This post is from a dear friend. I am so proud of her for speaking up and sharing her story. No story, no loss is ever "too small".
My name is Nicole, and my life is pretty awesome. I am "living the dream" as a diplomat's wife in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have an amazing, handsome, loving, brilliant, supportive husband. We come from loving & supportive families and we want to have one of our own. SOON. We have only been at our first post for three months, but I constantly hear people say "Wow, you're living the dream!" Well, here's the the thing: WE ARE. Yet, here's the other thing: You probably are too. Life isn't perfect, and that's why it is.
Living the dream looks like a lot of things from the outside. It's me and my hubby traveling all over SE Asia, eating amazing food, seeing amazing sites and loving every minute of it.
But here's what you don't see on my blog: I am incredibly sad and healing from a miscarriage. This miscarriage happened when we were on our first vacation in Hoi An, one of my new favorite places.
Let's back it up; 18 months ago, right before we got married, I had an abnormal pap. I went back and found out that I had HPV and needed a biopsy. This, on top of planning our dream wedding, was incredibly stressful. I got the biopsy and good news, it was aok and I didn't need surgery. 6 months later, I went in for a follow up. The Hubs and I decided we wanted to start a family, we were excited about it...until my lab results called me back and I needed another biopsy. I then went in and found out my cervical cells were not happy and some of them needed to be removed before they turned into cancer(cue freaking out). On top of this, my doc is very busy and I had to wait a month to get in for surgery. Then, last July, I had a surgery(LEEP) that removed part of my cervix. This is a very routine procedure for a very common disease; 75% of women have HPV. I was terrified for the entire year leading up to it; when I found out I had HPV, right before I got married, when I learned I would need a biopsy and then a surgery. All of that was terrible, I spent months in shame and scared even though several of my friends had gone through the same surgery.
After I got the surgery, I had to go in for my three month check up. Going into the check up, I learned that I was pregnant<what!?> I had gone in to GET the green light, and here was this little light waiting for us! I was floored, excited, Hubs and I cried and hugged it out and I started googling maternity clothes. My doc told me to come back in two days and measure my HcG again, so I went in. She called me hours later to inform me that my HcG had dropped and I might have an ectopic pregnancy, she told me to come in that evening and I told her that I had a flight to catch. She told me it was best to come in. I then closed the door to my office and cried for two hours. Hubs came over and we took a taxi to the clinic together. We had an ultrasound to confirm that it was not ectopic(which it wasn't-yay!), but my doctor was not convinced that I was pregnant(with my HcG at 14g--PG tests are positive at 5g) She sent me on my way and we went off to Hoi An the next day hoping for the best. It was a fine day, but I felt sad and in limbo.
The next morning I started bleeding and it didn't stop. My travel companion and friend asked me how I was feeling(she knew what was going on), and I told her I was bleeding and probably had my period. She then looked at me and said "Or you're having a MISCARRIAGE", I then proceeded onto my cooking class and called the Embassy Medical Officer that day. He told me to go to the clinic in Da Nang, a thirty minute drive. The hotel called me a car and I proceeded to cry in the car with my hubby the entire way. The driver was very friendly and kept saying "No worry, it's okay", it was very kind and comforting, but I wanted to scream at him "You're not losing your baby right now!!!" We arrived and the General Practitioner on duty met me and I explained my situation and she phoned a friend(literally, her friend at another hospital), then returned to tell me that I was "having my period."(I think hubs could see the steam coming out of my ears) I got a blood test, and waited for the Radiologist to give me another sonogram(my third in three days). He was pulling the machine into the examining room and he DROPPED IT ON THE FLOOR. Hubs looks at me and says "well, there's your next blog post", and we both giggled and I said "NO." Then I got an ultrasound which told us nothing, especially since I was only 4 weeks along. My HcG was at 9 and as it was dropping, and therefore, my hope was too. I went back to Hoi An with Hubs and "enjoyed" the rest of our vacation.
I called my French OBGYN after Hoi An and told her what happened. She told me I had a "mini-miscarriage"--is there such a thing?!?!--and I almost took a taxi to the clinic to scream at her, but I decided against it--oh, the hormones! She then took an entire month and many phone calls to the clinic to tell me that my pap was completely normal and I can "try for baby anytime, your cervix very good for baby." So THAT's positive. Hallelujah.
This all happened one month after we arrived in Hanoi. The two closest girlfriends I had at the time were both 4+ months pregnant. I didn't want to tell anyone, I just wanted to curl up and cry for a week. But alas, I picked myself up by my bootstraps and did my best to look fabulous at the Marine Corps Ball 6 days later.
One of the hard parts about being a "newlywed"(just over a year) is that everyone asks the babies question. It's even harder when you're new at an Embassy and people don't have much else to talk to you about except your family planning goals.
Correction: nothing is harder than something else. If it's hard and challenging for you, it's HARD, period. My pain is not greater than your pain and vice versa. There's no competition here. I'd like us all to just acknowledge when others feel pain with a hug instead of "well at LEAST you______"
I didn't tell anyone for a week, I didn't tell our families for a month. I left functions early, I appeared anti-social and I didn't try to make any new friends. I cried in bathrooms at parties and smiled when people asked if I want to have kids someday soon...and I still cry when I think about it. There's another spouse in my community who just revealed she is pregnant and is almost exactly where I would have been. I can barely bring myself to look her in the eye.
I am trusting that the Universe has a plan for me, for us, for our family. My husband says "one day at a time." So here I am, taking it one day at a time and trusting the process.
I didn't want to write this, because I am a big follower of this blog and feel my story is so small, but the pain is real and it feels big to me.
Thank you Molly, for encouraging me to write about this, for allowing me the space to share, and for all the fellow soul sisters out there manifesting motherhood. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
You can follow Nicole's journey at www.deliciousdiplomacy.blogspot.com