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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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The worst post I've ever written.

I wish I had good news for you.

I was 10 and a half weeks pregnant, yesterday. I woke up a pregnant woman. The worst of the first-trimester misery was over. I've been lucky that way: this time, as with the last pregnancy, I was pretty much done with the constant nausea by eight weeks. Last time I freaked out and demanded an ultrasound, convinced that the absence of nausea heralded bad news. Then of course we saw Henry in there, waving his limbs at us, and we laughed at all our silly worrying, and carried on. This time I knew better. I was so calm throughout this pregnancy, nothing like I was the last time. When I was pregnant with Henry I began freaking out approximately ten minutes after the stick showed me both its lines. A week later I developed hives across my abdomen, giant egg-shaped welts. My doctor diagnosed me with some kind of virus, but I knew what had caused it: apocalyptic Google searches. This time, I knew: Thou Shalt Not Google. I didn't unearth my pregnancy books from the basement. I took my prenatals, and I laughed at my rapidly expanding midsection. The eight-week appointment was great, and we saw the fetus in there, heard its enthusiastic heartbeat, took a picture home that showed its little limb buds sticking out from the body. I planned the announcement post on my blog. Scott and I were beyond excited.

So as I said. Yesterday, I was pregnant. Scott went to work, Henry went to school, and I… well, I went to the bathroom, where I noticed some spotting. It was spotting so tiny that I could have ignored it. I could have not seen it at all. It was an eensy brown smudge. Nonetheless, I promptly began hyperventilating. This is what I do. Because if I worry hard enough I can ward off any bad news. If I'm neurotic enough, the universe will laugh, pat me on the head, and rain disaster down on some unsuspecting sane person. I called my doctor, who was as unconcerned as any normal human being would be, but suggested that I come in, just for peace of mind. I made an appointment for the afternoon, and after that, there was absolutely no spotting. Nothing at all. I laughed at myself, at what a big deal I had made over this tiny one-time smudgy nothing.

Everything was casual and light at the OB/GYN, until the ultrasound. The first thing I noticed was the absence of movement. Maybe it's the angle? I thought. She was moving all around my abdomen, so it was hard to say. Then she began pointing things out to me. "Here, you see, here is where I should see a heartbeat." I'm so sorry, she kept saying, I'm so sorry. She began measuring. I'm so sorry, she repeated, it looks like growth ended at about eight and a half weeks.

Everything that follows is a blur. I believe the first thought I had was, "And now I shall have a margarita." It was the best thing I could think to stop myself from losing all control, but I couldn't stop it, of course, and soon I was weeping so loudly that I imagined the office staff ushering all the pregnant women out of the building. Nothing to see here, ladies! No bad news around here! Who's for ice cream? The doctor left me alone so I could call Scott, and arrange for someone to pick up Henry, there was no way I could pick him up from school in my current state. The call to Scott was the worst call I ever had to make. I kept repeating what the doctor had said. I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. Because if I could feel bad for him, if I could concentrate on him and all he had lost, I didn't have to think about what was inside me at that moment.

Nothing much has happened since then. We're going in for some sort of super high-tech ultrasound this afternoon, which seems like the worst form of torture, but apparently is necessary before they can schedule the D&C. Meanwhile I'm having absolutely no spotting, just an occasional breathtaking pain that rips through me and reminds me of what's going on, like I need reminding. We're hoping that we get some answers from the pathology report, that we find out that there was some chromosomal defect and that we were spared unspeakable pain down the road. Anything so we can feel like this isn't the worst that could possibly have happened.

Reader Comments (826)

I am so sorry. You are in my prayers.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTherese
Oh my. What a huge loss for you. Wow. Take care of yourself - ok.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJuju
I am so sorry. Thinking of you.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramanda
I am very sorry for your loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMollieBee
Aw man, that fucking sucks. I'm so sorry. You're a great mom and you will be again.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSid

I am very sad today for you. You are in my thoughts.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbean
Sending prayers of strength for all of you.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMysh
So sorry, Alice. I was just thinking warm thoughts of you yesterday as I saw your cinnamon bun-clad head in Wonder Time in the waiting room at the pediatrician. Today's warm thoughts are accompanied by warm tears...
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMonkey loves Kitten
I can't imagine. So sorry for your loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSta
If there were any reason to de-lurk, this is it. I'm so sorry to hear this. But listen, there's a bright side--the little body may not have been in good condition, and the tiny soul that was going to be in there will be in the next one instead! There'll be a healthy, new body for it soon enough, and it'll come marching right back in, demanding to be Henry's sibling! Don't worry, everything happens for a reason, no matter how hard it is to fathom at the time.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLilana
I'm so, so sorry. For what it is worth, I think you're incredibly generous to share this experience with the blogging world. So many people are dismissive of a miscarriage, saying idiotic things like "It was for the best." I think women are conditioned not to discuss how painful an experience having a miscarriage is. With women like you sharing their experiences, perhaps more people will begin to realize that this is devastating, painful, and not at all for the best.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM
mi dispiace...
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertree
I'm so, so sorry. Words cannot convey.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRuthWells
Aw crap Alice. I got worried when I saw your tweets and popped over to see what was the matter. Been there, done that and I know how much it sucks. I feel your pain, sweetheart.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin in San Jose
I had a miscarriage too - it has been the single saddest thing that ever happened to me. Thank you for sharing your story - when women talk to each other it really helps.Remember that you did nothing wrong. Remember that you are wonderful. Remember to take time to grieve.Sending you the brightest prayers,Julie
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Roads
I know this will not make you feel any better now, and I know you don't know me at all, but I went through this exact experience in between my two children. It's horrible and sad, but once you can move on, you realize you still have your beautiful boy and maybe another child down the road....take care.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
I am a long time lurker, but this is my first comment to say I'm so sorry. This has happened to me twice in almost exactly the same way since I had my son. I am sad, frustrated, angry, jealous of people with easy pregnancies. I hate feeling all of these things, but this experience hurts and it sucks and I'm so damned sorry you had to have it too.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie
I'm so very sorry. I admire you and your sense of humor and excellent writing, all being able to come through at a time like this. Thank you for sharing.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJude
Oh, Alice I am so sorry. Hugs to you and your family.

I had a similar experience at the 10 week ultrasound during my first pregnancy. The tech kept saying I'm sorry and it didn't register in my brain what she was telling me. In my mind I thought oh, I'll hear the heartbeat in the next ultrasound.

I'll be thinking of you today.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
I am so, so sorry. Peace to you and your family. Take gentle care of yourselves and each other.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbec
Such a hard thing to have to live through. I'll be thinking of you and Scott and sending my love.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKristin
so sorry alice. the fact that you can craft a post like this with such grace is almost as breathtaking as the reality is heartbreaking.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjdg
i am so sorry. I too had a miscarriage at 13 weeks and this is really really sad. take care.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermeera
I'm so sorry for your loss. I've seen so many online friends go through this - some more than once - in the last year. I never knew this happened so often, to so many people. Anyone I know IRL just doesn't talk about it.

You and Scott and Henry are in my thoughts.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
I know that they're only words, but I'm so very sorry for your loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMagi

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