Cassidy Dover: "Innocence Lost"
In baseball, there are different kinds of losses. There's the obvious loss of a game. Players, managers and front office executives lose their jobs. Fans lose their heads. That's baseball. But baseball can't shield players, management or fans from loss that occurs in Real Life. The Game is a diversion. That's all it is. It takes the mind off of problems. For a few hours - a few short hours - it can let us feel something other than whatever is going on at home.
But that's not always the case.
Our resident baseball wife, Cassidy Dover, went through a personal loss a number of years ago that she shares with us now. Many of you will recognize that you went through this as well. For you, baseball may have been there to act as the diversion you needed. But if you're in the baseball game, if you're a member of the professional baseball community, the game can get in the way.
Here's Cassidy Dover with her experiences.
This entry isn’t a happy one. It’s just not.
We are fast forwarding a few years here. Ray had had success at the Big League level. We were doing much better. I had a great job and we were much more comfortable financially. The week before spring training Ray and I had gone away to celebrate. We were so optimistic. Our dreams for his career were so close we could taste the success that was sure to come our way that year!
It was a few weeks later the thought that I could be pregnant crossed my mind. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I had heard so many of the other wives talk about their struggles of getting pregnant and staying pregnant. But I had hope. I took that first test and the line was so faint. I even went to a neighbors townhouse to ask if she saw that line, too. She said, "It’s really faint. But yes, if hold it up to the light just right, it’s there." I decided to take another test the next morning. The line was even darker. Still I called my doctor and asked her to do some blood work for me to confirm that I was pregnant. The blood work came back that I was, indeed, pregnant. I was elated. We were finally starting our family! I didn’t want to tell Ray over the phone. I was going to visit him a few weeks later and figured I’d find a cute way to tell him in person.
When I got to spring training, Ray and I had decided to exchange belated Valentine’s day’s gifts. I was really excited. I can’t remember what Ray gave me. I feel badly saying that. It’s the truth though.
He opened his gift. I had wrapped a Tiffany’s box. Inside was a small satchel. He opened it, presuming I had gotten him cuff links. He pulled out a pacifier. "Does this mean what I think it does?" Ray asked hesitantly.
He hugged me so tightly. He was so excited! We couldn’t contain it. We agreed, though, to keep our secret until I had passed the first trimester. We figured it would be close to Mother’s day and what a great gift to give to our moms to tell them they’d be grandmas.
We spent that week loving our secret. We were so happy. We’d hold hands, kiss for no reason. Laugh and share those secret glances. It was a wonderful time for both of us. I went home from Spring training with doctor’s appointments and plans in my mind. Our child was alive for us both. We had dreams for this baby.
I’ll never forget that night. It was around 2 am. I went to the bathroom. There was a drop of blood. I called Ray. He was so groggy when he picked up the phone. "What’s up sweetie?" he said.
"I’ve lost the baby. I’m bleeding" I choked.
"Calm down. The doctor told you you could have spotting . You’re fine" he tried to reassure me.
I couldn’t calm down and so he told me to go to the emergency room to get confirmation all was ok. I went in. The doctor took some blood and came back and said, "Cassidy, great news! The levels are right where they should be. Go home, get some sleep, and all will be fine!"
I should have been elated. I just couldn’t shake that feeling that something was terribly wrong. I asked for an ultrasound. I needed to see our baby. I needed to see it moving inside me and see it’s precious heartbeat. I drank my 8 glasses of water and waited for 8 am. As the doctor felt all was fine there was no need to call and ultra sound technician in to confirm what the doctor knew to be true. Finally I was brought to the room. The technician put that cold gel on my flat-ish belly. She started to move the wand around. Then she told me to go to the bathroom and that she wanted to do another type of ultrasound to get a better look at the baby. The move was subtle. She turned the monitor so I couldn’t see it. She wrote down some things on a piece of paper. Then she said, "Go back to the ER and the doctor will give you the results."
I went down and my "room" was occupied. There had been a horrible accident. The patient had died. They called the patient’s mom in and I heard her cry and scream. I sat on a make shift bed by the nurse’s station. I talked to them about Ray being in Spring Training and having driven myself to the ER alone. Then the doctor came and sat down next to me. "One out of ever four first pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yours is one of that 25%," she said.
With that my world changed.
