Those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or my daughter’s website know that she’s had three miscarriages in a row. In the middle of the night Saturday she started to spot and cramp. She and Tim went to the emergency room and I stayed here: sniffling, setting up the Roomba, doing dishes and then mopping most of the living area. If I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, I figured I might as well do something useful.
The ER doctor said it wasn’t clear whether she was miscarrying again. “Too soon to tell” wasn’t of much use, but it allowed for hope.
On Monday she had blood drawn and on Thursday the results revealed that her HCG level had continued to rise more or less normally. She already had an appointment for an ultrasound on Dec. 31, so last night I decided to extend my visit. There’s not much I can do about the results – either a heartbeat will be detected or it won’t – but at least I can be here.
Quick aside: I did not make the decision on my own. When asked, she said she’d really like to have me here and her husband said that anything she wanted would be fine with him. Bless his heart: How many guys would still be smiling when their mothers-in-law extended an eight-day visit into a three-week sojourn?
Life is so damned tenuous
I have no idea how my daughter is holding it together. Well, I have some idea: her at-home job, treats that I prepare, posting on her blog and binge-watching of the TV program “Leverage” on Hulu Plus. Abby noted wryly that she probably picked the show because of its premise: Something really unfair happens and a team of experts steps in and makes it all better.
I’m in awe of her coping abilities because frankly my own anxiety and stress levels are as high as an Arizona palm tree. I’ve been flashing back to her near-fatal illness and how sick and helpless I felt the entire time. It’s been hard to concentrate on my own work and as for stress eating, well, let’s just say that bag of dollar-store gingersnaps should have lasted a lot longer than it actually did.
The miscarriages and now this potential threat seem so unfair and capricious. Why should these two people, who are anxious to have a child, be denied over and over? Why should people who don’t even want kids (and who in fact neglect or abuse the ones they have) be rewarded with multiple births?
No answers exist to these questions, except that loss is part of life and life doesn’t always go your way. As I noted in a post called “The fragility of dreams”:
“Only time will ease the pain you and Tim feel. I say ‘ease’ rather than ‘take away,’ because to some extent the sadness will always be with you. This will be a mournful chapter of your lives, but it need not be the whole book.
“How easy it would be to shut down emotionally, in order to protect yourselves against the possibility of future loss. Don’t. Please don’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that sorrows are just as likely as blessings – and that sometimes the two are intertwined.
“Life is so damned tenuous. But don’t let the fragility of your dreams cause you to give up on dreaming them.”
Getting through the days
On New Year’s Eve day the ultrasound will reveal what’s going on: heartbeat or no heartbeat, hope or disappointment. If you’ve got a prayer in you, please send it skyward.
After that I’ll remain for another 10 days – not my preferred time frame, but certainly a frugal one. When I talked with the airline it turned out that before Jan. 8 the cost to change my ticket would be a $200 fee plus as much as $1,050. If I booked for Jan. 9, the damage would be a $200 fee plus a $40 ticket cost difference.
While I believe that some things are worth the cost, paying out an additional $1,250 would be a sharp blow to my budget. Fortunately I have a son-in-law who’s amiable about my staying a lot longer. Apparently he’s never heard the old saw about fish and visitors.
Best-case scenario: A strong heartbeat is detected on Dec. 31 and the bleeding stops. I’ll get an extra 10 days of Arizona sunshine, while my poor DF shovels snow and plugs in his car against the below-zero temps up in Anchorage. I miss him fiercely and was really looking forward to being in his arms again.
(DF’s reaction to my decision – “You need to be there” – reminded me yet again that I have found a genuine treasure.)
If the worst happens, I’ll be here while she undergoes yet another D&C. I’ll be able to keep the house tidy and the laundry done while the two of them grieve. Right now I’m focusing on just getting through the next few days. That, and wishing that the team from “Leverage” could lend a hand.