So many tears, so much pain. Why, why, why? Three babies in a row lost. I had to keep going to work, I had to keep taking care of the kids. One foot in front of the other. Get up, take a shower, look at charts, try to focus. I wasn’t doing well. Physically, I was tired and eating ice from the anemia. Emotionally, I was just so sad. So terribly sad, every day and every night. The grief was palpable this time, an indictment, ever present, reminding me that my body had failed me again. That pain that you feel in your chest, like someone is actually pushing the knife in and twisting it.
And so I cried out to the L-rd. Again and again. “I will give this up. I will forget what Dick said. I will put it past me and I will focus on my children who are here. But I cannot do it without Your help. Then it will just be coping, willpower, a work of my flesh without real substance. You have to give me what I do not have. Because I don’t know the answer.” These were my thoughts when we went to Shabbat services a few weeks after the last miscarriage. I went to the front during worship and I just said, “Here G-d, you have to take it from me. It’s too much pain to bear.” And I felt His presence flowing over me. After service, we told Rabbi what happened. He was so loving to us, praying and anointing us with oil for healing. I was different after that service. Still grieving, but I had some kind of hope. I didn’t know what the hope was for, but I held onto it as I moved through my recovery.
Although the emotional pain was fading, my brain was still processing everything. I had an urgency to know what my husband wanted to do. Later, my mom told me he had asked her in the hospital about getting a vasectomy. Knowing my husband, I was expecting him to bring up that topic. But he just kept caring for me, never mentioning it. So again I prayed. “L-rd, I don’t want to do this on my own. I need to know what he’s thinking. Are we done or not? I’m not doing this any more without a clear word.” Dennis is pragmatic, goal-oriented, focused. I wondered if he had grieved. I felt like his concern was for me, and once the baby was lost, he just pushed past it. I fully expected him to be reasonable and say this is crazy, our reproductive journey is over. “So what should we do babe?” I asked when we had a quiet moment. He paused. I thought I knew what he was going to say. Low expectations. But he said, “Well, let’s just leave it in G-d’s hands.” I was truly shocked. Dennis is an ICU doc, making life and death decisions every day. He’s logical, straightforward, no-nonsense, “just the facts ma’me.” Shocked silence was my response. A little glimmer of hope brightened in my soul. I didn’t say much because I didn’t want him to change his mind.
My medical mind was continuing to analyze and examine my situation. OK. 3 miscarriages in a row, 4 total. Time for a work-up. Yes, I had had 5 full term pregnancies in a row too. Maybe it was chromosomes, maybe hormones in spite of supplementation, maybe something else. Rachel drew my blood, vials and vials. I thought, “I’ll be talking iron until I die at this rate.” My thyroid was fine. My tests showed that I was heterozygous (I had one of two copies) for Factor V Leiden, a genetic clotting disorder. I had no personal history of a blood clot, maybe I was getting micro-clots in the placental circulation? Objectivity is impossible with self-diagnosis. Oh well. Maybe it was relevant, maybe not.
My period showed up 28 days on the dot from my D&C. I was charting days, but nothing else, because I wanted to do a saliva test to look at my non-pregnant hormone levels. Many years ago, when I was praying about my health, the L-rd had told me, “Do what you what you would do for your patients.” I almost thought I could hear Him saying “Duh.” That pesky lack of objectivity thing again. I hadn’t been taking progesterone during the luteal phase although my husband would periodically ask me about it when I was extra crabby. Which was infuriating. But a testimony to how my moods improved with taking the hormone. Big shock, my hormones showed adrenal fatigue, although my progesterone level looked like I ovulated. I took the progesterone anyway.
The kids were wrapping up the school year and we were planning a trip to Dallas. Dennis had some business down there and our nanny was from Dallas, so she was extra excited. Of course, airplanes and hotel rooms were major fun for the kids. Packing for eight people is not major fun, but it was going to be good to get away. I expected my period to show up while we were gone so I loaded my suitcase with tampons. Dallas is a great city for families. We hit the Science center, the Aquarium, and Dennis and I squeezed in a special dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s rotating restaurant. When my period didn’t start, I kept looking back at my last menstrual period to see if I calculated wrong. No, I really was late. And I’m never late. Unless I’m pregnant. Dennis had taken the older kids to Dave & Buster’s. Thankfully, I had escaped going because John Michael was asleep in the car, so I Googled the nearest CVS and went to buy a pregnancy test.