In sort-of chronological order, numbered for my own comfort:
1) I cried. (I was not sad, just a little surprised and overwhelmed. Within one hour of taking the pregnancy test I literally had to walk out of my house and get on a plane for a business trip to effing Las Vegas.)
2) I lost all my mommy-grody-mojo. Remember when I couldn’t handle anything even remotely disgusting? And then I had Boopsie and could handle lots of it? Yeah, that disappeared again. One night she had the stomach flu I couldn’t get within 10 feet of her without retching. It was 3 a.m. and Daddy-o had to do comforting and clean-up while I ran from room to room in our house gagging into the kitchen sink, the upstairs toilet, the downstairs toilet, a trash can, etc. I didn’t even have the flu yet (that came later).
3) On a related note, I started barfing (or at least retching) at the drop of a hat. Generally, I felt better this time around (as compared to Boopsie) but I was barfing a lot more. Go figure. Taking out the diaper pail? Puke. Catching a whiff of a bag of dry cat food? Gag-o-rama. Drink caffeine? Yark-tastic.
4) My dreams got… wow. Intense would be one word. Almost every night I was treated to a feature length movie with plots and subplots. There was the one where Boopsie was 14 and got kidnapped by sweet potato farmers. It was the same way when I was pregnant with Boopsie. Both times, my dreams were my first “tell”… vivid and memorable are both understatements.
5) I was convinced it was a boy and started name-storming. I find boy names much harder than girl names and was stressed about that. I was also worried about getting Boopsie out of the crib, potty trained and off the pacifier in short order.
6) I was sick as a dog, virus-wise. The stomach flu took 4+ days to get over. The doctor said, “You’re pregnant. It takes longer to recover.” Then I got a respiratory flu-like virus. I missed a week of work. I could only take Tylenol and I coughed so much I bruised my ribs, which was intensely painful.
7) I had a miscarriage. (Sorry for the Downton Abbey-like plot twist.) I started spotting and I went to the midwife and he couldn’t find a heartbeat and ultrasounds confirmed the shitty news. After all that barfing and all those dreams and slogging through all that illness and just before the holy grail of the second trimester it was done. Becoming undone. The fetus stopped developing at about 6.5 weeks and I miscarried at home just before 12. And it sucked. It was much more physically draining than I expected, on top of all the other physically draining illnesses that made up January.
In the days surrounding the actual miscarriage I was a hormonal mess. I was insanely nauseated and drained to the point where getting through each day was a physical battle. (Sleep on the floor of an unoccupied office? Why, yes I think I will.) My theory is that my body was finally catching on that things were not going well, and I know (based on multiple blood tests) that my HCG counts were in a total free fall. I had more insane dreams, but they were more ominous than usual. Right after the miscarriage I had one in which I was caring for a bunch of little babies and I was doing a crap job of it. CRAP. There was a little baby boy, and I didn’t know his name. I should have known his name. He was hidden in a crib in a closet, as happy as could be, but when people asked me who he was, I didn’t know. In the dream I was panicked.
I went about my life, letting people know on an as-needed basis and I was shocked at how many women had gone through at least one miscarriage. It’s so common, and yet so few people talk about it. For me, there’s something about it that makes me feel a ever-so-slightly ashamed. Rationally, I know that I couldn’t have done anything differently. And I’m not walking around feeling broken, or scarred, or in emotional pain. I’m living my life as I normally would. But deep in my gut, there’s one tiny, ugly voice that sometimes whispers, “You failed.” And so I tell it to shut the eff up.
This was way back in January. I don’t have any lingering health impacts (and my ribs finally “healed” about six weeks ago). I’m fortunately not overwhelmed by sadness and I thanked my lucky stars every day that I had Boopsie to distract me and Daddy-o to hug me. We haven’t decided what this means for our future family plans, but I do know I need some more time to get my physical act back together and my mental game “on” if we decide to try again. Because if there is another pregnancy, it’s going to be a long 14 weeks of trying to stay calm (while barfing).
Why am I sharing this? Like I said, no one talks about this. I don’t think women should feel like they have to talk about it, but I think they should feel like they can. No shame. No drama. Just be. Godspeed to all you pregnant ladies, and to all the ladies who are mourning/have mourned little ones. Hugs to you.