guardian

It’s early enough that the day is full of possibilities, but I am still in bed shaking. My psychiatrist tries, but these little pills just go down like sugar. Geodon, Trileptal, Neurontin, Paxil. Restoril for sleep and Serax for the panic. If I get pregnant again, I’ll have to make changes. I’m thirty nine tomorrow and take enough medication to knock out a bull.

I greatly respect science but at this point the signals from the Universe have as much impact on me as bloodwork and ultrasound. Let me tell you about my second baby, miscarried naturally at exactly nine weeks. It was a wet and miserable winter but one day this squirrel showed up on my patio. He was wet and bedraggled, gratefully took the peanut I offered him. The end of his tail was lopped off. He’s a tough guy, I mused, before suddenly realizing he was also missing a rear foot.

It seemed oddly significant. He returned the next day, standing up and peering at me through the dirty glass of the slider. A little guy, still a squirrel-child. There he was, bobbed tail held proud and weight held up by his single foot. I handed him a peanut and took a home pregnancy test. A second line shone through immediately. It was my fourteenth cycle trying since losing Molly. I had almost given up.

The squirrel visited for weeks. When I saw him, I felt like I knew in my bones that my baby was okay. Seeing this small creature, observing him and classifying him as a fuzzy little warrior–well, if he could put up a fight than this baby could too. Overwhelming odds be damned, my baby showed a strong heartbeat at our early scan and the squirrel climbed and ate and was growing fat on the nuts I handed him. When he greeted me on the patio each day, it was as reassuring to me as my baby’s heartbeat on Doppler, making me feel as comforted and safe as any insincerely soothing words from my OB.

I started bleeding anyway. Just a touch at first, and I hoped fervently it was just normal spotting. But the flow picked up, I was sent to the ER. They treated me kindly that day, although usually they seem to assume I’m a hysterical woman having a panic attack who needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible to avoid any selfish use of resources. I thought of my furry friend and steeled my reserve. Like my little disabled buddy, I could face war wounds too.

I passed the gestational sac as they were performing a transvaginal ultrasound. The pain was bad, I begged them to stop but the tech was impassive and cold. She seemed to get much less gentle with the dong wand, snapping at me that she had to measure my ovaries. Blood and tissue ran freely from my vagina, pushed in spurts by strong painful cramps. I couldn’t stop crying, only wanting to pass my baby in dignity but the tech was harsh, like I was doing it on purpose. My husband looked confused and I whispered, “it’s over”. 

That’s how I lost my second baby.

I still look for my squirrel friend, but have never seen him again since I lost the baby. I figure he was there for the time to provide moral support and (gulp) a little bit of hope. Deep down, I worry that in losing the baby I disappointed him, I really let him down. Sometimes I cry, not understanding. This was our one untested loss…could this life in my womb have been chromosomally normal and I somehow fucked things up? As I fall asleep at night, these questions plague me.

This sounds so crazy, but it’s the reality of a sevely mentally ill woman that has thrice been devastated by loss. My reality may be twisted, but I can always read the signs.

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