Eighteen years ago, my hellish week was coming to its sad, inevitable end. unfortunately, it happened to be on a date that recurs every year, like clockwork.
The week started at my doctor’s appointment to be put on antidepressants. Being a military wife, the only thing that was holding up my prescription was a urinalysis, just to double-check that I wasn’t pregnant. We’d been careful, when we even had the time and energy to get frisky, which wasn’t often. I thought it was a waste of a cup.
I left that appointment with yet another appointment for an orientation back at the naval hospital, news for my husband, and no prescription for antidepressants. I went in and told him that I’d passed my whiz quiz, or something along those lines, trying to make it easier to break the news. I ended up having to explain that the doctor wanted to verify that I wasn’t pregnant, and it turned out I was. Connor was a little less than two months shy of his first birthday; Dacey was a little better than six months away from her third birthday. My estimated due date was September 10, 1999, six days before my twenty-fourth birthday.
Mike’s grandfather got sick around that time, and he put in for emergency leave to go back to Alabama, as the prognosis was not good. He opted not to go to orientation with me at the hospital, afraid that it would impact his chances of getting his leave granted. I went to that appointment, one of the only wives there without her husband. It was hospital and OB protocols first, then labs, then they would schedule our first appointment.
I went into a stall to give them another sample. I left that stall in tears and shaking, clinging to the capped cup as I found one of the nurses and told her about the pink and brown with a bit of red that I had seen moments before. I got to see a doctor that day. He put me on bed rest and said that it was a waiting game. At this stage, it was a 50-50 chance that I was going to lose the baby. The baby that a couple of days prior, I wasn’t even sure I wanted. They drew blood, and wanted me back in a couple of days.
I went home and told Mike. He didn’t tell command, who would have given him a few days off work so I could truly do bed rest. Instead, I told my neighbor, who checked in on me, changed diapers, and made fast food runs so I could rest. Despite having a two-year old and a newborn. Mike came home from the shop that evening and said that he needed to load up the car, as his leave had been approved. I still had my upcoming doctor’s appointment and bed rest, so I gave him the option of taking Dacey and Connor and going to Alabama without me. They were gone within the hour.
Jenn, my neighbor, got me to my doctor’s appointment. I had an ultrasound, and I saw my baby. I also saw that it had a double-digit heart rate; not something that you want to see with a pregnancy. My HcG also was not doubling. The doctor told me it was a waiting game, but the miscarriage was inevitable. I was given a ton of things to be on the look out for, what to do in various situations, and had a follow-up in a week.
Jenn was great over the next day or two. I slept all day, and then went over to her house when her husband left. Jenn told me I was really pale when I first got there. I say on the couch with her older son and looked at books with him, until I got a phone call over there from Mike, all the way in Alabama. He needed me to call Tricare, as Connor had managed to try to grab a pilot light on one of the heating units and had burned a finger. So, I made the call, returned his, and ran to the bathroom.
The pregnancy was irrevocably over after that little trip. Per the doctor’s instructions, I fished what had passed out of the bowl, called out for a baggy, and cried. Jenn once again got me a ride, this time to the ER, because I was bleeding more than I should have been. I went, carrying my would-have-been baby in a sandwich bag in a plain paper bag.
Amazingly, I was called back rather quickly. Being that it was a military hospital, the doc sorely lacked a very good bedside manner for someone in my shoes. He confirmed that I had lost the baby, and told me what to look out for. Twelve hours later, I was back at the ER, bleeding like a stuck pig.
The doctor I got that trip had a better bedside manner, but he still scared the mess out of me as I put my legs into the stirrups and said to the nurse “She needs help, now”. The rest of that visit was a blur. I just know I left with a prescription that had to be taken every four hours, like clockwork, to get the bleeding to stop. Once again, Jenn to the rescue. She got me into my place, let herself out with my keys, and came back every 4 hours, waking me up with a pill and a glass of water. She also got my mom’s number off my TracPhone and called her. I woke up for the day to Jenn giving me my meds and telling me that my mom was on her way.
Mom came down, and took me to my last OB appointment at the naval hospital. It was confirmed by ultrasound, the baby and all were gone, and the bleeding had finally subsided. I left with a prescription for Iron. Mom took me up to Raleigh and put me on a plane to fly down to my family.
That was as long as you were physically around. I still wonder about you. I still think “what if” because the loss of you set so many wheels in motion. By the end of 1999, your dad and I had separated (he “meet someone” on Yahoo Chat while he was in Alabama and I was bleeding alone in North Carolina). I moved to Durham, to live with your grandma, brother, and sister. Your dad went absent without leave in order to be with the chick from online. I was broken inside, and I stayed that way for a long time.
If you were here, no matter what, you’d be getting ready to turn 18, my guess about a week and a half before I turn 43. I think that you would have been a girl. I’m going to go curl up with your sick little sister, and maybe I will dream of what you could have been.