesday. But ya know what? As much as I tried, and even as much as I said I knew, I never lost that little bit of hope within me that everything was okay. This became much clearer when the clock switched to 12:00 this afternoon and I was free to call for my results. I was petrified. Calling and finding out the truth meant losing my pregnancy, my baby, my plans. It meant having an embryo in me that had stopped developing normally versus one whose heartbeat I would see on Friday. It meant really coming to grips with what I'd been telling myself and others for the last six days, something that I just wasn't ready to do. Of course it also could have meant learning that my bean was growing fine and healthy within me, but whether it was my protective instincts or simply intuition, I knew that that was only a hope.

So I called. And I waited. And I was informed by the lab tech that they couldn't find my chart and would call again. And that's when I knew, because I had previously been told they could tell via the internet. Obviously, telling someone that they have a "bad pregnancy" is the job of a nurse, not a lab tech. And obviously, they have to not scare the patient and just tell them they lost the chart. Paranoid a little? That's what I tried to tell myself as I had these thoughts while waiting the thirty minutes for the call. I was becoming crazily paranoid and negative, I insisted, and they simply had lost my chart. Then the phone rang, and it was the nurse.

My progesterone levels were fantastic, had gone from 10 to 23.3, and they look for 15-16 as necessary. But my HCG, the hormone released by the embryo, had not risen as needed. Because the embryo grows so rapidly, the HCG should rise two to three fold every 48-72 hours. Mine had gone from 5800 to 6800 in five days. I was gently told what I already knew, that this was a bad pregnancy. So now here I am. I have an appointment on Friday to confirm through ultrasound that development isn't occurring as it should, and then I'm guessing further options will be given. There is a slight, slight chance that the counts are wrong and that everything is fine, but by this stage, I'm done holding onto hope. I know what I've known to some extent from the beginning, and I need to work with that.

It's tough for me to really accept and understand everything that's happening because it seemed so unreal from the beginning. I'm sure all pregnant women feel that, but I felt the same as I always had. How could I have been growing a human within me and feel so normal? How can I be losing something that I never fully believed I had? And how, when I barely had it, can it hurt so much? It's just all so theoretical. I was told that it was there, that it was fine, that everything would be okay. And then I was told that things aren't okay, that it's still in there, and that it won't last. All the while, I have seen no vomit or blood, to tell me one way or the other. I simply have had to believe. So here I am, saying that I was pregnant when in fact I am pregnant with a pregnancy that I know isn't going to last. I am pregnant with an embryo that has stopped developing. I am pregnant with a baby that I love with all my might but didn't even believe was in there. I am pregnant with a dream that I'm going to have to let go of. I might have to choose to bring forth the bodily fluids to move on, to start fresh, to let go of the dream. But I will remember it, and I will love it, and I will not be ashamed to talk about it because these things happen. They are sad, probably more so than I'm realizing right now, but they need to be brought in to the open so women can find comfort. 

On ultrasound day I was doing my daily scan of the newsfeed on Facebook when I saw this post:

This week we remember the babies born asleep, or whom we have carried but never met, or those we have held but could not take home, or the ones who made it home but couldn't stay. Make this your status, if you or someone you know has suffered the loss of a baby. Baby loss is still a taboo subject. Break the silence. In memory of all angels.

It probably sounds ridiculous to say that I felt like it was speaking to me, that it was another sign to make me realize what was happening, but it was and it did. Later that night I told Peyton that everything wasn't okay, that this message had spoken to me and I knew that it was timed like this for a reason. He, reasonably enough, told me that I was just worrying and reading into things that couldn't possibly be related. And he might be right. It might have been a huge coincidence. But it's a coincidence that I saw, that I let in, and that I am helping to fulfill.

For those who have gone through this and don't want to share, that's completely okay. Losing a pregnancy is a private thing, one of the most private, so there should be no pressure. But for those like me, people who need to share and let it out to move on, opening up has to be an option. Most people don't realize how many women have miscarriages, or that they know plenty that have gone through it, often silently. It's a fact of life that is skirted away. I luckily had researched enough so that I don't feel like it's my fault, or that I'm alone. Countless women have been through it and are going through it now, so I am part of a womanhood that understands. By sharing on here, I am simply helping myself heal. I am getting my thoughts and feelings down so I can see and sort through them as a whole. I face it head on and let the emotions wash over me, hoping that in the end, letting it all out will simply be cleansing. 

I don't know if I believe that my little one had a soul yet or where it was even going, but I can say that I like to think that it did. As bittersweet as it is to me, I am choosing to think that it will be headed to a heaven-like place to meet my grandmother. That it will be at peace up there. And I know that when it's time for us to have our child we will. But right now I'm mourning for our sweet pea that didn't make it, because even though we never really had it, it was all us. 



  1. Christina, my heart aches for you. I cannot even imagine what it feels like. I met my husband when I was 36. I was never able to get pregnant, and for various reasons we never did anything "more". So although I've never been in your shoes, I do understand the feelings of loss.

    I will be hoping and praying for you.

  2. i love you so very much. you are without a doubt one of the bravest, most incredible women i know.

    you and p are unbelievable parents- to this bean and any in the future, and i'm sending so much positive energy and love to you two right now and always.

  3. Christina, I'm so sorry to read this. It's very brave of you to share the story...G told me once that the number of miscarriages is so high but no one ever talks about it because as you said it's still taboo. I'm glad you had the courage to get your emotions out there. We'll be thinking of you.

  4. Hi Christina, Thank you for your kind words on my post about our loss. I'm sorry I am just finally getting around to reading yours now, it is beautifully written and brings a lot of emotions to the surface. I am so sorry for your loss, also. Thank you for sharing your story :)


  5. I definitely believe at the moment of conception, there's life, there's a soul, and there's a God watching over that baby. So sad to read this but also so thankful for your honesty. I know your story will resonate with so many women who have lost a pregnancy.


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