This week marks the 6th anniversary of when our ms bean was due to be born. My first pregnancy which ended sadly (and painfully) in July 2003, when I was almost 10 weeks along.
We'd been trying for a while, and were not too optimistic about our chances of not needing medical intervention, given my advanced age (early 40's at the time) but against all odds, we had found each other, D and I and were anxious to complete our family. After 8 months of trying not to hope and then being disappointed, I was all set again to go through the roller coaster in early May. But despite the grouchiness, bloating, cramps that usually announced failure this time there was nothing. So I waited and waited and tried really hard not to hope. For a whole day and another day and because I didn't want to bring D down as well, I didn't say anything to him. Monday morning I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. Finally I crept out of bed, found a testing kit and tried it. I couldn't believe my bleary eyes. I ran into our bedroom screaming excitedly "We've done it! I'm pregnant!" to soundly sleeping D. Poor man. Woken from a deep sleep by his crazy girlfriend (ssh - not even engaged at that point!). And once it sank in both of us looked at each other and went "now what?". We'd been so focused on getting pregnant we forgot what came next.
We figured it out. I went to the doctor and had a blood test to confirm. Yes, pregnant. Due date calculated - Jan 31st, 2004. And then I waited. I was bursting with wanting to tell someone. And then a friend phoned. She was pregnant unexpectedly and due on Jan 29th. Then another friend emailed with broad hints - she was also due in early January. Otherwise, I kept quiet. I started to get a little bump. A little hard bump. And I was nauseous all the time. And sooooo tired. At 9 weeks, we had a baby shower for a co-worker. I began to believe and dream about our little one - we started calling her "ms bean". I started to picture her as a baby and a little girl and designed a quilt for her in my head. And then I started to bleed. Just a bit, enough to panic me. I phoned my doctor. Just take it easy and see if it stops. I lay on the couch for a day and watched Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth one). And hoped. And talked to ms bean. And prayed. And kept on bleeding. The bleeding got worse, so D took me to the ER. We were taken in quickly and put in a room. I was sent for an ultrasound. The technician was chatty, she'd had her son in her 40's so she knew how worried I was. Suddenly she stopped talking and pressed the wand on my belly a bit harder. Then a different wand. Then she stopped and said the doctor would be coming to see me. I was wheeled back to my room and we waited. I knit, working on a sweater I had brought with me and D scrounged up a paper to read. The nurses came in occasionally to see if the doctor had been in (no), did I need anything (some one to tell me what was going on) and they would hustle out again. An ER intern stopped in to say, "sorry, you are going to miscarry this pregnancy. The OB will be down as soon as she is out of surgery to explain." A social worker came in to ask how we were doing. She told us that the baby had never implanted so it was never a viable pregnancy but that the OB would be by to explain things. So we waited, not knowing why we were waiting because our dream was over. Our ms bean wasn't "viable".
I knit, D read and went out looking for tea. He tried to cheer me up, telling me I looked fetching in the light blue coloured gown. After hours, the OB came in to discuss our options. I could let the miscarriage happen naturally, I could speed up the process using medication, or she could schedule a D&C to "vaccum" me out. Ouch. I chose the medication, in the hopes of avoiding a long drawn out loss, as she explained that waiting for my body to do it on it's own might take a couple of weeks. She scheduled a follow-up appointment for me and we were free to go. When we stopped to pick up the medication, I ran into a co-worker. It was so jarring, here I was living a nightmare and his reality was it was a lovely sunny afternoon and we were both off work early - wasn't it great. I can't remember what I said or did, I only remember wanting to go home.
So we went home and waited for our baby to leave my body. The medication kicked in about 30 minutes after I took it, giving me the worst cramps I have ever had in my life (and now that includes back labour pains 15 seconds apart on oxytocin). I was in so much pain, emotional and physical and there was very little D could do to help. After 24 hours, we discovered that ibuprofen was the best for the pain but for the greater part of a day, I was in agony. And then it still took almost 2 weeks to miscarry my ms bean. And I started to think that I had never been pregnant, that it was all in my head but I was referred to another OB, (my lovely OB who watched over my T), who explained that the embryo not implanting is the most common cause of miscarriage and it happens in 20% or more of pregnancies.
I didn't know how to heal. D was hurting too. I went back to work and tried to carry on as usual but it hurt too much. So I took a few days off. I sat on the beach and stared at the waves. D and I talked about a memorial for our ms bean. D came up with the idea that I should make the baby quilt that I had designed for her. And make 2 more, one for another baby due in January and one for Children's Hospital. So I made a quilt for baby A - plaid background with planes and trains, a unisex one for the Hospital and finally a pink and white one with moons on it for ms bean. And that one is tucked away in her memory box in my cupboard.
We also wanted a more tangible reminder of our ms bean. We talked about a plant - maybe a rose bush I said. But D didn't want something outside that might die in the elements. So we got an umbrella plant that thrives in our family room. Our ms bean plant.
I often think of our lost baby. What our life would have been like with her in it. But it wasn't to be. I sometimes think I took the collateral hit - I knew 4 other women due at the same time as me and tho' I've lost touch with one of them, I can't imagine a world without the 3 children I know - all quirky, lovely, cheeky, funny individuals. So I was the 1 in 5. And then I think that our ms bean is with her grandma in heaven, so they can take care of us, here. Because they do.