the smell of my desperation has become a stench


Monday afternoon I was scheduled to see my OBGYN for the first check-up of a pregnancy that was in its 10th week. A few days earlier I started spotting, and because that never happened when I was pregnant with Leta I immediately did some research and was relieved to learn that what was happening was not outside the realm of normal. I wasn’t bleeding heavily or very frequently, and I didn’t have any abdominal pain. And yet, it just didn’t feel okay.

A day later the color of the spotting changed from light brown to dark red, so I called my doctor and they rushed me in for some blood tests and an ultrasound, just to make sure everything looked good. As we were driving to the hospital I called my mother to tell her what was happening, that I had a very bad feeling about all of this, that I knew something was terribly wrong.

The ultrasound showed that the gestational sac measured only five weeks, six days, and that it was empty, meaning that the embryo must have died about five weeks ago.

I had been worried about this pregnancy from the moment I saw that second pink line. We had been trying for three months to conceive, but in the weeks leading up to that last pregnancy test I did not feel like we had been successful. Instead, I felt like I was going to start my period again, and that we’d be faced with yet another month of grueling sex.

That is the only thing I can laugh about right now, that the first thought I had when I saw the positive test was, thank God, we can finally take a break from all those orgasms. It is unnatural for married couples to have that much sex.

And then after I found out I was pregnant — happily, gleefully pregnant — I never got sick, not even a little bit. This was a huge red flag for a couple of reasons. One, the last time I was pregnant I got so sick that I lost 15 pounds. Two, my sister has had four miscarriages, and each time she knew it was going to happen because she hadn’t gotten sick.

But I was still hopeful. Couldn’t help it. I want to have another baby, and I tried to explain it away as a simple difference between pregnancies. Maybe my body had changed in the years since I carried Leta. Maybe I was carrying a boy, and the hormones were affecting me differently. Maybe? Anything? Something? I’ll believe anything, please, I just want to have this baby.

Both my doctor and I agreed that since I had started bleeding I should just go home, stock up on Ibuprofen and let my body take care of everything. I preferred to go about it this way instead of having an invasive medical procedure, but my body wanted to take its precious, sweet time, and days went by without any increase in bleeding. I wanted to move on with my life, wanted to think about something, anything else, but that was impossible to do knowing that I still had to pass the dead tissue of the baby I thought I was going to have.

And then yesterday it finally happened. And it was… just awful. I don’t want to say anything about it other than that.

This is not the first miscarriage I have had, but the first one happened under very different circumstances. That pregnancy was not planned, and I was not in love with the father, not anymore. This one was not only planned, it was excitedly anticipated, cherished. This miscarriage has more implications, and I’m trying not to let my mind go there, trying to focus on picking up and looking forward. But what does this mean? Is it just a minor setback, or is it an indicator of other problems?

I want to thank everyone who has sent me encouraging email. It has been so comforting and helpful, and I can’t thank you enough for the compassion it takes to reach out like that to a perfect stranger.

One thing I have realized in the past week is just how much I desire to expand this family. We’ve waited probably longer than most people would to think about having a second child, and the devastation I feel over this just confirms to me how ready I am to have another baby. It also reinforces just how much of a miracle Leta is, how many things could have gone wrong, but didn’t. I don’t think she understands what’s going on, we’ve tried to explain things, but she just sort of shrugs and toddles off to eat another tube of Chapstick. And I look after her and marvel about what a ride it has been with her, and how I long to do it all over again.

  • semilyo

    2007/10/18 at 9:43 am

    ok, so this might not sound good now but just listen. this was not meant to be, it was like divine intervention. maybe this baby wouldn’t have been healthy or maybe something might have happened to you in the process. I know it hurts now, trust me, I do, but think of it this way–your body is getting ready for Leta’s sibling and preparing itself right now. Everythign is going to be ok, it wasn’t time. You have to look on the positive side of things this tough. The glorious pregnancy you’re waiting for is on its way. I promise.

  • Julisa

    2007/10/18 at 9:43 am

    How devastating this must be for you. My thoughts and sympathies are with you and Jon.

  • verymerryseamstress

    2007/10/18 at 9:05 am


  • Saron

    2007/10/18 at 9:11 am

    Oh Heather, I’m so sorry. Hugs.

  • verymerryseamstress

    2007/10/18 at 9:03 am


  • sari

    2007/10/18 at 9:02 am

    Feel better, get better. Take care of you and yours first. That’s the important thing. Best wishes are with you.

  • Saron

    2007/10/18 at 9:01 am

    Oh Heather, I’m so sorry. Hugs.

  • Nothing But Bonfires

    2007/10/18 at 9:01 am

    Oh, Heather. My thoughts are winging themselves all the way over to you from all the way over here.

  • Tanya

    2007/10/18 at 9:01 am

    Oh Heather, I’m so sorry. You’re such a strong, amazing woman, and surrounded by people who adore you, that I know you’ll be fine, but my heart’s breaking for you anyway. *hug* You’re in my thoughts (all of you.)

  • stewbie2

    2007/10/18 at 9:00 am

    Thinking of you and your family…big hugs to all of you!!

  • Nytro

    2007/10/18 at 9:00 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you. Not having children of my own yet, I can offer no other words other than those.

    God bless.

  • shenshe

    2007/10/18 at 8:58 am

    HUGS Big huge hugs.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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