I was married at the ripe old age of 18 to the love of my life, Robert Hudson. Our love story is a little unique. He is 16 years older than me. When we married he was 34. I am the oldest of 6 children. My career of choice is homemaker. I was excited to set out on our Grand Pioneer Adventure in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Fancifully expecting phenomenal fecundity, like my mother, I wanted to start a family right away. 3 months later the magic double lines appeared on the sacred wand of motherhood. Mission accomplished! Not knowing much about pregnancy, I thought it would be several months before I needed to see a doctor. So I took my time in choosing one and making an appointment . In the meantime I gleefully ate everything in sight and gained 10 pounds. When I started bleeding I consulted my mothers antiquated medical encyclopedia. Besides learning that rabbits had to die and that smoking was perfectly fine during pregnancy, I also read that spotting in the first trimester is normal as long as there is no accompanying cramping. Did that set my mind at ease? Absolutely! I proceeded to go swimming. The next day the bleeding was heavier, but still no pain. So I insisted on going to church and then to a friends house for lunch. This was a weekend we were spending with family in Oklahoma City. I had never met my doctor in Guymon. I didn’t have any number to call. And it didn’t occur to me that I might need to ask some professional advice. Until after lunch. Reality came crashing in with the waves of pain. Several hours later I was holding a small mass that I suspected was my baby. I know now that I was probably 10 weeks. I was devastated. I was expecting to have a child, not a bloody blob of tissue. Ten days later I was still weak. Still bleeding some stringy stuff. My mom took me to see an OB-GYN that my father-in-law knew. Since my father-in-law was a med mal defense lawyer for Mercy Hospital, I didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried. Had this guy been sued before? Dr R. turned out to be a very soothing older gentleman. He performed a D&C and showed a lot of concern for me. I really appreciated his manner. Within several months I was back to my old self and waxing philosophical. These things happen. Nature was just doing a trial run. Working out all the kinks. Next time everything will work out just fine.
Nine months later I was pregnant again and feeling very positive. Armed with statistics I proudly announced my new condition and made an appointment with my friend's doctor in Guymon. I had heard very good things about Dr S. This was going to be an awesome pregnancy. At about 6 weeks I had the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Nicuraguan breakfast with my next door neighbors. Mr F. was the county’s only doctor. And he didn’t deliver babies. But he did make fantastic Nicuraguan tamales. I thoroughly enjoyed my cultural experience. Until the food poisoning hit. I was one sick puppy. Dr F. heard I was ill and very graciously made a house call. He even had a little bag with a stethoscope. I told him that I had just begun spotting. Could food poisoning hurt the baby? He thought it very unlikely. The bleeding was just a coincidence. And normal. And no, rabbits weren’t being slaughtered anymore. My mom really should get rid of such an old encyclopedia. I felt very reassured. Over the next two weeks I continued to spot off and on. So I called my doctor to see if there was anything that should be checked. Blood tests were first in order. So I drove an hour west, to Guymon. Two days later I returned to the office for the results. The blood work didn’t look good, but no one really explained that to me. I was feeling very nauseated, had been ever since the infamous tamale incident. I took that as infallible proof of a healthy pregnancy. So when they wanted me to drive over to Texas County Memorial Hospital for an ultrasound, I was thrilled! Enthusiastically slurping my Big Gulp, I skedaddled right over. Bladder nearly bursting, I could scarcely contain myself or my excitement. My first ultrasound! The technician was cautious. She couldn’t discern a heartbeat. How far along was I? Hmm, maybe my dates were off. Back to the Dr’s office. This was my first time to meet Dr S. He shook my my hand, but didn’t really look me in the eye. He cleared his throat and began talking about hormones and blighted ovums. Huh?! I had seen the term in the back of my new “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” book. It was in the “Pregnancy Loss” section. I hadn’t read that part yet. It was Dr S's turn to be surprised. “The ultrasound tech didn’t tell you? I thought you knew. I’m so sorry…” He trailed off into silence. What to do next? My choices were 1: a D&C-my second, 2:medications to induce at home or 3: wait for nature to take care of it. I was concerned that another D&C might scar or weaken my uterus or cause incompetent cervix. I also nursed the hope in the back of my mind that maybe my dates were off by a week, or two, or three. Foolish, I know. But still, I was most comfortable with waiting. I was extremely miserable waiting. One week went by, then two. I was approaching my third week of waiting and the end of my rope. The doctor said that if nothing happened by Friday than to come in for a shot of something that would make things happen. That hour long drive was really beginning to get to me! It’s an hour of nothing. No traffic, no traffic lights. Just two stop signs. And tumbleweeds. And dust. I got the shot and a prescription for something that I was supposed to take once I started bleeding. I filled the prescription the next day. The pharmacist asked if I was having heartburn. “No sir, just trying to have a miscarriage. Thanks, have a nice day too.” In the space of nine months my newlywed friend had twins. I had two miscarriages. I was 19.