Loss of Nepi

Two years ago, I got my wife pregnant. That’s one of those sentences, I never imagined saying. “I got somebody else’s wife pregnant”, sure, totally possible. But “my wife”? Still sounds weird. And it wasn’t by accident, either! This kid could not have been more planned, if it had been pre-ordered online.

We decided not to wait three months before telling anyone. We knew stuff may happen, but it would not be less sad just because we kept our mouths shut. Also, it’s hard to keep a secret when you are constantly throwing up. And crying. And collapsing. And generally being a complete mess of a human being. Not me of course, I was fine! But my wife … not so lucky.

In the 11th week, we went to visit Nepi (that’s what we called our unborn child) in his crib (that’s what we called the uterus of my wife). A routine checkup. The midwife gave us some pamphlets and then we watched the ultrasonic monitor for the beating of our child’s heart.

There was none.

No heartbeat, just a lump of cell mass attached to some tissue. The blow was devastating. Somehow, we managed to sit through the listing of our options by the gynecologist. Outside, we collapsed into a crying puddle of misery. We’ve lost our child. Nothing prepares you for that.

But we knew we were not alone. A friend of mine lost her child at the same stage and since she was the one who inspired me to not keep it a secret — neither the pregnancy, nor the miscarriage — I knew what to do. We immediately told everyone.

But why didn’t we wait? Why did we not do the sensible thing and wait for a three months before announcing the pregnancy? Here is why:

It’s natural
Sometimes, during the complex process of rearranging genes and duplicating cells and stuff, things go terribly wrong. There is not much room for errors. Ever tried to read a broken copy of a file on your computer? Our child was something like that. A broken file with a read/write-error. It couldn’t survive.

It’s common
Depending on who you ask, the chance of having a miscarriage is somewhere around 20%. That’s one in every fifth pregnancy. And that’s only accounting for the pregnancies that were detected! When we told our story, we were amazed how many people had first- or second hand experiences with a miscarriage.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of
My wife met a former classmate at a reunion, who suddenly broke down in tears, because she had a miscarriage and didn’t tell anyone. Not even her family. Listen, it’s not your fault! Don’t let them tell you otherwise! We had to go through some “Maybe if you would have eaten meat…”-crap ourselves. But overall our friends were very supportive.

It doesn’t mean anything
My friend is pregnant with her second child. We have a huge and healthy son that we call “Grunt, the destroyer of worlds”. So, a miscarriage doesn’t mean that you can’t have a child. You just need to try again. And the pain subsides, though it never goes away.

I’ve hated ultrasonic monitors ever since.

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