We started trying for a baby right after we were married in June 2002. I assumed it would be like everything else I do…. I wouldn’t know what was going on for a bit and then “BAM” everything would magically fall into place. Well, in a way that did happen… it just took a little longer than I thought it should. We tried for a year following the instructions in the books. We took temperatures. We checked mucous. We elevated hips. (Any of you who have been through this know how hopelessly clinic love-making can become.) We tried romance. We tried interesting positions. We tried relaxation. (Ok, I’m not going to lie…. I liked those “trying” parts… a lot.) We went to the doctor. He told us not to worry. We got pregnant! We told my parents at the Augusta rodeo the end of June 2003. Any of you doing the math can see where this is going. Sweet Boy was born June 1, 2004. I do not have the gestational period of an elephant. We lost the baby on July 1, 2003. It was a hard, hard thing. In ways I think it was harder for the Daddy than for me. I could feel the loss physically. He couldn’t.
I grew to hate the layout of Target. You go right it is maternity clothes. You go left it is diapers. You go forward it is the baby department. And there are pregnant women EVERYWHERE. I considered stealing a baby from a cart in the Walmart parking lot. My girlfriends gave me hugs and a bottle of wine and told me to stay away from Walmart.
I found out that a lot of people have suffered this kind of loss. It just isn’t something that is often talked about in public. I felt less alone.
Our doctor is a progressive general practice kind of guy. He said the science behind waiting three months to try again was sketchy and that we should wait until I had one real period and then go for it with his blessings. I got sick and ended up at Urgent Care where a stand-in doc (the regular Urgent Care docs are really great) told me I was a foolish woman for not using birth control and that I was risking the life of my future baby by trying to conceive six weeks after a miscarriage. I kindly told him to take the degree he so obviously got out of a cracker jack box and shove it as far up his ass as he possibly could and send me the diamond it produced. No, not really, but that is what I wanted to say to him. Instead I stammered something about being allergic to latex and birth control pills stalling our baby-making efforts for over 12 months previously and I slunk home to seriously reconsider what kind of parent I, a foolish woman, could possibly be. Being a science-type gal I did my research on the subject and learned the idea of previous miscarriage causing future miscarriage is out-dated and barbaric. (Take that you stuffy old codger.) The chance of the egg implanting on the tiny scar left by the previous egg is miniscule and the only reason to wait at all for an established period is to help in determining the gestational age of the baby. (So shove that in your condescending tight ass you behind the times Neanderthal. Go get educated before you scare the shit out of some other woman who isn’t as strong, resilient and internet-savvy as your truly.)
I promised myself I would trust my gut more.
A late fire season took the father-to-be away from home a lot during August. On September 5th we managed to squeeze in a little sweet loving between fire assignments. We weren’t “officially” trying I didn’t worry too much about it and, to be totally honest, that time of “not trying” was a relief after months of “performance” and timing.
Being a tightwad, I had kept the second pregnancy test from the two-pack even though a part of my heart wanted to throw it away and never pray for pink lines again. By the 23rd of September I was so antsy for “things to get flowing” my eyelashes were falling out. (Stress makes that happen to me.) So I gave up and peed on the stick. I had to close one eye to focus thinking that the double pink lines might be from the tears blurring my vision.
But joy after a miscarriage is a fragile thing. Our ever-so-thoughtful and caring doctor scheduled a test to make sure the hormone levels were progressing properly. The test was done on a Wednesday & a Friday. I was sure, over the weekend, that the baby wasn’t real. The phone call came on Monday morning while I was at work. The doctor said, “Everything is fine.” Do I believe him? I wasn’t sure. We went for an ultrasound at around 9 weeks. When the tech showed us that beautiful little blip of a heartbeat I looked over at my husband and the tears were streaming down his face. “It” became more real and I fell in love with my little family.
At around the time we were scheduled for our regular mid-pregnancy ultrasound I had spotting. “Spotting” seems like such an innocent word. Spot. Spot. See Spot Run. See Spot play with Jane. The doc sends me directly to the hospital for an ultrasound…. Me guzzling water for whatever reason it is that they make you drink all that water before you get an ultrasound. The tech (Bob… by this time we are on a first name basis and I really like that man.) gets all set up and then gets called away for an emergency. (The curse of a small hospital.) We sit there holding hands and trying to relax… but not too much because I’m afraid I will pee if I actually relax. Bob comes back, apologizes, and, quicker than I can think, finds the baby’s heartbeat and makes our world whole again. He shows us the fingers & toes, prints lots of pictures, assures us that -though he is not an expert on this and his opinion is not official- our baby is perfect. There is a bit of a question about how the placenta is positioned (possible placental previa) so he will want to see us again in a month.
With a sigh of relief we go have a celebratory milkshake while we gaze in admiration at our strong, strong baby. The following ultrasound is uneventful. The tech warns us not to invite him to the baby shower since he is the only one who knows the sex of the baby and he will spoil the surprise. The tech says the baby is big for gestational age but proportional and with a predicted due date of May 17th based on size…. Although our doc is sticking with the original May 24th due date.
To be continued…..