Every day, I check for blood.
Every day. Multiple times. Each bathroom trip. In the middle of the night, I switch on the grating light, snapping myself from sleep. I inspect the white tissue for signs of loss.
This week, I am 17 weeks pregnant.
In June, my first pregnancy ended at 17 weeks. I noticed the tiniest amount of brown spotting, so sparse and light that it could’ve easily been missed. I went to the emergency room, I waited for hours, knowing that if I were miscarrying, they couldn’t do a thing. I knew this is why I was the last patient to be seen. I learned nothing that night, though my baby’s heartbeat couldn’t be found on the doppler. The next day, an ultrasound told me it was all over.
This Thursday night, on the eve of 17 weeks, I wandered back into that same emergency room. I sat in the same waiting room, I waited hours. I remembered every second of that first fateful visit. I relived the thumping of my heart, the aching in my mind, the pressing sensation that everything was wrong. The denial that everything was over.
This time, I visited due to a stomach virus. After a day of battling literally gut wrenching pain, I was still unable to hold down a glass of water, let alone any food. I was so dehydrated that my vision would go black upon standing up. My heart thumped in my chest so fast I thought it might burst. I was dizzy, nauseous. I leaned heavily on my husband to keep my balance.
I waited hours. Even so, I waited hours.
I was given medication to stop the vomiting, with the instructions that if I wasn’t able to hold down fluid by morning, I’d need to come back for an IV, lest I risk early labour cramping from severe dehydration.
It worked, I didn’t have to come back.
I went home, tucked myself in bed, much like that first time. I slept at once heavily and poorly, much like that first time.
That next morning, I awoke and drank my weight in water, not needing to return to the hospital. This time is different.
But oh, so strangely the same.
I have been plagued with two dates that haunt me. 17 weeks, when I found out I had lost our first baby, and 11 weeks and 5 days when our baby stopped growing. This time around, I had an ultrasound at 11 weeks and 6 days. With the same tech who told me that our first baby had no heartbeat.
She smiled widely, this time, hugging me, and grinning over our baby’s swift kicks and movements. My poor husband sat in the waiting room agonizing for fifteen minutes before she brought him in.
Last time, his face fell so fast. I could nearly hear glass shatter as his heart broke when he saw my face. This time, in the very same room on the very same table, his eager and worried face broke into an easy smile.
This time was different.
But, Oh, so strangely the same.