Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Losing Lily: Part I

I said a while back that I would tell Lily's story, and after reading the recent news about the losses experienced by members of the group Selah, I decided to come back to this. I wrote this out years ago, but it needs a bit of tweaking to post here. I think it will have to be posted in a few parts, as it's just too long for one. I apologize ahead of time if anyone finds anything in this story too graphic, or too upsetting. I don't want to make anyone feel bad for us, I just think that it's important for people to understand what happened. Miscarriage is a shameful and painful secret for many women, and it shouldn't be that way.

We found out that we were expecting around the middle of March, 2001. I went to the doctor on March 21st, and he confirmed it. The pregnancy test came back positive, but barely. He guessed that it was just very early in the pregnancy, and was not concerned. We guessed our due date to be November 20th. The Man and I were surprised by this pregnancy, but thrilled nonetheless. It had taken a year to conceive our daughter, so a surprise baby was a dream come true. We imagined our Thanksgiving baby, and we began to make plans.

On March 25th we boarded a plane to go to Las Vegas. The Man's sister was getting married out there. She was also pregnant, and we happily shared our pregnancy symptoms and other girl talk. We arrived on Sunday, and were scheduled to fly out on Wednesday night. We survived the "red-eye" and got to the Luxor hotel in the middle of the night. We had arranged for a crib for the Princess, who of course refused to sleep in it. The room we were in had two double beds, so I slept in one with her, and the Man slept in the other.

The wedding was set for Tuesday, at 3:30pm. We spent Monday walking around, and seeing all of the strange and interesting things in the casinos. The live lion exhibit in the MGM was great! We played some slots, but not too much, since the Princess wasn't allowed on the gaming floor. Some of our group rode on the rollercoaster on top of the NY NY Casino. We admired all of the extravagant architecture in all the casinos, then headed back to the hotel. I was really tired on the walk back. I had to stop and rest a few times, as I got a bad cramp in my side. I figured I was just overexerting myself, and resolved to try to take it easy the rest of the trip. We all got freshened up and met for dinner later. We ate at a large buffet in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The Princess was uncooperative and tired, so I didn't really pay attention to the fact that I was so tired. I had felt a little faint while waiting in line for a shuttle train earlier, but I just chalked it up to pregnancy fatigue and forgot about it.

We gave up on trying to get our picky toddler to eat anything, or sit at the table with us, and headed back for the hotel room. By this time, dinner was not sitting well at all with me, and I was glad for a private bathroom. I lay on the bed and relaxed for a while, but I felt crampy and uncomfortable. I was sure that it was just digestive, and turned my mind to other things. A girlfriend of mine happened to be in Vegas at the same time as us, and we met up with her before dinner. She rented a lemon yellow BMW convertible, and wanted to go out and "cruise the strip." I left the Princess with her dad to go to bed, and we headed out.

We felt like teenagers again, driving down the Las Vegas strip, the wind in our hair, laughing and talking. We tried so hard to be out in front of the Bellagio at the exact right time to catch the waterfountain show, but we just caught the end of it. We drove around for a while, but eventually I got pretty tired. My friend took me back to the hotel and dropped me off. I went to bed, happy and exhausted.

I slept soundly, but woke up early. I looked at the clock, it was a little after 5am. I got up to use the bathroom. In horror, I discovered that I was bleeding. I was frozen for a moment. I had had some bleeding when I was pregnant with the Princess, at about 9 weeks, but it had turned out to be nothing. Maybe this was just like that; surely it was nothing. But the cramping pain I had felt the night before was there again, only now it was worse. Maybe it was just the food that hadn't sat well. Or the stress of travelling. The more I thought about it, the more I tried to convince myself that it was nothing. The bleeding seemed to have already stopped, so maybe I could just go back to bed. I left the bathroom, but as I approached the bed, the pain was too much. I began to cry, and woke my husband up.

I told him what was happening, and we decided to call my doctor back home. I called, and explained what was happening. When I told the nurse that I was calling from Las Vegas, she laughed. Somehow, I didn't find it that funny.

She told me that we needed to find an emergency room right away. She told us to call the front desk of the hotel and get directions. The Man called his parents and then called my girlfriend too. (Fortunately, we were all staying in the same hotel.) At this point, my daughter was awake, and climbing on the bed to sit with me. I held her and cried. The Man's parents came into the room. It was good to hug my mother-in-law, as I really needed a hug from a "mom" right then. The Man packed some things for the Princess. He packed up her white flower girl dress and sandals, and my MIL said that she would take them, but she was sure we would be back before then. I wasn't sure, but the Man agreed with her that we would surely be back by then. We had no inkling at that moment of what the day would bring for our little family.

Part II

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