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No Guarantees

by Anonymous

Date: May 1999

My husband and I are in our early thirties. We decided to wait awhile to get pregnant (we've been married 8 years) because we wanted to do other things. Had I known there could be problems (something I could have NEVER imagined), I would have done this much earlier.

I got pregnant on fertility - just artificial insemination - no drugs. We'd been trying for 1.5 years. I got pregnant on Dec. 1 and had ultrasound every other week after that because that's just what the fertility doctors do. They also put me on progesterone for the same reason - you'll later find out that I definitely did not need progesterone. They released me at the end of Jan. to my Ob/Gyn., who did an ultrasound. Like all my previous ultrasounds, all was perfect. Measurements were great, so was amniotic fluid and HCG levels. I had no morning sickness and my fatigue vanished at the end of the first trimester.

At 16 weeks I went to my Ob for a regular checkup. She heard the heartbeat by Doppler. At 17 weeks (3/16/99), I went in for my Level II ultrasound and was told "There's no heartbeat." It was the shock of my life. I was admitted to the hospital and given a prostaglandin to induce contractions. It is supposed to work in 1 or 2 days. On day 3, they put me on the maximum safe dose. Still not even a cramp or a drop of blood. On day 6, they gave me Prostin (a stronger prostaglandin), which made me very sick. But no contractions. They scheduled me for a D&C for the next morning. Wouldn't you know it - Emma was born at 2:30 AM (3-22), 5 hours before they were to start the D&C.

We were so lucky that we got to see and hold her. It hurts so much to picture her - I guess that's the most painful thing. But I'm just so glad for what we got. It was both the happiest and saddest hour of my life. The cord was wrapped around her neck a few times, but the doctors said that this is very normal at 17 weeks and it probably didn't cause her death. She was normal on autopsy.

My husband did most of his heavy grieving at the hospital - he cried a lot. In the hospital, I was so focused on delivering the baby, and the meds not working, and logistics, that I didn't grieve as much. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I got home. And it's gotten worse every week since.

I feel hollow, empty. I've never been conscious of my uterus or abdomen, but now I can almost feel it - I can feel the emptiness inside it. I feel like a failure as a women - like I'm inadequate and can't even do the basic thing that women are supposed to do - reproduce. I feel like I made my husband wait so long to have a baby, and now I've let him down. And I feel like I have somehow killed the baby, as she was normal on autopsy. I was really hoping they would find a reason, but they didn't.

I feel so far away from ever having a live baby. I don't even remember what it felt like to be pregnant. I look at other women who are very pregnant or have a child and wonder what they have that I don't. Why were they able to deliver a healthy baby or carry a pregnancy past 17 weeks and I can't? But mostly, I miss my daughter. I feel alone when I'm alone. Once I got pregnant, I was never alone - it was always the two of us.

The biggest thing I'm dealing with is the questions. Why did this happen? I'm having a lot of trouble with this one. So far, everything with me has checked out normally. I feel like a part of me is missing and I am destined for an unhappy life pining away for my daughter.


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