Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bye, bye, baby

I'm not sure how to tell you this, so I'm just going to say it. I am not pregnant anymore. I've had a miscarriage.

Watching soap operas throughout the years, I'd learned that a miscarriage always happens like this: you have a heated confrontation with your husband's lover, then you clutch your abdomen in pain and croak, "Something's wrong. Something's wrong with the baby!" Next scene, you're in a hospital bed, crying as a handsome doctor shakes his head, eyes to the ground. Next scene after that, you're on somebody's yacht, scheming about how to get another baby to pass off as your own...

Turns out that a real-life miscarriage may not happen in this way. I was sitting at my in-laws' house, stuffed from a bowl of GG's homemade beef stew, chatting with my mother-in-law about Nathan. I kept feeling cramps, getting more and more insistant, so I ducked into the bathroom to see if anything was going on Down There. Now, I do things like this to psych myself out all the time. Like, okay, I'll check and see if there's something wrong because I know that there isn't really going to be anything wrong.

Except there was.

I was bleeding, and I was so surprised to see that there actually was something bad happening. So I paged the midwife on call, still thinking that I was being dramatic and that she was going to (kindly) laugh at me about getting overly-anxious over nothing.

Except she didn't.

When the midwife called back - the very same one who had delivered Nathan, actually - she asked me to tell her what was happening. I explained that there was some cramping and some bleeding, and I just wanted to see if I should be worried. "Well," she said nonchalantly, "In a situation like this, when what you're describing happens, we think 'miscarriage.'"

I was dumbfounded, waiting for the rest. But there wasn't much else she could tell me except that I should go in for some bloodwork on Monday morning, and then again on Wednesday morning, so that the hormone levels could be measured and I could know whether my pregnancy was still viable. I awkwardly lingered on the phone with her; I couldn't understand that she was telling me that a) I was probably having a miscarriage, and that b) there wasn't anything that I needed to do, like go to the hospital, and that c) I wouldn't even know for sure until probably Wednesday.

I cried. Jason had already hustled the kids into the van as I'd been awaiting the midwife's call, so all I had to do was walk down the driveway and get in. I cried and shook so hard as I made that walk that the kids must have been terrified. Jason murmured something like, "Mom's not feeling well," and we rode home in silence except for Nathan's repeated questioning: "Why is my mom crying?"

When we got home, I laid in bed with the lights off and the covers over my head, just focusing on feeling what my body was doing. Nathan came in and hugged me and told me that he would make me feel better. And as he snuggled with me, he did.

I hid out in this fashion until bedtime, all the while looking for hope (implantation can cause bleeding and cramps!) but sensing that what was happening was probably not going to turn out to be some weird fluke that we'd laugh about after my delivery. By 7, I understood that there wasn't going to be a baby coming in May. I wiped my face and decided to give the kids a really good tuck-in. I relished reading every page of Nathan's book with him, staring at his profile as I recited the memorized lines. I felt overwhelmed with love for him, and I sang his songs with a sweeter voice than I ever had. When it was the girls' turn, I brought out a new chapter book for us to start reading together: Mathilda by Roald Dahl. As we read, I kept peeking at them, noticing how very beautiful they are. And I hugged those girls like there was no tomorrow.

Later, before I went to bed, I passed what they call the "products of conception," which told us definitively that the baby was gone.

What they didn't tell me on General Hospital was that a miscarriage is not necessarily a boom-bang-and-you're-done kind of thing. For me, it's been a sort of ongoing process as my body says, "Uh, something's not right with this one. Let's call a do-over!" Since Sunday afternoon, I've had cramps and bleeding as the field gets cleared off and reseeded for next time. It's a strange and surreal feeling to be walking around, going about your day(s), doing laundry, making lunch, running errands, all in the process of having a miscarriage.

So, I guess I should apologize to you for putting you in the awkward position of knowing that I've had a miscarriage. If I had done what most people in polite society do, I would have kept quiet about the pregnancy until 12 weeks, and therefore you never would have been the wiser that any of this had happened. Unfortunately, I've never been any good at keeping secrets, and I tend to be a pretty emotional person. As soon as I found out that I was expecting, it became the only thing I could think about, and good lord, how was I going to blog some stupid crap about what I bought at the store today when I was PREGNANT? And how was I going to make small-talk at the car pick-up line when I knew that I was PREGNANT?

So, I told. I honestly never thought that this would happen to me. I was like an arrogant senior rolling his eyes through the drinking-and-driving crash video they show a week before prom. Sure, it could happen, but it wasn't going to happen to me.

Except it did.

And I am sad - really, really sad. But I'll be okay.


  1. i told, too. then when it was over it was so hard to look at everyone. but then i realized that i told those i loved because i needed them. i needed them after i lost the pregnancy. lean on your friends who are here fro you now. i'm so sorry, so so sorry.

  2. Kelly,
    I know we don't know each other very well at all and i started reading your blog because I have a blog as well. My heart goes out to you. I can't imagine how you feel but if you need ANYTHING please know that I am here and very happy to help if you do. i think it is good thing that you told people because this way people can just be there for you. you don't have to say anything and they dont have to say anything you just know that they love you and care.My heart goes out to you,
    Jill ( jared's mom)

  3. Oh, Kelley, your post made me cry and cry. I have lived through this too--before I had my 2 kids. I remember visiting friends the weekend after I found out and sitting by the fire crying for 2 days straight because I didn't have to take care of anyone else. I had to actually go to the hospital to "clear the field," but not until almost a week later. Not my best week. The good news is that you know that you have carried 3 beautiful, precious children, and you can do it again if you want to. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for being brave enough to share this with your friends. Much love...

  4. I'm thinking of you today Kelley. And grieving with you. :-(

  5. You tell people so when something like this happens we can be there for you 110+%. A shoulder, an ear, silence, whatever the case may be. Support for whenever you may need it!! Hang in there!! Melissa

  6. Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments. Today was harder than I thought it would be - I'd sort of figured I was cried out and would be moving forward today, business as usual, but it wasn't like that. Hope it will be like that soon.

  7. So sorry to hear about your loss! As usual, you have written about this in a beautiful and honest way that I found very touching. I don't think you need to apologize to anyone for letting us share this pain with you. Hope things get better in your world soon.