I’m pregnant. I don’t need to take a test, I can smell it.
I take the test anyway (my husband prefers more tangible proof): only one line. I throw it into the bin, baffled, while wondering out loud what else I could be if not pregnant. My husband rolls his eyes and tells me the results take longer than 30 seconds (he’s an expert now, apparently). He picks the test out of the bin before dropping it again, shrieking, “WHICH END DID YOU PEE ON?!” I take the non-pee end: two lines.
Week 5 (end of)
My husband’s away; I send him a message: “Cramps and bleeding this morning. Looks like this one’s over.” I now respond to miscarriage with resignation rather than shock. At least it was early this time, I think.
Week 6 (start of)
I go to the doctor to tell her about the blood. She freaks out and sends me to the hospital immediately for an anti-D injection. The emergency department responds to my arrival with the exact opposite amount of urgency. I sit and wait and wander and wait and cry and wait, and wait and wait some more. Nine and a half hours later I’m shown into a room. The obstetrician is uncomfortable with the fact that our meeting has started with so many tears from me. “Have you taken anything for the pain?” she asks. I tell her I’m not in pain, I’m just completely overwhelmed with how utterly shitty my day – nay, month – has been. She hands me a tissue and apologises for the wait and talks for a bit. Then, when my tears continue (I’m trying to stop! I really am), she asks again, “Do you want to take something for the pain?”
She does an ultrasound. She tells me there’s no heartbeat, and there’s haemorrhaging; it looks like a miscarriage. She’s sorry. Her words aren’t news to me; I gave up all hope at the first sight of blood, two days ago. She makes me an appointment for the following day to talk to someone else at the hospital about what happens next, then she gives me the injection I’d waited so long for and sends me on my way. The nurses apologise repeatedly as I leave the hospital. I don’t have the energy to smile at them.
Week 6 (start of) – the next day
At this point I feel like I should have pro-life activists camping on my front lawn and waving signs at my uterus when I walk to and from my car: “Everyone should have a birthday!” “Abortion – Aren’t you forgetting someone?“ You’ve grown a baby before, remember, body? WHY THE HELL CAN’T YOU JUST DO IT AGAIN?!
I arrive at my afternoon appointment and wait in the “quiet” waiting room (the one where they send the women who might not want to be surrounded by pregnant bellies). It’ll be an internal ultrasound this time.
“There’s a heartbeat!” the doctor tells me with a giant smile, and I say, “What?!” and she says, “There’s a heartbeat! Look!” She’s turned the screen around so that it’s now facing me, and she points and says, “Can you see it?” The screen is a grey blur - damn these tears! - but I nod anyway.
The haemorrhage is a blood clot; more bleeding or spotting is to be expected. My one sign that things are wrong has now been taken away from me. From now on I’ll have absolutely no idea whether or not that little heart is still beating.
Sorry for yelling at you this morning, body. Carry on. (But please be nice.)