we stopped using birth control (an iud) in march 2003. between march and may i completed my dissertation and finished grad school, started my first post-grad-student job, and bought a house. oh, and got pregnant — but didn’t know it.

my period was late in may. i took a pg test, which showed just one sorry pink line. this was really ok by me, since i was plenty busy. then my period came. it was weird — shorter than usual with no visible tissue — but i didn’t think anything of it.

after i stopped bleeding i continued to bloat and feel tender. ugh. but sure, chalk it up to stress. i was packing up our apartment, getting oriented (orientated, as my first-year students used to say) in my new job, and feeling generally stressed. what was a little bodily weirdness?

then about a week later i started bleeding again, this time in earnest. i called my clinic, where i was a new patient (given insurance changes with the job and all). i was very excited about this clinic: it was an all-women’s clinic staffed by, you guessed it, all women. i had requested a certified nurse/midwife as my primary care giver. i wasn’t thrilled to be bleeding, but i was happy to be meeting her.

only she couldn’t see me. instead i saw dr. cold fish, who gave me an exam and told me i was having a miscarriage. “i can’t be,” i said. “i’m not pregnant.” “well, you were pregnant. now you’re having a miscarriage.” no shit. direct quote.

she drew blood to confirm it. and asked me to come back in two days to make sure my beta was dropping.

it wasn’t.

i ended up going back every other day for blood draws for almost two weeks, until my beta dropped below 5. each time i had to see the world’s least sympathetic female doctor. and each time i had to confront again the fact that i had been pregnant and now, all technicalities aside, i wasn’t.

i cried for a few days. i got tired of having my arm pricked. but i never really felt like there was a baby to mourn. if you’re going to have a miscarriage, this might be one of the best ways to do it. if there is such a thing as a good way to lose a baby.