Quarter

Quarterd

beginnerI vomited the nothing I’d eaten into the lukewarm shower stream, catching moist, ragged breaths around the silver blue droplets.  As I barked up a gob of thick, clear mucus, belched it out with that indecorous rattle of fatigue, the bile and the blood circling the drain made a putrid brown swirl around my chipped coral toenails.

“I should cut those,” I thought, my cranial voice bland, and was suddenly overcome with the oddity of the situation.

Here stood I in my oppressively white shower, sobbing myself to emesis, hemorrhaging a welcome being I would never know, and the one coherent thought I’d mustered over two hours of once hot, now chilled tears concerned my long neglected nails.

Snared in a bath of hormones and medications by stretched sinews and pinching pink skin, every muscle twinged as I knelt tub-side scrubbing the shower floor to its former pristine glisten, tiny beads of frigid water dripping from the dark ends of bangs onto my flushed face. Feet cold to insensate, I stumbled gawkily as I made for the bedroom wardrobe, cursing at the quarter-sized blood drop outcast on the tile.

I denounced the asininely prim me that had dressed the bed in crisp ivory sheets the weekend before, pining for that soft, navy knit set despite the holes in the fitted sheet where it had once caught on the bed frame.  Miserably I draped myself with cool blankets, imagining my doughy flesh a velvety bruised peach in crinkled tissue paper, my seeping womb the craggy deep pit.  Evading the wet muddlement of his dear face the long night before, that daze in his eyes when they jeopardied him onto this nights MICU overnight call, I clung to the comfortable thoughts of my husband, flooding my consciousness with memories of his warm brown arms, those bright mahogany irises, the thought of his lopsided grin numbing my detached anguish.  It was a fix; scrappy, hebetating, but a fix.

For a while.

I was in the twilight of easy sleep when the pain seared through me once more.  Slow breaths and fond recollections and logical thoughts, even methodical review of a looming, pressing to-do list could not dissolve the image of that limp, translucent fetus, red on the white bathroom floor, could not erase the aching cold scrape of the D&C to complete what my body could not, could not elude the strident buzz of scarlet white emptiness echoing in my skull.

I dry swallowed an acrid vicodin before I dragged myself from bed to retrieve the toenail clippers.

————————

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

One in four women has survived miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.

I am one in four.

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About Gold Standard Test

Sometimes I work, and sometimes I play. Sometimes I eat, sometimes I've no time. Sometimes I know, most times I'm learning. Sometimes I laugh, at times it's through tears. Sometimes I love, amidst trying and tolerating. I strive to make a mark, but this worlds substance can be hard. And all the while, I do hope it's normal and extraordinary and, above all, enough.

26 comments

  1. So very sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. I’m removed chronologically from that awful event by a few years, but it’s one of those experiences, those life-moments where memories made are so excruciatingly vivid… Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My husband and I lost a little girl when she was three days old many years ago. I know how deep the pain is, but time helps.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Margaret, I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re so very right – it runs deep. I think of her less and less with time – which I suppose is both paramount to and a symptom of moving forward, (and which, incidentally, engenders a massive amount of guilt at times) – but when I do think of her and the people my husband and I were when she was given, the pain seems to come from a place more and more central. I imagine such emotion-scarred memories rings of a tree, somehow buried and compacted closer to the heart with growth… Yet up and out we grow. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing in my grief here. I am grateful. ♡

        Liked by 1 person

      • What a beautiful analogy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This story was so deeply moving and the writing so very vivid and real. I am so deeply sorry this was something you had to experience. It takes such strength to write about this. Thank you for sharing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a poignant and touching post. I am very sorry for your loss. I feel your pain having experienced miscarriage with my first pregnancy. Even though it was a few years ago, the emotional and physical pain still come back from time to time. Miscarriage or infant loss is something I wish no mother or parent would ever have to go through. I am glad there is a special day to create awareness about these tragedies. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  4. I found that hard to read. Your words were so emotional and evocative. I am also one in four, too many times over. It’s something I can’t and won’t ever be able to come to terms with, though I’ve accepted now that it will never happen for me. It’s in a lot of my poetry. It helps me, I guess, in as much as anything can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve needed to write it for a long time – it’s been right there, pulsing, quivering, waiting to be tapped, but nearly impossible to bear once it started to flow. As a physician, I write similarly about the most gruesome, intimate, provoking and crushing moments I witness and share with patients – I have to in order to bring order and coping to the ugly in my world – and that is hard, too. But this was excruciating. I’m so terribly sorry if it was a trigger, but I’m so grateful that you took the time to read and to comment. Thank you. All the very (very) best to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dr. Suess-Zues Zen

    It’s not often something I read stops my scattered thoughts, unless it is so real and genuine as to remind me what matters. What I read here matters. It is beautifully written as well, as it would be, since it reflects that which is real. I’m hesitant even to comment, it’s so real and personal I hesitate to touch it, as one hesitates to touch a delicate flower. Yet I will since it is here in front of me and I just want you to know, it is seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m delighted that it drew you in, then turned your thoughts inward. And, please, it’s for the touching. Losses like this are so common, but so so hard to discuss. My husband and I stand bewildered by the experience. As physicians, although trained and practiced in delivering bad news, in discussing death and disease, the loss of health and of the life planned with patients and their families, we choke, we draw away from reviewing, reliving this personal loss. Time has passed, but it remains starkly real, on many levels painful. I appreciate immensely that you took the time to read, to see, and to offer kind comment. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve shared something so personal with fellow bloggers, and this was so deep and so personal that it drew me in to read more of your posts. You have great imagery. I’m sorry you had to go through something like that but in a way, thankful you shared something with the rest of the world. I am looking forward to more posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for stopping by and reading my post about our shared sisterhood. I am also one in four. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. Your writing is beautiful and your message is powerful. It will help others to realize that they are not alone in this gruesome sisterhood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our candles are lit, our memories close but dancing as I write this tonight. I know countless others are feeling the same; I hope there is light and support for them, too. I thank you for sharing your loss – for which I’m achingly sorry – and for taking the time to grieve here with me. We trudge together. ♡

      Like

  8. Your post brought me to tears. I am still raw emotionally, as my ectopic pregnancy surgery was in May. I would have been due this January. You have done an amazing job capturing this moment in your life, and I could feel your pain through your words. Thank you for sharing your heart and bringing awareness. This is a common experience, but most are silent. I am one in four.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to cause you pain, to stoke those emotions which, in personal experience, seem to need little help flaring. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. But I thank you for reading, sharing my loss and your kind comment. I wish you all the very best. ♡

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry you had to experience this. Such vivid writing. These experiences just stain our brains, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much for checking out my blog. Otherwise ,I would never have seen this. It’s always interested me that I’m much more comforted about my many miscarriages when I talk with women who have been through it. There are so many of us. Thank you for finding me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I agree completely – it’s never easy to talk about it, but it’s soooo much easier to share what is such a base, nuanced loss with those who know exactly what you’ve been through. Feeling alone is toxic. Thank you for stopping by and helping break that loneliness.♡

      Like

  11. Beautifully written; it tore my heart out. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing to bring this awareness to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading, and for taking the time to make comment. Much appreciated.

      As is your recent apple spice cake recipe. One can only make skillet apple crisp and apple pie – amid the daily fresh or peanut buttered apple – so much before that giant bag of apples begins to seem a punishment! 😉 Can’t wait to try it out!

      Like

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