I could tell you I knew as I was driving to the hospital. That feeling you just get in the pit of your stomach. My Husband and I sat so carelessly in the waiting room, laughing at videos on Facebook. I almost feel stupid about that now. Sipping our smoothies, thinking life was just fine. The next day I would be 12 weeks. With each passing week our excitement grew and fear ebbed away. Once again, how stupid of us.
I can tell you we both knew as soon as the baby flashed up on the screen. The tech didn’t say a word and I watched my baby not move. No flicker, no heartbeat. The tech asked if my previous ultrasound was normal.
There is no heartbeat, is there?
No, there isn’t. I’m sorry. Baby is measuring at 10 weeks, it died sometime last week.
I reached back for my Husbands hand and started crying, staring at my baby, willing it to move.
The tech left to go get my doctor’s nurse. She left the picture of my dead baby on the screen and I just couldn’t look at it.
My Husband climbed on the bed with me and we cried. What was there really to say?
I can tell you now what we were both thinking, our minds racing. The people we had told already, the people we were grateful we hadn’t told, the plans we had made. All of that was unraveling. Your mind in this moment thinks unthinkable and strange things, you react in a way you have no control over.
A nurse knocked on the door and gave her apologies. She explained how she would walk us down to my doctor, that she would want to talk to us. The nurse led us down the back hallways, back stairways, ignoring the lobbies full of people. Other nurses stopped in the hallways and bowed their heads, silent, as we walked by them. We were those people, tear streaked faces, being led down those hallways, they knew what it meant. I went by nurses I have come to know and they had the courage to meet my eyes and nod.
We were led in a room that I had been in a million times. I knew the picture on the wall of a huge fall colored tree, up on a hill, with a woman standing below it, her back to me, with a big billowing dress and long flowing hair, walking somewhere. I couldn’t look at my Husband, we just sat there silently crying. Where was that woman in the picture going?
I looked up when my doctor came in, the same woman I have come to known over the past 10 years. She said nothing, wrapped me in a hug, and we both cried as she said she was sorry over and over. She started slowly explaining things. I tried to take it in. This was a Thursday, the soonest she could get me in for surgery was Monday, unless I wanted to wait 4-5 weeks for my body to take care of it on its own. There was no way I could wait. I wanted this over with. I couldn’t just carry my dead baby around.
She shared her worry about how we would tell Rebecca.
She explained how this wasn’t our fault, I did nothing wrong.
She explained about testing that would be done on our baby. Chromosomal testing. Could this happen again?
I thought about the few couples I know who have been in my shoes more than once. How did they do it?
Then she said the number. The number that would piss us off. The number that we would repeat the rest of the weekend. 5%. We were in a 5% category. This was late in the game to have a miscarriage, only 5% of pregnancies at this point end in miscarriage. With each passing week our chances were going down but instead we became apart of the 5%.
Our chances of twins, on the fertility drugs I was taking was higher.
She explained more options. Options on what could be done with our baby afterwards, on Monday. Things I never thought about. Things you don’t think about when people say this happens to them. Things that were now apart of our lives. I looked at my Husband then, still in his work clothes because he was going to head back to work. That was the plan before we knew we had a dead baby. Four years ago I hadn’t even met this man, now we had these options being provided to us, decisions we were going to have to make. I realized I had never seen him cry much in my life, until now. A dead baby makes you do that.
I started to become numb. More people came in and out. Surgical nurses with directions and paperwork. I nodded, like I gave a shit.
And just like that we could leave. Just like that we had to walk back into the world, our lives changed completely from when we walked in 90 minutes prior.
He grabbed my hand and we walked through the lobby, the lobby where people with full pregnant bellies stared at us. We were those people.
We walked down the hallway and a lady with two screaming kids and a new baby in a carrier walked past us and we tried to look forward. I could feel her staring because we were those people. A nurse opened the door to the outside for us and I wanted to run to my truck, get the fuck away from there.
It was the same outside as when we walked in but I didn’t know how. One of those top ten days that suddenly held nothing but grief. We had to drive home separately. My husband had to run back to work, he borrowed someone elses truck and had to get it back. We stood there in this weird limbo not knowing how to take the next step, where do we go from here?
Do you want to go across the street to get a few bottles of wine? Were the first words my Husband came up with.
My Husband can think of priorities in the moment. I knew what was in my wine fridge at home though. I just wanted to get there, not have people look at me. So that is what we did. We drove home separately. It was the longest trip of my life. I just drove, with all the windows down with my dead baby. That was all I could think about. I couldn’t even cry. I was numb.
I got home, opened a bottle of wine, didn’t bother with a glass, went to the back porch, drank directly from the bottle and waited for my Husband to come home. He came and joined me in silence, lit a cigar and one by one words came out. The unfairness, the hatred, the why us? We discussed how to tell people when someone sent a text, excited to hear how my appointment went. How were we going to tell our parents, Rebecca and our close friends? We almost felt foolish for getting so excited in the first place. I told him my fears of this moment, the unthinkable that probably goes through every pregnant womans brain in the beginning.
We sent out a mass text and a few individual texts. We called parents.
Then we cried. We got pissed off, we cried some more, we talked, I didn’t sleep and when I did, I was plagued with nightmares.
Because really this day, this Thursday in my life, was what nightmares were made of. We were those people.