Monday, March 17, 2014

Miscarriage: Fear, Sorrow and Unmet Expectations…

            In jubilant giddiness, with the vision of those pink test strip lines lingering in my mind, I practically skipped to the car with Parker that Friday morning. It was a beautiful August day, and I planned to attend my gym’s aerobic class and then take Parker to the movie theater to see the weekly children’s movie. With season tickets, our Friday movie adventure had become a fun, highly anticipated ritual.
            After checking him into the gym’s child-care room, I headed into the aerobics area to carefully set up my steps and select dumbbells and Thera-bands. I eased into the first several minutes of the workout, carefully avoiding any twisting and abdominal work.
            Now let me stop my story right here for a minute. For those of you have read through my blog from the beginning, know my story, and “suffered” through Victoria’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, you might be asking yourself at this point, “Andrea, what were you thinking!? Are you nuts!? You should have known better than to do any kind of exercising, given your pregnancy history.”
            Well, maybe I should have. Or maybe I was just too giddy and hormone-infused to think straight. Or maybe I just so desperately wanted to be “normal” like other women. Whatever it was, I went to the gym.
            Not more than ten minutes into the aerobics exercise, I felt that distinctive flow familiar to all women. I bolted from the gym and sprinted to the bathroom, where—in terror—I stared at the slowly emerging blood. “Oh, please, God! Not again; I can’t take this again!
            I thought I was mumbling, but a woman quickly emerged from a stall and asked if she could help, after first locating me lying on one of the changing benches. I managed a controlled, “No, but thank you,” and briefly explained my fears. While talking to her, my mind raced to engineer an action plan. If there were any action plan available to me at that point.
            Dr. Gordon’s office is just across the street, I thought. If I can just make it over there in the car without bleeding anymore, I might be able to have him look at me. Like a woman on an impossible, desperate mission—which she knows only too well she is likely to lose, but remains driven to continue in spite of odds or logic—I scooped up my gym bag, snagged Parker from his play room, smirked briefly at the child-care attendant who looked me up and down and said in a mildly sarcastic tone, “But you just got here!” and left the building as quickly and gingerly as I could.
            Within minutes, I stood trembling at Dr. Gordon’s reception counter, babbling at his receptionist about what had happened, saying I was sorry, but I didn’t know what else to do, and was hesitant to drive forty minutes south to the other doctor’s office. Her suggestion that he might want me to go to the emergency room of his hospital for an exam terrified me even more. Not that emergency room, again! I thought. No way!
            I stood catatonic and wide-eyed at the counter, while she retreated down the hallway and disappeared into an examination room to locate Dr. Gordon. As she padded back up the hallway toward me, she assured me he’d see me right away, and then she escorted me to one of his comfortable, homey accommodations. Parker trailed behind me.
            If I can just get my feet up in the air, maybe I can stop this from happening, I thought. After carefully scaling the examination table and assuming the head-down position with which I was so familiar, I stared at the ceiling tiles, twiddled my thumbs and awaited Dr. Gordon’s arrival. Parker proceeded to investigate the room and its unusual crannies, while I fought to keep my heart from escaping the confines of my chest cavity. Finally, Dr. Gordon entered the room.
            I blurted out my condition and fears, and, after a soothing word and sympathetic look, Dr. Gordon conducted an examination. After several minutes, he extracted what appeared to him to be placental tissue. Within seconds, I started cramping.
            “If you haven’t miscarried already, you are probably in the process of doing so,” he announced. “It’s nothing you did,” he rapidly assured me. “Things like this happen all of the time, for a variety of reasons; many women miscarry who don’t even know they’re pregnant, don’t even suspect that they’ve lost an embryo. Just go home and relax. I’ll have the sample sent to the pathology lab for evaluation. I suspect it will be normal, but if it’s not, then we’ll have more tests to perform.” It all sounded so clinical, but I was used to clinical. Being used to clinical briefly made my brain switch to a mode of hearing facts I wasn’t personally related to. Textbook facts. That’s all they were: textbook facts, and I was the specimen experiencing them. My brain switching into that mode afforded me some protection against losing every last sense of sanity I possessed. 
            Then Dr. Gordon ran through the possibilities falling in the “abnormal” category along with the possible scenario of excess tissue remaining in the uterus. I heaved a sigh, resigned to the realization that nothing more could be done.
            Dr. Gordon helped me to a sitting position.
            I was numb.
            “Chris doesn’t even know I’m pregnant. I was planning to surprise him tomorrow night at dinner,” I mumbled pathetically.
            With a sincere, commiserating expression, he said, “Chris is a great guy. It will be hard, but you will both be fine. I want to see you next week; I should have the pathology report back by that time.”
            What am I going to do now? I thought. I no longer wanted to sit through a movie at the theater, but I didn’t want to be alone, or answer any of Parker’s persistent questions.
            What I wanted was to crawl into bed and block out the world. Is this what infertile couples go through? I wondered. Months of unsuccessful efforts, only to find out one day you’re pregnant—and then the next day you’re not? How could they continue on the roller coaster for months, or years?
            I had nothing to complain about. I already had a beautiful, healthy child. So why did that feeling of incompleteness and failure, of being robbed of reproductive ability and joy rage through me? Why do I have to be so abnormal?
            Clutching Parker’s soft little hand, I shuffled across the parking lot to the pay phones located outside the grocery store. Oh, I hope he answers the phone, my mind groaned. A relentless ache pummeled my heart as I dialed Chris’s office.
            “Hello,” came the familiar voice over the receiver.
            “Hi,” I squeaked. Not this way, I thought. I don’t want to tell him this way. He deserves better. I tried so hard to sound strong. I wanted so badly to remain cool and controlled, but that veneer sheered off in a nanosecond.
            “I need you to come home; I just had a miscarriage!” I blurted, dissolving into tears.
            The words spewed from my lips. “I just came from Dr. Gordon’s office, and I’ve had a miscarriage. I don’t want to be alone; I can’t be alone!” I screeched into the phone. “I was going to surprise you with the news tomorrow night; I’ve known since Wednesday. I gulped in air. “I wanted it to be a surprise! Oh, I’m so sorry.” I gulped in more air. “Will you come home?” I begged.
            “You go home,” Chris said. “I’m leaving right now.”
            “Thanks…I’m sorry, Chris.” I whispered. “I’ll see you in a little while…I love you.” I re-cradled the receiver onto the pay phone.
            What must he think of having such an inadequate wife who presents him with so many health problems? I wondered.
            Still clutching Parker’s hand, I struggled to tell my him why we’d have to skip the movie and go home. Then I quickly abandoned my attempts to explain anything to him. Explanations seemed useless and inadequate. He had no idea what just transpired. All he understood was that his extremely upset Mommy was bleeding again.
            The small parking lot appeared to stretch endlessly in front of us as we walked back toward Dr. Gordon’s office building. Hours earlier, I’d eagerly anticipated my Saturday night date with Chris, where I’d beam proudly and expose my precious secret. I had acted it out countless times.
            Now I had to muster all of my emotional energy reserves to drag myself and an invisible weight across the hot, radiating asphalt. At least the cramping has stopped, I noticed with gratefulness while sliding into the car.
            No more cramping. No more baby. That was swift and final.
            When will this nightmarish ride end?
            Maybe Chris and I would have to end it…right here.


NEXT WEEK: God plays His hand…and we begin the ride of our lives…

Until next week,

Thanks for joining me!