You should be thankful...
By Herchel Scruggs on January 21, 2014
I saw a quote on Instagram that said “what other people are praying for, you are taking for granted.” And this reminded me of fertility. I get exasperated and frustrated at how much work children are. When you are at your wits end while your toddler screams for “the lipstick for my eyelids” at Target, there is someone else within ten miles, desperately wishing they were at their wits end with a toddler of their own, well maybe a better behaved idealized version of one. Many women struggle to conceive and many have miscarried.
During my last pregnancy, my friends all jokingly called me Fertile Myrtle. You see, it was next to impossible that I would conceive so quickly during my husband’s short visit home from deployment.
Though I spotted with both of my children, the pregnancies were fairly uncomplicated. I took for granted that the third would be as well. My mind had a difficult time wrapping around the truth of this pregnancy. I took two home tests and had the pregnancy verified by two different doctors. My HcG hormones were very strong they said. I was very pregnant.
What I felt was very sick. I felt fine when I was pregnant with Pork Chop and the two or three days of nausea with Pea were nothing compared to the tempest that was Melissa. (I decided to name the baby, who was gone before we could determine sex, Melissa, because the ultrasound technician accidentally typed “Melissa” Scruggs rather than my name, Herchel Scruggs, on the ultrasound print out. I don’t think anyone knows that I call her that in my heart.) I heaved and staggered throughout every day that she lived.
We were lulled into carelessness by our past experiences with pregnancy and our utter happiness. We shouted the news to the world. Our kids had a hand in choosing the names we were going to give to the baby, Noah or Isabel. (I wrote about how I told them I miscarried here.)
I had a close knit team and all it took for them to figure out I was expecting was a bag of potato chips in my hand as I strolled through the office. One of my former reps said, “You don’t snack on potato chips. You snack on asparagus. Are you pregnant?” I am an awful liar so it was out of the Lays bag from there.
And then life with juvenile arthritis happened. Pea woke up one night while I was asleep on the couch (I don’t know why but when I am pregnant I am able to sleep more comfortably on a couch,) in pain. She didn’t feel well for the next few days and time whizzed by as I alternated heating pad with cold packs on her knees and gave her antihistamines for the hives. Then her pain faded a little and something felt different. I wasn’t dry heaving and my steps did not falter. I couldn’t remember when I last felt sick. Mama Bear had taken care of her baby with single minded efficiency but now that the flare was fading the lack of sickness was like the rhythmic chirp chirp of a dying smoke detector, insistent.
I told myself that since we had entered week 9 the morning sickness was just going away. I got ready for work, missed the exit and found myself heading to the ObGyn. I called him and told him that something just felt ‘off.” Not pain, but not right either. I watched the sonogram screen and denied what I was seeing. The doctor did not need to tell me that there was no blood flowing to the fetus. Yet he did, and he did it with compassion and grace. The world got too bright for a few minutes and I had to run from all the happy pregnant women in the waiting room. I did not want to be the blight on their happiness. The tearful face that made them worry about losing their own. I still recall seeing that stark face running out of the obstetrician’s office when I was pregnant with Pork Chop. This time it was me.
I felt full of death and grief and no amount of weeping could empty me of it. I wept to my husband over Facetime. The miles between us cold and lonely. I chose the D & C to end it quickly so that my children would not be affected by a long drawn out miscarriage.
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