I got in the car and tossed the bag in the passenger’s seat. Then I noticed my mouth was dry and my heart and head were pounding. I could have attributed that to the fact that I was getting over a bad head cold and that everything from my neck up was so congested I felt like the world was in a stuffy, muted haze. But I knew it was a result of what had just happened. My brain was trying to process and my heart was refusing.
It was a 20-minute drive back to my office. I spent those 20 minutes in silence, feeling like I shouldn’t be driving because I couldn’t focus and kept realizing I was on a road I didn’t remember turning on, and creating a mental list of all the positive aspects of no longer carrying a viable pregnancy.
What kind of crazy person is told her baby is dead and then proceeds to consider all the good things about that? What good can there be about losing a child?! What was wrong with me?!?
I pushed those thoughts out of my head and focused on the positives:
- I can start the exercise routine I should have started long before now and was lamenting I hadn’t done before getting pregnant.
- We don’t have to worry about the logistics of traveling cross-country over Christmas with a 5-year-old, a 2 1/2-year-old, and a 3-week-old.
- I don’t have to significantly reduce my carbs this summer.
- I can tell my pregnant friend who borrowed my maternity clothes there’s no rush to get them back to me.
- I can go back to my regular caffeine intake.
- We don’t have to move Miss Bennett into Little Miss’s room just yet.
- We don’t have to buy another car this year.
It was at this point I realized what time it was; I needed to go pick Little Miss up from school. I went through the motions of stopping by her school, taking her to the sitter’s, driving back to work, and sitting down at my computer to finish out the afternoon at the office. The juxtaposition of what I’d learned just an hour before and the normalcy of the rest of my life and the rest of the world was mind-boggling. I had no idea what to think, do, or say.
So I laughed. I joked with people. It was business as usual. But it was all in my head. Everywhere else I was numb.
I told a few people. My closest friends, our family. All through email or text. I didn’t want to say the words out loud yet. If I could keep it on “paper” it was just a story I was sharing and I could maintain the distance. All the while, however, I kept asking myself why I wasn’t breaking down. Why I wasn’t crying. I’m an incredibly emotional person. Hallmark commercials, and sometimes even Budweiser commercials, have made me cry. Yes, I even cried at the end of “Toy Story 3” and just last week I sobbed through an entire episode of “Bones.” Why was the death of my own baby not pushing me to collapse into a puddle of tears and snot?
That evening the normalcy continued. Dinner, cleanup, jammies, worship, bedtime for the girls, TV shows for me and Husband, then bed. The next morning we got up, dropped the kids off at the sitter’s, and went to work. I called the doctor and requested a prescription for Cytotec, a drug used for many purposes including inducing the labor-like process that rids one’s body of a lifeless fetus. If I was going to bleed heavily for a couple of hours and be in intense pain, I wanted to be able to plan it so I wasn’t out and about when it started.
That afternoon I spent hours online searching for information about what happens in a miscarriage. What does it look like? What does it feel like? I shared the news with my mommy group on Facebook. We’re a very close-knit group of around 100 women (about 40 of whom are regularly active in the group), mostly Christian, and over the last 4 years since I started the secret group we have supported each other through job searches, across-the-world moves, miscarriages, difficult in-laws, divorce, the death of a child, and more. I knew they’d be there for me.
After articles, blogs, and personal conversations with others who have gone through a miscarriage, I changed my mind about the Cytotec–also known as the abortion drug. According to all I’d heard and read, the process was going to hurt like hell whether I used Cytotec or just let it happen naturally, so why put myself through additional emotional trauma, too?
So I started thinking more seriously about a D&C (dilation and curettage). At this point I knew I couldn’t talk to my doctor about it until Monday, so I still had the weekend to wait and worry.
The anxiety was overwhelming. I was acting normal–talking, laughing, playing with and disciplining my kids, making and eating food–but inside, between every “normal” interaction, I was terrified. Anything that remotely felt like a menstrual cramp sent my heart into a panicked flutter. Was it starting? How fast would it happen? How long before the bleeding began? Should we call someone to take the girls for the rest of the day? I was nervous, scared, and anxious every moment. The only relief was being distracted by my adorable children, my amazing husband, and immersing myself in as much normalcy as I possibly could.
The next day was my birthday.