I never pulled an embryonic sac out of my body before. It wasn’t on my to do list or my bucket list. But that’s what happened.
I had two miscarriages before. Neither was like this.
The first time I lost my baby, I was lying on the OBGYN’s exam table. I was nearly done with my first trimester. I was there for an ultra sound—the one where I get to keep the pretty picture of our future child. I imagined placing it next to the one we have of our daughter framed and on our dresser.
My doctor pointed out the embryonic sac, told us how it looked good and we could see the tiny person inside, but we couldn’t hear the heartbeat. He maneuvered the device trying to find the heartbeat.
Then he gently said, “I’m sorry.” He explained that my baby was dead inside me and I was a walking grave.
Of course that’s not how he spoke to me.
He was kind and gentle and explained I would be OK. This happens and it didn’t mean I couldn’t have another baby. He suggested I make an appointment for a D&C.
I couldn’t make the appointment. I couldn’t believe the baby inside was dead because my breasts ached, were sore, and my stomach was twisted with nausea. I wasn’t ready to let go. I needed time to process the information and believed my body would take care of itself.
I waited two weeks for my body to do what was necessary. But it didn’t. It didn’t let go of my unborn child. It didn’t release me from grief. It didn’t believe it no longer held a living soul.
I hated my body for betraying me, for pretending to be pregnant when it wasn’t. I called the doctor and had my DNC.
A few months later I was pregnant, again. I was scared and happy. The doctor kept a watchful eye over me. I came in weekly for blood tests to make sure my hormonal levels were doing what they were supposed to do.
I found myself on the table once again, with the ultrasound machine’s wand inside me. My loving and nervous husband stood next to me. I was probably crying. The doctor pointed out the sac and my tiny fluttering grain of rice. Did you know that embryos look like a grain of rice with a heartbeat the first time you see them?
We had proof. I was pregnant. Relief didn’t rush through me. The doctor told me to come back next week.
We came back. The doctor examined me again. My embryonic sac was growing. It looked good, but no matter how he searched he couldn’t find an embryo or heartbeat.
My doctor explained how my body reabsorbed the pregnancy. I had the DNC the following day. This time, I wanted it out.
I wanted death out of my body. I wasn’t going to cradle it. I wasn’t going to hold death inside my womb. I wasn’t going to let it get any more comfortable with me.
It took me five years to get over my inability to keep a pregnancy.
It was a pain I couldn’t explain to my husband—the feeling of loving someone who didn’t love you back. I had guilt about losing those pregnancies. I thought perhaps the unborn child knew how much I loved my daughter and didn’t think I could love him or her enough. I had a million emotional pains, but one by one, I coped with them all. I healed.
Then seven years after the last miscarriage, I began to bleed. After a week-long menstrual cycle, the blood began rushing out of me. The toilet filled with blood. I grabbed a towel and ran into the shower, leaving a trail of blood behind. There was blood on my feet. It was bright red.
I got into the shower hoping to wash it away. The shower floor was stained red. I stayed in the shower hoping it would all wash away. I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening. When it didn’t stop after 10 minutes, I got out. I used a super tampon and a pad and when I stood up blood rushed out of me soaking through the tampon and pad.
I was shaking. I locked the bathroom door. I didn’t want my daughter to see all the blood. I didn’t want to scare her. I wasn’t sure what I should to.
I reached for the trash bag and removed the tampon from my body. On it was a bloody jellyfish. I stared at it and the world around me vanished. My hand shook. My legs were unsteady. I ran to the toilet. My body purged more blood and blood clots.
I didn’t know what was going on. I called my husband. I called my neighbor to come get my daughter. I was crying.
“I’m so scared. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Three years ago, I was told I would never have any more children. It was impossible because I had the hormones of an 80-year-old woman. But seeing the bright blood and the mass convinced me I was in the middle of a miscarriage.
My neighbor got my girl and sat with me, calming me down until my husband got home. I went to the doctor and he told me I was presenting as pregnant.
I sat on his table and looked at him. How is that possible?
He didn’t have an answer.
I’m still in shock. I still can’t wrap my head around what he said. I took a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office. Negative. He asked if I was ever told if I have fibroids. I said yes.
They put me on hormones. I’m supposed to go back in two weeks. The hormones he gave me are supposed to even out my uterine lining and make me bleed again. After all that, the doctor will ultrasound my uterus and we’ll find out what’s in there.
I looked up everything on Google because nothing the doctor said made sense. And this is what I pieced together.
I think I was pregnant. I think my body can’t hold a pregnancy. I think I have large fibroids that complicated the pregnancy. My body expelled the embryonic sac. I held it. And now I have to heal, again.
I have to heal a body that can start something but not finish. Heal a body whose hormonal levels fluctuate from menopausal, to normal, to pregnant without explanation. A body that betrayed me but I must love.
My body is still presenting as pregnant. I don’t know what will happen next. But I hope to find a solution I can cope with. Wish me luck, because I’m scared and I have no control and I have to wrestle with walking through the next few weeks with a body pretending it’s pregnant, not knowing what’s growing inside.