It was before my Father died and long before I lost my Mother. It was my first real loss and I still remember it with laser point detail.
June 13, 2008. Friday the 13th. The ominous date was not lost on me. The nurse had given me a choice beforehand: trans-vaginal or abdominal ultrasound. At ten weeks, she explained, abdominal would probably suffice. I chose trans-vaginal and only now I know why. We wouldn't have seen anything with abdominal. The look of confusion on the nurse's face grew and the smacking of her gum slowed and then stilled as we all looked up together at a quiet black space on the ultrasound screen. I knew it was coming and then, I didn't. Intuition is like that. You know in your core, but you can't know. Not intellectually, at least. This was just the confirmation of something that had been nagging at me.
It had been nearly four weeks since our baby, who at one point in time had a heartbeat, had died, so what we were seeing on the ultrasound screen was the stillness of an arrested 6-7 week embryo. I scheduled a D and C as soon as they could get me in. I just wanted it over. I just needed it done.
I carried our baby for two more days, but this time the feeling of dread that I had felt before was no longer a foreshadowing of what was to come, but an echo of what was already well known. We had lost a child, but what I felt even more pronounced was the loss of innocence. Nearly everyone who's been deeply entrenched in infertility has experienced it and this was the final blow to that pure, open-hearted ability to just hope without reservation. So many of us can point to a single moment in time when they lost it and this was mine.
My husband and I gathered ourselves as best as we could to move our feet out of that lobby, into our car and drive back towards home. We made the calls--to parents, and then to friends to cancel my 30th birthday party scheduled for the next day. There was nothing to celebrate for me. And then we found our way to a cliff overlooking the water near our home just to sit. I seem to do that with grief--go outside, as if what I'm feeling is too big to be walled in. And I spent the entirety of that summer near that spot. Every time I go there, which is often, I think of that first child, the promise of possibilities, the death of possibilities, my first real loss. I've known so much more loss since, but there's something about the first that carved one of the biggest holes.
The reason why I write about this now is that I started this blog just a handful of weeks after our miscarriage. Our loss was the catalyst to write, so when I think about this space, the two naturally go hand-in-hand. And truly, truly, this blog was my saving grace, my way back to healing, and it still is. I don't know that I could have moved forward in the way I did without the words I've put on here over the last five years. Part of the URL is dochaschronicles, dochas being the gaelic word for hope. I was longing to find a way back to the hope I had lost, and in so many ways, I did. Perhaps it wasn't the wide-eyed innocent hope I once had, but it was hope nonetheless. And this still serves as a place to rest my head when the still-rough waters of infertility are keeping me from finding the shore.
5 years later, and I am more grateful for this blog than I ever have been. Thank you for being a part of that.