One, None, Gone

***linking up with Mamakat today : describe your first pregnancy.

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The honeymoon was perfect. 10 days in Hilton Head. Day trips to Savannah and Charleston. Dolphin watching and rollerblading. Romantic dinners. Walks on the beach. Heaven.

The first year of marriage was pretty seamless. Living together before they got married helped in that. It felt good to be married; it did feel different. They belonged to each other…officially. They had decided that He would go back to school and finally finish college. He had started and stopped many times but could never decide what career was right for him. That would mean he had to work less and would be gone more…but luckily she had snagged an excellent teaching job…hopefully they would make it work.

Right before they decided that he would go back to school…they bought their first house. It was around the corner from His parents and down the road from Hers. It was a four bedroom; they imagined filling it with children. She had wanted to be a mother ever since she could remember. She had been taking care of people her whole life; it would be a natural transition.

Her first year at her new teaching job went better than expected. She was 22 and teaching seniors; that was a little awkward but the Mrs. in front of her name certainly helped her to seem more authoritative. School was going great for Him; He was entering the physical therapy field. Classes were tough but he was doing it. Or so she thought.

They celebrated their first Christmas by going to the tree farm and cutting down their own tree. They made a giant mess out of the car and their apartment but it was theirs. Right before Christmas break, She found out that He had not been going to his physics class. He had skipped class and went to the final…and no one was there. It was their first major fight. They were struggling to make ends meet and now He threw $1000 out the window on this class. However, like most things, it was a learning and turning point. He really didn’t like what he was doing; this wasn’t what he wanted in a career.

Many talks later, She finally got him to admit that he really wanted to be a physical education teacher. The only thing that was stopping him from pursuing it were other people’s comments. “You’ll never find a job; P.E. teachers are slackers; that’s the easiest job in the world; you won’t make any money.” But she encouraged him to do it if that’s what was in his heart. So he did. And he never missed another class or final and actually earned straight A’s.

Spring came and life was good. The end of her first school year was under her belt. Phew. She survived her 1st year of teaching…which was always notoriously extremely difficult. He was finally on a career path that he truly wanted and was doing extremely well.

They had those long talks that newlywed couples do…where they could just spend hours talking and talking about their future. During one of those talks they decided to try and have a baby. They were beside themselves with excitement. She had always wanted to be a mother; he would be a wonderful father. So the journey began.

Six weeks later the two little lines showed up on the test. She couldn’t believe it. Their first try had worked. She would be due at the end of March which would work out perfectly with teaching. She could take her 6-8 weeks off for maternity leave and then have the summer.

Perfect.

She couldn’t believe she was actually pregnant. She had this unreasonable fear that She wouldn’t be able to have children; probably because She wanted it so badly. Having a husband as wonderful as Him was unbelievable; now to be pregnant with His child? Amazing.

The weeks flew by. She made it to her 10 week initial check up in no time. No morning sickness, just a little queasiness. Her face was horribly broken out as She wasn’t able to take her hormone medicine…but She could deal with that for a baby. A stickler about her weight, She was a little freaked out that She had already gained 15 pounds even though She was working out every day and eating healthy…but She would be ok with gaining weight for the baby. She read every book She could get her hands on about being pregnant. She gave up coffee, soft cheese, deli meat; She rested and took her prenatal vitamins. She did everything she was supposed to. At her 10 week appointment, they couldn’t hear the heartbeat so they did an ultrasound. Right there on the screen She saw her tiny little baby. They couldn’t believe it. Tears of joy flowed all around. She left with the first snapshots of her perfect little angel; She promptly put the picture up on the fridge. She could already imagine the fridge filled with pictures of her little one; with toddler drawings and pre-school craft projects. She couldn’t wait.

They made it to the 12 week mark before telling anyone except their parents and sisters. She was so excited She could burst. She had bought maternity clothes; this was her first pregnancy and She was so excited to wear them. Finally She could tell everyone—her friends and coworkers and extended family. They talked of names, they dreamed up the nursery, they imagined everything their little one would do and would be.

