**Trigger Warning: talk about possible miscarriage, and all the feelings within that.**
Sohry aboot that cliffhanger, eh?
Last Wednesday, I parked at Valley Imaging Clinic, 10 minutes before I was supposed to check in for my ultrasound. I sat in my car. I waited, I listened to music, I cried. I had been bleeding off and on for 5 days now, and I was still waiting for my blood hormone results, and I just…I needed to know if my baby was okay. Every minute felt like an eternity.
…I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours, and you are mine…
So why was everything so quiet?
I laid on the table in a dimly lit room, trying to just keep breathing, trying to keep the cushion from sliding out underneath my hips while the stone-faced tech ran a wand over my jellied belly. Searching, searching, searching…
She said I had a very full bladder. A little too full, perhaps. She told me to go empty it so that she could do a vaginal ultrasound. I was prepared for this possibility. I saw Jennifer Lopez’s The Back-up Plan. Whatever would give me that heartbeat.
More cold gel…an aching probe…this will be worth it, this will be worth it, this will be worth it…
So why was everything so quiet?
“When’s your estimated due date again?”
“February 20th. I should be almost 8 weeks now.”
“You’ll need to go back and confer with your doctor. What I’m seeing does not indicate 8 weeks.”
I tried to keep the tears back. “Okay? So..nothing’s wrong, though? It could just be too early to get a heartbeat, right?”
“Just make sure you talk to your doctor. You can clean yourself up now.”
…Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me…
It took 7 minutes. To go in and come out. Really, though, it was 7 years.
I sat in my car again, and decided to call the walk-in clinic, hoping they would have my blood hormone results.
“Your first test showed your hormones at around 13,000. Now they’re over 18,000, so everything looks good. Dr. Aspinall will be in at 1:30pm today if you’d like to talk to him.”
I nearly cried again with relief. “Thank you. I’ll be in at 1:30.”
For the next 2 hours, I distracted myself with food and the superfluous lives of celebrities in magazines at the Library. I gave a brief update on Facebook, then answered the flood of caring texts and comments.
I arrived at the walk-in clinic exactly at 1:30. The clinic was empty, and I rejoiced. When Dr. Aspinall heard that my blood hormones were still going up, he rejoiced.
Not even kidding. He did the double-fist pump. I officially loved him after that.
He had the ultrasound report faxed over (yes, faxed) and we looked at it together.
Not only had there not been a heartbeat, there hadn’t even really been a baby to see. They base it by seeing what they call a “yolk sac” and “fetal pole”, which is kind of a fancy word for the spine. Therefore, it could not be called a “viable fetus” yet. Either something was wrong, and I would miscarry – or it was simply too early to tell.
Dr. Aspinall gave me another requisition to take back to Valley so that I could book another ultrasound in a couple of weeks, as well as a Bio Med form to have more blood taken later in the week.
It was 4pm by the time I got home. Steve got home not long after that, and we collapsed into a hug for awhile. The kind with no words, only touch and requited feeling.
Steve: “We’ll keep trusting the blood and the size of your boobs. Cause, honey, those things are still growing.”
People have been amazing. Texts, calls, private messages, stopping by the house to chat. Laurie even went so far as to order me cupcakes from my favourite shop. Oh yeah, and she’s approximately 2,000 miles away from me. So she’s pretty amazing.
Days passed. I stopped bleeding and started puking. Hope returned, and every time a wave of nausea washed over me, I smiled. Baby Button is still here, and they want me to know it.
My in-laws opened their swimming pool, like an oasis in the desert. I used to give the Israelites a hard time for all their Old Testament complaining, but now I know better. I’m not even IN desert heat, I have food and water at my disposal constantly, and now I have a swimming pool. I would have been the bitchiest bitch of all those Israelites. Like, open-up-the-earth-and-swallow-me-whole-God-cause-at-least-it’ll-be-cooler-down-there-thanks.
Yesterday, Steve and I went to the hospital for my very first Maternity Clinic appointment. All of my walk-in clinic and blood hormone and ultrasound info had been sent over to them, so they wanted to create a Health History on the both of us. It went pretty well. Dr. Hansen told me to get my blood hormone done again that day, and that he’d get me an ultrasound earlier than the 31st. It all sounded awesome to me.
“Receptionist So-and-So, can you call over to Valley and tell them to get us an ultrasound this week? Chance of miscarriage is very high with her.”
“Of course, Doctor.” *beep boop beep* “Okay, Carly, you now have an ultrasound on Wednesday. Take your blood test today, and call us on Friday with all your results.”
Something in me went numb after that.
I had my blood taken, and was told I could check my online results that evening.
I went home and slept for 3 1/2 hours. I didn’t realize it then, but I was done. Giving up. Letting it get to me. I was back in the wilderness of my earlier years, the mindset of hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst. I forgot to trust the blood and the boobs like Steve told me to.
Even reading my results later didn’t phase me. Oh awesome, my hormones are up from 18,000 to over 28,000. Doesn’t matter. I must have done something wrong; now it’s over.
Last night, we lay in bed and talked. Well, more like I had a breakdown and Steve held me. Then we talked. I poured out all my fears, not even realizing that I was talking about this miscarriage as though it was a “when,” not an “if.”
What if I’m home alone when it happens? What if I can see our baby? What do you DO with a miscarried baby? I’m scared of the pain, but I’m even more scared of the After. I’m scared I’ll just fall apart and never get out of bed again. You deserve more than that. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I want to be strong. I want to be brave. But holding it in makes me dissolve, and what if holding that stress in is bad for the baby? But what if letting it out like this is bad for the baby too? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
And then he cried, and spoke, and I was shaken out of my fearful stupor.
“I’m not even thinking that way right now. Our baby is still alive and growing in there, and I still believe in it! Do YOU? Whatever happens, you are loved and we WILL get through this TOGETHER. You will NEVER be a burden or a disappointment to me, got it?” He rubbed and kissed my belly over and over, whispering prayers into our child’s unformed ears.
Tomorrow is my next ultrasound. I feel like a broken record. But I’m STILL not bleeding, and my hormones are STILL going up, and my stripper cans are STILL getting bigger every day. And my Father has a plan that I WILL be able to walk in.
When I look into your eyes, it’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise – well, there’s so much they hold.
And just like them old stars, I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are; How old is your soul?
Well, I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough,
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up.
And when you’re needing your space to do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting to see what you find.
Cause even the stars, they burn
Some even fall to the earth;
We’ve got a lot to learn, God knows we’re worth it.
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make.
Our differences do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah we got a lot at stake.
And in the end, you’re still my friend
At least we did intend for us to work,
We didn’t break, we didn’t burn, we had to learn
How to bend without the world caving in.
I had to learn what I’ve got and what I’m not and who I am.
I won’t give up on us, God knows I’m tough enough.
We’ve got a lot to learn, God knows we’re worth it.
No, I won’t give up. I’m still looking up.
(Jason Mraz, I Won’t Give Up On Us)