I am the 40 percent

The longest day of my life began at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday.

I had gotten used to waking up early ever since I found out, which I chalked up to the lack of massive amounts of caffeine in my body and my newly formed habit of falling asleep around 8:30 p.m.

But this time was different. This time it was the dull ache that gently woke me up. Clumsily making my way to the bathroom though, it was the blood that jolted me awake.

Spotting, I told myself. Mild cramping. No big deal, my head said while my body frantically looked for the right section in the book. Yep. Totally normal.

I laid down on the couch in total darkness and turned on some crappy late night/early morning/not really suitable for human consumption TV. I absent-mindedly rubbed my lower stomach, a sort of unconscious gesture meant to signal reassurance for the both of us. I’ll be fine.

We’ll be fine.

By 5, the crappy movie was over and the meaningless dull ache had forced me into a fetal position. By 6, I was walking around bent over in an effort to relieve the meaningless pain that had meaninglessly grew into an intense ache. By 6:30, I was lighting a cigarette from the secret stash I hadn’t been able to throw away yet even though I had quit smoking. Just one to calm myself down.

Everything is fine.

As my husband woke up at 7 and as dawn broke, casting brutal light on the situation, I allowed myself the first tears. He ran to the store for Tylenol and maxi-pads, a first aid kit for a gaping fatal wound. By 8:30, we were on the road to the women’s health clinic, an appointment that had actually been made weeks ago.

Good one, universe.

No one even knew yet besides a handful of close friends and family. Eight weeks pregnant. Keep it quiet for now. Just in case…you know.

And suddenly, I knew all too well.

We nicknamed it Poppyseed in lieu of the popular moniker “It” so many other couples use during those early months. Poppy, for short. It was a private joke courtesy of my cousin, who upon finding out my new condition three weeks prior, pulled a poppyseed off her cheeseburger, pointed at it and said, laughing, “that’s how big your baby is right now.”

Urine sample. Blood sample. Weight and height check. Hello, I’m Carol. Is this your first pregnancy? Congratulations. Symptoms could be normal. Your cervix is closed. Good sign. Hmm…can’t find a heartbeat. Let’s schedule you an ultrasound…just in case…you know.

I was due in May, which was perfect. If it was a girl, her name was going to be Mae. A decision made long ago. Because Aprill is always followed by Mae. If it was a boy, well…Milo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Two hour wait. Silent tears. It’ll be fine, honey. Don’t worry. Mrs. Brandon? Nice to meet you. Hop on up here. Now what happened exactly this morning? Relax your legs. Too small to see on the monitor. Let’s try this.

Just the other day I had planned on shouting the exciting news from the virtual rooftops of Facebook and Twitter. After our first doctor appointment. Once we made sure there was little chance of any sort of just in case.

Well, there doesn’t seem to any pregnancy tissue. You may have passed it this morning.

There’s nothing you could have done. Or did do. These things just happen. Forty percent of pregnancies in the first trimester, to be exact. Most women only have one in their lifetime. Chances are high you’ll conceive again.

I know they have to say this. The doctor. The nurse. The now demoted future grandparents. The friends and co-workers.

There really is nothing else you can say.

But it doesn’t help. At least right now. Because no words can erase the image of your husband, so strong and stoic the entire time, finally breaking down on the phone when he calls his boss to tell him he won’t be in today. And because what died on that horrific morning wasn’t just a fetus. What also drowns and dies in that tsunami of blood and cramps is that movie montage you’ve been playing over and over in your head the past eight weeks until it’s the perfect mental screenplay of the rest of your life.

But then, the dream of a completely different future than the present you are currently living in fades slowly to black.

Suddenly you can no longer see the labor scene where you hurl hilarious insults at whoever is standing by, ones that even give the nurses a giggle. Or the moment you both sob like idiots when it’s all over and you’re holding a baby that has your eyes and Praise Jesus! his nose.

The never-ending need to count all his perfect fingers and toes. The uncontrollable urge to kiss her little face all the time.

The framed photo of her sleeping on her dad’s bare chest or his first Halloween where I dress him as Frankenstein’s monster simply so I could send out a photo card with the caption “We have created LIFE! It’s ALIIIIIIVE!”

Christmas mornings. First birthdays. ER trips because someone couldn’t resist shoving a Lego up their nose. Catching her digging through the trash with the dog as her accomplice. Him helping me make pancakes.

