Forgive me for being put-off by others' joy (especially since I had no idea how long and how many roads it took to get there), but when you are sitting in the RE's waiting room to get the pre-physical before your D&C, a whole jubilant family obviously going in for a transfer is such a stark contrast to your reality, that it feels like a knife to your heart, a blunt knife that keeps trying to dig in everytime their laughter rings out.
In that moment, I realized that all of the times that I sat in an RE's office might have been filled with anxiety, but above all, there was always the anticipation of possibility, the hope in creating life. This was the first time that I was in that office for the opposite-to see an end to this possibility and to put the final period on this 8 year sentence.
Yes, it has been 8 years. I have had unprotected sex without conception for a total of almost 8 years, several of which were spent in offices like these and a sentence is exactly what this trap of infertility has felt like.
At first I chose the D&C because we were considering a diagnosis of the placenta. Not that answers would help us as we'll never be on this path again, but just for curiosity's sake. However, this diagnosis turned out not to be covered by insurance (note my complete lack of surprise) and is a good chunk of change. My doc cited another less expensive diagnostic process and in doing so, explained it in these terms this morning: (this is loosely paraphrased)
'If the sample turns out to be a chromosomally normal female, it's most likely that we got your sample and not the baby's. But if it's male, we'll know it's the baby's. And if it's a chromosomally normal male, well, then we'll say--that's not right. What happened? Maybe it was something with your stomach (IBS and ulcer), an illness you had-we'll have to question a lot of things...but most likely it will be due to chromosomal abnormalities.'
And for the first time, it hit me. This could have been a healthy embryo and my body could have failed it. After having gone through a full term, healthy pregnancy, I had dismissed this possibility. Somehow, up until that point, I had been cloaked in a cloud of unshakable belief that this baby was not normal and no matter what I did or did not do, it would've ended the same; it was meant to be. Her words made me question that, made me question every breath I took over the last almost-two months. I had a lot of stomach issues. I was almost constantly nauseated while pregnant and now I considered that this was my GI issues, not pregnancy, and that somehow, these issues might have caused the loss, the loss of something that could have been perfect and miraculous. Bottom line: I failed this child. I know these far-reaching thoughts were not the doctor's intent, but that was the end result. And I know the odds are against this thinking. But still, the cloud that was almost an emotional safety net for me dissipated. And my brain focused on the words...
"chromosomally normal male"
And at once I pictured my son, a 'chomosomally normal male', in slumber that morning, his soft rosy cheeks, his little bare chest rising and falling with his breath. Could I have lost the possibility of that type of miracle again? At once this embryo was no longer a gender-less non-being as I had envisioned. That type of picture helped me keep my distance, but now, this embryo, this child, was real in every sense of the word, a little boy with dirt on his nose, raspberry-stained fingertips, skinned knees, my son's little brother, my baby boy. This vision, one that I should have seen coming, sent me into a tailspin I've not yet crawled out of.
I spent the next 15 minutes sobbing in the clinic parking lot. At this point I know that we cannot do the diagnosis for there is no way I could live with knowing that this baby was normal, if that turned out to be the case. And there's definitely no way I can learn his/her gender. I know it would send me on an unnecessary slippery slope of searching for the answer because I wouldn't let it rest. And that would result in countless tests and hundreds of dollars and more heartache, something we've had plenty of, thank you. We don't need that. We need to heal. We need to move on. I'm not sure how, but I've been here before so I know it can happen.
It's more than likely, though, that we will learn either nothing or that it was chromosomal abnormalities. And perhaps the latter would bring me a strange peace of sorts. But the possibility that I played a role in ending what could have been a perfect little life, well, that's something I'd never be able to reconcile. For my first miscarriage, I really didn't feel any guilt. So, here I am, with another new chapter of grief to navigate. D & C is Monday. Wish me...peace.