With the release of The Coyote’s Bride coming on Monday, I wanted to take a moment to explain why I wanted to write this book right now.
I try not to self-insert myself into my novels because I don’t want that to become a habit my readers recognize. Really—I’m great at making stuff up and that’s why my most comfortable niche is in paranormal romance. Sometimes, though, there are issues and experiences I need to put into a story, not only to help me process them, but as a means of reaching out to people who aren’t able to talk about their own histories yet.
So. This is about Lily in The Coyote’s Bride.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
When my son was around eighteen months old or so, my husband and I figured that it was time for us to round out the family. My pregnancy with Boychild was pretty uncomplicated. No problems conceiving or with gestation. Naturally, I figured that my next pregnancy would go much the same way.
I did successfully conceive within a couple of months after we started trying. I made my prenatal appointment and had my estimated due date. Everything was going to plan.
Then, when I showed up for that first scheduled appointment at around ten weeks, it became immediately obvious that something was wrong when the doctor attempted to do a standard sonogram to capture the fetal heartbeat.
There was no heartbeat because there was no fetus. The embryo had stopped developing very early on and I had no idea. I still had some symptoms because the placenta persisted and my hormones hadn’t returned to baseline yet.
Because I wasn’t cramping or having any symptoms of my body ending the pregnancy on its own, I was given three choices. 1) Wait and see, 2) surgical evacuation, or 3) trigger a labor, of sorts, with a drug called Misoprostol.
I couldn’t do 1. I was sad and wanted to just go ahead and heal and grieve the “what could have been.” I couldn’t think of a good reason to do 2 yet, especially not since I had my kid in tow and also it just seemed like overkill at that point. I chose 3.
Well. That placenta was stubborn. I actually thought the drug had done its job until my next appointment. I had another sonogram and was told that, no, it was pretty much all still there. Back to the pharmacy I went.
The next dose mostly did its job, but my body was still in its “Nah, not gonna make this easy” mode.
I hemorrhaged. I woke up in a cold, wet bed and immediately started to panic. I dashed into the shower and nearly passed out in it. I honestly, truly thought I was going to die because I was losing vision while standing there.
Someone called an ambulance. I can’t remember if it was me or my husband. I went to the hospital in my bathrobe with a bath towel stuffed under my legs.
I can’t remember much from that triaging except they quickly admitted me when I passed out on the gurney. My blood pressure was so low that the ER nurses had to keep shaking me awake. I ended up having that D&C after all. (With Lidocaine. That shit hurts, by the way.)
My memory of the time is extremely holey—for obvious reasons—but I believe the figure tossed around was that I lost “not quite half” my blood volume. I’m a pretty small person, so I guess that wasn’t hard to do.
Anyhow. A few months after I’d recovered from that and my doctor said, “Go for it,” we tried again.
Cue the “everything that could go wrong does” montage.
There was at least one chemical pregnancy and one ectopic pregnancy for sure (that prompted me receiving a course of Methotrexate to make sure that the embryo didn’t re-implant somewhere else in my body and, you know…send me back to the ER).
I have two kids. I talk about them. They are both flesh of my flesh, snark of my snark. Obviously, I was able to have a second successful pregnancy after all that. We tried again because all the doctors and midwives said, “It’s shitty luck that they happened right after each other. That’s all. There’s nothing wrong with you.” (Paraphrased.)
Miscarriages are extremely common but most aren’t as eventful as mine. In fact, often, they occur before women know they’re pregnant.
Growing up, pregnancy loss was something people whispered about. Miscarriage was a taboo topic, of sorts, as were other women’s health concerns. (I have endometriosis and I sometimes use hormonal birth control to regulate my cycles. I grew up in a place where pharmacy techs would literally whisper those orders.)
What helped me to recover faster than I would have otherwise was having enough of the right kind of information. Logic helped me balance the medical stuff with the emotional stuff, and being able to talk it all out with generous others who’d been there got me back to a good place.
So. That was an experience I inserted into the history of my character Lily, not because I wanted to shock or upset readers, but because I hoped that if I could reach a few who needed that story at that exact moment and who felt empowered by her rebound-in-progress, it’d be worth it.
This is likely way more about me than you wanted to know, but I made a choice almost a decade ago not to be shy about the things I’ve learned through tribulations.