It’s late Saturday evening. DH is at a baseball game with his dad and cousin (who is more like a brother) and I am having a quiet evening in. I decided to make jam — Peach, Habanero, and Lemon Basil — which takes a long time. (I will post the recipe soon!)
As I waited for the peaches to disintegrate into a jammy mush, I pottered about. I enjoyed a ridiculously funny exchange on Twitter with Stupid Stork and Pregnant Pause. I tidied up a pile of stuff in the corner of our bedroom. I found a box filled with loving letters and cards from friends and family saying how sorry they were for my loss. The overflow of papers that will eventually become part of my memory box. I went through it for the first time in several months. I found the calendar slider, the free gift inside the first box of First Response I ever bought.
Back in late January, I remember sliding the insert to line up with the date of my last menstrual period and being filled with such delight and glee. I will be heavily pregnant this summer. By February, I was imagining how I would react if strangers came up to me this summer to touch my heavily pregnant belly, an attention that I wouldn’t want without permission first. I researched cloth vs. disposable diapers. I allowed myself to play around with names. Everything was in the future tense. I will be this big… I will say this… I will do that…
Mid-August, I use the imperfect subjunctive: if x were to happen then I would y. I slid the insert to July 24th. I’d be as pregnant as when I lost Bean on his due date. I’d feel the first kicks right before Christmas. Out of nowhere, after almost 2 weeks of not crying, I was reduced to tears. Oh please… I begged that little ray of sunshine. Please… Please be in there. Please stay.
All the hope I have felt for the past few days has vanished.
A couple of years after my brother came out, I offered to be his surrogate one day. He looked at me like I was mad — true, we were only in our early twenties, but back then I assumed I would have a family some day, and wanted my brother to have the option too. How simple pregnancy seemed back then! How naïve I was.
These days, my easy assumptions have been replaced by terrifying doubts. I cautiously remind myself that getting pregnant is only the first hurdle in a long marathon. I miscarried before, why shouldn’t it happen again? I try to give myself a pep talk: plenty of women who miscarry go on to have healthy pregnancies with babies at the end of it. Statistically–… And there I stop myself. I don’t like statistics. I keep falling into tiny ones.
I picture myself pregnant. How would I feel about that first ultrasound? I think it would make me sick to my stomach.
As Another Bun put it: But after that horrible day in March when an ultrasound revealed that my second baby had stopped growing, my whole attitude shifted. No longer is an ultrasound an exciting opportunity to see my sweet baby. Now, that machine is source of complete and utter terror.
Exactly! How the hell am I supposed to enjoy a pregnancy when I know how easily it can all go horribly wrong? What if I have another missed miscarriage, where my body continues to be pregnant but my baby is dead? How am I supposed to distinguish between maternal instinct and fears based in miserable experience?
I picture myself heavily pregnant. Even if I had enough friends in San Diego to warrant a baby shower, I don’t think I would want one. To me, that feels like tempting bad luck.
And then I think, why shouldn’t it be me? I think I’d be a good mom. So why is this biology so fucking hard? Do other mammals mourn their early losses the same way?
I feel like a fool for ever having believed it could be me. And any bit of hope I might have, like this morning’s wish for peace of mind, is always shot down. If not by external factors, then by my cynicism.
Other people see two pink lines and blurt their news, We’re having a baby! It breaks my heart to know that, should I ever see two pink lines again, my words can only be Today I am pregnant.
Tonight, I feel like a fool for having dared hope. I’m expecting a slump in tomorrow’s temp because whatever pregnancy symptoms I had are diminishing. I’m almost convinced they were psychosomatic, but for that sliver of hope. I can’t cling to that sliver, and yet I know if Aunt Flo shows I will be crushed anyway. Today has been a small taste of that crushing disappointment.