How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb, Part 1

I took a pregnancy test on the morning of May 14th, my husband’s birthday. I’d had a feeling about it and I thought it would be a nice surprise. Good morning, here’s your coffee, Happy Birthday, here’s a stick I peed on. It’s got a baby in it.

I got back into bed and we both kind of looked at it, our faces lopsided with a jumbly, inchoate collision of mixed emotions. It wasn’t as happy a surprise as I’d imagined. We were both instantly filled with dread. Hope and excitement and joy, but mostly dread. Because we were not born yesterday.

I told him then that this was the last one. I couldn’t do it it anymore. If this one didn’t take, I was done. I asked him to remind me of that if needed, noting that I was at that time sound of mind and body but after a miscarriage all bets are generally off. I start wanting to get pregnant again almost instantly. My body whines and whistles with emptiness, a great soughing wind of grief and void through a collapsing ruin. It is extremely difficult, if not functionally impossible, not to go directly to “maybe next time”. And I knew, in my sound-of-mind-and-body state, that I did not want there to be a next time.

The next weeks passed in relative calm. We are so good at this now. David went on tour and we both settled into the wait, the interminable linoleum muzak-flooded waiting room of the first 15 weeks. We had two good strong heartbeat ultrasounds, but I wasn’t going to get excited. I occupied a bland, vanilla-beige landscape in which I repeatedly assured people that I felt “very mindful” and “very grounded”. It was more or less true. I’d have to say it was probably less mindful than flatline, but it worked. When I expressed doubts or fears one of my closest friends urged me to “stay positive”, and I replied that I couldn’t do “positive” but I was doing an ok job staying out of “negative”. Positive wasn’t a safe place for me. There’s hope in positive, and in hope lies terror and helplessness and the manic negation of everything you believe you know about the way the world works, for you at least. Positive was treacherous territory. Neutral was perfect, and I was a master at neutral.

And when I saw the blood at 11 weeks, alone in the bathroom in an empty house at 11:30 at night, I threw my head back and scrunched my eyes shut groaning, “No no no no no no no…” and knew that it was over.

But I was not surprised.

In the middle-of-the-night ER waiting room I pulled my sweater down over my bare legs and curled up on the couch, the rocketing thrum of my heart playing counterpoint to the grim, weirdly calming certainty of the ache in my back, the increasing cramps. Soon, at least, there would be an answer, and whatever mad little cockeyed optimist bullshit voices that kept piping up in my head would be blasted quiet, and I could get on with things. Whatever that meant.

When they took me back I craned my neck to see the screen from my prone position on the table, every optical nerve straining to find the outline – yes, there it is – stretching and pushing my sight to find that flicker, that precious shimmering butterfly that would mean – please please oh please – this little life still held tight.

I looked and looked and looked till my eyes hurt, and then in a flash I realized: I didn’t have to look anymore. I didn’t have to try to find a flicker of hope on that unfeeling screen. No amount of straining or stretching or searching would matter now. I didn’t have to keep hoping or even staying neutral. I didn’t have to keep wrenching open a space for an impossible possibility. It was ok to let go.

I turned my head and surrendered to a bottomless relief.

Grief and relief, flowing in equal measures around the dead husk of my hope like a felled tree in a fast-running river.

As I drove home, sobbing on the phone to that same close friend who was the only one blessedly awake at 2am, the most pressing thing on my mind was avoiding The Bitterness. The rage, the resentment, the hatred of all Normal People who trot about being all fertile at you while you shrink into weird, twisted shapes, ragged and grating like bone on bone. The alienation, the irrefutable feeling that you are of a different, inferior species; a mule, a chimera. Oh god, it is the worst injury of all the injuries childlessness can deal out. It is acid, nuclear waste, seeping poisonous and inescapable through the veins and eating a swathe of desolation around you that acts like a moat, cutting you off from love and joy and progress and life. I had fought it for 5 years, sometimes winning battles but never the war. I didn’t want to go back there. I could not go back there.

