What to Say
When I dropped off my daughter at preschool this morning I ran into one of her little friends with his mom. I knew she was due in April and had been asking around about the baby to see if anyone knew if she had delivered yet. She’s a sweet lady and I was anxious and happy to hear her news. So when I saw her I said, “Hey. How are you? Where’s the baby? Were’t you due in April?” I glanced down and her belly seemed still pregnant but smaller. She replied with a funny look on her face, “Oh, no one told you. I thought someone was going to tell you….”
I knew right away that something wasn’t right, but unsure of what had happened I felt my smile fade and my face drop. “Oh. I’m so sorry…I had no idea anything happened.”
She then reached for her 3.5 year old son and told him I was asking about his angel baby baby sister Sofie.
I looked at the sweet faced boy and said, “You have your own angel baby sister. That’s pretty special.” I didn’t know what else to say. Poor little guy. I then reached for his mom and gave her a huge hug, amazed at how strong she was able to be about the situation. I had had a miscarriage and angel baby years before and I knew the emotional toll it could take. But losing a full term child? I could not imagine the heartache, sorrow, and anger she must be feeling. I had no idea how she was keeping it together.
She walked him to his class and my daughter skipped along happily. I then learned that she went into the hospital thinking she was in labor and was sent home after a hospital stay. Days later when she returned they found no heart beat. She didn’t tell me this, it was the Director of the preschool who filled me in while she walked away. My heart sank when I heard this. Early on in her pregnancy she attended my daughter’s birthday party along with her son. She was perfectly healthy and told me she was due in April. One reason I even remembered is that it’s my birth month.
Sometimes it Just Happens
She returned to the lobby and I apologized profusely. I said I couldn’t imagine what she and her husband must be going through. And she admitted it sucks and said but what can you do, they’re still investigating the cause. The doctor’s told her, “Sometimes it just happens.” Hardly reassuring. And this is on the heels of lots of media coverage about the poor record and standing of the US maternal. We have the second worst newborn death rate in the modern world. But meeting and knowing someone whom this has happened to makes you question how privileged a country we really are.
I talked to her a bit more, she told me that many people were coming forward and writing her letters to let her know they support her or went through something similar. I believe I heard her say that 3 or 4 people went through the same thing. THREE or FOUR mom’s carried their babies to term and delivered them stillborn. THREE or FOUR mom’s within her small circle. Doesn’t that seem high? Why don’t we hear about this? Are people in so much pain that it’s actually easier to sweep it under the carpet then to talk about it.
This mother was trying to get through her day, minute by minute. She had survived Mother’s Day, it fell on the weekend after she lost her baby girl, but I could see on her face that she was in survival mode. Amazingly she was able to be candid and see some positive things that had happened, like having her son around as an outlet for her love. They’ve been able to talk about his angel baby sister and how much they love and miss her, grieving in tandem has been a huge help to both of them.
We talked about getting our kids together. Her son has a new swingset and so far the only person he wants to come over is my daughter, not even his best buddy at preschool. My sense was that’s because he knows her like a sister, they were babies in daycare together and she’s very spunky and brash but also affectionate and loving, probably a safe and non-threatening choice for him. I just started working more hours but said I could be flexible and find a way to make it happen. I noticed her husband waiting in the car and went over to offer my condolences. He was as candid as her and also moved by the outpouring of love that they have received. He said he was doing better and told me they talked about me the other day because they knew someone should tell me.
Friday the 13th and My Situation
I’m all over the map about trying to write about this because I found out the day I was scheduled to see my OB/GYN for my first pregnancy visit. I’m 8 weeks pregnant and I saw my Doctor yesterday, Friday the 13th. She elected to give me a pap smear which this morning resulted in bleeding. I sat through a long confirmation service at church and midway had to leave to call the Dr’s office and explain what was going on. As I write this I am in bed. My husband has my daughter out doing errands so I can rest. It’s a Saturday afternoon, and I may be miscarrying. When I asked the nurse why they would give me a pap smear this early on, she said its standard practice and mentioned something about detecting HPV. She told me to keep an eye on the bleeding and go to the ER if it got bad. If not, they would schedule an ultrasound on Monday.
It’s Monday, I’m going in for the ultrasound in less than an hour. Last night I was hopeful when the bleeding slowed but I changed a pad and then felt something slip through. It was a giant clot. I dissolved into tears and called for my husband. He was at my side immediately comforting me and also quite sad. We wanted another child and had been trying off and on for 2 years. We considered fertility treatments but I came to the realization that I wasn’t up for it. We had his daughter from a previous marriage and our daughter together, so we are already blessed. I gave up and then found myself feeling “fat” and tired. He suggested I might be pregnant and I joked it off. We tried hard all those years, switching diets, reading books, doing abdominal massage, getting acupuncture, drinking Nyquil…and no results so how could we be pregnant now? Low and behold 3 positive results on 3 pee sticks. I didn’t know what to do. I got a blood test and that was positive too. It was really happening for us. So though we both had to adjust we quickly moved into a positive place of anticipation and haven’t breathed a word to our family while waiting to know more and get into the “safety zone”…as if there is one.
We called the nurses line and they were concerned that I would have heavy bleeding through the night and urged me to go to the ER if that happened. But I have barely bled at all. I now realize that the clot measured larger than an 8 week embryo should. It was 1.5 inches but an 8 week embryo is about .5 inches. So I have no idea what it was and what’s going on. Hoping to get some answers soon. My husband is meeting me there.
It’s Friday. We found out on Monday that we lost the baby. There’s too much to write and though I’m doing well I don’t have the energy to rehash it. So I will revisit the experience in a separate post.