Ballet recitals. T-ball games. First girlfriends where I whip out every single embarrassing photo I can find, including the one of him in a dress having a tea party with his female cousins. First heartbreak where I cuddle with her on the couch and we eat ice cream while watching “Love Actually” and I let her cuss in front of me for the first time.

Graduation. Marriage. Becoming a grandparent myself. And everyone coming back home for Thanksgiving, filling our quiet house with welcomed chaos.

It all died too.

So, for now, I mourn the loss. Of her. Or him. And of the dream.

And hopefully, after time, and some Merlot, and maybe a night or twelve of healing vodka, we’ll be able to try again.

And I can start to dream again.

28 responses to “I am the 40 percent

  1. I’m so sorry Aprill! I had this happen a couple years before I had Caden and I know how it can tear a person up. Ill keep you in my thoughts ans prayers. I promise….it may not go away, but it gets easier.

  2. I am sorry, Sweets. How I wish I could hug you and Ryan through the computer right now. Praying for comfort. Sending my love and hope for brighter days…

  3. I am so very, very sorry… I’ve lost two, and while time heals, the heart never forgets. I will pray for you, for Ryan, and for sweet angel Milo Mae… Love you all!

  4. I am so, so sorry sweetie… ❤ I found your blog via a friend on Facebook. I unfortunately know your pain twice over- 2 consecutive miscarriages at 13 weeks and one at around 8 weeks. I now have a gorgeous 8 month old baby girl. Hope. ❤ If you ever need to chat, you can find me on Twitter- @frugalfoodiemom. I also blog over at http://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com. I have blogged quite a bit about my losses over there. I am actually dedicating my blog to raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss for the month of October.
    The pain dulls, your heart starts to heal… but you'll never forget your angel. ❤

  5. I am so sorry for your incredible loss. After two healthy pregnancies and births, I had two miscarriages late last year and early this year. I know there is nothing I can say to make you feel better, but just know that you are not alone and I am so sorry.

  6. I’m so sorry to read about the loss you your precious Mae. Please accept my sincere condolence

  7. You are definately not alone. I lost two to miscarriage, one to a blighted ovum, and the last, the most recent, this past May, my baby boy Nathaniel Ezekiel Allen, at 19 weeks, stillborn. If you ever need to talk, I’m available. you can visit me at http://www.facebook.com/NathanielEzekielAllen.com or mallen06@yahoo.com

  8. I am so sorry Aprill. No words are going to make you feel any better but just know that you will be the perfect mother to that perfect little baby. Your dreams will still all come true…you may just have to wait a little longer, which will only make it that more special for you and your husband.

  9. My dear Aprill, I am at loss for words although I would like to uplift you like you have me in so many of your articles. I can only say I am so sorry.

  10. It’s crazy how similar your story is to my first pregnancy. There’s nothing that you can say to someone in your situation so I’m just going to say that I’m here to listen. Good luck and don’t give up hope.

  11. Even in the midst of tragedy, your words are so hauntingly beautiful; you made me cry! I will be praying for you that the pain you feel now will one day be replaced with overwhelming joy in the addition of a beautiful, perfect, happy baby to your family!!! God bless!!!

  12. Wow April, so sorry to hear. Through all that you were able to capture and put into words what you were going through in such a remarkable way. Thinking of you, stay strong.

  13. Been there more than once and very recently. Will be adding ya into my prayers.

  14. Thanks for all your wonderful comments, everyone. And I’m so sorry for all your losses as well.

  15. This was painful to ready both because my heart aches for you and Ryan and because the reality of it brought back memories of nearly the exact same thing that happened to me. The crampiness followed by ever-increasing amounts of blood and the sense of panic followed by intense loss. Oh it’s awful. I remember letting go of all the dreams I had, too.

    The hopeful thing is I can say is that later, when I least expected it (for various reasons), POOF! I was pregnant. And had a healthy, fabulous baby boy who has grown into a smart, charming, hilarious (and yes, sometimes frustrating) 11-year-old 5th grader. Me, with a 5th grader.

    After a while, after I’d miscarried my first, it helped me to realize that it simply wasn’t meant to be and those assurances from the doctors and nurses that first pregnancy miscarriages in the first few weeks is common and doesn’t mean you won’t still conceive and have perfectly healthy babies started to actually help.

