A month ago, I almost died.
The baby growing within me did.
I was eleven weeks pregnant and had begun to bleed six days earlier. Because of Covid-19, like many others, I had to experience this visit without my support person. I feel a bit trite telling you how rough it was to experience this alone in an ER without my husband there, especially when so many people are literally dying alone… But it was rough. On both of us. I my initial ER visit with a sliver of hope. The OBGYN on duty explained that sometimes a bit of bleeding doesn’t always mean a loss. I was given an ultrasound and they could see the baby there, but because of its gestational age, they couldn’t pick up a heartbeat. This means I had to wait until Monday to have an internal ultrasound to determine if my baby’s heart continued to beat.
As it turned out by Monday, it didn’t.
I was sent home to grieve and wait it out with instructions that if I began to bleed to the point where I filled up more than one pad in an hour or developed a fever, I was to come straight to the ER.
The week progressed as most weeks did. I kept home, worked, and let myself feel what I felt.
This was my third miscarriage this year. The other two pregnancies ended as quickly as they began and though I did feel their loss, all my hopes were on this one. This was to be my last shot at a fourth child. At 42, I figured it was now or never. As the eleventh week neared, I began to relax. The anxiety I’d felt whenever I had to use the restroom had eased, and I was beginning to look forward to when we’d announce our pregnancy online. I’d had this entire image in my head and it was going to be EPIC.
We never got there. That Saturday I began to bleed I wasn’t expecting to see the blood on my panties. I literally yelped from the shock of seeing the spot of blood on my panties. At that moment even though I know my heart didn’t stop it feels like it did. Much of the time these days, I feel like my heart is not fully beating; like it’s got this half-a-beat thing happening. I guess this is how a broken-heart beats.
Six days after that initial spot, on Friday, 11 September, I woke to a gush of blood.
With my three living children, when my water broke, it never gushed like it does in the movies.
This was definitely a gush. The irony is not lost on me. I don’t remember feeling panic, only a sense of understanding in this is how this was going to play out. I woke my husband and told him I needed to go to the ER.
He helped me clean up and get dressed. As he prepped our boys to watch our daughter Ellena, I experienced another wave of blood. This time, much more significant. I went straight to the bathroom to try to clean myself up… My husband quickly got me another pair of pants, mopped up the blood that was on the floor, ordered the boys to NOT use that bathroom, and put me in the car.
I can remember my husband putting me into the car.
I can remember asking him to hurry.
A few moments into the drive, I shot off a text to a coworker, explaining I would be out.
After that, I can remember thinking I couldn’t hear well, and my head feeling heavy.
Then it gets fuzzy.
My husband relates a story of my going into shock. As he tells it, I was unconscious, my lips were blue, and my body shook. He says he tried to keep my head upright and get me to wake up. He says I did awake eventually wake, much to his relief.
I don’t remember that.
I can only imagine how terrifying this was for him.
My next solid recollection is being in the ER and being short with the triage nurse and then apologizing to her for being rude. I was pretty scared by this point.
Then things get fuzzy again.
Next, I recall being surrounded by a crew of medical staff with their needles and cords and hearing something about my blood pressure being too low.
I’m told it was WAY too low.
I ended that day in surgery.
I’m told that the tissues from my pregnancy were normal.
There is nothing that feels normal about this.
I’m still grieving the loss of a baby I’ll never know.
Not in this lifetime at least.
I’ve spent the last month writing this post in my head. We never really speak about miscarriage. We never speak of how much it hurts, or how you feel like you failed, or like your body betrayed you. I’m not happy with the way these words formed. I imagine I’ll come back and edit them. But I wanted to get this on the page now. I fear if I don’t do it now, I may never. I’m honestly not even sure anyone will see this. This poor blog of mine has been so neglected. But here they are.
My words, about a story, I really wish had gone another way.
I am grieving. I know that much to be true.
I think I may be depressed.
Most of the time these days I feel like I’m beneath a cloud. Some days bright spots peak through. I’m holding tight to those moments.
So tight, my knuckles are white.
If I don’t start to feel better soon I’m going to need to speak to someone.
Nicole Olea’s love language is communication. She does this best using her keyboard as a freelance copywriter and editor. Creative and resilient with high-level experience in social media management, content creation, and eCommerce marketing, Nicole Olea was a professional volunteer, sharing her skills with various non-profit organizations who paid her in hugs. For the last 20 years, she’s lived a quasi-nomadic life, moving across the country and the Atlantic with her active-duty husband and their three kids. She’s awkwardly stumbling toward her goal of becoming a saint. She’s got God-sized dreams and wants you to have them too!