just an empty uterus
By Cecile Storm
Just an Empty Uterus
If anyone out there has miscarried, then you understand. Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you can imagine the heartbreak. For my partner and I, it wasn’t so much the loss of the pregnancy as the loss of the idea - the excitement. It seemed like we had just come to terms with the notion of being parents and bringing a life into this world when it was snatched aways from us. I’m not gonna lie, I cried in the bath… a lot. It was messy. I couldn't believe it was happening; I had built a vision in my mind of this baby and then it was gone. Gone.
We were very fortunate to have conceived so quickly in the first place, really, considering how many years some couples have to endure. I wish I had waited longer to take that first test. If I’d waited just another couple weeks, I would’ve thought it was a intense (albeit very late) period and we would have remained blissfully ignorant. I’ll spare you most of the details of the miscarriage itself, which took about a week and was brutal physically but more so mentally. In hindsight, I wish I’d asked more questions about what was going to happen to my body and how it would feel afterwards. Like most women, I'm woefully uneducated about my own body on a normal day, let alone in a crisis.
So here I am, a bloody mess, wandering around the house aimlessly in a sad trance. I was sad yet determined to try again. My dream of motherhood wasn't dead - just on hold. My ovulation test kit is in a drawer, calling to me like the Tell-Tale Heart. It’s only about two weeks after my miscarriage. I am desperate for a spark of hope and taking a test everyday for 6 days and…nothing, which was... great. Then, on the 7th day, I ovulated!!! I had been told by a nurse that we are at our most fertile after an abortion or miscarriage (who knew, right?!). In other words, there was a good chance we would conceive sooner rather than later. I was determined to be patient and not repeat history, so I waited as long as possible (which turned out to be two days after I should've gotten my period) to pee on a stick again. Wouldn’t you know it?I was pregnant. Again.
I drove like a madwoman to Planned Parenthood to get a blood test and ultrasound. I lay on the exam table, clenched, as the nurse administering the ultra sound sighed and clucked her tongue and said "Honey, your uterus is empty." EMPTY EMPTY EMPTY, the words echoed in my brain. They told me the positive pregnancy test was just the result of hCG still left in my body after the miscarriage, because at the ER they "didn’t do that thing were they suck all the hormones out of you" (WTF???). Needless to say, I was deeply upset. It was like reliving the miscarriage all over again. Smash cut to me sobbing in the bath AGAIN.
Weeks went by, I drank, I smoked cigarettes (despite quitting over 2 years previous), and I kept feeling terrible. It was harder and harder to get out of bed. I wasn’t being productive and started to get seriously scared that I was slipping into a deep depression. Then the physical symptoms began. My boobs were huge and tender. I could smell everything and was felt nauseated almost every day. On Labor Day, my sister remarked that I didn’t seem right and that she was worried about me, so I told her I’d go to the doctor the next day. I went back to Planned Parenthood expecting to hear more about my uterus and how vacant it was. We just wanted to know when this was gong to be over and we could start trying again. I just wanted some hope… and to get my freaking period. I've never wanted my period so much in my life.
The pee pregnancy test came back positive and the nurse suggested we do another ultrasound. About half-way through, she started sniffling and I feared the worst (cancer, terminal illness, etc). But no, I was 6 weeks and 6 days and got to see that brand new heart beating away. 6 weeks and 6 days. The emotional rollercoaster came to a screeching halt. The nurse beamed at me knowing the weird little journey I'd just been on. And thus, I took my first step into motherhood.
On doctors intake forms, they always ask how many pregnancies you have had, and I think about my "empty" uterus and how that was my first baby. Come and gone in the blink of an eye, not really real, but also more real than anything I'd experienced before. I'll forever be grateful for that miscarriage. It tilled the soil (so to speak) and made fertile ground for my sweet little girl to grow in. Now she's almost 4 and has two younger siblings. And all that drinking and smoking I did in those first weeks hasn't seemed to have messed her up too bad (insert grimace emoji).
P.S. my partner and I have had THREE beautiful babies since this was written x