Rather than try to summarize or reiterate this memory, I've decided to simply insert it in its entirety. I wrote this journal entry mere days after my miscarriage, so it is raw, and honest, and painful, and maybe a little too graphic towards the end, in case you don't want to read it all; but, it is my slice of life today:
August 26, 2007
My second pregnancy and I was terrified. The first one had ended in a miscarriage, which was quite possibly the most excruciatingly painful experience, both physically and emotionally. According to my calculations, my ovulation date, and therefore my conception date, was Monday, May 28th, Labor Day. By the time I was able to take a pregnancy test, I was two weeks along. Of course after trying for over a year and suffering one miscarriage, I couldn’t allow myself to believe I might be pregnant until the test came back positive. I did have an inkling, though, because I had been experiencing the worst night sweats! When I took the first test, the positive blue line appeared the instant my urine crossed through the window! I couldn’t believe it! With my first pregnancy, the line was so faint and took much longer to register but this one, this was a strong one. Just to be sure, though, I waited until the next morning to take another one, which happened to be Tuesday, June 12th, the same day I was scheduled to take my comp exams at UCSB. This one too returned a very strong, definite positive. This time around, while I was ecstatic, I didn’t experience the same kind of naïve, innocent joy I felt with the first pregnancy. This time, there was a tiny cloud of fear and doubt lingering over me. I pushed it away though and told myself I was being paranoid. I told Johnny by giving him a card I had bought a very long time ago. He did a little cheer and we began discussing our future as parents and how we were going to tell our family and friends…we would wait though, seeing as I was still so early on. I made myself a “positive thoughts” mantra card that I carried with me everywhere; I even slept with it under my pillow so that when I felt it I would remember to say it…”I have a strong, healthy pregnancy! I will carry these babies full-term! I will give birth to beautiful, healthy babies!” I always spoke in the plural form because I want twins so badly! I began instantly talking to my babies. I told them over and over how much they were loved and wanted, and how ready I was for them. I told them how precious they were! So, we kept it a secret for the remainder of that week and then set off for our annual road trip vacation on Saturday, June 16th. I’d had my doubts about going; I didn’t want to jeopardize my pregnancy but I was afraid Johnny would criticize my for being paranoid, so I kept quiet. I had started to feel little twinges of sensation in my lower abdomen but my acupuncturist told me many women think they are starting their periods when they are pregnant and that I had nothing to worry about; she gave me a special tincture to take with me on my vacation just in case. So, I ventured off on our road trip…happy as can be, but all the while fighting my fear. I became so scared of miscarrying again that it began to take me over. I was constantly checking to see if there was any blood when I would go to the restroom. I was constantly analyzing the little pangs of sensation in my lower abdomen…”Yes, that one’s a cramp!” “No, that’s just a hunger pain”. It was almost too much to bear. I didn’t want to suffer like this through my entire pregnancy. I wanted to be happy and enjoy every moment of this experience. So, I would push those thoughts away and rejoice at being pregnant. I enjoyed my ever-growing breasts. I loved touching them and holding them…they were the only physical reminder that I was truly and joyfully pregnant. Just as with the first pregnancy, I wasn’t experiencing morning sickness, which alarmed me because I had read somewhere that morning sickness is a good sign of the pregnancy hormone being strong. I was also not fitting into my usual pants, which I loved! Well, back to the vacation. We took off on a Saturday and rolled into my favorite spot along the Colorado River across from Laughlin. I love it there because there are very few people and I enjoy spending time just Johnny and I and the poops. After a few days there, we decided to head east into Arizona and New Mexico, I had always wanted to go to Taos, New Mexico. Once in Arizona, I got sick…I mean, chills, body aches, and fever sick. I thought I had simply exhausted myself and knew I needed to rest, so Johnny took great care of me. I began taking Cindy’s tincture, just to be on the