Chapter 3- 2017 was my lowest of lows
There is something that I find therapeutic about the start of a new year, just like the start of a new school year. I love the idea of a fresh start, a time for a change, a time for reflection.
I am a different person sitting here typing this than at the start of January 2017.
I wish I could go back in time and hug past me because past me was about to go on a rollercoaster of a lifetime.
Since I said I will be sharing my version, of my side, of our journey, that means that I need to share MY highs and lows as well. January 2017 started teaching me about the lowest of lows.
By January 2017, we had announced to the world that we were expecting our second child, and Thor would be a big brother by July.
It took me days to take a pregnancy test when I thought I was pregnant with Thor because I knew in my heart I was pregnant, and seeing that plus sign on a pregnancy test would make it real. I always wanted to be a mom, but I was married less than 5 months, and we JUST signed a contract to move from Chicago to Boston. It was just after my 25th birthday; I was quitting my job, moving across the country, and now I was going to have a baby. While I was TERRIFIED, I never questioned the positive test; I never feared anything was wrong.
This pregnancy was different. Call it mother’s intuition, call it whatever you would like, but I knew something was wrong when the test showed two lines. I secretly took test after test for days after the first pregnancy test, even though we had been trying for the second, even though it said pregnant, and even though I had no idea what I thought would change. I felt crazy for even thinking that I needed some reassurance and felt even worse that I did not want to tell anyone my inner fears, so I hid them in the pregnancy test garbage and threw them outside where no one could see.
Appointments came and went, and everything was looking good. I was not even 28 yet and relatively healthy, every appointment, the doctor would make me feel like I should have nothing to worry about. The baby was growing; I could hear the heartbeat and passed the first trimester… I should have been golden.
I went in for an appointment at 15 weeks on January 20th and hopped on the exam table like I had done so many times before. The doctor and I started discussing when I wanted my repeat C-Section and how Fridays are always nice because people can visit over the weekend (remember life pre-Covid?!).
The doctor took out the doppler to hear the heartbeat, and what felt like the longest 30 seconds of my life seemed to pass as he scanned around my abdomen to try and find something that resembled something other than the butterflies in my stomach. The second there was a pause, I knew it. I knew this was the fear I had had in the back of my mind this entire time. It was no longer me quietly fearing something was wrong; I KNEW something was wrong.
He went to get a mini-ultrasound machine and brought in another doctor as we discussed what they believed was going on. After a quick trip to the radiology department and back and there, I was standing in my doctor’s arms crying as he told me that I had lost my baby. He sat with me and told me he would not leave the room until he knew I was okay to leave. He sat with me and just let me have my time, my moment, to mentally wrap my head around what just happened. We sat together for a while, and not once did he look at the clock or his watch, nor did a nurse come in looking for him at that moment; I knew never to question an OBGYN running late again because if they are running late, they might be with someone who needs them A LOT more than I do in that current moment.
I was so confused. But I was past the “safe” mark, I heard the heartbeat, and I had no medical indication that anything was wrong up to that point.
I spent the rest of January in and out of the hospital, where we found out that our baby had a genetic disorder after multiple procedures. I had experienced a partial molar pregnancy where the embryo has too many chromosomes, and ours had Trisomy 17. Pregnancies like these happen around 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies, and just like Ton, I had to be the one hit with the unlucky lotto.
I remember Ton calling me on my way home from the hospital on January 20th. I can still remember being nervous to answer because, for some reason, this guilt surrounds miscarriage of feeling like you did something wrong. I had a moment of feeling like I was going to get grounded for failing a test because, in my heart, I felt like I failed him by losing his second grandchild. I felt like I failed myself.
The first things out of his mouth were, “This Sucks. I’m sorry.” The best and most Ton response. It did suck! Ton was not a sugar-coater, he was not going to beat around the bush to try and find a polite way around his feelings, and this was exactly what I needed to hear.
It felt good to have the moment to be angry. It was not my fault that I did not fail; this did suck.
I wish writing this could tell January 21st me, me crying in bed so confused, hurt, and damaged, that one day you would find comfort in this loss.
Ton loved being a Papa, and I often speak about him being a great dad, but he hit it out of the park as a Papa. Ice cream in the middle of the night, sharing food and drinks (something he NEVER did with my brother and me growing up), playing arcade video games, wasting hundreds of quarters for a plush stuffed animal that will fall apart before the vacation is over.
He was the VIP of Papas, and after he passed away, I realized why I needed to have that loss. He could never stop being a Papa, and I genuinely believe he was greeted by his grandchild, the one I lost in 2017 when he said goodbye to his two on earth in 2019.
Our doctors advised that we wait at least six months before trying for another child because of the medication used during our hospital treatments in January. Six months of knowing I needed to heal.
Unfortunately, as I was getting answers from doctors and I healed in those six months, Ton was still trying to find his answers and was declining more each day.