I spent the next 4 days with my sister and her family. They are busy and full of doing, which was lovely to be around. So they rocketed around doing all they do and let me come in and out of involvement as I needed so that I was never alone but never overwhelmed. I grieved with my husband over Skype, my poor husband who was out there in Nowheresville without any of the resources that were gathering around me like an immune response. I tried to tell him about the relief that burrowed in the heart of the grief, how we could maybe start to actually move forward on some of the dreams we put on hold while we waited helplessly to see if an apathetic universe would do us a fucking solid and let us make a baby. Buy a house? Live abroad? Adopt? Go to Burning Man? Probably not that last one, because we are too old for drugs and we like toilets, but you get the picture. We could do anything. Anything. Anything would be better than nothing. And we could act now, do, now that the years of paralysis and waiting were over.

When I went in for the D&C the clinic let me bring my weird stumpy hobbit dog Frodo for comfort and support. It’s hard to be sad around him. He’s just so absurd. I briefly went agro on a protester outside the clinic who simperingly asked me if I needed any “help”, while standing next to a giant photo of a dead fetus. “NO I DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP I AM HERE BECAUSE MY BABY IS DEAD AND THESE PEOPLE RIGHT HERE ARE HELPING ME WITH THAT SO STOP TALKING TO ME OR I WILL SCREAM YOUR FACE OFF.” That was pretty much the gist of it anyway. Frodo was aggressively stumpy and funny-looking at her. A woman bringing her daughter in through the same door behind me muttered, “Well said!” as we were buzzed into the lobby.

I got home after recuperating in the bustling bosom of my family and the house looked exactly as it did the morning after the ER. The clothes I had worn to the hospital and numbly stripped off the tomb of my body lay where I had dropped them on the floor next to the bed. The room that would have been the baby’s still collected dust in the same state of limbo-imposed storage-locker disarray. The dishes I had been in the middle of washing when I went to go pee and saw the blood were still in the sink. Everything was frozen in time, a chilled and perfectly preserved despair.

I entered the house and was overrun with The Bitterness.

The story of how I survived, and maybe not won but definitely waged a successful diplomatic campaign to end, the war, can be read here.

Also, here is a picture of my absurd stumpy hobbit dog Frodo. My husband took the picture. It is awesome.










154 thoughts on “How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb, Part 1

  1. Neha Jain says:

    Thanks for sharing your story so boldly and honestly. I too am going through something similar and wanted to give you a big e-hug. I feel your pain my friend and I know we will get through it.

  2. As I’ve had five consecutive miscarriages, and had multiple procedures and surgeries, I understand so much of what you shared today. I tend to think that there are certain things in life that change people forever, and the loss of a child during pregnancy is one of one of those things. Sending love your way.

  3. blogmummy says:

    Hey I have just started blogging in UK. I miscarried our first child and that alone was grief in itself . I want to send you all the hugs in the world and tough times don’t last just tough people and you are definitely tough xxx

  4. Olga O says:

    This post tugged at all my emotions (and lady parts, functionality of which I have not yet tested) while standing in awe of your fortitude and, frankly, beautiful writing style. As I got pulled into the story, I was asking myself how you have managed to put all that must have been going through your mind on paper in such a thoughtful and eloquent way. Wishing you all the best!

  5. Wow! Very nice post! I enjoyed reading this is deep! For any motivation inspiration, and fashion tips you can check out my blog posts!

  6. Kally says:

    This must been difficult for you to pen down. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts with us. Stay strong.

  7. Wow – thank you for sharing. You are an incredible communicator and I appreciate you sharing your story. Best wishes for all of your future adventures, whatever they may be.

  8. Thank you for showing the raw emotions you go through with a miscarriage. I’m on the other side, expecting my second. What is the best thing someone can say to you who has not experienced your pain? Whats the most unintentional hurtful thing? Sending you hugs and support!!

