It’s been almost 2 months since my last miscarriage. I never really thought the pregnancy would work out. At 14 days past ovulation, I knew the test line on the home pregnancy test should be darker. It didn’t get dark until 18 days past ovulation and by that point I should have been pumping out more pregnancy hormone (hcg). Still, I let myself hope despite plenty of evidence that hope for me is always a bald-faced lie.
My betas were doubling every 48 hours, though. I got the results back through my OB’s web portal, and for a short time I let myself feel something like happiness. God, it had been so long; thus, the heady feeling of optimism was irresistible. And I let my guard down, walking into my viability scan with the confidence we would see a heartbeat. But there was nothing there, just a gestational sac. They told me I must have gotten my dates wrong; I never get my dates wrong being as I track my ovulation religiously and my cycles are clockwork regular. So, they extended the agony, telling me it might be too early to see anything and I should come back in a week. And I cried, because apparently now I do that, and I hyperventilated, which was a more predictable reaction because I have panic disorder. The ultrasound technicians looked at me in disgust.
I hate ultrasounds. I’m still trying for the elusive golden egg to fertilize and implant in my wasteland of a uterus, despite all evidence that this might never happen for me. For a girl with RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss), ultrasounds are nightmarish with the anticipation of yet more devastating news.
So finally, after I ripped out my hair at the incompetence of the clinic I am a patient at (more on that in another post), I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum and opted to have a D&C. I was wary of the surgery, having had terminated my first much-wanted pregnancy at 18 weeks due to fatal chromosomal abnormalities causing severe birth defects. I terminated by D&E (dilation and evacuation), one of the second trimester versions of an abortion and it is brutal. A D&C seemed like it could hardly be worse than what I went through when I lost my daughter Molly.
Only it wasn’t. I had a series of attacks and flashbacks. My 18 week abortion was done at an abortion clinic, not in an OR at a comfortably sparkling surgical facility. I had twilight sedation and I don’t remember anything, but the D&C for dead baby #3 was under general. While the staff at the abortion clinic was kind and caring, the medical personnel at the hospital was antiseptic and brusque. And when I lay back on the operating table with my arm out for them to administer drugs…that’s when I lost it.
I have a tattoo of Molly’s name on my inner arm. The tattoo artist had me lay on my back on a table with my arm outstretched. The familiar and vulnerable position made my mind shut down. I don’t remember him doing the tattoo.
And time moves never forward, but in slow relentless circles. Another time, another afternoon spent getting my babies ripped out of my womb. These days I’m haunted by trauma although everyone around us looks puzzled when I speak of it. It’s not like they’re real babies–I see it reflected in their eyes.
I came out of anesthesia ready to fight. My strongest desire is to pummel my infertility into submission but I have precious few resources. I wonder if I’m an idiot, wandering through her days with something to prove. But sheer will cannot make a healthy baby. All I need, perhaps, is a little bit of luck.