    I know none of it does right now, though, I know and all I can say is hang on tight to each other and work your way back to hope together. That’s part of the beauty of being married… you help each other get through pain.

    Blessings on you both, Aprill and Ryan.

  16. Very well written and expressed. I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for healing, recovery and children in your future.

  17. I’m sorry to hear this April.. I had a miscarriage last November. November 20th will be the exact date. It is really hard to go through and I will never forget that day. I did conceive again in January and now I have a beautiful little boy who is 5 weeks old now. I wish you the best and hang in there. I know the 40% sucks and they say “most women don’t even know they were pregnant” sometimes I wish I was the most women but then again I would have never gotten to feel the love for the child that I lost.

  18. Oh no… I am so so sorry, Aprill.

  19. Beautiful column!!! Looking forward to seeing the Frankenstein Christmas card when your little miracle does happen for you and Ryan and Buffy. I am sorry that poppyseed wasn’t the one. Love you!

    Sent from my iPhone

  20. OMG Aprill I’m so sorry, i wish i knew what I could say to help you but no words can take away what ur feeling and the pain only that it was God’s will. If it is meant to be you will have a beautiful family. If you need someone to talk to I’m here day or nite. and i will add you to my thoughts and prayers.

  21. May I just say, I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost our little one August 31st, so to a small extent, I know what you’re going through; none of us fully know what another going through this is feeling. I wish you all the best and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. I just randomly came across your article about the spiders , Just one of many articles with loads of spiders being just plain evil and devilish and taking over peoples homes . ( i was Msg Blasting my friend) after her run in with a random spider’s body lifeless in her living room , and i was trying to freak her out with many others stories of spiders, I believe there taunting us with there little bodies and waiting for their plan for attack in numbers and trying to freak her out with my theories ,

    I just wanted to mention that you are a truly wonderful blogger and a wonderful lady as well , your writing is so colorful and well written it feels like I’m personally experiencing these things with you , and that’s why i just want to let you know that even though i don’t always believe in prayers but for you, i know it will get so much better for you , when you guys are ready for another try (which i know is hard ,because of the little voice in your back of your mind telling you cant do it that you wont be strong enough if it to happen a second time around) .

    But Sweetie i can tell from just the expression in your words that your going to be an awesome Mother , your not going to take anything for granted , You are a Strong and will get through this , and it will be well worth it .

    Some Mothers are accidental ,some don’t even care and will leave complete sight of them while shopping, they don’t realize how lucky it is to bring new life and how hard it can be and the struggles that come with preparing for it .

    ~ heart Disease is a Label givin to me at birth , i try and not let it control my life , though all the statics can prove other wise , i go by living and experiencing and i believe that if you want something bad enough it will become attainable .

    Im also apart of a percentage , Doctors told me i couldn’t drink smoke roller coasters or anything that could over excite my heart , ( at first they speculated that even sex might be a no no) mind you my hearts gotten a lot stronger by living and making dumb mistakes, I will not let anyone rule my decisions or my way of life so to speak ,

    they told me that there not even sure if my body can withstand being healty enough to support another living being and to give birth naturally could stop my heart when induced into labour ,

    But i cant see me being anything else but a mother its what ive dreamed of ever since i was a kid ( playing and nurturing my dollies)

    i can sense in all heavens earth it will happen no matter what
    And if you have the same determination and no failure approach it will surly happen and it will all be worth it and you will treasure each moment because ypur given another chance .

    p.s. sorta rambling its always hard for me to explain my ideas , in my head it all comes out right but it prob doesnt sound as good as i would like ,( i would prob delete my writings cause your always your own worse critic ) .

    so basically if nothing else made sense i just wanted to say it will all work out in the end and your gonna be a wonderful mom and some people dont deserve it and some that do deserve it , always takes longer to happen , but much more treasured within the wait and even suffering through the wait !

    Just dont give up my cousin went through 2 miscarriages and it happened that the third was the charm 🙂 and shes the most beautiful child in the world ,

  23. p.s. you already were part of that 30 percent , so you cant be the same 30 Percent now

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  27. Hi April, first let me say how sorry I am for your loss. The pain you go thru in everyway when you have a miscarriage is beyond words. There’s just no words to describe it. I had 5 and with one pregnancy I was carrying twins. So I’ve lost 6 angel babies. And I can honestly say I know the pain and sense of loss you and Ryan feel. My prayers are with you both. I love ya’ll!

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