I woke up with great trepidation. The bleeding had started again the previous evening, enough to start the worry. I went to the bathroom and found clumps of blood in the toilet. I yelled for Ben and asked what it was. He held my hand and assured me it was okay. Ten minutes later, I passed more clots. Sensing that everything was not okay, I called the doctor's office as soon as it opened. When the nurse heard my concerns, she immediately set up an ultrasound appointment.
My bladder was full and hurting from drinking 32 oz of water, enough water to hopefully expand my uterus and allow for a regular ultrasound.
The tech probed around my tummy, looking for the embryo. She found it, and the heartbeat. Since she couldn't pick up the heartbeat she sent me to the restroom and took out the V. probe.
We listened breathlessly to our baby's heart. She printed the pictures out with cute phrases like, "Hi mom!" and "Hi dad!" Ben pointed to the screen and told Emily and Andrew all about the sibling.
The atmosphere was light and we asked silly questions like, "Is it a girl or a boy?"
The ultrasound tech found the source of the bleeding: the subamniotic hemorrage. She postulated that I was passing clots and blood as the sack released it.
Deana, the nurse, came out and spoke with us. She explained the ultrasound a little more and placed me on a more restricted form of pelvic rest. She listened as I talked about my fears--the continued bleeding, the absence of sickness--and hugged me when I started crying. As we were leaving, she told me to call her for anything.
The drive home was less somber. We talked about the baby, the heartbeat, and how relieved we were. We picked up food as a sort of celebration, complete with a chocolate milkshake.
At home again, I started feeling intense cramping. Thinking it was because of the ultrasound, I tried to ignore it. I laughed as Andrew drank some of the milkshake and angrily grunted for more after he drained the cup.
I tried laying down thinking that would stop the pain. I felt the blood pouring out, but figured it was okay. Ben left for work as the pain increased. The nurse called a few minutes later to make sure I was resting and to tell me how my hCG levels were. The hCG wasn't rising, but it wasn't falling. It explained the lack of sickness but little else. I told her about the pain and bleeding and she immediately ordered me to bed.
I called my friend to ask if she could take my kids. She, despite having 2 of her own, immediately came over. A good friend, the best kind of friend.
Contractions at 6 weeks is bad, really really bad. Once I felt them, I prayed harder than I had all day. I fought. Oh, I fought. I breathed trying to calm myself but the contractions continued, rocking my body. You can not take my baby. I will keep this baby. But my uterus won. Reacting like the embryo, gestational sac, and yolk sac were nothing but invaders, it sloughed them as if it were a regular period.
The pelvic pressure intensified with the sense of something bearing down and I knew. I knew.
Alone I fought. Alone I lost. I called and texted Ben. He came home as soon as he could.
The nurse, a different one this time, confirmed my fears. "The heartbeat was lower than we would expect at 6 weeks. You probably saw it as it was on its way out. If you bleed through a pad an hour, head to the ER."
I sobbed, body trembling, tears streaming, into Ben's shoulders. He held me tight repeating, "I'm so sorry." His grief expressed itself as anger. "We saw the heartbeat," he repeated over and over until he finally succumbed to his tears.
We held each other and rocked, our wretching sobs wrapping themselves around each other and healing our hearts.
The bleeding and clotting continued. I soaked through another pad. We decided an ER visit wouldn't hurt.
While checking in, I felt it. "Oh!" My baby!
"I can't look. I don't want to see it."
"I'll do it, baby."
But I couldn't turn away.
In one flush, the baby was gone.
We cried again, holding each other tight. Together in our unique grief.
The ER nurse pushed me toward the ultrasound room. We walked by the IV therapy room I had visited so often while pregnant with Andrew. The tears started again and I looked away.
A dead silent ultrasound room is not a good sign. Although I couldn't see the screen, I knew what it said. I guess I knew what it was going to show but I couldn't stop the little bit of hope that had leaked through to my heart.
Ben held me in his arms as I cried again and again. The tears soaking his shirt. I composed myself long enough to hear the doctor's report, nodding as he explained what happened.
We picked up the kids on the way home. I held my babies tight telling them how much I loved them. We thanked my friend and drove to the house.
It was late. The kids were tired. We put them into bed and tried watching a show together. I fell asleep nestled against Ben's chest, comforted by his strong arms.
It's unfair to have afterbirth contractions with no baby to hold. Like a slap to the face.
I don't really know how to end this. There is no ending, you know? It's a continuous process as I work through the grief. I suppose that is the real ending.
I can say how grateful I am for my babies. Losing one so early reminds me how lucky I am. In their own way, they will help me work through this awful pain.
Before I end, please do not feel guilty if you have shared your own story with me. I need good stories to feel comfort.