Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why I Am Here

On January 30, 2006, the phone rang in my otherwise silent house. It was 11:07 AM.

Just the night before, at six weeks pregnant, I had started bleeding.

Bright. Red. Blood.

The pregnancy hadn't been planned. Not yet, anyway. I was on the pill. But we were thrilled regardless and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first baby. We had named our little one "Piglet," at least until we knew what sex the baby was. We were planning for this baby, loving this baby, and then, our world turned upside down.

After the bleeding started, we had called my OB. As the pregnancy was so very early, we hadn't even met the doctor yet. He matter-of-factly told me that I was most likely miscarrying, but had asked me to come in for a beta blood test anyway. I had gone that morning, crying so hard that the phlebotomist hadn't been able to take my blood, she was so rattled. Her supervisor had to come and do it for her.

So, when the phone rang, I answered, with tears in my eyes and a dying hope in my heart.

The nurse on the other end of the line told me that my beta was a dismal 26. I was miscarrying. There would be no baby on October 2, 2006.

When I asked for help, for resources to assist parents that had lost babies, the nurse told me that I "hadn't really even been pregnant" and that those resources were for women that had lost pregnancies much farther along.

I hung up, confused. What did she mean, "Not really pregnant"? The five positive HPTs sitting in our bathroom couldn't have been wrong, could they? Could I want a baby so much that I could make a test turn positive? It was only later that I would learn what a chemical pregnancy was and I would only learn that information from doing my own research.

I was sad. I was alone. I was confused. I didn't know what to do, or where to turn next.

Over the course of the next year, my husband and I would lose five more angels. I did run into very sympathetic medical professionals along the way, but a lot of the time, I was on my own. And sometimes, the utter lack of respect for what we were going through was stunning.

After my fourth miscarriage, before the D&C, I told my husband that there should be people to help those like me. There should be a brochure to hand someone, with resources like The Stirrup Queen's Blogroll, a link to local support groups, etc. There should be someone to tell you that a heating pad would really help those miscarriage cramps, that you would feel the passing of your seven-week-old embryo, and, most importantly, that you are not alone. Others have travelled this sad, lonely path. And survived.

No one should have to hear that their baby has died and then walk out of their doctor's office feeling so alone. No one.

And yet. So very many women do. Whether it comes after a phone call like mine, or following an ultrasound where there is no heartbeat, thousands of mothers and fathers have to go home to a silent house. They have to pack away ultrasound pictures, tiny onesies, and all of their hopes and dreams, because there is no baby coming. Not anymore. Perhaps not ever.

There might be a prescription to take, or a D&C to scrape away, what is left of the hopes and dreams of what will never be. But other than those sterile pills or cold operating rooms, there is little guidance from the medical beings.

That's why I am here. That's why I keep blogging. Because I remember how much it hurts. I know that pain. And I want to help.

And I will.


Jen said...

Do you know how many times I have nearly written down Mel's blog address and handed it to my OB for them to pass on? Maybe someday UTERUS can publish a pamphlet or something.

Fertilized said...

Oh Jen, that's a great idea. There is such a HUGE need for this. It's amazing to me how many women are told that "it's not actually a pregnacy". That just makes my heart Ache.

I love that the last sentence is something that I know you didn't think of. "I will" .. Your Son's Name ...There is Hope in his name!

InfertileMadWoman said...

Oh sweetie, you are so right....

I gave you and Will an award... please head over and see what it is!!

Cassandra said...

What a beautiful post. So many thoughts are swirling, but none of them will come out. Thank you.

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

You know, I have to say this post reminds me again and again why I started reading and following and having my own IF blog. Because being alone hurt so bad. And what happened in IF also happened with my miscarriage too. I broadened my reading to those who had lost babies too, and finally felt that I was understood and I had a community. My own feelings were validated. Thank you for being such an awesome support to everyone, and for starting the Memorial Mondays. It's an awesome idea.

Polka Dot said...

I have said it before and I'll say it again - the size of your heart and the amount of love you have is truly amazing.

We're all lucky to have found you and those coming after us will be just as lucky that you're still blogging.

Stacey said...

I got chills when I read this sentence because it has happened exactly like this at my house so many times:
"Whether it comes after a phone call like mine, or following an ultrasound where there is no heartbeat, thousands of mothers and fathers have to go home to a silent house. They have to pack away ultrasound pictures, tiny onesies, and all of their hopes and dreams, because there is no baby coming. Not anymore. Perhaps not ever."
There is one thing I am sure about. Even if I ever do have children, I know that this IF has become part of me and I will never forget all this pain I've known for years. Thank you for continuing to be such a great part of this community!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. I have been reading your blog for months now and it is the first thing I go to as soon as I turn my computer on. You are helping people, everyday, people like me. Thank you for the bottom of my heart.

Mrs. Piggy said...

Oh my god! All I saw was the red letters "bright red blood" at first. I didnt know what to think. Thanks much for the heart attack!!!
Another great post. You always make me tear up.

Elle Charlie said...

I think just reading this post is helpful. Thank you.

Amanda said...

You're so very right. The medical field really doesn't offer much support.

This post brought back to me the day that I walked out of my doctor's office so alone with nothing buy my broken heart and crushed dreams. Only a "chemical pregnancy" not a "real" one was pretty much how it was explained to me by my doctor before I was told it was common. So heartbreaking when even your doctor tries to minimize your loss. A loss is a loss at whatever stage it occurs.

Amy said...

How sad, I know this feeling all too well. It was after my first loss and I was made to wait in a room across the hall from a woman who was doing a NST. Needless to say they had the volume turned up blaringly loud. All I could do was cry. No one cared there was no sympathy. Maybe I would not be in the dark place that I am in now if someone had cared. Thank you for your story, and for sharing such a sad and hurtful time in your life. I am so sorry for your losses. I am sorry for you that no one cared about your babies. I do. Lots of love to you.

SM said...

I think this is the first time commenting here, but I've been reading for awhile. I'm late to this post because I'm just finally getting caught up with my blog reading (I've been on maternity leave!).

Anyway, I truly have appreciated this blog. I found it while I was pregnant, but so much of what you wrote really hit home since I had also gone through a miscarriage last September. It was an early one - 6 or 7 weeks along. And according to the nurses at the OBGYN I was seeing at the time, "not really a pregnancy". Like you, I was confused. And definitely alone.

I appreciate this blog because I now know that the way I was feeling last fall was completely normal. And the abnormal stuff was how I was treated by certain people while going through such a loss.

So thank you! While I'm sorry for the reason you are here blogging, I am happy that you have done so. If that makes any sense at all...

Also, Will is adorable. Congrats!