Ten years ago today:
I sat naked on a cold exam table with only a paper gown to cover me.
I experienced my last miscarriage, but had not yet known.
I saw the tech's face drop when examining the screen she was looking at, the same screen on which I had previously seen my baby, and photos of which I had previously taken home, coveted, and shared.
I lost all control. After the tech excused herself and left the room, still not saying a thing, no one from the hospital came back to us for hours to tell us what was going on – but I knew-- and all I wanted to do was to get the fuck out of there, but I couldn't. They wouldn't let me leave. I am still so mad. Leaving should have been the one thing I still had control over at that very moment, but I didn't even have that.
My then husband paced the room for hours, trying to comfort me, making phone calls to my parents, family, friends, and my employer for me. The hours allowed him to get pissed off on my behalf and his own. He was suffering, but in a far different way. I was too self-consumed to see it. He almost wasn't there. He wasn't even supposed to be there. But, by chance, his then senior partner found out about the appointment and told him to go. A glint of light in all this darkness, for which I am still extremely grateful for. We are now divorced. I wonder if he knows what today is.
I had never felt so desperate and alone in my life, in the dark, cold, and silent room, despite my then husband being there with me. We were there together, and yet each alone, experiencing this loss differently.
I had never cried so hard in my life and haven't again since.
I wasn’t aware that I would have to endure blood draws every week, multiple times a week, so the doctors could review my hormone levels, which for weeks revealed my body wasn't giving up on the baby and wouldn't let go.
I would still have months to go before I would deliver my baby. Which I did. Much later. Months later. At home. On the bathroom floor. Alone. The “friendly” staff of my ObGyn told me I was “just passing tissue” when it happened. But I saw. It was my baby. That's another story.
I knew that I'd likely not get pregnant again. I would choose to not continue down the infertility treatment path. The shots, the pills, the temperature taking, the blood draws, the procedures, the pain, the hormones, the rushing to the clinic an hour away with a brown paper bag full of hope, the hope to become pregnant via a painful injection, and again and again have disappointing results being told to me in a clinic filled with pictures of success stories lining the lobby, hallways, and even bereavement room, and just the myriad of tests upon tests upon tests all to result in “unexplained infertility.” It was exhausting (and expensive). I knew I couldn't do it again. And ten years later, I haven't. I can't bring myself to get my hopes up again.
I had no idea that my brilliant and beautiful stepdaughter was safely in her mother's body, growing strong at that very same moment. I had no idea, nor would I have been able to fathom, the bittersweet feeling I get now when reading bedtime stories and hearing her giggle or smelling her hair and wondering what my children's laughs would've sounded like or how their hair would have smelled. It is beyond indescribable. My heart fills and empties at the same time.
My life changed forever. And not in the way I had dreamed or planned.
I write this because ten years ago today, I felt desperately alone and broken and defective. Before my miscarriages, I didn't know anyone else who had gone through one. Obviously now, looking back, of course I had known women who had suffered through them, but I didn't know they did. No one talks about this, but it is so common and so traumatic. I often make people uncomfortable talking about it. But what they don’t realize is that it is the not talking about it that makes the miscarriages even that more traumatic. We suffer alone when we don’t need to.