Here I am sitting at my computer, 391/2 weeks pregnant, the day before my due date, it’s 7:01am. I have slept horribly for the last 4 nights and about 40 minutes ago gave up trying to catch a few extra fleeting moments of sleep. I also felt an overwhelming need to write my story. Why today? Likely because I have found pregnancy and motherhood to have given me a much more honest perspective of myself and a newfound willingness to share.
It happened three years ago, A few days before my 30th birthday, and just before I was to leave for a Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica. There are only a few events in my life that have impacted me so deeply that I remember every detail - here is the abridged version. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
It was the end of my first trimester and we were just about in the clear to share our happy but unexpected news with everyone. But before we could do that we had to see to one thing, our first ultrasound. That morning buzzed with excitement. Finally, the chance to see our baby for the first time! My now husband, Steve came with me, he sat in the waiting area, to be invited in after they’ve had a little look. I was smiling ear to ear, I was excitedly babbling to the technician, who answered all my silly questions. “Why is the room so dark?”. She laughed and smiled right along with me.
Then, her face changed.
From that moment on, every ultrasound I have had, throughout each of my pregnancies, has been filled with anxiety. I found myself consistently waiting for the other shoe to drop.
My appointment finished with no glimpse of my baby and no invitation extended to my husband. I walked out of there, failing to hold back tears, with the barely audible words “something is wrong” narrowly escaping my lips as I rushed pass Steve.
I sat on this news all day, knowing I had a film shoot that night (I was an actor in another life). I was told my results would be rushed and I would have answers by the end of the day. By the time 3:30pm rolled around I still hadn’t received a call. It being a Friday, impatience and anxiety kicked in. Knowing I’d have to spend the weekend panicking if I didn’t hear back, I picked up the phone and gave my doctor’s office a call. Unfortunately for me, my doctor had apparently left the office early that particular day prior to the arrival of my results. I was informed that I could come into the walk-in clinic his office runs at 5:00pm and get the results from the doctor on call.
I brought my mom with me. We sat in the doctor’s office, it was the shortest time I ever had to wait. My mom held my hand as the doctor introduced himself. After what felt like an eternity he turned to me and said, “I am so sorry that I have never met you and I have to tell you this - your baby’s heartbeat is not viable, you will lose the baby”. Even as I type this now I have tears running down my face. He gave me all the information at his disposal. I asked if I should cancel the impending trip to Costa Rica. He said “No, I’m prescribing you to go to Costa Rica”, adding that I simply need to make sure that my travel medical insurance was in order.
I went home, rushed up the stairs, and told Steve the news. We sat together digesting what was happening before I got into bed, and stayed there for two days straight. I felt like a failure, like my body had betrayed me. I was healthy, fit, and young - how could this happen to me? I would never be the same again.
Twenty-three. That’s the number of people who already knew about my pregnancy. I made this list while laying in bed. Twenty-three people. Family, our closest friends and a random acquaintance I told just three days prior. And now I felt as though I needed to tell them that I would lose the baby. Not because I necessarily owed it to them, but rather as a means to avoid the inevitable awkwardness and painful reminders in the months to come. The last thing I knew I’d need, was to be caught off guard, to be reminded of this moment by someone with all the best intentions, with a well meaning “pregnancy check” a few months down the line. It would be coming from a good place, but I wasn’t sure that in that instant I’d be able to keep it together. It would be awkward for everyone involved, and I naively wanted to avoid that future heartache at all costs. After the first couple of phone calls, I didn’t have the strength to talk about it anymore. I informed the rest of my list through text messages. Twenty-three people. I remember every detail.
I called my Health clinic Monday morning to schedule a D&C for the moment I was back from my trip, as I was told to do by the clinic doc. My Doctor suggested that we should instead wait and see. He said that my body may begin the miscarriage process on it’s own, naturally. He knows me well.
I left for Costa Rica an hour later…