Miscarriage sucks ass. There’s really no getting around that fact. No matter when, no matter how. Whether it happens naturally or you have to go in for a D&C, which I did, it sucks fat ass. There’s no real way to understand the pain of it unless you’ve been there. I used to imagine, when I was pregnant, what I would feel if I were to miscarry. I felt like I was trying to get myself prepared for the worst. In those instances, I’d tear a little and cry some imagined tears, but nothing prepared me for the torrential downpour that erupted out of me every half hour when it really happened to me. If I wasn’t sobbing, there were still huge tears running down my cheeks as I watched the Food Network. I’d stop crying as I watched Forensic Files, only to have the program halt for a Huggies commercial, and I’d start crying all over again. I honestly didn’t know I was that attached to the bitty guy in my belly, but every time I thought of the way we loved it, I’d sob again. There were so many little things we did with love that I didn’t realize until it was gone and we couldn’t do them anymore. I wasn’t prepared for that sorrow.
There were, in fact, a lot of things I wasn’t prepared for about saying goodbye. I wasn’t prepared for the surgery. I wasn’t prepared for the hospital rooms, patients split up by curtains, herded into beds like cattle by overworked nurses. I wasn’t prepared for the questions that I would be asked. I wasn’t prepared to have people assume that I was there for a willing abortion, since the procedure was the same. I wasn’t prepared for the TV in my “room”. And I wasn’t prepared for the nurse.
As I watched Rachel Ray coat flounder with egg batter, the chirpy nurse entered my room.
“So, you’re here for a D&C?”
“Yes.” Rachel was frying the fillets in butter, and had begun making the sauce for her pasta.
“And how many weeks along are you? 5?”
I looked at her. I had assumed that information was in my chart. “No, I’m about 12.5 weeks.”
“Oh okay.” Back she went to typing on her computer, and I focused on Rachel as she added cream to her sauce. I tried hard not to think about the 12.5 week fetus that was about to be scraped out of my uterus, but it was to no avail and the tears started leaking out.
“What kind of vitamins?”
“Prenatal vitamins, calcium and fish oil.”
“Oh, you’re taking prenatal vitamins? And fish oil? What’s that for?”
“What for? What do they do?”
“It…was to help with the baby’s brain development…” and I thought about going to find the best fish oil I could when I found out I was pregnant and the tears started falling a little faster no matter how hard I looked at Rachel Ray.
“Wow! Well I never knew that about fish oil and baby’s brains…Imagine that, fish oil for baby’s brains…Okay…I guess the last day you took your vitamins was yesterday…”
“Well, actually I didn’t take them yesterday because I found out yesterday I was having a miscarriage.”
“A miscarriage, huh? Any bleeding?”
“Well then how do you know it’s a miscarriage?”
“Um…the ultrasound yesterday showed the baby hadn’t developed and…didn’t have a heart beat.” I had stopped looking at the nurse altogether and concentrated on Rachel, who was adding lemon and parsley to her pasta. I wished this nurse would take the hint and stop asking me all these non-essential questions about my dead baby. I wished she would notice the tears falling down my cheeks, and just shut the fuck up.
“No heart beat huh? So, is this a disappointment?”
I furrowed my brow at her a little. Did she just ask me what I think she did?
“Yes. Yes it is.” I started tearing even harder.
“Oh, you know how these things are. Never know nowadays!”
It was, perhaps, the thing I was prepared for the least that day. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t want to say goodbye. I wasn’t prepared for the surgery. I wasn’t prepared for the sorrow. But I especially wasn’t prepared for a nurse at the hospital to look at me, at my downcast face, at my swollen, sad eyes that were leaking tears – I wasn’t prepared for the question, “is this a disappointment?”
I stared at Rachel Ray. Yes, this miscarriage was a big fucking disappointment. Yes, I was really fucking sad. And no, a nurse at a hospital shouldn’t fucking assume that you might be having a willing abortion, and honestly even if you were, wouldn’t the whole situation still be a big fucking disappointment? I would imagine that regardless of the circumstances, if you’re getting rid of a baby via D&C, it’s going to be disappointing. It’s not really a happy day for anyone. And the IV hurt like hell.
I cried when I got home, which I wasn’t expecting since I figured I was cried out from the day before. As I sobbed into my husband’s shoulder, we patted my now-empty womb. He cursed the nurse for asking if our miscarriage was a disappointment. And we said goodbye.
It was a day of unpreparedness. It was a day of consolation. And it was a day of confusion. Because I was still confused: Seriously…what other type of miscarriage is there besides a disappointing one?