Friday, November 17, 2006

Joining the Club (to which I never wanted to belong)

For a week, I didn't know what to tell people, even my closest friends. I hadn't had a miscarriage, not yet. But I was waiting for one. It was hard enough to find an appropriate moment to interject, "By the way,...", "Speaking of uterine cramping,...", "Drinks? Oh, I'll have two, since I can now!" And then, what do you say? "I had a miscarriage" isn't right. "I'm in the process of having a miscarriage" sounds like you should be doubled over in pain on the toilet. "I'm expecting a miscarriage" sounds like you are just being negative. Buck up, li'l camper!

Last Thursday I went to my OB. It had been about nine weeks since my last period. My earlier appointment had shown a gestational age of 5 weeks, 5 days. No heartbeat, but then again it was so early. The ultrasound last Thursday showed no progress. The nodule of cells still measured 5 weeks, 5 days, and there was no heartbeat. "I'm sorry," said my doctor. And she was. Griffin, strapped in his stroller next to me complained - he had been restrained for too long. After Griffin's nap that afternoon I took him out, fed him french fries and bought him toys. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Two options, she said, wait for my body to run its course, or intervene medically. Ultimately, I chose the second, but still, I prayed that my body would rush to beat the deadline I had set by making the appointment with the hospital. I just could not bear to let this in-between state drag on for how long, two weeks? Four? My body still felt pregnant, and still made corresponding irrational demands on me - naps, snacks every couple of hours. I worried that my body would choose 30,000 feet altitude as it's time to finalize the situation. We get on a plane for a little vacation next Wednesday. I could see myself sweating and crying in the 2x2 airplane bathroom, unable to exit as the plane begins its final decent. No thanks.

Yesterday, one week after seeing less than I wanted on the ultrasound screen, it was over. An outpatient procedure that, except for the lack of cutting and stitches, felt very much like surgery. OR, two nurses, anesthesiologist, doctor, and nursing student in the room with me. Twenty minutes later I wake up and it is over. Another half hour, and I am wheeled out to the car, and sent home.

Today it is almost as if it never happened. The pregnancy, the miscarriage, erased from my body. No pain, just a maxi pad waiting to catch any residual mess that might yet materialize. So many women have been here. My OB. The nurse who wheeled me to the car. The friend who dropped off dinner at our house last night. It is not an exclusive club - indeed, it makes us feel better to know we are not alone, and to offer support for our newest members.