In April of 2012 I was pregnant. At first I was feeling smug and pretty damn proud of myself. After all, I had found myself a new job close to home (I used to be an 3+ hour a day EXTREME COMMUTER) and I had discovered the joys of dropping then 3-year old niblet off at daycare at 8:30am instead of the crack of dawn. I had finally found a way to be closer to my child and see her for more than three paltry hours a day. I could finally imagine bringing a sibling into niblet's life and hey, actually seeing my children! I carefully calculated the time I needed for my FMLA to kick in at my new lower-paying but close-to-home job, got myself off the pill for three cycles, responsibly took my prenatal vitamins, and when the day arrived I theatrically said to husband, "The time is now." And BAM, just as with niblet years before, I peed on a stick and learned that we got ourselves knocked up on the first try.
Except this time, as the weeks progressed, something felt wrong. I thought I felt some nausea, but not quite. I was bloated and feeling generally icky, but I didn't feel pregnant. I had already been pregnant, and this didn't feel like pregnancy. Yeah, yeah, I know, no two are alike, but honestly, this just felt off. This just felt like dread. With niblet, I always used to joke about the baby parasite inside of me, laugh about how she made me felt like a host body to an alien. But this time I really did feel like something was growing inside of me that was unhealthy and maybe out of science fiction, seriously, it felt like it would go all Alien on me and pop out of my midsection. Of course I was too scared to articulate this to husband, or anyone for that matter. Knowing enough about how quickly things could go wrong, I chose not to announce the pregnancy to anyone, except for one close friend at work who could be there to talk me off the ledge should the situation take a bad turn (or should I need someone to cover for me if I started puking my guts out).
I waited patiently for my 8-week ultrasound. As the day drew closer I tried to verbalize my anxieties. I was by then completely convinced that I was carrying more than one alien, and would wake the poor man who slept next to me up, at all hours in the night, with my rants.
"What if I am carrying twins? What will we do????" (Husband rolls over, looks at me incredulously).
"I AM advanced maternal age after all, statistically speaking I am likely having multiples!!!" (Husband murmurs that I should really get a grip).
"Oh my god, sweet jesus, where the hell will we put two babies in our little house!?!?" (Blank Stare).
"What was I THINKING when I decided to get pregnant? Am I INSANE????" (Husband rolls away)
The 8-week ultrasound day finally came. Unlike niblet's, this time I was experienced, I went alone.
And this time I experienced my first stupifyingly bad ultrasound, that moment some women will recognize where your doctor can't find an actual baby with a heartbeat. Dr. C (not my usual doctor in my very large OB practice) tried to convince me that my dates were wrong. "I see a gestational sac and a yolk sac measuring about 6 weeks, you should come back in two weeks. Besides, your uterus is quite tilted, it's hard to get a good view in there....." But I knew. I could tell him what I had for dinner the night we made this baby. There was no way that my dates were wrong, and I left the office dejected and scared and feeling in my bones that I was going to miscarry.
Husband however, upon hearing the news, was unconvinced, and being of the generally "glass half full" disposition, wasn't ready to give up hope. The woman's cycle is a thing of mystery to him, and perhaps my dates were wrong. I was wrong about that multiple business after all. Shouldn't I trust my doctor? Why would Dr. C attempt to convince me of the possibility I was carrying a 6 week old healthy baby if I wasn't?
For the next two weeks I lived in a haze, waiting for another ultrasound or bleeding to tell me our fate. I was pregnant, or at least, I was "a little bit pregnant." I was still queasy, I was still bloated. But before I could get that ultrasound, I saw a tinge of pink on toilet paper one morning. I called out sick from work, and went to the ER, where after my blood was drawn I then experienced my second foray into the fucked-upedness of reproduction when it doesn't work properly:
Because you see, even after a lengthy, painful invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound (yes Red states, they hurt), performed by a tech with a confused face and then by a doctor with a grim face, no one could tell what the hell was actually going on in my uterus. Yes, I was sort of bleeding, however, healthy pregnancies sometimes have that too. And my HCG (pregnancy hormone count) was super high. And what's that there on the ultrasound image, is that two gestational sacs? "We don't actually know what's going on with you," said the nurse, with some grisly fascination. But where are the heartbeats? You know you're in trouble when your doc is asking other docs around the hospital, "Hey, I don't quite know what I'm looking at here on this here ultrasound, can you help me out?" I was sent home 5 hours later, with a printout that said "possible missed abortion." ER doc explained that he thought there were two sacs, however one was very misshapen and neither appeared viable. Perhaps my body "would take care of it on it's own."
I called Dr. C, asked him to review the ER evaluation and give me an honest view of what would happen. At this point, I was 10.5 weeks pregnant and had yet to see a heartbeat on an ultrasound or any indication that what I was carrying was alive. "Well, it probably isn't viable. I would say more than probably." And with that I made my decision to end the torture. Fuck this insanity, I wanted a D&C and I wanted it as soon as possible.