safe side. The next day I was, amazingly fine! I was still a bit tired but all other symptoms were gone. Johnny and I argued though over whether or not to go into New Mexico. I had this dreadful feeling that we shouldn’t but he wanted to take me to make me happy…at the time I didn’t know that, I thought he just really wanted to go, so again, I went along with it. I made a comfy bed with my blanket, pillow, and book in the back seat while Johnny drove us through Arizona and into New Mexico. It was a bumpy ride and I kept thinking “this can’t be good for my babies” but I said nothing. Somewhere on the road between the New Mexico border and Albuquerque, I began feeling definite cramps. I kept telling myself no…no, no, no, no, no! This was not happening…I wasn’t going to allow this to happen! I held onto my green mantra card and repeated it over and over and over. I spoke to my babies and told them they couldn’t leave me because they were meant to be. I wanted, loved, adored them soooo much! I held my stomach and silently cried. I was terrified, desperate, 300-miles from home, and I felt so alone. I finally told Johnny that I needed to get to a restroom desperately…and that’s when I saw it…the proof that my worst fears were coming true…blood on the toilet paper! I sobbed. I told Johnny but still didn’t ask him to take me home. We were so far from home, it would have taken us a couple of days at least to get home; and having experienced a miscarriage before, I knew there was nothing anyone could do for me. We had come so far, and I felt like I was being a big baby so I sucked it up and continued on our trip into New Mexico. I still had hope…I continued taking the tincture that Cindy had given me and was determined not to let them go. Johnny was really quiet…I don’t think he knew what to say or do but never once did he ask if I wanted to go home! This saddened me. I tried to “buck up” by sitting up front with him and enjoying the drive through the beautiful southwest. As we approached Albuquerque there was an awesome thunderstorm raging. Funny, that’s how I felt inside. We marveled at its intensity. We pulled into Santa Fe almost at dusk and, after driving around in circles, found this beautiful campground tucked away in the New Mexico Mountains. It was so pristine, peaceful, and almost spiritual…I felt extremely comfortable here. We spent our first night sitting outside and listening to nature’s symphony. The next day we decided to go into Santa Fe, do some sightseeing and maybe a little laundry. My bleeding and cramps continued but I tried to have a good time, knowing that nature was in charge at this point. We found a Border’s near the laundry mat so we went in and bought a few books. I got “The Birthday” and “Molokai” and Johnny got a book written by an Iraq war deserter. When we tried to go to downtown Santa Fe, which is absolutely beautiful by the way, my cramps had intensified. The streets were all blocked, something to do with Cardinals gathering from around the world, so we had to park a ways away. We managed to make it to the heart of town when I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I finally spoke up and told Johnny I needed to go back to the trailer. I could barely make it back to the truck; I was doubled up in pain. Back in the truck, Johnny drove us as quickly as he could. Driving through the picturesque mountains on our way to our trailer, I was writhing in the most intense pain! I couldn’t find relief. I squirmed, and twisted, and cried! Johnny was distraught but said nothing. I knew, right there, in the middle of the New Mexico Mountains, right there in our travel trailer, I was losing my babies. As excruciating as the physical pain was, the emotional pain dwarfed it. How? Why? I was so angry. I stumbled into our trailer, went straight to the bathroom, and lost my babies. This time, though, I saw them. I believe there was just one baby there…my baby…my baby girl…Grace. I wanted to hold her but there was nothing to hold. I put her in a baggy in the freezer so I could take her to my doctor when we returned home. I know my pain pales in comparison to others but it’s mine and I have to own it, acknowledge it, embrace it, and release it.
Today's slice was a painful, rambling one, but I felt it deserved to be shared. Every year at Christmas, I pull out one of my most treasured ornaments, a Terra cotta ornament that I purchased earlier that day in Taos, with the name Grace written on the back. I'm able to remember this memory without too much pain now, because I have my son; but I still shed a tear for what I lost that day, and I still carry Grace in my heart!