Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pic of the Week: Remembering Butterfly

I still need to write a post about AJ's first birthday (?!), but first, I'm re-posting something I wrote today on my other blog, Ask An Infertile.

Today is a day put aside in remembrance.  A day to stop everything in our hectic lives and remember the babies we have lost.  It's a day to think of the sweet babies that were taken too soon, the pregnancies that ended before their time, and the angels born asleep.

Like Rachel, my loss took the form of an early miscarriage (I share her hatred for the term "chemical pregnancy").  My husband and I had been trying for over a year to conceive our second child.  My doctor was just getting ready to refer me to a reproductive endocrinologist.  We were trying one last month on our own.

A good friend of mine in the TTC community had just found out she was pregnant with her second child.  We'd "met" on an online forum and discovered that not only did we live in the same town, but that our children were born just two days apart.  Then we found out that they were born in the same hospital AND her mother had been my nurse!  We had talked for months about how great it would be to be pregnant together, to be "due date buddies".  When she got her BFP, I wanted so badly to follow her!  My TWW crept along.  I took a test and didn't see anything.  I posted a picture online (do all TTCers take pictures of their peesticks?  It's not just me, right?) and a few people with much better eyesight than I have been blessed with thought they saw a little something.

The next morning, I tested again.  This time I could see it too!  It was very faint, but it was positive!  My husband and I were over the moon!  It was the day before Father's Day and we were ecstatic to receive such a gift!  My friend and I were going to have both children the same age and we couldn't have been happier!

But that happiness, that heavenly feeling, was short-lived.

The day after my BFP, I took another test and was pleased to see a darker line, but disappointed that my digital test was negative.  I reminded myself that digital tests aren't a sensitive, it was probably just too early.  That afternoon, I noticed a tiny bit of spotting when I used the restroom.  I was nervous immediately, but I kept telling myself that bleeding isn't uncommon in the first trimester.  I reached out to my friend, who said the same thing.  It would be okay. It just had to be okay.

The next morning, I didn't take a test.  Maybe part of me just didn't want to know.  I felt alright, I was even having some symptoms already, and I hadn't had any more spotting overnight.  I went to work and started looking for an OB.  I called and made an appointment, even chatting anxiously with the nurse about how I'd had a little spotting and was just so nervous and excited.  She reassured me that it's normal, it's probably nothing, don't worry unless it's heavy or accompanied by cramping.

Monday afternoon I noticed a little more spotting.  By Tuesday morning I couldn't avoid it any longer, I took another test and my heart sank.  The line was light, extremely light.  I took another test, but got the same result.  In complete denial, I decided maybe they were a bad batch of tests, so I took my last remaining test, a digital.  Negative.  Tears immediately sprang to my eyes, but I pushed them back.  I picked up my phone and called into work, then called the OBs office where I'd scheduled an appointment. They agree to have me come in for a blood test.  The day seemed to go in slow motion.  Drive to the doctor's office.  Don't look at the pregnant bellies.  Don't look at the adorable toddlers and infants in the waiting room.  Go to the lab.  Have blood drawn.  Go home. Put feet up. Drink water.  Ignore the cramping.  Don't think about the bleeding--it's bleeding now, not just spotting.  Go online, read message of support from my friends--Don't give up!  It's not over!  Go to bed to escape.

The next morning, I texted my boss telling him I'd be late.  I waited for a call, but I didn't make it very far before I cracked and called to beg for my results, even though I already knew.

"We got your test results in.  You were never pregnant. Your HCG level was only 3.  If you had been pregnant, it would still be higher."

 I couldn't even think.  I saw those perfect pink lines.  I felt the symptoms, the breast tenderness, the gas, I FELT PREGNANT.  She had to be wrong.

I realized later that she was.  It was a callous thing to say, and obviously not true.  False negative pregnancy tests aren't possible.  She only managed to make me feel worse as I dissolved into tears at a loss she didn't even recognize.

I told my husband and my mother.  I cried.  I told my son, who wasn't quite 2 1/2, but knew mommy had a baby in her belly and knew mommy was sad.  I cried.  I got up, got dressed, drove to work.  I cried.  I told my boss.  I cried.  I worked, desperate to concentrate on anything else.  I cried any time anyone asked how I was.  They didn't know, but I cried, so I had to explain. As the hours and days went on, I found that sharing helped. I ended up sharing my loss with more people than I'd been able to share my joy with.

Many people probably didn't understand my grief. I had only known I was pregnant for four days.  But I wanted a baby so badly, and as soon as I saw those two pink lines I wanted THAT baby.  I was devastated that I would never know my baby, never get to see my baby grow and learn.  My heart broke to think I'd never hold that baby in my arms. 

Since I didn't know if my baby was a boy or a girl, I've always simply thought of him or her as Butterfly.  I've always adored butterflies and they've always held a great deal of significance to me.  I felt like this beautiful little spirit flitted into my life for such a breif time, and since butterflies are thought to only live a short time, it seems fitting.

So tonight at 7:00 pm, I lit a candle for all the sweet babies lost too soon.  And I lit another one for my Butterfly.

3 comments:

Mrs. E said...

I'm so sorry. That nurse...I can't believe someone would even say that! I think butterfly is a perfect name for your baby. Thank you for sharing. Hugs!

This Foxy Mama said...

Grief is as valid as an emotion as any. So often I think we try to rationalize our emotions based on the expectations of others - or hide it because we don't expect others to understand. I am glad that you so honest about your experience and can honor it.

Here form ICLW - your boys are beautiful!
-Foxy

Melissa Long said...

Thank you ladies! It really helps me to have my grief recognized, to know that it is okay that it matters so much to me.