It’s About to Get Real in Here, People
I’d already started calling it Baby Whoops. I had a feeling this month that I might be pregnant. I just knew it. The symptoms crept up slowly, surely, and manifested themselves so strongly I couldn’t ignore them, as much as I wanted to. There’s no guessing, I suppose, when you’ve been through this twice already. You just know.
But I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to be pregnant. I was reveling in my not-pregnant state, my not-nursing state: the one where I could have that wine with dinner if I wanted, and I got to sleep through the night (well, mostly, anyway, and if “through the night” means till 6:30). I could leave the house for more than two hours at a time by myself without worrying about pumping or breastfeeding or that strange hormonal/physical tug that lassoes a mom to her infant in those months after birth. People would ask if we’re having a third (people are nosy, by the way. Not friends. Friends can ask, of course. But strangers asking if we’re going to “try for 3?” Pardon me, I want to ask, but are you offering to help?), and we laugh and say we’ll see what the future brings. Well, the future came quickly, it came bearing gifts, and I was having a fit.
I told David I thought I was, and he, being the logical one who would not have to experience the small hell that is labor or have his lower abdomen sliced open to bear children at any point in his life, said to just wait and see, be calm. And I did push it out of my head, until the nausea bubbled up my throat, and I was passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow at 9:30 (9:30? When do I ever?!). I didn’t advertise it, kept it quiet from him, didn’t want to reinforce what I knew. But as soon as I could, I ran for the tests. And immediately, I saw the faintest of blue lines. I may have said a curse word under my breath. The next day, faint line again. And the next.
I spent much of the weekend crying, a little bit. Told David, who looked a little shell-shocked, then sort of freaked out about all the breadwinner, stuff-that-dudes-worry-about issues running through his head. Our house instantly felt smaller. Our bank account, too. I thought about pack-n-plays and sleepless nights and a baby peeing all over herself at 3 in the morning. My c-section scar, which never, ever hurts now, seemed to start to throb.
Monday night was my birthday, as you know. At dinner, I declined my usual dirty martini (Grey Goose, up, three olives, thank you). My mom took one look at me and said, “So, April? You’d be due in April, then?”). I teared up a little again. I didn’t want to be pregnant, I said. I saw the look of shock on her face. I felt guilty. It was too soon, though. There was a baby growing inside of me, and we weren’t ready for it.
And then there wasn’t.
My symptoms started to fall away. Other stuff started to happen (I’ll spare you the details, boys), and apparently I had an early miscarriage. Isn’t that strange? I feel like it is. When I was pregnant with Saoirse, we had a scare when I was just six weeks, and we spent a very long weekend where we thought we might lose her. I desperately, desperately wanted to have a baby–this baby–but the doctor told me that my HCG levels weren’t doubling like they should (my what levels? They’re supposed to do huh? I had no idea at the time), but–get this–“I don’t like to do a D&C until I’m a hundred percent sure.” Uh, thanks doc. We’ll be taking my uterus elsewhere, thank you. That was a Friday, and I was to get tested again, with an ultrasound, on Monday. I remember sitting on the couch that weekend, just looking outside through the bay window in our living room, wondering. I felt pregnant. But could I be happy? Should I prepare myself? It was the worst sort of limbo in the world.
But here I am, not ready, and not pregnant. What’s funny is that I’d just started to wrap my head around the idea that it could be fun to have the children so close in age. And how cool was that, that I could get pregnant that easily, when it’s not that easy? David, too, had just sort of started to think, okay, cool. We got this. But we don’t. And it’s weird to think wham-bam, we went 180 degrees in one direction, just to do a u-turn in the middle of street. I wouldn’t have even known I was pregnant had I not been so in tuned to the clues. Damn you, modern technology and your early pregnancy tests.
This week I found out that three other women in my little world just went through similar experiences, each within days of each other. And I realize that this is the crux of family-making in your mid-30s. Nothing’s guaranteed. Everything now is hinged on luck and timing and God and pixie dust and golly knows what else.
I’ve sort of crawled into a hole this week, a bit, so for my friends who’ve been wondering why I’ve fallen off of the grid, well, peeps, here you go. This isn’t one of those oh-I’m-so-sorry-for-you things, so I beg you not to say that. But I do feel guilty. It was okay for me to say I didn’t want another baby yet, because we all know that within a week David and I would’ve started tossing around baby names (dear Lord, what’s next, by the way, when/if the time comes? With two kids named Saoirse and Quinlan, we’ve kind of backed ourselves into a corner, don’t you think?). But now that that person (and to me, when that baby is growing in my belly, it’s a person. It’s my person) is, well, gone, I want to tell him or her, look, I did want you. I hope you didn’t leave because of what I said. I would’ve been ready for you. You would’ve been family.
I guess I am a bit sad, aren’t I? Back when I first started this blog, I told my four dear readers that I was going to use this as a way to sort through all the odd bits in my life. Writing it out has always been the best way for me to sort, to reflect, to remember, to piece together the parts of my life into a whole that makes a bit more sense. This, though, is a little personal for me. And by a little, I mean I’m staring at that “Publish” button, wondering if I’m going to click on it.
But they say that 20-35% of child-bearing women my age go through this at least once, whether they know it happens or not. Some would say that I’m “fortunate” that it happened early, early enough that I wasn’t attached. But, still. For whatever reason, my body rejected something that would’ve grown into my son or daughter. And ready or not, my friends, that is just a lot to sort through.