I started crying while I was feeding the dogs this morning. Not because a bag of their special rice-free blend costs eighty dollars, but because I’m grieving and the overwhelming sadness came at me, unexpected and uninvited, as I scooped Annameat Encore into bowls.
Rewind to March 26..it’s Thursday afternoon and I’m waiting anxiously for Ben to get home. I’d dressed quickly and beelined to the car that morning only to turn the key and hear three short clicks and then..nothing. Now, six years (fine, hours) later, the husband pulls up and we are off to Kroger. Forty minutes and two tests later, our mouths are open and I’m laughing in disbelief.
It’s six days before my 40th birthday, and I’m pregnant. We’ve been married less than six months, and I’m old and I’m pregnant! During a pandemic! This is crazy! But crazy wonderful!
Ben looks slightly shell-shocked and starts mumbling about adding another person to our health insurance and “why did we get rid of that toddler bed?” He’s excited, just excitedly practical. I start calling my closest people. Joy and surprise. What an unexpected blessing! Honestly, I didn’t even think I could conceive, especially in the last two weeks of my thirties, but that plus sign is unmistakable.
For the next week, I’m in a cloud of wonder and excitement. It’s too awesome to keep to myself, and I tell everyone except the mailman. Just kidding, I told him too. Okay, I don’t tell EVERYONE, but I don’t want to keep this miracle a secret. I want people to pray for us, and God forbid, if something goes wrong, to be there. A couple days into knowing there was a tiny, sweet life growing inside of me; I remembered something. A prayer, said in passing the month before:
“Lord, please bless my womb however you want to. Whether that means opening or closing it, bless it the way you want.”
That was only a few weeks ago, and boy, had God made himself clear. Open, sesame!
One week after we confirm there is, indeed, a Little Bean in there, I start spotting. I’m scared by the appearance of blood, even though it’s not much and I’ve read this is normal. I call praying friends and I decide to fight fear with faith. Hadn’t I asked God to do what he wanted? And hadn’t He answered? I find a list of Bible verses to pray over my baby each morning, and I go ahead and order that book on pregnancy from Amazon ( The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby. So good!) The spotting stops, and my friend Catherine tells me not to be surprised if it comes back. Normal.
It returns. Then it goes away. My emotions rise and fall with each trip to the bathroom and I am relieved, at least, by the absence of cramps. At least five women have told me they bled during their pregnancies and everything was totally fine. Normal.
My first OB appointment isn’t until May 6 because they’re doing limited in-person consultations. Thanks, Coronavirus. I try to imagine who this child will be, and I get excited dreaming of a jungle-themed nursery. I am tickled by the thought that this tiny person is Audrey’s little brother or sister. I am pretty sure I’ll end up home-schooling because this world just keeps getting crazier and no, thank you.
I visit my parents and my mom decides she wants to be called “Granny”. Visions of Tweety Bird’s owner dance in my head. It’s during this trip that my food aversions begin. I no longer like tortilla chips!!?? And pickles are way too salty. And why, God, did someone put rosemary on these french fries? Plain, comfort food is all I crave, plus I’m eating sweets like it’s my job. Nausea kicks in and I’m comforted. That means things are going well, I’ve been told. Baby is growing. Hormones are rising. Normal.
The spotting returns, heavier, on this visit. I push back my return in order to rest a day. Resting helps it subside. During this time I call my OB and they agree I might need to come in a bit earlier for bloodwork. My numbers look great, but on the second round two days later they notice my HCG isn’t rising as quickly as they’d like. The doc thinks it might be a good idea to come in early the next week.
I won’t make it to that appointment.
That very night, I start bleeding. Really bleeding, and I wake Ben up and tell him we need to go to the hospital. This. Is. Not. Normal.
I’m admitted, but Ben can’t come in with me. Thanks again, Coronavirus. Alone, I get examined. Alone, I go in for my first ultrasound and my very worst, don’t-say -it -out -loud fears are confirmed. I see my beautiful, perfect baby, but it’s in the wrong place. It’s growing and alive, but it’s in my tube. My baby has no chance of survival and if my tube bursts I could die, too.
The only solution to this impossible nightmare is immediate surgery, and I can’t stop crying as the doctor explains the procedure. He is kind and fatherly, and he keeps saying how sorry he is. It helps a little. I’m able to keep Ben updated through phone calls, and I tell him to go home and sleep, because I’m here for awhile. He’s been sitting in the parking lot for two hours because he doesn’t want to leave me. Alone, I get prepped and anesthetized, and lay on a table as they cut my heart open and take my baby from me.
April 25, my child is in the arms of Jesus and I’m even more alone than I was when I got here. I wake up in a quiet room and the tears come again. No more pregnancy. No more joy. Only death and sadness and pain.
Recovery at home the first few days sucks. My stomach hurts from incisions and I can’t sit up on my own. I’m heartbroken and I feel betrayed. Is this your blessing, God? What in the WORLD was the point of this?
I watch hours of Friday Night Lights in a grief-induced haze. The distraction helps me not to drown in the pain. I know I’ll need to feel these feelings, but not yet. I’m not ready.
Ben stays home with me for a week. In the midst of all the suck, his love and faithfulness is sweet and steady, and I am thankful. The cards and flowers are a stream of comfort and kindness, and friends bring food and chocolate and they take off their masks and hold me because loving me is worth it to them. I’m glad I let people in from the start because I would feel utterly alone without them.
It’s only been a little over a week. I’m not okay. I still don’t know why He let this happen. But I do know God is good. He has always been, and I KNOW it’s still true. I know He is for me and that His plans are good. But I can’t feel it right now.