**After 14 months of re-writes and blog posts, I am proud to say that I have finally reached the end of my story. To all of you who have diligently read each post, kindly offered words of condolences, and bravely shared stories similar to mine, I thank you. It is because of you that I found the strength and courage to continue with this project. There were many days where it was too overwhelming, too difficult, too sad, too stressful to continue, but I did because of the astounding response I have gotten. If I have touched even one life, given hope to one person, soothed the anxieties, fears, or loneliness of one mother or one father, I have accomplished what I set out to do with this project. From here, I plan to work on more streamlined re-writes, uniting the posts as a memoir. Even though I will no longer be posting parts of my story, I will continue to follow the blogs I have been reading, and hope to find more. And just maybe, I will find a new way to blog in the near future.**
The forebodingly familiar darkness of the ultrasound technician’s room engulfs us as the resonating glow of the screen burns images into our retinas. The very radio from 18 months ago sits, muted, on her desk. Jason’s chair still neatly backs up to the wall next to me. Thrust back into the limelight, my throne sits squarely in the middle of the cramped space. Neck strained, I ignore the pain screaming from every fiber of my muscles, as I don’t dare take my eyes away from the show. Quick dashed lines dart across the blurred white blobs, measuring the length of our eight-week-old Baby Number Two. Warmed air flowing through the vents hisses through the silence; our anxiety is palpable, hanging in the balmy, thick air. Hoping for the best, but covertly preparing myself for the worst, recent recollections of the red-stained toilet paper casts sincere doubt with this pregnancy. Sliding the ultrasound wand from side-to-side across the greasy, globby, slick span of my stomach, the technician watches the fluttering images intently, scrutinizing each blip, each hazy shape, each fuzzy line. Thirty excruciatingly tense seconds pass; the flesh of my knuckles whiten with the fierce grip my hands bestow upon the edges of the table. She sighs, turns off the screen, fervorously puts away the visionary wand, and says the nauseating words:
“I’ll take you to an exam room now. You can wait for the doctor there.”
Glimpsing Jason in my peripheral, worry creases his eager eyes. With downcast heads, we track our apprehensive walk down the hall by carpet squares, avoiding eye contact with friendly nurses looking to naively smile at us. Begrudgingly, we follow her to a sterile, bright, white room.
I want to run–far, far away from here.
The click of the latching door seals our fate; my legs shiver in the icy surroundings.
My thumb and index fingers fumble with the edge of my green knit sweater as I break the nerve-bundled silence. “This can’t be good, Jason. They don’t have you wait for the doctor like this unless something is wrong.”
“Let’s just wait and see what he says.” Pacifying my fidgety hand with his, my leg trembles rumble through our clasped grip.
Startled by a light rasp, my breath gets stuck somewhere between my lungs and throat. Dr. Gladwell pokes his placid face around the door, his solemn expression reminiscent of the night he admitted me to the hospital. His steely grey eyes droop in sadness. Uttering just two words, “I’m sorry” he pauses to gauge our responses. Stooping to eye-level, he sits on the round stool, rolling himself to a intimate, yet distant-enough, position. Dazed by the implicit meaning behind his brief statement, my eyes widen in disbelief, my breathing shallows and suffocates. Jason’s face drops, eyelids hanging so low his delightfully blue irises are completely obscured. As if wanting to squeeze away the pain, his hand tightens strongly around mine.
Forty-three seconds elapse, a laughable amount of processing time, and Dr. Gladwell provides the obligatory token bit of consolation: “There is no heartbeat. These things happen, and we don’t usually know why. It most likely has nothing to do with your first loss. It shouldn’t affect future pregnancies.” His gazed fixes on us, hoping to find a glimmer of response.
“There…is…no…heartbeat” spurs the slowly dripping angst from my thoughts, soaking through each organ, each limb, each digit, each cell. My statuesque facade obscures this bodily overtaking.
A cacophony of screaming voices litter my mind:
How can this be happening to us again?!
What did we do to deserve this?!
As the emotional saturation slows, my face deteriorates, crinkling as the first tear pools in my bottom eyelid. Leaving his chair, Jason quickly joins me on the narrow exam table, paper crumpling under our crowded legs. Dr. Gladwell stoically, silently extends a tissue box. Ten lonely inhibited minutes go by. Dr. Gladwell has no more words. We have no words. He waits with us until the tears dry, neither offering more condolence nor pushing us out the door. Deciding to wait the miscarriage out at home, we pull on our coats, and silently shuffle outside. Defeated and angry, I cannot make peace with our fate.
As rookies to the “pregnancy loss” club, the realization that many people not only lose one baby, but often lose multiple, is disheartening. With each loss, we are at a fork in the road, an impasse run by fear: stop trying or try again. With each loss, we flow through the same emotions–sadness, anger, pity–learning to navigate each with more fluency than the last time. With each loss, my pleas with Mother Nature, forces of the universe, or whatever omniscient being is pulling these cruel strings, has fallen on deaf ears. With each loss, courage, resilience, and strength guide my resolve.
We will try again. We will not let fear run our lives.