Yesterday morning, I woke up to a nightmare. Blood everywhere. Not spotting. Not that little pregnancy bleeding, which can be normal. But the kind that means it's over. I screamed and cried at 6am blaming myself and the stupid race. Why? WHY did I do it? SR persisted in saying it wasn't the race, but I wouldn't believe him. I needed to blame myself and I needed to blame something. But SR reminded me I was blaming something without any proof, just as I've always warned against. But even he probably suspected the race.
We went to the hospital. Not because I thought they could DO something, but because I thought we could get an explanation. Why had the pregnancy lines never gotten really clear on the pregnancy tests? Why had something seemed wrong to me from the beginning? Why, when I had told everyone in real life about the pregnancy, had I called it "positive pregnancy tests"?
We were taken to the ultrasound suite and I started screaming in terror. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing a heartbeat and knowing it would stop inside of me. But what we saw was MUCH, much better. In fact, it made so much sense. The fetus had stopped growing at 3 weeks gestation, so about 2-3 weeks ago. My body still thought I was pregnant, but there was just a 4mm gestational sack with nothing visible inside. So it wasn't the race and it wasn't my fault. It had stopped "existing" , or at least growing, long before. My body was just finally getting rid of it.
This is an intrauterine fetal demise. And is noted much more frequently now that there are ultrasounds. They just used to be categorized under the blanket term miscarriage. And 1/3 of pregnancies that make it to the stage of giving a positive pregnancy test will be lost. And, as the OB-GYN explained, it was either due to a genetic defect or a problem with the supply from the uterine lining.
I could handle this, much more so than I could handle guilt, but a miscarriage is a huge emotional and physical event. First physically, I went through quite a lot of back pain, but when everything was finally out of my body, it was a matter of less than an hour and my uterus was back to normal size and my shortness of breath was gone and I felt more energetic and clear-minded. SR was actually the one who remarked that my face was suddenly thinner. I had woken up that morning coexisting with an organism, my body larger in many ways to accommodate this, and going to sleep small and just an individual again. I had never guessed how quickly this would all occur. SR and I were so lucky to be alone with each other so we could share our grief and let go of the many expectations we had together. And that is, of course, the hardest part, provided you can avoid blaming yourself.
And I don't blame myself. I certainly am glad to know that the fetus was dead or had at least stopped growing long before the run. And though I attempt to look back and remember what I was doing when it was 3 weeks gestation, that achieves nothing. I only have a vague sense that my diet should have been better and that I should have been taking prenatal vitamins. We just actually had tried NOT to get pregnant that month, so it all came as a surprise. But when we try again, which won't be next month since the lining of the uterus is just too unsafe of an environment to try to grow a baby for a least a month after a miscarriage, I will simply continue to try to live healthy and exercise and really not change much except for my diet, which I am always working on anyway.
SR and I are thankfully now at peace with what happened and know it simply happens 1/3 of the time. I am also really thankful that my family and SR's family have been very supportive and there has certainly been no blaming, though it helps everyone to know it happened long before the run.
I believe women should be open about miscarriage (obviously) just to avoid holding guilt or fear inside and I will be happy to answer anyone's questions or even answer emails if there is anyone who wants to chat.
Otherwise life is pretty much back to normal here.
Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.
"Children are fascinated by the ordinary and can spend timeless moments watching sunlight play with dust. Their restlessness they learn from you. It is you who are thinking of there when you are here. It is you who thinks of then instead of now. Stop. Let your children become the teachers and you the student" - William Martin