The sonogram tech welcomed me into her little cave of a room, and had me hop up on her examination table. I assumed the position, lying on my back with my belly exposed, and pants drawn down enough to get the sonogram rollerball mechanism on my abdomen where it needed to be.
As she moved the mechanism through the cold gel to get a good look at what was going on inside my uterus, she periodically would vocalize a “hmmmmmmm.” She worked at taking measurements of the little bean, and then turned to me with a sympathetic look. She began, while pointing to a model on the wall symbolizing the milestones of fetus growth, “your baby was about this big, and by now at 12 weeks, it should be this big.”
I instantly went into shock, and with widened eyes that already were welling with tears, I said, “What do you mean, should … is something wrong?”
“Yes honey,” she said gently, “I’m so sorry, but your baby has died. It stopped growing, and it died. I don’t see a heart beat.” I burst into tears, and shook in disbelief.
“I’m going to see if one of the doctors can meet with you. Did someone come with you today?”
“No, no. I’m here alone,” I croaked through my tears. All alone. New in town, and my husband out of town for work. Time started to move in a haze.
The sonogram technician escorted me through the office halls to one of the doctor’s offices that was not in use. She gave me a box of tissues, and instructed me to wait for the nurse to come get me. I tried to call my husband working in New Orleans, but couldn’t get in touch with him. I tried to call my sister who lived in town, but she was in a meeting. I called my Mom in Chicago, and reached her. My tears were flowing as I explained to my mom what happened. I was completely bewildered.
When the nurse came back, she showed me to a room where I met with my new doctor. The doctor seemed like she could've been a friend of mine. She explained to me that I had a spontaneous miscarriage. They don't know why it happens, but it does happen in roughly 1 of every 4 pregnancies. My options were to let it pass naturally from my body, or to have a procedure performed where they would remove it. I opted for the procedure, not wanting death to be inside me for any longer than it needed to be, baby or not. The nurse came back and ushered me down the back flight of stairs to my car--they didn't want me to have to see anyone or for any pregnant ladies to have to see me in such a mess.
We scheduled the Dilation & Curettage (D&C) for the next morning, and arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. to go through the paperwork and get prepped. The nurses-in-training poked and prodded as they attempted to find a good vein what wouldn’t roll. The hospital chaplain came to visit and said a prayer with my husband and me. Then the doctor came in, and explained again that they were going to dilate my cervix (about the size of a large pencil), and then use an instrument called a curette, which has a flat, metal loop on the end to scrape away the miscarried remains along with inside lining of my uterus.
The procedure didn’t take long, and required general anesthetic. I stayed at the hospital for the rest of the day, because my blood pressure wouldn’t go up to normal levels following the surgery.
Back at home, I had a lot of cramping and bled for a few weeks that seemed to increase with my activity level. I worked through the emotions as best I could, and had a rough time for the next few months. In hindsight, I should have been on anti-depressants, but luckily, I got pregnant three months later which really helped me to focus on being healthy and looking forward to a new baby. The next 2 pregnancies went with little to no complications, and we now are blessed with two adorable little boys.
Have you ever had a miscarriage? Tell us your story. Writing truly can be cathartic.
Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and will be celebrating Christmas at her family’s home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. She started a women’s group, The Wo-Hoo! Society, in the interests of friendship, networking, and philanthropy. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.