When I picked Grace up from daycare yesterday, she was sitting at a table with some play food, a doll on the chair beside her. Her teacher and I chatted a bit before she turned to Grace and asked if she was feeding her baby brother. Grace, ever the literal one, knowing darn well the difference between a real baby and a doll, replied full with smiles, Nooooooo, silly, it’s just me and Oscar. Quinn was growing in mama’s belly but then he stopped growing and he died.
In hindsight, perhaps we shouldn’t have been so open about the pregnancy with the kids so soon, perhaps we shouldn’t have given the baby a name too quickly. But I was 10 weeks along before I knew there was anything wrong with the baby, 12 weeks before I finally miscarried. My body had been changing and growing the entire time, I had a noticeable baby bump… and people werenoticing. With two healthy beautiful pregnancies behind me, who knew? Who knew…
I remember feeling nervous the day we went for our first ultrasound. I don’t know why, but as I lay on the table with jelly on my belly, I told myself that I would not look at the screen until the technician said those magic words, “everything looks good.” The words never came. After a very pregnant silence I finally looked up and did not see what I was used to seeing at that stage of pregnancy, I definitely didn’t see a heartbeat. Heading back to the waiting room, my husband tried so hard to remain positive, tried so hard to believe that everything was still fine but I knew the truth. As I sat there watching all these other couples oogling over their black and white photos, and us empty-handed, I knew the truth.
The weeks that followed were honestly terrible. I spent a solid 3 days on the couch. After this I decided to buck up, to know that whatever happened was beyond my control and unchangeable, so I went back to my business although my brain was in a perpetual haze. This lasted until the spotting came. I went to the hospital then, I wanted answers, I wanted concrete proof the pregnancy wasn’t viable, and if I got that proof, I wanted the baby out. Like, ASAP. After hours of waiting I did get my proof, my hCG levels were decreasing, the baby was certainly dead. They chose not to help me speed up the process of elimination. They wanted it to happen naturally. Bullshit.
My husband wanted to come with me to the hospital and I said no. When I got home, he wanted to sit with me, and I said no. He wanted to hold me, and I said no. Specifically I said, Don’t touch me… all I wanted was to hide under my covers in the fetal position. I knew he was also dealing with a loss. I knew he also had feelings to sort through, but I couldn’t help him, I couldn’t hear his feelings. What was happening in my body was still happening and I was just too raw.
For five days I waited, again in my haze. Finally it began. I remember it was a Tuesday. I remember making inappropriate jokes over texts with friends checking in on me. I remember feeling determined not to have this break me. I picked the kids up from daycare that night and through a blizzard drove to the mall. I spent that night with my living children, ushering them through the mall, having their photo taken with Santa, taking them to dinner. I remember pushing the double stroller through inches of snow, totally cramped and hunched over, but refusing to give in to the pain.
Nobody ever talks about miscarriage until you know someone that’s had one, and then, nobody tells you how insanely awful it is. Nobody tells you that you can have contractions, that you can feel the need to push as in a live birth, and just when you think the worst of it is over, it starts again, again and again until you think you will die from the blood loss. Nobody ever talks about this, but I’ll tell you now, those were 2 days of my life I could definitely have done without.
Once it was over I became angry. Really really angry. Out loud kind of angry. I planned for Oscar’s birthday party 3 days away. I painted the stairwell. I painted my bathroom and baked a birthday cake at the same time. Until 3am. Until they were done, because I was going to see something through to the end. I worked to have Oscar’s birthday be as perfect as possible, and finally, when everyone arrived, I was lost because there was nothing left for me to do. I didn’t want all these people in my house. I didn’t want to socialize, I had no words to say. I felt very alone that night, I remember. And the next day, once alone, I cried. I really really cried. Out loud kind of crying. And then it was done.
After that I was able to move on, to think about Christmas, to enjoy my family. I was full of the knowledge that it was meant to be, and probably for the best. But it was months before I truly felt at peace with everything, and still now stop to think about how pregnant I should have been at this point in time, how far I am supposed to be to my due date. I talk to Quinn sometimes, to let him know he was wanted. I hope, somewhere out there, that he knows.
Poor Grace was so excited to be a big sister again. Every once in a while we’ll be driving along in silence and out of the blue she’ll say, when we have another baby I’m going to be the best helper! I’m going to change diapers and get you the cream and the wipes… and I remind her that we don’t have another baby. She always says, I know that mommy, but one day we will. It just won’t be Quinn.