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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the third of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 7, 2014
Dear Friends,

I realize to my chagrin that some of you are too young to remember the Challenger disaster, but for those who do - particularly those who were in grade school at the time - you were probably huddled near a TV screen that day, possibly in your classroom. We were supposed to witness a marvelous mix of the extraordinary and the mundane; an ordinary school teacher launched into space, tailor-made for a month's worth of lesson plans. But that's not what we saw, and those weren't the lessons that were taught.

Imagine if, after the violence of that explosion, a chunk of the wreckage still managed to make it into orbit. And, being a well-engineered piece of scientific equipment, imagine it continued to beam signals back to Earth. Nothing intelligible, just random beeps and static, but sometimes strong enough to interfere with terrestrial electronics. Imagine all of the garage doors in Fresno opening and closing at random; container ships steaming in giant circles; surface-to-air missiles locking onto non-existent targets. What would you do? Would you wait for the signal to die out slowly, hoping the nuisance never rises to the level of a second disaster? Or would you launch an expedition to find that rogue chunk and deactivate it?

After five days of consistent light flow with small amounts of tissue passed, all signs of a natural end to my current pregnancy stopped abruptly last Friday. I experienced a rush of secondary pregnancy syndromes: breast tenderness and heaviness; waves of fatigue followed by bursts of sudden energy. A blood draw yesterday showed what I had suspected, a steep rise in the level of hCG. The ghost ship has sent out another signal.

I had a third ultrasound today, which showed no change in the size or position of the gestational sac. It's just sitting there, beaming hormones like it's hard-wired to do. Even if pharmaceutical management were successful, it could take as long as six weeks for my hCG level to come down. That means six more weeks of blood draws, six more trips to the maternity clinic, six more agonizing appearances in a waiting room packed with round, full bellies. I can't be the miserable turd in a punch bowl of fecundity anymore.

I have scheduled a D&C for Friday.

In making this choice, I grant myself the only measure of certainty I can hope for - that the pregnancy will end before I do. I never held any hope that there would be happy ending to this story, but I have been clinging to the romantic notion that my body will "sort itself out." This last twist in the process has allowed me to view things rationally. I can't expect my body to sift through the mess of empty signals any more than I could expect the garage doors of Fresno to throw off their celestial oppressor.

Perhaps this seems bleak or embittered. That's not my intent. While I'm not overflowing with positive emotions about this experience, I can say that I've made my peace with the end of this pregnancy. I'm not sure I would've reached this point had I not lived through the last three weeks. They have been miserable but necessary. I will be relieved to say this stage is over.



* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?


Tomorrow: Bupkes.


Comments welcome.


Posted on January 21, 2015

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