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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 have suffered this loss too. It is not just the loss of a little baby. It is the loss of hopes and dreams. It is the loss of the new life you started living as soon as that second line showed up. It is a heartbreaking and wrenching loss. Don't be afraid to grieve for that loss, and certainly don't listen to anyone who tells you to just get over it. Know too that you are a part of a (sadly) large sisterhood. Many of us have been there, and we are standing with you. Lots of love and light.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergearhead mama
Alice, I'm really sorry to hear about this sadness, and I wish there was something I could say to make your pain go away.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAssertagirl
I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find a bit of comfort in knowing you are not alone and so many people are thinking of you and sending you well wishes right now.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
Oh gods, I'm so sorry. Nothing different than what everyone else here is saying but just adding my voice to the web of support. Be well, take care of yourself. You give so much to your readers, it is the least that we can do to reach out with an invisible thread and try to let you know we care.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM
Delurking to share my sympathies. Such a difficult thing to have to go through. Thank you for your honesty here, and I wish you healing. Take care.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara
I'm so sorry....words seem so inappropriate.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCass
I'm so sorry. It sucks so bad. I had a 'surprise' pregnancy at age 43. I lost it at 9 weeks and it still hurt, like hell even though I really didn't want to have a baby at 43.

Apparently the stats are that 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yeah, it happens a lot, but it still sucks worse when it happens to you.

Time is a great friend. Remember to breathe.

April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiz C
Oh, Alice. I know it hurts and probably makes you bawl even more to read how very sorry we all are for you. As one of your many, many readers, I'm sending positive, healing vibes your way.

I'm amazed you pulled yourself together to write a post. Such a strong lady.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdee
Alice -

I can't even imagine...

You know, I wrote this funny little post today and I was chuckling to myself and thinking, "I wonder what hilarious thing Alice is writing about..." and then...this terrible thing that has happened to you and Scott. Just heart-breaking.

I guess the only thing to do is give Henry an extra squeeze or two today.

Just know a lot of people are keeping you in their hearts today...including me.

As a faithful, longtime "lurker" and mother of a very Henry-like boy, it's been my great joy to read your hilarious and beautifully crafted posts. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you don't know me, but I'm speechless with grief on your behalf.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertamstar
Alice, I am so sorry for this loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTanya
Alice, this is a terrible hand you've been dealt. I've been there twice, and have yet to find anyone who can convince me of a silver lining. I hope you are supported beyond belief by those around you. Take gentle care of yourself.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiz M
Oh....I'm so sad for you and your family...I can't imagine the loss you must feel. I'm sure it won't make much difference because you don't know me, but I will be thinking about you.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkelley
Oh Alice, I'm so so sorry. Shit, that's hard. I have had three miscarriages, and they are devastating...I don't even know how to say how much I hurt for you and Scott.

I hope the u/s and d&c go quickly--having that closure is a tremendous relief. The void doesn't go away, but after the procedure you can grieve better, and heal.

You and Scott and Henry are in my thoughts and in my heart. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNewt
I wish I could think of something better to say, but there are no words equal to the challenge, so I'll just say I am so terribly sorry, Alice. My thoughts & prayers go out to you, Scott & Henry. If I were there, I'd give you a big hug and share some tears with you, maybe over that margarita you mentioned.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTara
Oh Alice, I wish there were something I could say besides, I'm so very sorry. I wish you and your family comfort.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterabi
Oh man. :( I clicked over here from an LJ post - because I've been there. 3 times. It took me a lot longer to even talk about it the first time (I wasn't willing to for 6 months). I hope the pathology report finds something too, that was the only thing that kept me sane after the 3rd one - knowing that this time it really *wasn't* my fault, and there was nothing I could have done better or different. And really, I couldn't have on any of them - they just happen. It does get better, I swear. I'm very sorry for your loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteresmerel
It just doesn't seem fair. I'm so sorry this has happened.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
I echo the thoughts of comfort and love that have already been said. My heart hurts for your sweet family. I pray you, Scott and Sweet Henry will find comfort in each other.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBethany Zabrosky
Alice, the other commenters are right. There aren't words, and the phrase "I'm so sorry" just doesn't suffice. It's the best I can offer here on the Internet though. So I send my sympathies and prayers and hope for your heart to heal in its own time and own way.

I lost a baby at 8 weeks. It was one of a set of triplets and the doctor's first words were "Somebody up there likes you". I'm glad your tech and doc were much more sympathetic. I still got the other two, and someday hope to meet my other little guy or gal in Heaven.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmyL
I'll be thinking of you three. I am very sorry for your loss. What else can be said?
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennB
I'm so so sorry. I had the same thing happen to me- not that that will make you feel better, but maybe less alone.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertorrie
I am so very very sorry. That's awful.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFern
I'm so sorry for your loss.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkate`
I'm so sorry.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarin

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