  9. oyinlola94 says:

    Very astonish

  10. skrylcomputers says:

    Keep on !

  11. Mika says:

    Hey, I dunno if I’m normal or not but the way you wrote this piece gives a clear pic of what it’s like. Well expressed

  12. Catherine Whitfield says:

    Brilliantly written. Adorable dog! Hugs hun…

  13. shanellee1 says:

    you couldnt be more vivid

  14. dezertroze says:

    Been there myself.. Peace and blessings unto you

  15. VE says:

    All I felt was peace, relief & a new strength….your writing is exceptional….:)

  16. tinakmeyer says:

    ❤️ I am hearing you. I’m so sorry.

  17. Manisha says:

    Beautifully written 👏 what a great read!


    Do check out my new post!

  18. Reblogged this on Hallowed Gallows and commented:
    I have never felt anything I’ve ever read more than I feel this.

  19. I firmly believe that you could single-handedly host a support forum for people experiencing infertility. I would volunteer as admin. I could never have conveyed my experience like this. I couldn’t have even sorted the events into a beginning, middle, and end. This post is filled with the courage to keep trying and the strength to let it go. The strength that I am still searching for. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  20. Mary Kendall says:

    My miscarriage was many, many years ago, but the experience is still locked away in my heart. Your posting is beautifully written and honest. Thank you for sharing. I wish you every happiness.

  21. Manisha says:

    Wow! What a great read👍

    Redefining the four letter word : LOVE
    Check out!

  22. Kasia says:

    Amazing read. Hope that life will stop throwing obstacles to your happiness. Frodo is beautiful!

  23. kkessler833 says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the well written post.

  24. Bindu Bhatia says:

    I’m speechless filled with the tears for your pain. Can understand what you went through. We had a baby after 8years of trying, and I give credit to only one thing – “The Secret” – Rhonda Byrne! It just changed my life. I know you wrote “Positive” – is not something you can do at that time, but now you can. This pain that you penned down is also in some way attracting more pain in your life. If possible, and not done already – please go through secret…you can also look at and join positive lights community on facebook.

  25. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written and painful piece. I am right in the middle of the “years on pause while we wait to see if the universe will let us make a baby”. It’s rough. I appreciate your story and hope the best for you.

  26. Simone says:

    Reblogged this on Simone Samuels and commented:
    She writes so candidly (and well!) about her struggles with fertility. I can especially relate to “the relief that [is often] burrowed in the heart of the grief.”

    An excellent, excellent blog.

  27. tandkmomma says:

    thank you for sharing ive only lost two so far but the last one was three weeks ago and im glad im not alone in my feelings of” The rage, the resentment, the hatred of all Normal People who trot about being all fertile at you while you shrink into weird, twisted shapes, ragged and grating like bone on bone. The alienation, the irrefutable feeling that you are of a different, inferior species; a mule, a chimera.” thank YOu!

  28. Rebecca Connors says:

    I have never heard someone actually be able to articulate what the trying and failing process ACTUALLY feels like. Frodo is indeed awesome.

  29. Lauren says:

    i had 2 miscarriages before I got my son, thanks for sharing how it feels. i was homeless and suffered both of them on the streets, just about crawling to and from a gas station bathroom. I remember the blood both times, it is really a hard experience that i will never forget going through. thank you for writing about how you felt.

  30. dorcas254 says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I learnt several things from your story. Thank you

  31. Megan Earls says:

    My best wishes to you and your family. You are truly amazing for sharing your story!

