I got some encouragement about my writing this morning, so I’m at it earlier than usual. Thanks, R!
I’m thinking of September 2005 right now, as Pixie is trying to get my attention. Pixie is my Miscarriage Baby.
We started trying for a baby about a month after we got married. It took three months to get pregnant.
I do remember the bleeding that was probably the doomsday signal. I was super-emotional that weekend, not because of the bleeding, but because I was homesick. J and I fought a lot that weekend.
If memory serves, I took the test during the day and surprised J with a card and a little stuffed animal to tell him our news that night after he got off work. We were both ecstatic. Went to the doctor and all seemed to be well. Took all the usual tests and all. I mentioned the bleeding but he said sometimes that happens.
I really liked our family doctor where we lived when we first married. His bedside manner can’t be beat. Unfortunately, I saw his face when he came in the room at eleven weeks. It was the first time in my life that I’d ever seen that look on a doctor’s face. That was the face of a man who had to deliver bad news.
Time stood still. J was with me, I remember. I know I cried at some point, but I don’t remember if it was still while the doctor was in the room or not. I kind of think he’d stepped out to give us privacy.
We’d made it to eleven weeks. Eleven weeks! Most of the bad stuff happens in the first 9 to 10 weeks. As it turns out, there was just a sac, not an actual baby. The doctor had sent us for an ultrasound because he couldn”t find a heartbeat. The ultrasound tech didn’t let us see what was going on because she couldn’t find a baby.
I couldn’t believe it. I blamed myself for not taking good enough care of myself. What was worse was, when J and I went to eat at my favorite restaurant, I’d had some mizithra cheese (a no-no for some pregnant women, though my particular favorite mizithra was pasteurized). I’d actually said about four weeks before we found out, “I don’t care if I have a miscarriage, I want some mizithra.” It set the tone for my guilt in grief for months afterward, even though I knew intellectually that I wasn’t the cause of this miscarriage. There wasn’t ever a baby there. My body just created a placenta and sac.
I opted to try for a natural end to the whole thing, rather than having a d&c or d&e.
So, the week after it happened, I rode with J to his class in Iowa City. I seem to have always known my body in relation to natural baby-related functions of life, at least, and I have a good sense of when I need to get to a hospital when it comes to these things. Not so much with my mental stuff, but with physical stuff, I know my body. The pain got bad just as we were pulling off the interstate. I passed the placenta five minutes after we got to the ER.
I was very depressed. And I hated Murphy, our Siamese cat, at the time. So with J’s blessing, I headed off to the Dubuque Humane Society, for a kitten. They had a sibling pair that I just couldn’t decide between. And they played together so well that I hated to tear them apart! The adoption worker said, “By the way, we have a special, adopt one, adopt another for free, including spaying!” That cinched the deal. So, in the car after it was done, I called J and he said, “What’s it’s name?” I said, “Pixie…and Trixie!”
Pixie still lives with us. Trixie lives with JM now because she became his bed buddy when he watched the cats when Rock Steady was born. Pixie and Murphy were best buds by that point and Trixie was odd-man-out. Besides, Pixie was always my favorite…I like cats that don’t need me. 🙂
Those cats (and my real baby, Tinkerbell. I’m tearing up right now because I really miss that dog) kept my humor up for one of the darkest times of my life. Miscarriage grief…I grieved for a child that barely ever was. I grieved because I never thought I would have children after that miscarriage. I convinced myself that my body was defective in yet another way. And it’s true that I didn’t ovulate for at least a few months after the miscarriage.
So when I did get pregnant again (this time with the beautiful Be-Bop), I was all doom and gloom for much of the pregnancy. Thanks to Be-Bop, though, I got to see the opposite side of our wonderful country family doctor, who visited us and marveled with us at the wonderful miracle our little baby was, and is today.
Some days, I wonder about Be-Bop. Like lately, he’s been super huggy. It’s like he knows that Mommy needs those extra hugs. He’ll say, “I like you, Mommy.” Yesterday, I finally asked him why he likes me. He said, “Because you’re nice to me.” My child is wise beyond his years and he’s so super-sensitive. I want to foster that sensitivity and I hope that it doesn’t get stomped on too much when he starts Kindergarten next month.
And because Rock Steady wants to be just like his big brother, he’s super huggy, too. I love my boys!
But just for a minute every once in a while, my thoughts go back to the child that never was. Because every once in a while, I remember that I was a mom before I actually had children in the world.