A few weeks before our wedding, I was in a car accident where I was not at fault: another driver ran a stop sign and hit my car on the driver’s side. Just over a year later, the same thing happened again – a driver ran a stop sign and slammed into my car. After two accidents where other drivers were not following the rules of the road, it took a long, long time for me to drive with any degree of comfort or trust in the other people on the road. I would have irrational fears as Ger drove and give random cries of “Look out!”
On Monday evening, I was overcome with dread. I felt in my heart that something was wrong with my pregnancy. It was the same feeling I had in the days leading up to my appointment where I learned that Iris was gone. There was no rational reason for it, but my instinct was correct before. Yesterday, I could hardly function. Then my FitBit band broke and I decided to buy an Apple Watch as a replacement. It was like a horrible deja vu…. a few days before losing Iris, my Kindle had died and I went to the Apple Store to buy an iPad. It was like reliving all of the steps leading up to those awful moments.
I told my therapist today, and she encouraged me to call my doctor’s office and make an appointment, rather than wait another 8 days for my next visit. She even asked if I wanted to call from her office, but I declined.
When I told Ger the reason I was calling, and that I was concerned about being seen immediately since I had nothing other than “a feeling” he suggested that I lie and tell the office that I was having cramping. So that’s what I did. The receptionist was going to give me an appointment tomorrow, but I started crying and was transferred to a nurse who squeezed me in for a 5:00 pm appointment.
I felt strongly that this was it. I packed an overnight bag to take to the hospital. I decided that I would send a message to the coordinator of the pregnancy and infant loss support group at the hospital, to tell her that I was going to be admitted, to see if she could arrange the appropriate nurse for me. I thought about what we would do with the kids, with the puppy. I thought of appointments that I would need to rearrange. I stopped by Panera, knowing that once admitted, I would not be allowed to eat for a long time. It was all so methodical, whatever I could do to make it easier. I thought “I prayed for this; I prayed that if it was going to be a loss, that it would end sooner rather than later.”
The doctor was running very late, which just added to the misery. The nurse took me back, and when she asked me if I was hanging in there, I said “No, I’m not.” I couldn’t even muster the expected “I’m fine.” She took my blood pressure and pulse (understandably high) and then pulled out the dreaded Doppler, saying “We’ll hear this little one’s heartbeat and you’ll see that everything is ok.” As I pulled up my shirt, she gave a sympathetic “tut, tut” at the bruises on my abdomen from my daily injections. Within a minute, her expert hands found a strong heartbeat and I started sobbing. Harder than I have cried at any point in this pregnancy so far. She told me that the doctor would still come in to check my cervix since I’d had cramping and I didn’t have the guts to admit the cramping had been a lie. The doctor did a quick exam, told me that cramping is normal, but told me not to hesitate if I felt that something was off and needed to come in. Through my tears I told her that my second loss, I had just felt that something was wrong – I had no outward signs, and she nodded sympathetically. She reminded me again not to hesitate to call: “that’s what we’re here for.” Whatever comfort that could provide.
And so. My intuition was wrong. Whether or not that will help me in the future, I do not know. Can I convince myself the next time I have “a feeling” that my fears are irrational? Can I learn to trust? It is like the car accidents – I am so victimized by my experiences, that it is hard for me to see clearly.