I’ve been trying to get my head around what happened. The timeline looks like this:
Xy and I started Officially Trying in early May. She might have conceived in mid-to-late June. She did the home pregnancy test last Friday, and upon seeing the positive result, got an appointment to see our Ob/Gyn Wednesday at 2 PM. She started spotting the very next day, Saturday morning, and immediately we wondered if she really was pregnant after all. The spotting continued off and on, with cramps, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We were concerned, of course, but Xy figured she’d just hold out for her scheduled appointment on Wednesday afternoon.
But Wednesday morning, around 2:30 AM, all hell broke loose. Xy passed a lot of blood and tissue. She even had the presence of mind to put put a chunk of the tissue in a bag for the doctor. I slept through all this, completely oblivious. She only woke me up later, when the cramps continued. They were so bad she fainted. We were certain it was a miscarriage, and we thought the worst was over.
We didn’t sleep much more. Later that morning Xy went to a friend’s apartment because we’re dogsitting while they’re on vacation.
I foolishly went into work. When I got there, I went into the men’s room and burst into tears. Then I realized I’d forgotten my keys, and had to get a co-worker to let me in to my own office. Soon I talked to my boss, who gently and quite correctly advised me to go home. I called a collaborator to cancel an afternoon appointment, and found I was barely able to leave a coherent voicemail.
I got back to an empty house. I called Xy and she seemed fine. But shortly thereafter, it became clear that the worst was not over. The blood, the cramps, the tissue — lots of it. When it subsided a bit she made her way home. That was around 10:00 AM.
Soon it got worse again.
I called the doctor’s office, something we should have done four days earlier. They asked to speak to Xy, which seemed reasonable enough, except that Xy was actually so distraught and disoriented that she wasn’t able to communicate the urgency of the situation. As a result, they scheduled us for an ultrasound at 1:30 that afternoon. I had to call back. I tried to explain what was happening. They told us to come immediately.
Once we got there, I tried again to emphasize the urgency, but the receptionist was unreadable. We sat in the waiting room for half an hour or so while other people who weren’t bleeding were called in for their routine appointments. Xy was worried that she was bleeding onto the chair. She’d already bled through one pair of pants.
Once we got to the examination room, the nurse and doctor were very concerned. They didn’t panic, but they could see the situation was serious. I give Dr. Schultis major props for walking us over to the hospital personally and taking Xy directly to Outpatient Surgery. Xy called this the “rockstar” treatment. It basically meant that she was able to lie in a bed rather than sitting in the wait room while we got her paperwork processed.
In retrospect, the overloaded healthcare system worked pretty well for us. We arrived in the doctor’s waiting room at 11:00 AM and the D&C was complete by 2:00 PM.
Xy was feeling pretty good by the time I got her home, what with the morphine and all. We watched some stupid show on television and went to bed early.
The doctor had said she might feel like a truck hit her the next day, or she might feel (almost) fine. I’m happy to say she’s at the latter end of the spectrum.
Today she was quite well, considering what she’d been through. In fact, she attended an all-day teacher workshop. Wednesday was effectively the end of her summer vacation.
It may seem hard to believe, but Xy isn’t too sad or upset about all this. She’s mainly relieved that the pain is over. I know her pretty well after all these years, and I don’t think she’s in denial. She never truly believed she was pregnant, and it all happened so quickly that she didn’t have time to envision the child or think of herself as a mother.
For whatever reason, I’ve been having more emotional issues. It’s not so much grief as shock and confusion and fear. I didn’t know this could happen. I was blindsided, and I think that’s why it scared the bejesus out of me. Seeing my sweetheart crouched in our bathtub, wailing in pain as blood gushed from her like a river — that memory is etched in my soul. I never want her to suffer like that again.
It’s outrageous to claim that I’m more upset than my wife. I know, I know. To hear me tell it, you’d think I was the one who had the miscarriage.
Those who know us intimately might understand.
Over the past months I’ve allowed myself to emote freely about the ongoing tragedies of Katrina. Tears have been my safety valve, helping me cope. It’s almost been a point of pride. I certainly don’t buy into that “boys don’t cry” bullshit.
Xy, on the other hand, has only really cried once since Katrina, and that was when we saw the remake of King Kong. She was mad as hell at me for taking her to that movie.
Yesterday, when all this craziness was happening, I kept feeling overwhelmed by emotions, and I found myself really craving a little of the old macho mystique. Xy needed me to be strong and reassuring. I guess I was — but, goddam, just barely.
Of course, telling yourself not to cry doesn’t work. The only mental trick that worked for me was telling myself that I was numb to it all. That held the tears at bay.
Today I took our huge load of laundry to the Bienville Washerateria. I laundered all the bloodstained clothes and towels from yesterday. I never mind going to the laundromat, which is a good thing since our washer and dryer were ruined by the flood. It gives me time to reflect. Today felt especially therapeutic. I got home and bawled my eyes out, and finally I’m starting to pull myself together.
Some will wonder why I choose to write about such painful stuff so publicly. Others will understand immediately. Some of us do our laundry at home, in private, while others do it at the laundromat where everyone can see. It’s not even a choice, really. It’s just who we are.
When we drove to the doctor’s office, Xy said we should think about adoption. On the way home, she was already talking about getting pregnant again. As the doctor was quick to point out, “The good news is that you got pregnant, and quickly.” He even said we could try again in a week, though the nurses said two weeks, and our book says several months.
I’m glad Xy is so resilient. Myself, I’m a little gunshy. I was ambivalent about procreation to begin with. Now I’m terrified of something like this happening again. The doctor explained (and friends and books confirm) that somewhere between 20 to 25% of pregnancies miscarry. First pregnancies are especially prone. It’s caused when the embryo can’t form properly, or can’t attach to the uterine wall. Odds are this wouldn’t happen again — but they’re not great odds. One in four or five pregnancies miscarries? I’m amazed the rate is so high.
I feel like God should tattoo a warning label on our genitals or something.
We can figure that out later. For now I’m so glad that Xy is safe and well, and I’ve been very touched by all the kind offers of support that have poured in through every channel.