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miscarriage

I Won’t Let My Miscarriage Break My Spirit

miscarriage_salzman

“Was it all just a bad dream?” I asked Oren as I wiped the sleep out of my eyes, the day after. “No, babe, it really happened,” my husband whispered softly to me as I felt drops of blood dripping down my leg. It did happen. To me.

The day before, I woke up feeling great at eight weeks and four days pregnant. I boarded the bus to Jerusalem for a work meeting and looked out the window as the rocky, rolling hills slowly began to emerge. “How beautiful,” I thought to myself, enjoying the break in routine from my daily commute to Tel Aviv. And then I felt a dull twinge down below, a twinge I had not yet felt in this pregnancy, but nothing compared to the intense twinges I felt all throughout my previous pregnancy .

It’s nothing, I convinced myself, just my uterus stretching to make room for my baby. And then I felt it. Blood. I was certain I was bleeding, but with 20 minutes left until I arrived to my stop and no bathroom on the bus, I had to wait it out. I considered covering myself with my coat and pulling down my pants on the bus to check, but ruled it out when I saw the man sitting in the seat next to me. Damn it.

After what seemed like an eternity, I got off the bus and walked briskly to the nearest building that looked accommodating–a bank. I swiftly walked to the bathroom, but two feet before I reached the door a man barged in front of me and opened and closed the bathroom door before I could even respond. What I hoped would be a quick pee stop turned into minutes and minutes of unbearable waiting, and the thought of having to follow him in a bathroom that smelled of shit while I pulled down my pants to discover who knows what was too much for me.

I opened the door to the bathroom next door with a “No Entrance” sign in Hebrew on it. I simply couldn’t wait any more. I pulled down my pants, only to discover my greatest fear. Blood all over my underwear. And a lot of it.

Oh my God. Call Oren. Call my doctor. Don’t lose hope–my friend bled during her first trimester and now has a healthy three 3-year-old boy. Check smart phone. Bright red blood is a sign of miscarriage. My blood was bright red, redder than I’ve ever seen it. Oh my God. This can’t be happening. Not to me.

“Where is the 10:15 bus?” a strange man asked me once I left the bathroom. My dreams and plans are being shattered, and you’re asking me about the 10:15 bus? I wanted to scream at him, but instead I just shrugged my shoulders. I got back on the bus and made my way back to Tel Aviv. Oren met me there and we went to the emergency clinic and wait in line, together with a whole army of women with perfectly round pregnant bellies. I see a chic Tel Aviv woman around eight months’ pregnant coming out of the doctor’s office with a knowing grin on her face. She’s going to have a healthy baby, I thought to myself. Then I see another flat-bellied woman come out of the ultrasound technician’s office with a tear running down her check. She’s not. I was next in line.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t have any good news for you,” said the technician as I burst into tears, still in disbelief. There had to be some sort of mistake. Are you sure there’s no heartbeat? The fetus stopped developing at six weeks and four days, you say? That was the same day I had my first ultrasound and saw a perfectly fine heartbeat. You’re telling me that I was walking around for two full weeks thinking I was pregnant with a developing baby, making plans for where the baby would sleep in our cozy house and ordering maternity clothes from the States, when all there was was nothingness inside?

Next stop: the doctor. Thank God for compassionate and patient doctors. I have been so blessed to have encountered so many of them, including this one. He confirmed the miscarriage and explained to me how common this is, how it has no bearing on future pregnancies, how I have two healthy twins. Words of comfort. And then he tells me I have to undergo a D&C? “What?! It’s so early in the pregnancy–it can’t just come out by itself?” I asked. The fetus stopped developing at six weeks, but your uterus continued to grow until almost nine weeks, explained the doctor. And that was that.

It was a Wednesday and we scheduled the D&C for the following Tuesday. How am I going to tell people? I thought to myself. I didn’t want to see anyone or to face the world. I just wanted to curl up into a big ball and disappear for a few days until the pain subsided. I started to fiercely miss my twins, the best things I have ever made in life. We drove home. I ran into their gan (kindergarten) and hugged them, not wanting to let go.

“Was it all just a bad dream?” I asked Oren the morning after. I knew that it really had happened, but I was in denial. The day progressed and with Oren by my side we somehow managed to enjoy ourselves, escaping reality while watching episodes of Homeland. And then the blood started to flow. Uncontrollably. One pad after another soaked in blood. Large blood clots oozing out of my body.

Next stop: emergency room. Strangely, a sigh of relief fell over me as I realized that this nightmare would likely come to an end today, and not next Tuesday. I wouldn’t have to walk around for the next five days with a dead promise in my belly.

I lay on the stretcher with an adult diaper on me, thinking how much my twins would get a kick out of the fact that I was wearing a diaper. I started to accept this as my fate, as an obstacle in the road to baby number three. Then Oren and the nurse started to roll me and my stretcher to the operating room, just as Oren and the nurse had before my emergency C-section with my twins. Here I was, in the same operating room where I birthed my two wondrous children, about to have what would have been my third wondrous child sucked out of my body. I started to cry uncontrollably. The symbolism was too much for me to bear.

And then it was all over.

Sure enough, as it all came to an end, my gulf of sadness slowly began to wade, replaced by a ray of hope for what lay ahead of us. Hope that in another year or so I would be back in that same freezing operating room with my third baby on the way. I parted ways from the nurses and told them that I will see them again in one year. Here’s hoping.

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