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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)

This is very sad, and I do hope that it was for the best, in the long run. Feel better soon - life is full of miracles and surprises.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlex M.
I'm so sorry.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkate
I'm deeply sorry to hear of your loss, and am sending many internet hugs.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLina
Oh Alice. I am so sorry for your loss.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
I'm sorry. My heart's breaking for you and that's all I can think of to say.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLil' d
I am adding my voice to the huge chorus of others: I am so, so sorry for your loss. I know this is a horrible time for you right now. Take care of each other, give each other lots of love. There will be more chances.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how heartbreaking this must be for you.

You are doing an amazing and brave thing by sharing this experience, as well. I admire you.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLéonie
There are no words for a tragedy like this; my thoughts are with you and yours. I am hopeful for the day when this is not a constant weight on your heart.

(Apologies if that came off coldly. Something like this never goes away; I didn't mean to say that it does or should. Dealing with it however you must so that life may go on...that's what I was getting at.)
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoey
700 comments and counting... You've touched and helped many people to get this kind of response. I hope they will help you in some small way.

I'm sure this means that you will love and cherish Henry's future sibling even more.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark
I am so so sorry.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercat19
Oh my God. That's awful. I'm so, so sorry this happened.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
I'm so sorry Alice. I've been there, had to make that horrible phone call to the Mr. too It was absolutely the worst phone call in my life. ever. I'm sorry you're in pain. I'm sorry this is happening. Gentle healing wishes to you my dear.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpinn
So sorry. Hugs from a de-lurking stranger.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiana
Alice,I am so so sorry for your loss. Please take good care of yourself.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline
I'm so sorry for your loss.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Pax et pax et pax. I'm so very sorry.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLori Magno
Alice, I'm devastated for you. I've walked that same road -- the one that winds through worry and waiting and loss -- and it's awful. I'm so sorry, so very, very sorry.

I'm sending you my prayers and best wishes for your pain to ebb, for answers to your questions, and for your dream of a second gorgeous child to come true. I also wish that no one will say anything stupidly, unintentionally hurtful to you, and that if they do, you'll have the grace to forgive them.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSummer
I'm so sorry for your loss.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJane
I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and your family, please find comfort in each other.

I'm not sure why I found your blog today, I was on and followed your link, we too went through this on Monday at 11 weeks and the world doesn't seem quite the same.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJAC
I'm so sorry. I can't begin to express how sorry I am.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
Oh, Alice. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been where you are twice now, once only a month ago. It is so hard, mostly because there usually is no explanation. I hold you, Scott and Henry in my thoughts and prayers.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlizneust
adding to the chorus of so, so sorry...
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbobbi
Oh, my dear. ((((Alice)))) I'm crying along with you.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarie
I am sorry for your loss.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam
I am so sorry for your loss. I have been through it as well. The day my D&C was scheduled, I went into the office, and chickened out at the last minute. I ended up just letting the miscarriage happen naturally and ended up being glad I did.
May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

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