When I wrote my previous post, it seems that the miscarriage wasn’t as over as I thought it was. Starting in the late afternoon of Friday, July 22nd I started having these cramps. They got worse, and it didn’t take long to recognize them. I was in labor, only the baby was already dead and gone. For someone who has done natural childbirth twice it was pretty hard to mistake semi-regular powerful cramps centered on my cervix. After the D&E my hormone levels must have crashed. I must have had fairly high hormone levels since I was still having morning sickness after the point when the fetus must have died. So, take away the dead fetus and forming placenta, and suddenly my cervix realizes it’s over and does what it should and dilates, which feels like labor because it’s basically the same process. The catch is there is nothing there. I spent Friday night and all day Saturday in labor with a ghost, which is longer than I spent in labor with either of my living babies. It sucked. Not only was their the emotional thing of going through what felt like labor knowing that the baby I should have been having was dead and gone, but it also hurt more. This seems counterintuitive. If you’ve got nothing in there you would think it would hurt less than if you were preparing to birth an 8.5 pound baby, but you’d be wrong. The amniotic sac makes great cushioning, so with nothing in there it actually hurt more, not to mention it lasted a lot longer. Of course there was no transition, but still, it sucked.
I spent far too much time on the 23rd and 24th snapping at the two lovely children I do have. I was not a good mommy that weekend, though I did improve somewhat by Sunday afternoon. Up to that point I still had nothing more than light spotting. Then the Monday evening after the D&E I started to bleed like a heavy period, with bonus blood clots. That lasted over a week. I still had some spotting this past Tuesday. It’s been a few days, but the physical part seems to be over with, apart from waiting for my body to resume normal cycles. I think that won’t take long, after all I pick up pretty soon after an all-out pregnancy according to my two data points, but you never know.
In case it isn’t obvious, I do not recommend the whole miscarriage experience. It does round out my infertility resume nicely, but really, people are generally impressed enough when I casually mention the 5 IVF cycles.
Oh yes, and speaking of resumes, as I was returning to work after the ultrasound where we got confirmation that the baby was dead, I heard on the radio that my company was laying off a fairly large number of workers, mostly in IT. (I don’t think I’m failing to be circumspect about mentioning work in the blog, since it was a local news story.) I suppose it was a good week to get this kind of news, because the miscarriage certainly put it in perspective. The good news is that I will continue to have a job until early 2012, and I may get picked up by the company we are outsourcing to. The economic uncertainty, though, is adding the general background of stress and grief.
I know I’ve said it at least a dozen times before, but I really wanted that baby. I know that the fetus almost certainly died because it was genetically flawed, that it probably never had a chance to be a live, healthy baby, but I wanted the baby that I thought it was before we got the bad ultrasound. In my dreams it was a little girl with eyes the same shape as Margaret’s but with Duncan’s blond curls. I could have easily traded that dream baby for a little boy with Margaret’s rich chestnut hair and Duncan’s hazel eyes, or really any likely variant in coloring of either gender. I didn’t want to trade that dream for the opportunity to tell the nurse at the D&E who asked if this was an IVF pregnancy, “No, this was my miracle natural pregnancy, you see how well that turned out for me.”
Margaret and Duncan are the best antidotes I have right now. Without knowing what is wrong they have been cheering me up. Margaret’s latest linguistic thing is amusing. Several days ago we were talking colors and she declared that some green item was “blue-se”. I corrected her, telling her that it was green or liu-se. Since then she has kept insisting that greenish things are blue-se. Initially I thought that she was confused because Hongmei gets the English words for blue and green backwards more often than not. As time goes on, though, and I detect more and more of a twinkle in Margaret’s eye when she does it, I suspect that Margaret is just making the “mistake” to tease me. Possibly she is even trying to get me to say liu-se so she can covertly mock me. Given my difficulties with tones there is a decent chance that I am declaring things to be six-colored as often as not. Duncan’s current obsession is with blowing bubbles. Every time we go near the front door I hear “Bubble?” in a hopeful tone of voice. I may be very sad that they won’t have a little sister or brother to play with next February, but you can’t be sad all the time when you have to spend half an hour a day blowing bubbles with your little ones.