Twenty-one years ago today, I had a miscarriage. We found out I was pregnant three weeks after our wedding. I was on birth control pills, but that didn’t work. We were newly married, he was getting ready to leave for his first 6-month deployment on the submarine. I lived 7 hours from my parents, and I was alone in a city I didn’t know, living in an apartment complex I hated. I struggled with it. We talked about abortion, and we talked about a lot of things. Everything was taken away just as I settled into reality and started to plan. At 29 weeks, I went to Portsmouth Naval Hospital for a check-up. The doctor didn’t see as much fluid as he would have liked and decided that amniocentesis was the way to go. I questioned if there is less fluid than you want to see, why did he have to take out more. He assured me that it was only a tiny bit for testing.
My mother was with me, and as I was lying on the table, she held my hand. I wish I could tell you it all went okay. It didn’t. It was horrific. He took out two syringes of fluid, the size of rolls of quarters and one that looked like a roll of dimes. That can’t be “a tiny bit.” Mamma took me home, and I waited for the results. That night I ended up labor deck with pains. I was scared and alone. The next morning they told me everything was okay, go home, and wait for the results of the tests. That night I felt a stabbing pain and then nothing. For the next three days, there were no shifts, kicks, turns, that butterfly feeling. NOTHING.
Michael finally got back – they had to pull some strings to get him home. He was only gone two months out of the 6 – and believe me that Command never let him forget it. “Kidd, you have a nice vacation while the rest of us were gone?” Another rant altogether.
Michael arrived, and the next morning we went together to the doctor’s office, and the ultrasound was when they told me. That’s not accurate, first ultrasound, they blamed faulty equipment. They sent me into another room and did it all over again, and when I told them, I hadn’t felt anything since the Friday before. They nodded and told me to get dressed, and they would take me to speak to the doctor. That arrogant ass sat across from me and said, “Amniocentesis results were with the normal range, but the pregnancy spontaneously aborted. He didn’t explain anything. When I asked if it was because he took – TOO MUCH – fluid, he looked down and quietly said “no.” I had about 1 minute to process it all before they led me out the door and through the waiting room with all of the smiling pregnant women. I got to the hall-way and collapsed in a corner crying. Sobbing. Michael was a rock, and I wouldn’t have made it through any of it were it not for him.
I had an appointment for inducing on the labor deck five days later. For over a week, I spent walking around pregnant, but not really. Strangers were asking me when I was due, and other oddities.
It was surreal. Mamma was there for us the whole time. On top of the trauma of the miscarriage, I had to deal with shitty military medical care. One nurse didn’t listen to me when I told them I had violent vomiting on Demerol, and she plunged it right into my IV anyway. I threw up all over her. During labor, I was crying and in so much pain, and they didn’t want to give me an epidural. They didn’t want to do anything for me. They told me to be quiet because I was upsetting the MOTHERS giving birth. Mamma lost it; she stepped outside with the head nurse – shortly after they came in with the epidural. I didn’t need it then. It just happened.
It gets blurry from there. The autopsy showed no reason for the death other than a notation of “NO AMNIOTIC FLUID.”
You can’t sue the military when you are in the military. But that too is a whole other rant.
I went home and spent a lot of time in shock and despair. I KNEW I didn’t “cause” the miscarriage. If I had fought the doctor on the tests. If I had wanted a child from the start, this wouldn’t have happened. If only. I knew it was just something that happens, and it wasn’t my fault because I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow through and have a baby. I believed that I was broken in some way and caused it all. None of it was true.
After two years of working through all of the questions and giving myself time to decide if we even wanted to try again – we made the decision that we were not parents. We had other things we needed to do, and if we ever wanted to be parents – ADOPTION was always on the table.
I had a Tubal Ligation in 2001 as a form of birth control. My new (but still NAVY) doctor tried to tell me I had to wait until Michael returned from another 6-month deployment, and then I had to wait another six months to make sure we were serious. Well, he didn’t hesitate to do the surgery after I explained that it wasn’t my husband’s body or choice. And I’ve been serious about not being a mother my entire life. I told him about the miscarriage, and that if I ever decide to have children, I will adopt, after all, my Daddy is not linked to me by DNA, why should that kind of thing matter to me if I have kids. Love is love.
Today marks 21 years since that day on the labor deck. I am steady in the decision not to have a child, and I no longer feel guilty for how it went down. I didn’t cause it. I did everything I supposed to do and still.
This experience taught me always to trust my gut when it comes to medical care. I never take anything at face value, and I question EVERYTHING.
I don’t know why I decided today would be the day I shared this all with the world and put it out into the universe. Maybe, 21 years is the trigger. I am tired of holding my truth in and spending so much time and energy trying to ignore it or delete it. It is what it is, and there is certainly nothing good that I have found in burying it all.
This year I am trying to speak my truth, even if my voice shakes.