How was your summer? I hope it was good for you. It was a beautiful summer for my family with the lovely weather we were getting this season. I have been quiet this past month, but it’s time to end the silence with a difficult and deeply personal post. I found out that I was expecting my third child in mid-August, and my husband and I looked forward to welcoming a spring baby. August made way for September. My eldest son started school, my youngest celebrated his third birthday.
The End of Summer
Summer dwindled down, then my life fell into disarray in the second week of September.
I had my first check up and caught a glimpse of my little baby through my doctor’s handheld ultrasound device. It made me assured, though my doctor said it seemed smaller than average at that gestational age.
On Friday morning, I woke up and realised I was starting to bleed. Worried, I had another checkup done and had my hormone level tested. Come back on Monday for another blood test, the nurse said.
It was a difficult weekend to pass, as the bleeding increased despite my attempts to restrict movement and increase bed rest. On Saturday I developed a cold and spent the whole day sneezing and dealing with a fever and chills. This resolved thankfully within 24 hours.
Sunday Batch-cooking with Husband
Life had to go on. I pulled out some AIP cookbooks and set a menu, choosing the simplest and least intimidating recipes I could find for my husband (the reluctant cook).
“You probably won’t like it, but I can’t stand around much and prepare meals. Could you help me batch cook?”
Husband eyed the recipes with a grim look, and gamely set out with the boys, shopping list in his pocket.
They returned several hours later, tired and hungry (Note: never go to Costco on a Sunday morning. With kids). Thankfully we had leftovers in the refrigerator which made for a quick late lunch.
While our youngest son napped and my eldest son played, my husband set about batch cooking. I got tired of lying down and offered to prep some vegetables while seated on the kitchen counter stool.
We managed to bake some chicken breasts, cook up a large batch of meatballs, roast root vegetables, whip up some tapenade, roast sweet potatoes, churn out a carrot salad, make fruity gummies, and prep some salad greens. Thank you, Mickey, Alaena, and Sarah.
“I hope this allows you to rest and not cook for at least a day,” he said.
The big batch-cooking session gave him a backache and wore me out. But it was done, and we had good, nourishing food to eat. For a while.
Monday came around and I had my blood test done after sending my eldest son to school. The nurse had a pained, sympathetic expression when I told her I bled all weekend. “You’ll know your result later today or tomorrow.”
Just before dinnertime, my doctor called to let me know that my HCG levels were dropping. I was scheduled for another blood test on Thursday.
I couldn’t hold back my tears during dinner and my husband hurried to get me some tissues. He hugged me in silence while the two little boys ate their dinner with gusto, unaware of my internal struggle and grief.
On Tuesday, after seeing my son off at school, I resolved to head down to the emergency room. I couldn’t bear waiting until Thursday. The hospital was the only place that could perform detailed ultrasound scans and could give me answers to my questions.
I knew I probably had to spend the whole day at the hospital, so I got myself some portable AIP food staples from the supermarket – a box of salad greens, a can of sardines in olive oil, plantain chips, fruits, and herbal tea. The only non-AIP item in the basket: a box of chocolates. I needed some comfort. Don’t judge. Then I got an entertaining book from the bookstore to distract myself with and headed to the hospital’s triage.
More blood tests and several hours of waiting. I assembled my lunch and ate it in the waiting room. Sardines smell better than greasy fast food, seriously. I hope my waiting room neighbours were nonetheless not too offended.
I had just started on my book and was almost finishing my cup of tea after my lunch when my name was called.
Had 3 scans done in 3 different rooms (each room’s machine more sophisticated than the former) before returning to the waiting room, gown on and seated in a wheelchair. I wondered randomly how odd it was that one would feel sicker the moment one donned the hospital gown. Add a wheelchair and one would feel positively frail.
Finally, my name was called and a friendly-looking doctor greeted me. She told me that it seemed like the fetus had stopped developing before 7 weeks of age, even though I was over 9 weeks along. There was no heartbeat to be detected, she said. She was sympathetic and told me she had gone through a miscarriage herself previously.
Inside, I felt grieved. At the same time, relief and a sense of closure. No more uncertainty and waiting for test results.
All the doctors I met told me the same thing: miscarriages are perfectly normal and that one in five pregnant women experience them. Not to worry, these things happen, you may feel sad, and take time to rest.
It felt like a cookie cutter response. I didn’t want a cookie cutter response, I wanted a healthy, live baby.
Mid-Autumn Festival came and though it’s a major Chinese festival, I was in no mood to celebrate. Besides, it was just another day for majority of the population here.
I finally managed to make some AIP mooncakes over the following weekend, though my heart was not in it. I overcooked the dough and had trouble shaping the mooncakes, but my kids loved them all the same. Bless them. I will share the recipe, someday.
It’s been slightly over a week since my visit to the emergency room, and I’ve finally stopped bleeding. Follow-up scans showed that I am all clear. I feel utterly depleted, however. Internally I know my hormones are a mess, and that my ‘qi’ is probably deficient. I feel terrified of getting an autoimmune flareup as well.
There are some days when I feel perfectly fine and happy, and some days when I feel empty and aching inside. My husband is mourning in his own way as well. I’m writing and sharing my story, knowing that there are others out there who have suffered the same, in addition to dealing with autoimmune disease(s).
It’s time for me to pull myself together, slowly but surely, and shift into recovery mode. I have been slack with myself food-wise these past few weeks, eating foods that I deemed as successful reintroductions (maybe some not quite successful).
All that will come to an end as I shift back into AIP gear come October.
October is Awareness Month.
October 15 is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Come 7pm, light a candle and keep it burning for at least 1 hour, in memory of all the babies.