Not again, I pleaded. Please, God, not again!
I laid there on that cold examination table with my legs up on the stirrups, and my gut told me something was wrong. The resident’s silence was ominous. I closed my eyes and shook my head and steeled myself for what was to come. The resident sighed and turned to me.
“There’s no heartbeat,” he said. His tone was casual like he was informing me of the time.
My steel armor cracked and broke, and his words wounded me. I wanted to cry but could not. For a short instant, Denial came in and sat down. I asked to see the monitor. He turned the giant machine my way and, there, in the middle of a black background, there was a tiny but unmistakable grey-whitish human shape floating in a clear liquid. The eyes, hands, and feet were visible, and the tiny embryo had already assumed a fetal position. The resident zoomed in on his chest. No movement. No little flicker on the screen to indicate life. He wiped off the transducer, turned off the monitor, asked me to join him in his office and walked out of the room.
I stayed laying there on that cold examination table with my legs still up on the stirrups. My hand moved down to my belly, and I clenched my shirt, and I sobbed. I sobbed, and I cursed God and all His Saints. I sobbed, and I cursed life and her unfairness. I sobbed, and I cursed my cursed body.
The resident gave me his run of the mill speech about misoprostol and how miscarriages in the first trimester were not that uncommon. He recited his text to me in a monotone voice. Like checking items off a grocery list. Detached, unemotional, he almost seemed bored. I thought about all those women who must have sat right on this chair listening to these very words. Broken, hollow, whose dreams of a rosy-cheeked baby were destroyed by two little words: no heartbeat.
The risks of a miscarriage after the ninth week drops to three percent. I was almost out of the woods and about to reach a clearing, but the woods caught up with me and swallowed me whole.
In the car ride home, it started to rain. The scene could not have been any more depressing. Pulled right out of a Hollywood script, the quiet, sad, car ride back home from the hospital under heavy rain.
Life can be melodramatic sometimes.
Only a select few family members and loved ones knew about this second pregnancy and miscarriage. I didn’t want to deal with people. I didn’t want to hear the awkward and cringe-worthy comments from well-intentioned loved ones who were at a loss on how to react to something as intangible as a miscarriage. There was no little body to mourn over, no proof the baby ever existed. There was only me telling them I lost my baby. Only me and my loss and grief. Only me.
Dealing with emotional and physical pain was one thing; handling Guilt was another.
Overwhelming and unrelenting Guilt gnawing at me for days. Chewing on my conscience and my sanity. Making me overanalyze and revisit every little thing I did or did not do in the days leading up to my miscarriage. Hours wasted in front of my computer looking for answers that would never come.
I snapped out of my obsessive state during a follow-up with my family doctor. I asked him what caused my miscarriage. Maybe I had overexerted myself, not slept enough. Perhaps I needed more folic acid. His answer, prepared though it was, was somehow full of empathy.
“We will do some blood tests of course, but more often than not, we never find a satisfactory answer to why a miscarriage happens. In all my years of practice, I have found that they seem to be a natural part of procreating. I have one patient who has three kids, and she’s had one miscarriage in between every child. I just want you to know that it isn’t anything you did or didn’t do. If losing a pregnancy were that easy, we would send every girl and woman wanting an abortion to run a few times around the block.”
I laughed, and it surprised me. I was now able to laugh about my situation, and at that moment, Guilt curled up in a corner and Anger piped down.
One year after my second miscarriage, I underwent one last IVF treatment. The fresh embryo transfer failed, and I was crushed, but also, somewhere deep inside my sorrow, a sense of relief started to bloom. It was all coming to an end. Maybe not the end I had hoped for. But I could close this chapter and move on.
However, two embryos had been frozen and giving life one more chance to prove us wrong; she didn’t disappoint.
For this time, the tiny heartbeat kept on beating . . . and hasn’t stopped since.
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