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Little Red Spot

August 24, 2012

Warning: I talk about blood and some bodily functions that I understand may make some people uncomfortable.  If you are one of those people, consider this your opportunity to quietly close this window and go read something else.  If you choose to read beyond this warning, please have the grace to express your discomfort somewhere else.

It started with a little red spot.  Not bright red.  Not a worrisome red.  Just a sort of brownish red.  I think that every woman over a certain age knows that particular shade of red, stark against white cotton.

Later, there was a larger spot.  Still not bright red.  Still not worrisome.  Everything I’d read told me that this was normal.  Spotting happened sometimes.  A little bit of cramping was okay.  Everything was fine.  I mentioned it to Moose, telling him that I didn’t want him to worry but that I wanted him to be aware.  He said “I will worry when you tell me to.”

Over the next few hours, the cramps grew worse.  I lay in bed with my husband, curled in around the pain, trying to will my body to hang on.  Just hang on.

When the blood was bright red, I knew.  I cursed, my heart sinking, and Moose asked if everything was okay.  It wasn’t okay.  Going to the doctor felt like a formality.  It was more than 12 hours after that first splash of bright red and it seemed like every little red spot took more of my hope with it.  Still, the tears sprang up when the ultrasound showed an unbroken plane of curved white lines.  My little Cashew was gone.

It feels odd to say “I lost the baby.”  At not quite six weeks, it was barely a cluster of cells.  Just a little red spot tucked away inside my body, a dark shadow on the ultrasound.  It hadn’t yet had time to develop even the most rudimentary of human characteristics.  But we called it Cashew and Moose greeted it each morning and said goodnight to it each night.  For two dizzying, terrifying, gleeful weeks, we had a little cluster made up of us.  It made our whole future a series of questions we hadn’t planned on answering for at least another year.  Where would it sleep?  What kind of birth did I want?  What should we do about my medications?  Did we want to know the sex before the birth?

None of that matters now.  What matters now is the answer to the one question that will be asked over and over.  “How are you doing?”  It’s such a simple way to ask a complex question.  And there’s a simple phrase that makes a complex answer.  I am okay.  I am sad, yet relieved, and feeling guilty for feeling relieved.  And sometimes, angry.  So very, very angry.

My family is fond of telling us that there is no “right” time to start a family.  That if we wait until the “right” time, we will never get started at all.  This pregnancy felt like a confirmation of that.  That the “right” time was right now.  I took that in and accepted it.  Now I have to make room for the idea that it wasn’t the right time after all.  And also for the idea that despite what my heart insists on whispering, that there wasn’t anything I did wrong.  My guilty feelings notwithstanding, I did want this child.  I did not wish it away.  I did not eat the wrong thing or drink the wrong thing or take the wrong pills or exercise too much.  I have to make room for that idea, or allow the grief to give root to true guilt.

In time, I will be better.  I know this.  Right now it’s hard to even acknowledge the grief, let alone cope with it.  It feels like there are a hundred little things we lost between Sunday night and Monday morning.  I am especially bitter at losing that giddy joy which came with our little Cashew.  With that bitterness comes a frustrated rage at the annoyances of other people, which seem especially small and petty.  People want to talk to me, to tell me they understand, to let me know that they are there if I want to tell them how I feel.  My mind locks up and spins away during these conversations because I simply don’t know what to say.

I am trying instead right now to focus on all of the things we gained.  The knowledge that we are ready for this, even if it has to happen later.  That we really do want this, even if we weren’t 100% sure that we wanted it right now.  Most of all, we gained time.  The time that we had set out to finish paying off debts, to figure out my medications, to make our lives ready for the new little person we wanted to bring into it.  That Cashew isn’t going to be that little person is just a thing that we have to accept.  And that too will take time.

For now, I am okay.  Not always good, but okay.  Healing, though still hurting.  The doctor says that the bleeding should slow, and that the cramps should get better.  In time.  For now, there is this little red spot inside of me.  And it aches.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Crystal Remy permalink
    August 24, 2012 9:36 am

    Jen, I really really do know how you feel. It’s ok to be angry, sad, disappointed and all the other feelings that come up. Just take it one day at a time. You are not at fault for this happening and I know that at times it can make you feel like it is but you have to push those thoughts away because they only bring despair. You are strong and someday you will have that beautiful baby. I wish I could be there to hug you and cry with you.

  2. August 27, 2012 1:07 pm

    I’m here if you want to talk. Or not.

  3. August 28, 2012 9:03 am

    There are no right words to ever make you feel better. But I’m thinking about you & hope you find your way through this.


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