Dear Three and Four,
I first saw you in a photo as fully-hatched six-day-old embryos. The last time I saw you was 30 minutes later as two tiny white dots of fluid in my uterus in an ultrasound. My little dots.
I have the ultrasound photo of you on the magnetic whiteboard on my desk, next to the four pregnancy tests that confirmed that you’d landed. My only tangible external proof that you are thriving.
Throughout this young pregnancy, there has been an intermittent pin-prick sensation in my uterus, diffuse on the right and certain on the left. Does this mean there are still two of you? For the past five days, I have felt a sensation that I would describe as being somewhere between a scratch and a tickle along the top of my uterus. Does this mean there at least on of you has survived? My preference is to have one healthy baby, but it’s not something I wish on because I can’t just wish one of you away. I don’t mind if there are one or two of you (or even three!) as long as you are healthy and don’t come until mid-autumn.
After I lost what would have been your brother, I am so nervous. All the symptoms of pregnancy I had last time — fuller breasts, rounder thighs and belly, constant hunger and thirst, getting up at least once a night to pee — aren’t enough consolation because they persisted in spite of Bean’s demise. I take a small amount of comfort in being so hungry but not being able to stomach the idea of food–what my acupuncturist says is the precursor to morning sickness. I nibble toast or a Digestive biscuit. I take my cocktail of vitamins with a glass of orange juice or goat yoghurt. There is nothing substantial I can eat until lunchtime, when suddenly the idea of a large amount of protein — lentils, chicken, a cheese and bean burrito — sounds like the most delicious thing in the world.
Today I learned that, sadly, another donor egg mother-to-be, five days further along than me, didn’t have a successful cycle, and she will have an induced miscarriage on Friday. She said she hadn’t felt pregnant all week. Oh the horror… I know what it is to push four white pills up to my cervix and start the process my body couldn’t. I know the agony of waiting for the blood to show. I know the pain of a uterus contracting to expel its contents, my baby. I know the indescribable anguish of losing that most wanted and already fiercely loved baby. I am so sorry for this woman, and so glad that today, at least, I can say it is not me; and fearful that I am already unknowingly walking in her footsteps.
I don’t feel like I’m not pregnant. I don’t feel like something has gone wrong with this pregnancy. But I am also paranoid that I am in denial. I don’t think I am but I want this so much I wonder if I am glossing over warning signs. I can’t think of any… And yet, I also am having a hard time believing I’m pregnant. Like, once we made the decision to go down this path, it was too easy. And I think it’s a phoney defense mechanism, that somehow not happily giving in to the idea of my being pregnant will somehow protect my heart against your loss. It is very confusing.
I keep reminding myself that your genes come from another woman, and, if I’m honest, I seem to have picked up where I left off my last little bit of mourning. The mock cycle was a distraction, so too the visits with the lawyer, the many ultrasounds, stapling and hole-punching new content for the ever-expanding 3″ binder that must weigh a few kilos. The new year, too, brought some relief. The last of the hot tears I shed for Bean were at his cousin’s christening in mid-January. But today, the eve of my second first ultrasound, I am suspended in a bubble of mild PTSD mixed in with Did I really just get pregnant with another woman’s eggs? Don’t misunderstand, I have no regrets. I am only sad that you couldn’t have been conceived the old-fashioned way. I am also a little sad that we haven’t heard from Nellie in so long, not even after I told her I was pregnant. And I am worried about doing right by you and your genetic heritage. People can be ignorant, judgmental arseholes, even to kids. I worry about how I will protect you from their judgment for your parents’ decision, and worry about how I might graciously respond so as to gently educate them.
But I mustn’t get ahead of myself…
Circling back to the present, I hope you are still thriving, at least one of you. Like last time, this wait has been far worse than the Two Week Wait. Please let there be at least one beating heart at tomorrow’s ultrasound. Please let DH and I walk out of there in happy shock, the most pregnant we have ever been. I can’t picture anything but that happening, but the fear… the fear creeps in, fueled by mild PTSD and a terrible experience exactly 13 months ago, and it’s easy enough to imagine tomorrow my heart standing still next to yours.
Circling back again to the present: today might be the last day I get to enjoy being pregnant with you. So, let’s go get something to eat, kiddos, and have a quiet hand-on-belly-hand-on-heart moment.