*If you’re squeamish or in denial about how women’s bodies actually work during pregnancy, miscarriage, etc. (spoiler…there’s blood and sex and stuff), you may want to skip this post and maybe the next few.*
I’ve always noticed contradictions, and for some reason I kind of like them. I’ve found some kind of weird solace and peace in holding 2 seemingly conflicting viewpoints in tension…those “and things.”
And man, is having a miscarriage an “and thing.” There are mostly really good, normal, happy days, and there is also emotional conflict and cognitive dissonance at every turn. Even the language surrounding it is beautiful and awful at the same time. You hear the nurse telling the OR staff that surgery is needed because of “embryonic demise.” What beautiful words for a dead baby.
You are grateful for how quickly and neatly a D&C can bring closure to most of the physical parts of being pregnant, but also sort of wish you could have had the miscarriage at home to have time to grieve as you bled. It’s sort of shocking you’re able to leave on a vacation less than 12 hours after surgery, but you’re also wary because those 12 hours seem like a break in the space-time continuum you don’t know how to navigate.
You know that at 5 weeks and 6 days the ball of cells in your uterus wasn’t viable outside the womb, but you still want to call it your baby. Before it happened, you couldn’t have imagined you’d feel that way. You thought you wouldn’t feel so attached if you had a miscarriage, you would get over it and move on.
You swore you wouldn’t be one of those bitter women who can’t be happy for anyone else, but when an acquaintance’s Facebook pregnancy announcement pops up, it still feels like a kick in the gut…and yet you’re happy for them. It’s both. You still coo and smile and flirt with strangers’ newborns and tell the kid in the airport you love his shark flip flops despite the fact he whispers something to his mother about stranger danger.
You want the miscarriage and everything associated with it to be over, but you also need to talk about it and not forget it. You are grateful when people acknowledge it and are ok with it being real, but you’re still afraid you’ll break down in tears when you talk about it. When the geneticist calls to tell you the results of the “products of conception” testing (another beautiful term for a dead baby), you’re ready. Prepared. And then you hear that it was a baby boy and the embryonic demise was due to Trisomy 10, and your stomach drops just a bit.
You think about trying again and are genuinely excited about another pregnancy, impatient even, but also already dread those first few doctors appointments, hoping and praying there will be a heartbeat this time. You know it was just a chromosomal abnormality, and probably just a rogue egg due to “advanced maternal age,” but you fear you’ll be one of those women you’ve heard talked about in whispers, the ones who have miscarriage after miscarriage.
The contradictions seem endless…And even that, thankfully, is an “and thing.” The weeks after miscarriage are hard. And hopeful. And painful. And healing. And normal. You talk and cry about your dead baby, but you also take out the garbage and watch This Old House and happily enjoy a drink on the patio with your husband. It is definitely, most positively, an and thing.