by Erin Robinson
One of my worst fears came true the other day.
I had a miscarriage.
Logically, I knew there was a decent chance it would happen to me. The statistics about miscarriage blow my mind. The American Pregnancy Association says that up to twenty-five percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Also, I knew that I probably have fewer “good eggs” than someone else my age. But still. You always hope.
I was six weeks along. After a weekend of gleefully shoving sticks reading “PREGNANT” that I had peed on into my husband’s face, I called a midwife first thing Monday morning to make my very first prenatal appointment. We tried to temper our excitement (we watched good friends go through three miscarriages before having their beautiful daughter), but still, the first time you find out you’re harboring an adorable parasite in your uterus is magical. We started testing out all the old wives tales to see if it was a boy or a girl. We detoured through BabyGap when we were in the mall getting new sneakers. We took pictures of my flat belly to remember it by.
I began having some of the stereotypical pregnancy symptoms. I was bloated. I could sniff out a block of cheddar cheese from a mile away. The garbage and a certain coworker’s cologne made me gag like Sweet Dee from Always Sunny trying to complete a stand-up routine. I peed like I have never peed before in my life (read: ALL. THE DAMN. TIME).
Then, suddenly, one afternoon I didn’t feel that stuff anymore. Instead, I felt a little crampy. “That’s okay,” I thought, “cramping isn’t unusual in early pregnancy.”
But then I saw the blood. I’ll spare you the details. But I will say that was one of the worst moments of my life. At that instant, I knew my dreams for this new little person were dead. All I could do was sob. For hours. My husband wrapped his arms around me like he’s done before, held me close, and we cried on the couch together. I think that’s the worst part about a miscarriage. Not the physical stuff, although that’s horrendous too. It’s the loss of an ideal. You can’t stop yourself from being excited the first time you get that plus sign, or second line, or “PREGNANT” reading. You get excited, and you should get excited. It’s all you can think about. There’s SOMETHING in there. I’m harboring this new life! Suddenly there’s this thing, and it’s amazing; it’s going to be the perfect combination of the two of us; it’s going to be the newest crew member on our Enterprise; it’s going to play soccer and MarioKart with us; it’s going to let me read Stellaluna to it, and play Barbies and Ninja Turtles with it, and sing “Hey Jude” and “Ring of Fire” and “Call Me Maybe” to it. It’s going to come with us to Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and hog all the attention. It’s going to give the dog an inferiority complex. It’s barely made it past being a ball of cells, but already it’s a part of the family.
Then all that is ripped away from you. Suddenly, you’re just not pregnant anymore. That promise that was inside of you is just…gone. If you’re like me, the first pregnancy sonogram you ever get is one to confirm you’ve already passed the remains of your pregnancy. They do a blood test, then another one two days later. You throw away the pregnancy calendar t-shirt you made after seeing it on Pinterest, and delete the belly pictures off your camera. You unsubscribe from the BabyCenter emails, because you don’t want to think about what fucking fruit your child should resemble this week.
It feels like it was all a bad dream, honestly. It just ended, but it feels like it happened in another world. Life goes on. The only thing that really changes is you get a little sad and maybe have to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and wipe a few tears from your eyes when a coworker makes a joke about “when you have your own little ones runnin’ around.” A week earlier you would have smiled smugly to yourself thinking of how you would casually turn down a whiskey and ginger ale at the company Christmas party and say, “Oh, none for me thanks, I’m pregnant,” and then all your coworkers would hoist your chair over their heads in celebration and make tearful toasts to your new little one. Or something like that.
So now we’re taking a little hiatus from baby-making. Just for a month or two. Long enough to get our heads straight. I will say this: the miscarriage brought us together in a new way. My husband and I are a pretty tightly knit baby family. We know how to rock a pizza and movies Saturday night (and matching onesies) like nobody’s business. But this whole experience made us confront something deeper, and we’re now better because of it. This is not the first time we’ve walked through a hell, but every time we’ve come out on the other side tightly holding hands. If we have to go through this again, it’ll be okay. That new crew member will come along when the time is right.
Until then, I just have one message for any miscarriages that may be lurking in my future. In the almighty words of Kevin G, “All you sucka MCs ain’t got nothin’ on me.” My baby family runs this shit.
Photo from author’s personal collection