  32. Your dog is awesome! He looks very concerned in that photograph 🙂

  33. justemily3 says:

    No good words. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage on year ago at five weeks. I never got to hear a heartbeat or anything but I still miss that baby that would have been. I hate seeing my friends have healthy babies and I hate that I hate t. I hate telling myself not to get excited every month but I still do and I still get crushed when the test is negative. My mom told me my whole life how fertile I would be because she was and I’ve based my whole identity on becoming a mother. I’m not sure why I have to walk this path but at least I’m not alone ❤️ the best thing you can do is to share your story. It helps people like me

  34. C.E. Pierce says:

    I am actually in the place you were before, not wanting to let the war end. I am getting tired of the negatives staring back at me mocking me. I though am unsure whether or not I can ever get to a place where I well feel ok with it. Reading your post made me feel like I could one day thanks for letting me know someone else gets it. ❤

  35. C.E. Pierce says:

    looking forward to more great posts and yes Frodo is cute I also have a baby dog to get me through the day.

  36. earthtodona says:

    When I read this, never having been or tried to be a mom, I felt the emptiness you talked about. I am 23 and in my dreams for the future I have a house full of my kids running around. So much we take for granted. Thank you for this beautiful post because sometimes many of us forget how important and miraculous a new life is. God bless you and your family. I am a fan of your writing. ❤ I only wish I could be as strong and articulate as you are some day.

  37. Deborah says:

    Oh this was me yeeears, then when I was expecting “another” fail it didn’t happen and presto. I love Stumpy Dog lol.

  38. where we are says:

    Such beautiful descriptions of a gut-wrenching experience… I also absolutely loved that you yelled at the protestor at the clinic – people are so fucking heartless and ignorant.

  39. I’m so sorry for your loss. I had one miscarriage and it was awful. But I got pregnant a few months later and would not have my oldest child. So it was hard to continue to grieve. But sometimes I wonder what that baby would be like… Should that baby have been worse off than my third child who has CHARGE syndrome and is DeafBlind? I will never know. But my heart does alway go out to those that want children and can’t seem to have them. Being a parent is so amazing. There are some precious kids out there that parents take for granted. They are mistreated and horrible to them… Maybe you can adopt and share a love that will rescue that child. I can’t think or a more heroic act! Hope things work out for you…

  40. maggs66 says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. People generally don’t talk about this type of loss and can feel profoundly isolated. I was very disturbed by your experience at the clinic but absolutely impressed by the way you dealt with it. Thank you for sharing your experience with such brutal honesty and humour. Life is filled with possibilities, we never know what’s on offer until we look up and forward..and you’re doing just that. PS. Frodo looks exactly as you describe him; a real sweetheart..

  41. I’m so sorry for your loss. Anything said at this point is trite, but it is nice to know you have this outlet and I hope all your dreams come true.

  42. nastyarychko says:

    sorry for your loss. this life can be cruel, taking away all we love, all we crave, its funny to think there should be a reason for it all when it seems so hopeless… the dog is beautiful. give him a kiss for me.

  43. The pain of losing a child is so deep and searing it is almost indescribable. I lost a son. He was born too early and he lived for 13 minutes. I’d give anything to have him here to hear him giggle and see him smile. Sometimes I wonder why God puts us through this he thinks I am strong enough but to take a child is the worst pain. I pray that your heart is filled with comfort and you know you are loved and you are never alone

  44. I could not imagine losing a child. It can not be easy. My mother swears up and down she had a miscarriage between my brother and I, as she woke up in the middle of the night to a bed full of blood, but she never went it to get checked. You and your loved one are in my prayers.

    Follow back!

  45. Leanne Rose says:

    So brave to be able to share your story so honestly. Best of luck to you and your family, whatever form it takes x

  46. I have had four miscarriages (including a 17 week loss). Just wanted to send some empathy and love…your words speak so much truth into the mostly benign word “miscarriage” people use and know. When it is personal, it has all the miserable feels. Hugs sent to you. I loathe the journey of loss. Somehow, my fifth pregnancy stuck and I have a 7 week old now after all of these years of miscarriage and 2.5 years in adoption wait (which we still plan to continue). Anyway, just thinking of you and holding your virtual hand in knowing. Xx

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