The medical term for “miscarriage” is “spontaneous abortion.”
resulting from a natural impulse or tendency; without effort or premeditation; natural and unconstrained; unplanned; produced by natural process; arising from internal forces or causes; independent of external agencies; self-acting.
the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy
The body’s way of naturally terminating a pregnancy. Self-acting, produced by a natural process, arising from internal forces. Completely independent of external influences such as, for example, the fact that I TRULY LOVE this baby, or Bobby and I NEED this baby, or we would be FANTASTIC parents and give our entire selves over to making a life for our family. No, spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage (as it’s commonly called) is an involuntary natural selection. The embryo growing inside of me was found wanting, didn’t meet the standards for whatever reason, and so was coldly and methodically expelled from my body. Survival of the fittest. Natural selection at its finest.
It doesn’t matter that during the mere 4 days since I learned of his existence, I fell 100%, head-over-heels in love with Baby Rettew. That I talked to him and urged him to hang in there, that it would be worth it if he could just keep living, keep existing despite the cramps that began racking my abdomen Friday afternoon.
I knew something wasn’t right. Pregnancy novice that I am, I knew that these cramps weren’t just your average run-of-the-mill uterine stretches, but something far more sinister. But consulting my online gods and my sources (Jennifer, who’s been there, done that) and Ms Linda (who see preggos waddle thru her emergency room every day) assured me that uterine stretching is common, causes cramps, and is no cause for concern. As long as there was no bleeding, little Tadpole Rettew is as cool as a cucumber.
So Sat morning, I wake and head for the bathroom. In my underwear, there are two smudges of blood. Not vast amounts, but still. So I call for Bobby and we have a consultation over my defiled underwear. Consensus is that it’s not great, but not freak-out worthy either… after all, according to my obsessive reading, occasional spotting is normal.
And so my day begins. Drop Bobby off, do a few errands and find myself in the maternity section of Ross, where a charming little bowling ball of a girl gives unsolicited but welcome advise on the “skinny” of maternity wear (yes, there’s a pun there – intentional, of course). I select an entire cart-full of maternity clothing and head for the dressing room. First time I’ve darkened the door of a fitting room in months because trying on clothes when you’re pronouncedly pudgy just isn’t that much fun. But hell, now I’m pregnant, I have an excuse for the pudginess, and I can’t WAIT to start sporting my new preggo badge of honor. Try on a million +1 outfits, and walked away with a fabulous start to my maternity attire. Two knee-length very fun denim skirts, four tops (two maternity, two not and due to the lovely blousey styles of today’s fashion, it’s impossible to tell which is which without consulting the tags), and sleek oh-so-versatile pair of black capris, and a “hot mama” shirt to where with it – the boobs get huge (like mine aren’t huge enough) so let’s showcase those suckers!
And while all this fun outfitting was happening, there was a growing sense of discomfort. Unexplainable heat, with sweat rolling down my back and collecting under my boobs. And the abdominal cramps. Sometimes fading away, then returning with a vengeance. Finally made my selections and headed for home. Bobby had requested that I meet him for lunch over at VIEW’s new office, but I had feeling that I needed to cut my day short – called and canceled our lunch plans.
Sitting on the sofa, the cramps grew increasingly worse, ranging from mid- to lower-abdomen. I now know that this is completely not normal, and so call Dr Hearn, whose office is, of course, closed on Saturday. I lay on the sofa very still, so very still, and softly stroke my little baby bump – I beg Tadpole Rettew to hang in there. That it’s going to be ok. That we’re going to make it. That I love him, and I want him to just sit tight and be strong.
Felt a gush and raced to the bathroom. There was blood. Not a smudge this time…. enough to make me call Bobby and ask him to come home asap. He and Ms Linda pulled in – I was curled on the bed, trying to hold Baby Rettew in place and hoping that he could, begging him to just hang on. Dr Hearn, because he’s a true gem, asked me to come into his office and he would “flip that ultrasound machine on” and put my fears to rest. I knew though – I knew that little Tadpole Rettew wasn’t doing well. The ultrasound showed nothing, so we were sent to the main medical campus for bloodwork. Dr Hearn called a few hours later to confirm. The pregnancy was over. My tiny Tadpole Rettew didn’t make it. He said all those empty doctor things, the things that doctors say when the news is bad, and I was taken back to my days of phone conversations with Dr O’Rourke, Mama’s ocncologist, as he’s very detachedly, professionally, and “kindly” dumping a shitstorm on your life.
I continued cramping and bleeding Saturday, which was tempered by the massive dose of Advil Liquigels and Ativan that I ingested. Don’t remember going to bed Saturday night, although I must have since that’s where I awoke Sunday morning. Got up before Bobby, and in the bathroom, I met my first child. He was the size of a silver dollar, a collection of blood, tissue and potential life. And I held him in my hand and wept. I told him that I was sorry, so indescribably sorry that I had been inadequate. I held him in my hand, and thoughts ran through my head like a movie reel… Should I get a box to put him in? Or maybe a tupperware container with a lid? I could take him to the hospital and have them do labwork to determine the gender of my first baby, my only child. But what’s the reality? Can I take a tupperware bowl of aborted fetus and really expect answers? And burying what would appear to everyone but me to be a grotesque ball of blood and tissue would be difficult. Difficult for me, but mostly for the people around me. And so, in a moment without thought, I slide down the communication window between my brain and my body, like a mental taxi cab, and I gently wrap him in toilet tissue and flush him down the toilet. I flushed my baby, my firstborn, down the toilet.
I put on running shoes and ran. I’m by no definition a runner, but this was also not just a run. It was a race. A race away from my toilet. A race to make myself hurt all over. And I ran until I was gasping for air, until the skin tore from my right heel and the raw skin beneath bled onto my sock. On the front lawn of Anderson University, I lay down on one of the strategically placed picture-perfect benches and looked up through trees. And I cussed my mother. My mother. The one who used to love me more than anything. The one who wanted me to give her a grandbaby. The one who left me last September. And one who didn’t protect my baby, who didn’t keep him safe and warm, who watched while I flushed her grandchild down the toilet. What the fuck? Where the fuck is she? Is she watching? Does she even care? Does she even have any impact on the arbitrary shit that gets handed, no flung down onto the girls who used to her entire life? We’re STILL HERE, MAMA!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME?!?!?? I NEED YOU AND YOU’RE GONE. YOU’RE MY MOTHER. WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?S?Q??