Those were the words I spoke to my doctor ten years ago when she told me she didn’t think “this baby” was going to make it. The day was Wednesday, August 5, 1998.
I was just past 10 weeks and in for a routine prenatal visit. Everything had been going well – I had increasing morning sickness; my beta hcgs looked good; my pants were getting tight. I had some crampiness – but took that to mean I was overdoing things a bit in the summer heat, perhaps dehydrated. I spent a weekend during one episode of cramping resting, drinking lots of water and that seemed to help. I had no spotting – nothing to indicate anything as being wrong.
There had been one day – just a few before that day, that I remember realizing I hadn’t thrown up that day. I felt pretty good. My first thought was “ There goes Jessi’s baby sister.” My next thought was that morning sickness, or rather: morning, noon and night sickness, sometimes was cyclical for me and it wasn’t uncommon for me to have a couple good days in the midst of the bad ones each week. In retrospect – it does feel like a bit of foreshadowing, my immediate first reaction that of losing the baby. However, given my track record at this point, that would not be an unusual reaction for me. I was in my 7th pregnancy and had only delivered 2 living children. The fact that I was sick at all, had no spotting, the good betas and seeing the flicker of a heartbeat just a few weeks prior as well as a tiny kick gave me reassurance. Later, it would feel like I had only been grasping at straws.
I was sent to the Radiology Department. The radiologist asked the nurse attending him if she knew what a fetus should measure at 10 weeks. She didn’t know – I answered, “About 3 inches long.” Still, I was calm. They were quiet. They wouldn’t show me the screen. They printed some pictures, handed them to me and told me I was to return with them to my
I sat quietly in an exam room – waiting for my
My doctor asked me twice if I was able to drive myself; if they needed to call someone. I declined. She handed me a piece of paper with the time and date to be at the hospital for my d&c; the do’s and don’ts; the watch-for’s and “call-us-ifs”. She said, "I would go over all this with you, but . . ."she stopped; I knew the drill. I asked for the u/s pictures. The girl at the desk looked perplexed. She looked at me and then at my
I had started a Mother-to-be scrapbook calendar - afterward, I never started another one again, out of superstition perhaps. I wrote in it that I found out I was pregnant on June 26, 1998 and that I was "excited, happy, scared, nervous" - in that order, and that is exactly how I had reacted - initial excitement turning quickly to fear. Under health concerns I had written: "Carrying to term".
This loss, my 5th , was the catalyst for delving deeper into world of infertility. Following my d&c, I had an HSG – a horrible and painful experience that left me bleeding and sobbing in the bathroom afterward for a full 20 minutes until the nurse knocked on the door to ask if I was okay. I went through the whole infertility workup for the second time, with chromosomal analysis for dh and myself. The answers, were frustrating, because there were none – just the same suspicions from before – luteal phase defect, maybe some clotting/immunological issues – but nothing definitive. The pathology report noted a blood clot in the placenta; whether pre- or post-mortem, they could not say. Certainly it could have led to her demise – she had been termed a ‘genetically normal female’.
The following year I joined an email support group. I was newly pregnant again and falling apart – fearful and anxious. I knew I needed to be able to talk to someone, but someone who ‘got it’. One of the ladies there became a friendly correspondent, though it wasn’t until several months later we found we had an eerily similar common bond.
On the very same day I was told my baby no longer had a heartbeat – she sat in a similar office and was told the same thing. Two days afterward – she was scheduled to be induced and I was to have my second d&c, on the same exact day: Friday, August 7, 1998. This common bond cemented a friendship that has lasted over 9 years now – through emails, letters written by hand, Christmas cards, occasional packages. Over the last couple years there was a little drifting apart. The email support group we belonged to was something my needs had moved beyond; life goes on; people get busy and sometimes you lose track of each other. And then one day, there it was, an email in my inbox from a familiar name. We had both started blogging about the same time – neither of us knowing the other had started a blog. A lucky coincidence? Perhaps. Though, I have a feeling that somewhere, there are two little girls who know that there are some people in this life who were there when we needed them, and who should never be forgotten.
In loving memory of two little girls – Her precious Katie & my sweet Carena ~i~ ~i~
Never in my arms – forever in my heart