don't know what you got 'til it's gone

Let's start this post off by clearing the room of the squeamish-when-womanly-issues-are-about-to-be-discussed.

Gone? Okay, here we go.

I think I may have just had a miscarriage. Not as in "just this moment", but as in

"my period, which is usually a 2-3 day, 6 tampon inconvenience has been unusually heavy this time and yesterday, after a morning of doubled-over-in-pain cramping, I flushed away clumps of something. And then the cramps disappeared and my period appears to be back to normal, leaving me to wonder if I just had a miscarriage."

It's not my first miscarriage-- waaaaaay back, right before Annabelle joined our little family, I miscarried at 7 weeks. I wanted so badly to be pregnant at that time that if it hadn't been for the confirmation of the nurse over the phone I would still wonder if I had just wanted it enough to fool myself into believing I was pregnant. And then I think "Confirmation over the telephone? Of a miscarriage? At 7 weeks?" and wonder if I'm still not deluding myself. But that's a story for another time. I bring it up because there are so many similarities between this event and that one. Changes in my birth control, an unbelievable amount of stress, irregularly heavy and long period, immobilizing cramping, clumps, and then back to normal. Check, check, check, check, check, and check.

But there are differences, too. Differences that give me more pause than the similarities do. I had no idea, no hint, not even the beginning of a question that I might be pregnant until I saw the clumps yesterday. With the first miscarriage, and then again when I got pregnant with LG, I knew. I just knew. Days before clinical confirmation, my hand would find it's way to my stomach and the responding flutter of anticipation was confirmation enough. Notions of pregnancy and motherhood swirled through my head like leaves on the sidewalk. Skittering this way, tumbling back that way, slipping in here and there. But not this time. Maybe because of the move. Maybe because of the way motherhood has swallowed me up, leaving me barely enough time to do what must be done; crowding out those timid little thoughts of possibility. Maybe my life is too hectic right now to have felt those gentle tremors. Maybe it only happens that way the first time, when it's all brand new and there is only a vague expectation of what might come next.

The "after" is different too. The first time around, I was devastated. My heart ached for what was not to be. I felt empty. Vacant. Unused. Overwhelmed by emotion, I whispered the name that I had chosen into the darkness at night and tried not to imagine how life would have been different. I cried. Fiercely. Loudly. Primitively. I howled. I mourned. I healed.

With LG, my emotions were no less strong. From that first tremor, I loved as I never knew I could love. Fiercely. Primitively. Unabashedly. I smiled and dreamed of what was to be. I danced. I sang. I met the darkness of the unknown head-on -- worried, scared, thrilled, amazed, ready. I loved.

This time I feel distant. Puzzled. Removed. Noncommittal. Emotionally barren. There is no sense of loss. There has been no thought of, no desire for more children. Another child would be a surprise, an "accident"; loved unequivocally, wanted just as fiercely, but not planned. So this miscarriage, if indeed it is/was one, should give me no pause.

And yet, I'm pausing. Wondering. Remembering the newness, the softness, the sweetness. The feel of tiny fingers, the tickle of nibbling lips. The gentle, all-encompassing, choking, teary-eyed completeness of drifting off to sleep, babe in arms. Thinking about the what-if that could have been. If that's what it really was.

How's your Thursday?



Anonymous said...

*hugs* I'm sorry this experience has brought up these painful memories. Uncertainty can be its own hell or I guess it can be a protective layer, depending on how things shake out. Hope you feel better soon.

anne at

susan said...

Oh, Anne, thank you! Your *hugs* were just what I needed to cover the nakedness that I've been feeling ever since I posted this. I am feeling better, but have a lot of working through what I want still to go. This growing up stuff sucks.

jbp said...

i just happened over here, but am moved by your story. i miscarried at 7 weeks last year after we'd been trying to get pregnant for over a year. it was the first time in my life i'd ever howled and moaned. i now have a beautiful baby girl whom i adore, but i also find myself thinking of that 'baby' we lost and what might have been. of course, if we'd had that one, we wouldn't have this one, but thinking like that feels disloyal somehow. it's a confusing business, i agree, this growing up. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

susan said...

jbp, Thank you for your kind words. There is a special kind of healing that comes with knowing that others have gone through the same thing! Congrats on your baby girl!