Before Dave and I even dated, I was convinced that I couldn’t have children. In fact, I told him so with such surety he was convinced it was a medical reality way before we discovered it really was. Then a few months after we got married, I woke up pregnant. My boobs hurt, my face exploded, and I was walking around with a little smile on my face for a week or two – until the day of a family shindig, when I lost it. It was that simple: one minute I was pregnant, the next minute I was not – in a very messy, uncomfortable way.
We weren’t surprised; we were sad. I didn’t feel fragile, but I did feel very brittle – like I could shatter if somebody said the wrong thing to me. But we went. We went to the party and looked at all the smiling faces, and in every photo I am pale and sitting down. It never occurred to us not to go. Miscarriage is a fact of life. We’d have another chance. And we have.
I’ve lost dozens of pregnancies, both medically induced and otherwise. When my gynecologist told me it would take an act of God for me to successfully carry a pregnancy, I was honestly relieved. The hope was killing me – not the losses. Let’s be clear though – those stung too. Our final round of IVF ended with silence on the sonogram instead of a heartbeat, followed by a D&C. We thought I’d carried a pregnancy for months, and in a way I had. That was the end of it for me.
We have since adopted two incredible children. We feel so satisfied and joyful as a family that it’s never occurred to me to want more than that, and the
Act of God
statement really took it off my plate. Yet I woke up today and my boobs hurt and my face had exploded. I’m sure my mom’s doing a happy dance but Dave and I were more realistic. We know it’s a matter of when we lose this pregnancy not if, and we don’t get too emotionally involved any more. To top it off, we have two children under two. This is not an ideal time for a random act of God. So I muse: I think about what it would be like, when I’d deliver, what ages are children would be, how crazy we’d get and how exhausted we’d be. And I wait for the inevitable loss.
I won’t shatter, and only a tiny bit of myself will even be sad. I know what it will feel like: the tiny twinge followed by major discomfort for a few days. Dave will bring me flowers. I’ll drown myself in coffee and wine and soft cheeses. I’ll take care of our beautiful children and count myself the luckiest mother in the world. (I am, you know.) And I’ll wait for the next time my boobs hurt and my face explodes. It’s not every miscarriage: I’ve only had 3-4 like that. I adapt and have learned to approach chemical pregnancies as a pragmatist. Besides, what could be more comforting than being with our kids?
When people ask me if I’m pregnant, if I want to be pregnant, if I can be pregnant, this is what I think of. This is how I experience pregnancy. The anguish of yearning with no possibility of success has gone. I have had success; untraditionally and fabulously. My children came with relatives and stories and joy. Our path to parenthood instilled gratitude on a level I wouldn’t have experienced if things had gone differently. I have no regrets or disappointments. Dave doesn’t either. It helps that he thought I was infertile before I knew I was infertile. He fell in love with me anyway, which was a huge comfort to me when we found out the limitations of my body. We’re both in love with our kids, in love with each other and with our life. So really, who’s suffering? But I could do without the sore boobs as a reminder of how far we’ve come.
I chose to withhold this post until after the loss, so as to avoid chirpy
conversations. We are again without bean and are fine. I had a cup of coffee and held my kids, enjoying the cacophony from the sunny playground where we’ll take Tess after her nap. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but to communicate the reality of our experience. Some people will find this hard to hear; others will find it hard to believe. Still, not all loss feels like trauma. Sometimes it’s just a loss. We’ve never had a heartbeat or a kick – no cravings or belly pictures. Our losses have become matter-of-fact. It’s a beautiful day; we’re going out to enjoy it.