I had big plans for today. At one point I was planning on being in a hospital and snuggling a brand new baby today, August 25th. It was a perfect day for that. Blaine would have just finished his last summer externship, and school wouldn't have quite started yet, and perhaps best of all, with a late summer birthday I would finally have a child who started kindergarten shortly after turning five, rather than when they were about to turn six.
It wasn't an easy decision to try for another baby. In fact the only thing that got me through being pregnant with Ivy was that I was DONE. Finished. That was my last pregnancy. I never had to do that again. That also got me through the three whirlwind years of Ben and Ivy's toddlerhood. It was rough going there for a while, my hands were full and survival was my only goal. I survived. Barely. The decision to go for a fourth was one four years (and lots of thinking and praying) in the making.
I was quite shocked, actually, when I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test. I've never had such a whirlwind of emotions. I went from disbelief, to being terrified. It's been a while folks. I've grown quite accustomed to sleeping through the night, not carrying a stroller around, that kind of thing. Plus -- Ivy is almost in kindergarten. I am almost to the point that I would dream about incessantly, when I was in the trenches of diapers and midnight rocking. I dreamt of sending Ivy to school one day and then finally having the time and energy to do something beyond mothering. To go back to school, to get a job, to find fulfillment in something additional to motherhood. I love being a mom, and I am grateful that I have been able to stay home with my little ones -- but for some reason I longed for a little outside-the-home fulfillment, or even just interaction. But, to my surprise, the being terrified part of pregnancy only lasted a matter of maybe twenty minutes. I mean, sure, I could still feel the terror down deep inside, but the dominant emotion quickly became excitement. The doodle endless lists of amazing baby names excitement.
Seeing my kids older now and realizing how much I love them and their personalities made me all the more excited to have a new baby. Back when the three of them were born I had no idea what was going on. I couldn't see past the fact that I was just having a baby. I couldn't ever envision the baby growing up to be a funny, cute, amazing kid. I never relished being pregnant. I just tried to make it through each day. Survival. But this time was different. This time I didn't feel in such a daze. I was able to marvel that there was a human being growing inside of me. A really cute human being who would add so much to this family and to the world. All of my kids are so unique and different from each other, it was fun to ponder what a new little Bassett would be like. Deep thinking like Gwen? Wild and fearless like Ivy? Kindhearted and energetic like Ben? Endless possibilities. And perhaps the most exciting (and at the same time most terrifying) thing of all was thinking of my three kids being able to interact with a new sibling. They were all just babies themselves when I had Ivy so there was no positive interaction, just a lot of poking and pacifier stealing :).
I felt great. That was actually my first clue that something was wrong. It really was. Normally I get deathly ill at like week 3 (bet you didn't even know that was possible, right? ha!). I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas. I felt like a time bomb, wondering when I would first feel my stomach turn and when I would have to resign myself over to the throes of six months of all day long sickness. Wasn't looking forward to that.
But, it didn't come. I was exercising every day, eating whatever I pleased (a welcome relief from the 17 day diet we were doing at the time).
I knew something was wrong. I wanted to believe that a vomitless pregnancy was possible for me, but deep down I knew better.
In fact, feeling so great was of such concern to me that I kind of found myself hoping to feel queasy, something to prove that something was happening inside of me. I was so worried about not being sick that I called around to find a doctor who would take me as early in my pregnancy as possible. I just needed to hear a heartbeat, then I would stop worrying and just start getting excited, once I knew it was real (the twelve pregnancy tests and blood draw were not enough apparently).
Because of my apprehension, we didn't tell many people. I was nine weeks, it was a record breaking amount of time for us to not make an announcement (normally I have to announce when I apologize to people for tossing my cookies approximately every thirty seconds).
The day of my first appointment things started happening to lead me to believe that something was definitely wrong. I told the people at the front desk that I thought I might be miscarrying (side note -- no sympathy at all was offered, they just said, "okay, we will let the doctor know"). Did an ultrasound. The doctor looked at it, and said I was measuring at six weeks and they couldn't find a heartbeat, but that that wasn't necessarily abnormal at only six weeks. But from the looks of the ultrasound it looked as though I "might" be miscarrying. Come back in two weeks. The thing is-- I knew I was 9 weeks- almost 10. So if the baby was only measuring six with no heartbeat, well, yeah, I was pretty darn sure the baby had been gone for three weeks, which explains why I never got sick.
Not 12 hours later I knew there would be no going back in two weeks. It was definitely over. (Side note: Miscarrying is amazingly painful, I had no idea that that early on it would be such an ordeal. So much pain!). I was really grateful that I had been emotional prepared for this to happen. I just felt like I knew it would, and it kind of felt like that made it easier when it actually happened. I didn't even shed a tear. I made myself feel better by thinking that since the baby only measured at six weeks it's heart never even started beating at all. It was never a baby, it never got that far. That's what I told myself.
I was back in the doctors office two weeks later. Just to make sure everything was all...cleaned out I guess. And for some reason that is when it hit me. I climbed up, the tech put the cold ultrasound stuff on my belly....and I stared at a blank screen. You shouldn't see blank screens when you get an ultrasound. I guess deep down I was hoping that somehow I hadn't actually miscarried, that maybe there was some chance that everything was fine. But seeing a blank ultrasound...yeah, no denying it now. That was the first time I cried. And then I started thinking about "that thing that happened" as an actual baby, started thinking that maybe the heart had, in fact, started beating . . . and then stopped. And whoa baby, I just cried it all out.
Months later Blaine asked if I ever still thought about the miscarriage. "Uh....yeah, only EVERY SINGLE DAY!" was my response. Did he really not think about it every day? Weird.
It was kind of hard when people started announcing their pregnancies and their due dates were close to mine. Harder still when they all had ultrasound pictures to show.
And now they are all having their babies. They're adorable and I am so happy for them, I really am.
But I just thought, you know...in case the heart actually had started beating and what I experienced was a real loss...I just thought I should document it. Write it down. It was a big part of my year. Of my life.
I'm grateful for the experience. Sure, I wish the result would be me swaddling a new little one in my arms today -- but now I can relate to the heartbreak that so many friends and family members have felt. Not in the same way. I mean... I was only nine weeks. But I can empathize more with these experience that a lot of us go through. It is certainly a different experience than I had ever envisioned prior to this.
My guess, and I guess my hope, is that I won't be thinking about it as much any more. It's over. "The pregnancy that wasn't" ends today, and that's a great feeling.
Wow, I am making this all sound so much more dramatic than it actually is. We really are just fine. I am okay with what happened, I was prepared for what happened. Just allowing a little deep-thought and emotional spillage on this special day. Kind of glad to get it behind me.
Ahem, to save myself a little frustration -- can I just say... just because we decided to try for a fourth and miscarried doesn't necessarily mean that we will try again. We might, we might not. I kind of found myself getting a little frustrated a few months after the miscarriage when it seemed that most people assumed I would be making another announcement any day. It was a hard decision for us to decide to try for a fourth, and we made that decision. It ended the way it did. It is an entirely different decision to make now if we want to try again. It's not automatic. And I am not sure why it bugs me so much if people think that it is. Did I want another baby? Yes. Yes, I wanted that baby. Do I want, or feel like I am supposed to try for another one? Still not sure. 90% of the time I think our family is complete. Don't worry. We will figure it out sooner or later.