I long became comfortable with bleeding. The Red Tent, Honoring Menstruation and Sacred Woman guided me into a healthy relationship with my womanhood, my womb and the cycles of the moon. I didn’t know what to do when I stopped bleeding.

It felt like weeks before I got to a pharmacy, asked if brand name made a difference, and bought not one or two but three sticks. Finally the lab that took my blood to test for the hormone. I wanted to be sure.

Because I also knew not to get attached, not to get excited, not to make any plans before I knew for sure. I knew the word “miscarriage” as a child because I knew my mother miscarried before having me. I knew that the first trimester is dicey. I knew it could be stress, time zones, high altitudes. While my partner started calling relatives and making plans, I remained stoic – well, stoic and nauseous.

The day we saw the six-week blip on the ultrasound, I exhaled.

It’s real.

It’s got a heartbeat.

We’re having a baby!

The doctor shakes our hands, advises tests and answers questions. The nurses congratulate us. They send us home with a bag of magazines, pamphlets and vitamins.

That night, for the first time in eight weeks, I bled. And even though the Internet said that it could be anything, and the on-call nurse said “70% of the time it’s nothing” . . . I knew.

I knew that I should not have gotten excited. I knew I should not have folded, unfolded and re-folded the baby clothes my friend gave me. I knew I should not have talked about it as being the size of a grain of rice. I should not have complained about morning sickness. I knew what blood meant.

My body was in the bed, but I was on the floor. The rug was pulled out from under my feet. And my heart.


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The Loss of Blood (Part 1)

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