Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Pregnancy: The wait is over.

In the immortal words of Tank Girl: Listen up, 'cause I'm only gonna say this once.

For those of you who don't know, my wife Christél fell pregnant about 8 weeks ago. Excitement ensued. We weren't ready to have a child, but then is anybody ever truly ready? We would be ready when the time (and baby) came. We felt scared, brave, and closer to each other than ever before. We could do this.

The first scan, around 5 weeks, didn't reveal a foetal heartbeat. This was fine; acquaintances assured me that they only got heartbeat at eight weeks. The doctor at Groote Schuur Gynae Emergency assured us that it's too early to tell much for sure; he told us to come back in two weeks for another scan.

Two weeks went by. We spent most of our non-work time together; we read books to each other, did fun stuff, bided our time. Two weeks on, the scan revealed not much more than before. The doctor has a marvellous poker face, but I could see the news wasn't good. There wasn't much foetal development since the previous time; the doctor sounded less than hopeful, but Christél wasn't in pain or bleeding or anything so he told us to wait another two weeks.

The wait was over on Sunday past. External and internal sonar showed pretty much the same results... yolk sac, very little growth, no foetal pole. The difficult decision had been made for us; the pregnancy would have to be ended. What remained was the easy choice: how would we like to do it? The options: naturally, surgically or chemically. Sounds like a fucking checkout counter... "Paper or plastic?" We went with the medicinal option. The nurse gave Christél three octagonal white tablets and sent her home.

On Monday she and I stayed home together. She had started to bleed and cramp rather heavily, both effects of the medication. This morning (Tuesday) about 05:30, Christél passed the not-foetus. It was over.

Yes, I know that this happens in about 60% of pregnancies. Yes, many couples go through this every day. Maybe they find it easier than I do, maybe they don't. I don't know. All I know is that I am utterly unprepared for the pain, the anger, and the utterly devastating disappointment. I had no idea whether I could look after a child, but goddammit I was going to do my best.

I am raw inside... It feels like a part of me was torn out of the universe, and there's nothing I can do about it.

If you've been through something like this, please tell me how you handled it.