Nugget was gone.
I said, "There's no heartbeat, is there?"
"No," she said. "How did you know? Had you stopped having symptoms?"
"Actually, those have been worse," I told her. "But my hCG levels have been off from the start."
"I'm so sorry," she said. "Truly."
"It's okay. We've been expecting this."
And we have. I wasn't shocked. I didn't cry (not then, anyway). If anything, I was more worried about Mr. Hope, who'd been dreading this appointment all week.
We went to the smaller waiting room, where we'd sit until we could talk to Dr. Smiles. I texted the BFF. "No heartbeat," I wrote. "Waiting to see the doctor."
Not too long later, a nurse led us back to his office. She told us how sorry she was and gave us the Sad Face. I told Mr. Hope, "This is almost worse - how everybody reacts." Then Dr. Smiles walked in with his version of Sad Face and it was like a little knife in my heart. We'd been in this together, after all.
We talked next steps. I was clear that I wanted the D&E. (Quick side note: the more standard procedure is a D&C, which includes scraping the uterus. My clinic doesn't do this. They use suction to clear out what people in the biz call "products of conception.") Then I said, "There's a complication. I'm heading out of town on Thursday and I can't cancel my trip."
"We can get you scheduled for tomorrow," he said. "And then you can leave for your trip on Thursday."
But all I could think was what if? What if there were complications? What if there was a lot of bleeding? Or cramping? Or worse?
I said, "Can we do this after I get back?"
Mr. Hope says the doctor gave me a look here, but if he did, I didn't register it. At any rate, he said I could. I asked him if I should stay on the hormones until the procedure. "You'll want to," he said, "if you want to make sure you won't bleed."
So now I'm off PIO and the Lovenox but will stay on the estradiol and progesterone suppositories until Sunday afternoon. At that point, I'll start inserting tablets into my vagina that will soften my cervix and open it up. Two at first, then four that night, then two again the next morning. An hour before the procedure, which is scheduled for Monday, I'm to take Vicodin.
I ask about the donor embryo program. We only have one left on ice. Can I get matched with another set so that I will have more to transfer?
Absolutely, he tells me. I just need to email the UnproRepro to set it up.
(Fabulous. I thought I was done with that one.)
We're looking at March, he says, for our next transfer. Of course it will be March. My anniversary month. The month I have a two-day work trip three states away. A speaking engagement, no less.
But okay. March isn't that far off. I can hold onto March.
Dr. Smiles tells me to drink my face off on the trip. "That's already on the menu," I assure him.
Then he tells us how sorry he is one last time, and sends off to check out. I tell the front desk woman that I need to schedule "a procedure." She looks at my file and gets it. She's sorry and Sad Faced, too.
But here's where things get weird: I ask if I should stop eating and drinking at midnight, and they tell me no. The nice nurse from earlier walks by and says, "Oh, no, we prefer you to eat a light meal."
"No twilight sedation?" I ask.
"No," they tell me. "Not for an office procedure."
Huh. I really thought I was going to be out for this one.
I ask how long I should to expect to be there.
The nurse says, "We always say an hour, but really, it takes no time at all. More like 15 minutes."
Four years, we've been trying. Four years and a nine-week pregnancy, and they can undo it all in a quarter of an hour?
And this is when I start to lose it.
Mr. Hope and I say our goodbyes and walk out the door. We pass a bathroom in the hallway and I duck in. "You're going to start crying," he says.
"No, I'm not," I say, but I totally do.
All of my hopes. All of my dreams. All of it, gone. Fifteen minutes of vacuuming out my uterus and I will be returned to my pre-pregnancy state, almost as if it had never happened.
Except it did happen. For five and a half weeks, I was a pregnant woman. I was a mother. There was a tiny human growing inside of me. I still carry that grape-sized, stalled-out baby seed in my body.
We walk back to the car. And, because we are two fat people who have a tendency to feed our feelings, we swing by the little bagel shop near the clinic to load up on carbs. On the way home, we stop at my favorite pizza shop. The universe defaulted on my no-pizza-until-13-weeks pact, so fuck it. I'm eating the pizza.
At home, I clear out some work emails and make my to-do list. There is so much that needs to be done, but I can't focus. I don't want to work. I want to shut down.
An hour later, I climb onto the couch next to Mr. Hope, and we start binge-watching a sci-fi show we like. I check work emails to make sure I'm not missing anything crucial.
At some point, the vet calls to tell me that Precious Pup may still need the surgery that we thought he needed Friday but then was told he didn't. The story is always changing. We were told one thing and then another and then a third thing today. I ask a lot of questions. My voice is sharp and I can hear the panic in it. I tell the vet that I don't understand why they keep changing the story and I'm going through a miscarriage to top it all off and I can't even right now -
I toss the phone to Mr. Hope, lock myself in the bathroom, slide down to the floor, and cry my eyes out.
There is so much going on in my brain, I can't even begin to process it all. I was a mother, and now I am not. (For now. Hopefully.) I'm going to have to go through all of it again. The preparation. The transfer. The five days of waiting, waiting, waiting until I can test. Getting positives. Hoping they turn darker. The nervousness of the beta tests. Hoping (praying?) the numbers rise appropriately. Knowing I will be gutted if they don't. Or, worse, what if I don't get a positive test? What if I transfer two more and neither of them take?
I was emailing a friend earlier who had a negative cycle after a miscarriage and I said, "I can't even imagine how hard that is." And I can't. I can't imagine going through a loss like this, waiting for a second chance, and not even making it to first base.
And then there's this:
Unless there is some major miracle brewing in my future, I will most likely never have a biological child. And yes, I knew that was my fate. And I'm okay(ish) with it.
But being okay(ish) with it and then having to accept that your very last shot - that beautiful, unexpected blastocyst created from your egg and your husband's sperm - having to accept that it's gone, gone, gone -
It hurts. It hurts more than I thought it would.
As I type this, I hear Mr. Hope crying in the other room. I should go to him right this second.
I'm afraid that it might break me.
We've been through so much together, Mr. Hope and I. But this? This is one of the worst things. One of the hardest. I don't even think I've begun to fully hurt yet. And I can't imagine the pain of Monday if I need to be conscious during the procedure. I need to call the clinic about that tomorrow and see what can be done.
For now, I need to go to my husband. I need to hold him. I need to let him know that he isn't going through this alone.
That we will get through this together.
We always do.
We always do.