Thursday, November 30, 2006


Loose ends

I have my follow-up with my OB today. I don't expect to learn anything, really. Maybe the pathology report can explain what happened, but mostly I'm expecting her to check that my parts are healing well and have yet another conversation about how these things just happen sometimes.

For the most part, I've let the gravity of normalacy compell me further and further from sorrow. It's hard to wallow and wax philosophical on the nature of loss when one boy needs a diaper change and the other has spilled chocolate milk on the dog.

There are moments, though, when the grief breaks through and catches me by surprise. A little bit behind on my laundry, just last night I pulled a load of dark clothes out of the dryer that contained two brand-new but instantly-favourite maternity shirts that I wore Before, and I cried. Dammit, I wanted to wear those shirts more than once. I wanted to wear them a lot, to wear them until I was sick of them and desperate for anything that didn't have an empire waist or ties around the back.

And yet, I can't quite bring myself to stow them away somewhere. I just moved all the maternity stuff to one side, and I try not to linger too long at that end of the closet, idly rubbing the fabric and thinking of what might have been.

Other peoples' kids are hard, too. Even with my two beautiful boys, I still find myself resenting anybody pushing a stroller, whether the passenger is a newborn or a wriggling preschooler. I could understand this response after our first miscarriage, when our dream of a family suddenly seemed impossibly distant. But I have my boys, and I'm surprised that my impatience extends beyond babies to strangers with children everywhere.

The hardest part has been reconciling the loss of one baby with the appearnace of another. I am beyond delighted to have my beautiful neice Brooke in our lives. And yet... well, you get it. Above everything else, I just wish I could have found out about our own loss the day before, or the day after - any time except the same day. I know with time this will fade away. I just wish I could make it fade faster. They say she has my dimples. I love her already.

A miscarriage is a physical loss, no doubt. I'm just now starting to get over the idea that I feel physically hollow inside. But mostly, it's an emotional loss. It's the loss of a dream, the loss of your vision of a future that included someone you haven't even met yet, but someone you were expecting to profoundly alter your life. The first few raw days, I couldn't bear the thought of a future without this baby in my life for more than a moment, but with time, I've slowly been adjusting to the alternate reality. The reality where nothing special happens this coming May. It's a slow process, but at least I can consider the idea without panicked regret squeezing my chest.

From the day I found out that the baby's heart had stopped beating, the idea of trying again skulked about in the shadows of my heart. The more time passes - and when you think of something a thousand times in a day, 10 days can seem like a long time - the more concrete this desire becomes. For me. Beloved is not so sure. He's understandably reluctant to open himself to the risk of this kind of loss again. He's not even really ready to talk about it, and I'm not ready to decide on anything yet either.

That's the other thing I want to talk to my OB about today. About the maybe, the what if, the possibility.

Edited to add: the integrated prenatal screening results showed an almost 8 in 9 chance that the baby had Trisomy 18, the presence of a third set of the 18 chromosonal pair, which is, in the unsettlingly direct words of the OB, "not compatible with life." The blood test results are only a predictive screening, of course, based on my hormone levels and may not have been 100% accurate because the baby had been dead when the second blood test was taken. Only an amniocentisis would have told us definitively, but it now seems more like an act of grace that we lost the baby when we did and not later. I will try so very hard to forget that I read in the page to which I linked that Trisomy 18 is three times more likely to occur in girls.

The occurence of Trisomy 18 is random but increases with maternal age. Its occurence once is not predictive of a second occurence. In fact, the OB said that if we were emotionally prepared to do so, we could try again as soon as after the arrival of my next period.

All this gives me some closure, inasmuch as I can now understand why the baby died. It doesn't do much to answer the bigger questions, like why did it happen in the first place and could I possibly be brave enough or foolish enough to risk having it happen again. I don't know yet. I don't know.

You might have noticed that I changed the title of this post. It was originally called "Moving on" but from the time I pressed the publish button, I knew that was the wrong title.