A kind nurse came around the station, put her arm around me, and took me to the bathroom. I threw up. I cried. My dreams had been taken from me in that one single sentence. "It may be a common occurrence, Cassidy, but it’s not common for you" that kind nurse said. Then she said I needed to call Ray. No way! He was in spring training. He was fighting for a job. I wasn’t going to tell him this. There was nothing he could do anyway. The nurses got the numbers necessary and called down to the complex. They told the clubbie that they were calling from the hospital and needed to talk to Ray. He came to the phone and they passed my their handpiece. "Hey, you ok baby?" he asked. I could hear the fear in his voice.
"The baby is gone," was all I could say.
"No!" he cried.
"Are you ok?" I asked him.
"Are you?" my sweet husband asked.
This was the first time I tried to put on the front for him. "I’m ok, honest. Don’t worry. Don’t come home. I’ll call my mom. She’ll be here for me" I told him. Then I called my mom. I hadn’t even told her I was pregnant. Now I had to tell her I had lost the baby and I needed some procedure because my body, like me, didn’t want to let the baby go naturally. "Mom" I said.
"What’s up Cassidy?" she asked. She was confused. I never called this early in the morning.
"Well I know I never told you I was pregnant, but I’ve lost the baby. I’ve had a miscarriage. They won’t let me leave unless they know I have someone coming to be with me" I managed.
"I’ll fly right out" she told me.
Then, to my amazement, one of the wives came into the ER. "My husband just called. He told me Ray is upset and that you’re all alone. I’m going to take you home" she said. Her kindness overtook me. These women, the other wives, were like my sorority sisters. We all had a bond that we forged because of our common lives. This woman and I were not really close. She just knew I needed her and she was there. I can never thank her enough for that.
She took me home that day. The next few days were a blur.
My mom, true to her word, came to be with me. Ray, against my will, flew home. He had his manager’s support to come home for 3 days. We went to my regular doctor. I had another ultra sound. She confirmed there was no heartbeat and that our first child was gone. Her kindness was unbelievable. "Go ahead, cry. I know in your mind this baby took it’s first steps, it said it’s first word, it has graduated high school, college, and gotten married. You need to grieve" she told us. Then she left the room.
Ray held me. I sat there, half naked in my gown with that little picture of our child on the screen. We clung to one another and we supported each other in our pain. Our tears mixed together and our pain was raw. The doctor came back in and asked when I had last ate something. It had been the night before. She told me I could have the procedure down that morning if I wanted or I could wait for my body to release our baby on it’s own. It could take weeks she told us.
Ray had to leave the next day. He said he would support my decision. I knew in my heart we both needed closure so he could go back to spring training and refocus on winning that job out of camp. "No, let’s go ahead and send me over to the hospital" I told her. I felt like a dead man walking as I entered the outpatient area. I vaguely remember them asking questions that my mom and Ray answered for me. They put the wrist band on me and brought me back to the area to wait. Ray stood by me and held my hand as they brought me to the doors towards the place where they would remove our dead child from my body.
I remember waking up and Ray and my mom were there in the room. I was told I had to go to the bathroom before I could go home. I had assistance to the bathroom. I sat down. I remember ringing the call button. The nurse came running in. "What’s wrong honey?" the nurse asked.
"I’m bleeding! I can’t be bleeding! I’m pregnant! Make it stop! Save my baby" I told her. I was so confused. I was still groggy.
"Honey, you’re not pregnant anymore. That’s why you’re here" was all she said. She helped me back to my bed. Ray tells me the nurse and doctor gave him some medication for me. They wanted for him and for my mom to watch me closely the next few days. I had to return to my doctor’s office in a week.
The next day my mom and I drove Ray to the airport. Outside security I hugged him and we cried again. Our dreams evaporated.
That’s part of baseball. The painful stuff. Ray and I were blessed that he had a manager who understood that sometimes life comes first and baseball second. I had already been indoctrinated into thinking it was baseball first, me second. I didn’t want his chances ruined because of something wrong with me. Ray got on that plane less than 24 hours after our child was taken from us. I stayed back, with out him there physically to support me. You see, when you play baseball, your family and it’s celebrations and tragedies, they must fit into the schedule set out by the baseball season. There is very little time you are able to take off to be present for your loved ones.
In three short days our outlook on life changed. We had a tangible example that sometimes your dreams can be taken from you with no warning. Sometimes you have no control over how your life will play out. Our innocence was lost. We could no longer dream without being aware that dreams are sometimes lost.
Thanks for reading,.
Cassidy Dover has been a baseball wife for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.