When I was younger – particularly when I was a teenager – I often remember dramatically proclaiming, “This is the worst day of my life”. Little did 16 year old me know that I would eventually be presented with bigger problems that couldn’t even compare to my parents not letting me go to a basketball game or high school peers saying mean things about me behind my back. March 26, 2010 is a date that is so imprinted on my mind that I could probably tell you almost every detail. It was indeed the worst day of my life.
Five years ago, I experienced my first of three miscarriages. E and I were scheduled to see my OB for my 12 week appointment at 11 and a half weeks because we were literally in the process of packing up our house in preparation for a cross country move. I was sick as a dog. Morning – really all day – sickness kicked in the day of my six week intake appointment and continued up until the day of my 12 week appointment (it actually even went on until the day after my D&C). The nausea and throwing up had gotten so bad that I had to quit substitute teaching. I was constantly fatigued, could barely keep down any food, and laid on the couch with the dogs while E was gone at work for up to 14 hours a day. Nausea and throwing up were classic pregnancy symptoms, so who was I to even think that something could be going wrong?
E met me at the house and drove over to the hospital. I remember waiting to be called back and talking about how excited we were to see our little baby up on the screen. I remember being weighed and finding out that I had lost almost 10 pounds since my last appointment. I remember telling the nurse about the horrible morning sickness and describing all the things I had tried to combat it. I remember the nurse wheeling the ultrasound machine into the room. I remember the disgusting warm gel being squirted onto my stomach. I remember holding my breath as the technician moved the wand around looking for our baby. I remember how my heart sank when we didn’t see anything pop up on the screen. I remember starting to cry as she told me, “Hold on for a few minutes. I need to grab the doctor”. I remember being told that they could see the gestational sac, but couldn’t see where the baby was. I remember crying harder as we were told that we needed to go down to radiology for an internal ultrasound (little did I know that this would be my first of hundreds of internal ultrasounds). I remember E speaking with the radiology receptionist and trying to get us seen immediately. They refused to push me to the front of the line despite my inconsolable crying and hyperventilating. I remember people looking away and/or glaring at me because I couldn’t control my emotions. What I don’t remember is how long we waited. To me, it felt like forever, but in reality, we probably waited about an hour to be taken back.
After much probing, I remember the technician telling me that she did see our baby and that he or she stopped growing at 6w5d. I was in shock. I did everything right – I suffered through 6 straight weeks of morning sickness. I stayed away from the forbidden pregnancy foods. I took my prenatal vitamins. I did it all, yet our baby was no more. I remember blaming myself and questioning over and over again what I did wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t have exercised those first two weeks of pregnancy when I wasn’t puking my brains out. Maybe I should have pushed for the OB/GYN who prescribed the countless rounds of C.lomid to check my hormone levels. Maybe this. Maybe that. In hindsight, I know that I didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s hard not to blame yourself in the moment.
It’s amazing how life has changed so much, yet I can allow myself to be pulled back into this dark and depressing space that I was in five years ago. Even though I have become a parent through adoption, it’s impossible to forget that baby who could have been. It’s impossible to forget the other two babies we lost later on. I’m not the mother of one – I’m the mother of four. If those babies were born, I wouldn’t be parenting my beautiful daughter right now, but sometimes it’s hard not to think what could have been if that first baby was placed in my arms in the fall of 2010. March 26, 2010 – the worst day of my life.