At 14 weeks, She had her next check-up. She felt great and couldn’t wait to go and hear the heartbeat and maybe even see the little one again on the ultrasound machine. They weighed her (15 lbs…ugh), checked her blood pressure, all the usual stuff. The doctor came in and tried to hear the heartbeat but couldn’t. It was not her usual doctor…maybe this one didn’t know about her tilted uterus. Just like last time. But this time she was 4 weeks farther along. They should be able to hear a heartbeat by now.

“Let’s do an ultrasound and see if the baby’s hiding again!” the doctor said.

They went back to the ultrasound room and tech began to do the exam. The tech put the cool gel on her stomach and moved the probe around until she could see the baby. She did the measurements and said somewhat hesitantly…”Your 10 weeks, right?”

She said “No, actually, I’m 14 weeks.”

Then the tech stopped and looked at the screen and then quickly left to get the doctor. Her heartbeat was racing by now; She looked at Him with worry in her eyes. “It will be alright, right?”

The doctor came back in…moved the probe…looked at the screen. The doctor slowly put the probe down, turned to Her and said “I’m so sorry but there’s no heartbeat.”

The whole world went black. She reached for Him and cried and died a little inside.

She wasn’t sure She would ever be ok. She had lost their baby. It was her fault, of that she was sure. Even though she had done everything by the book, She was sure She had missed something. How could this happen? She couldn’t stop crying; She was sure now that She would never be a mother.

The doctor scheduled her for surgery the following morning. The doctor had wanted to wait until Monday but She couldn’t stand the thought of her dead baby inside her for an entire weekend. As much as She didn’t want the baby to go, She knew it would be harder to hold on for any longer.

She arrived at the hosptial; She was devastated at how impersonal the nurses treated her at check-in. Didn’t they know her whole world had just stopped? How could they be so cold and treat her as if this was a routine appointment? Thank God her husband and her Mom were there. The one nurse even yelled at her when She went back for pre-op because She didn’t know how to put on the maxi-pad belt that She had to wear while She was waiting to go back to surgery. She put her clothes in the cold, metal locker and felt as though She would never be ok again. She felt so alone.

They came to get her for the surgery. This nurse was lovely. She had kind eyes and a warm smile. She held her hand and explained the procedure. The doctor came in and had her sign papers saying it was ok to remove the “fetal material”; She winced. Fetal material? This was my son, my daughter, for God’s sake. Didn’t anybody understand?

Finally it was time for surgery. There were so many people in the room. It was so bright. She just wanted it to be over. She wanted to go back 24 hours and have there be a heartbeat. She wanted her baby. The anesthesiologist turned around while she removed her maxi-pad belt; this made her laugh inside because he was obviously going to see everything in just a few minutes…but it made her feel better nonetheless. She lay down on the table and the nurse with the kind eyes held her hand again. The nurse asked her to count back from ten; as She was going under She heard the nurse say “Oh my, this is so sad.” It comforted her to know that this nurse understood her pain. She was under.

The next thing She knew She was waking up and was freezing cold. They put warming blankets on her and called her husband back. He held her while She cried. Their baby was gone.

Gone.

***to read my flashback series, click the link at the top of the page***

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7 responses to “One, None, Gone

  1. Tiffany. You are an amazing writer. I felt like I was there with you. I even felt cold too. I am so sad for this loss. I am glad you had at least one good nurse. The nurses were so great when my mom was sick. The docs had little bedside manner, but I will always remember the nurses :o) Love you….

  2. It’s such a sad loss. You told the story beautifully, and I’m happy that the nurse with kind eyes was there.

  3. Beautifully written, Tiffany… Thank you for sharing.

  4. We had only one scare where the heartbeat couldn’t be found, but then turned out it was hiding. It was a terrifying, very vulnerable feeling. I would have been devastated to have had it take that turn. No one really goes to those appointments expecting anything but wonderful news.

  5. Tiffany, I cannot even imagine.

    I’ve spent way too much time in hospitals with two of my children, and isn’t it amazing how a truly compassionate, kind, sympathetic nurse can make you feel so much better?

  6. Tiffany,

    Heartbreaking. And the last word, “Gone” is so powerful. It is one of the emptiest emotions I’ve ever experienced.

  7. Thank you for sharing such an intimate and difficult time. I can’t even imagine how you must have felt. My daughter and I almost died when I was 32.5 weeks but we were both saved and I am forever grateful.

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