Nymeria’s Sunset

Yesterday around 2pm I started having unmistakable symptoms of a miscarriage. They weren’t severe, though, and only went on for several hours (as opposed to a few days) and then stopped.

Afterwards I still “felt” pregnant, though that doesn’t always mean much. My suspicion was that I’d had twins and had lost one of them, though of course I was scared there was only one there in the first place, or that I was losing both.

While it was going on, I went outside and just looked at the blameless blue sky with green trees thrusting into it and yellow butterflies flitting through it. Internally I pleaded with at least one child to stay and see all this.

We’d nicknamed our two embryos Summer and Nymeria, with Summer being the slightly stronger-looking embryo. Of course we’ll never know which one was lost, but we called the lost one Nymeria. A singleton would be due near the beginning of summer next year, so it fits.

I don’t know if there’s any meaning in the universe beyond what we give it. I do know humans are incredible meaning creators, and that’s a miracle in itself. We tell ourselves all kinds of beautiful stories to make this universe seem more homelike and intelligible to our small, emergent minds.

As I felt sure I was losing a sesame-seed-sized embryo — a potential child — I told myself Nymeria was too wild a spirit to be tethered to this limited flesh just yet. She still needed to roam the skies for a while. Or maybe she was protecting me, or protecting her sister/brother. Twin pregnancies can have terrifying complications. Maybe she sacrificed herself to save us from something much worse.

Probably it was just chromosomal abnormalities. But it’s nice to think in these pretty stories. (As long as you don’t make policies based on them.)

There were wild clouds all over the sky during the sunset, but instead of turning fiery pinks like normal, they remained a subdued grey, as if in mourning, except for one pink cloud just below a brilliant three-quarter moon. The sky was happy, after all, to have its daughter back. And I was honored to have carried that spirit for even a little while. We poured out some grape juice for her and sent her back on her way.

We hope Summer is brave enough to chance this crazy beautiful world.

The next day we had a doctor’s appointment that was supposed to be a routine prenatal. Instead we’d be finding out — in cold, hard, clinical terms — if we were even still pregnant.

Our doctor began, of course, by congratulating us, not knowing anything had changed. We filled him in, and he pretty much confirmed we had lost one of the twins and took us in for an ultrasound. We saw a gestational sac right away — I was still pregnant after all — along with some pooled blood that might be a chorionic hematoma (a relatively common complication that usually resolves by itself but can sometimes cause problems). The gestational sac was irregularly shaped, which the doctor didn’t seem too happy about.

We later got our hCG blood levels, and they were on the lower end of the expected range. Which means there’s hope. But it’ll be touch-and-go for a while.

We’re trying to take it easy and hope for the best.


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