Early June will mark 8 weeks since my miscarriage. Eight weeks was how long my baby lived inside of me. In eight weeks, nearly all the organs in my baby’s body had started forming. Its eye lids were sealing shut. It had hands and arms, and legs. It had a beating heart. And then, it was gone.
So here I am, 8 weeks not-pregnant. It’s almost like a dream; something that I’m sure and certain seemed so real but there’s nothing that exists to prove it to me. I would question whether it all happened, but the empty place in my heart tells me it did.
My best friend is well into the second trimester of her pregnancy. She is exactly where I would have been. She sent me a message the other day after hearing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. When I opened the message I simultaneously had two reactions. The first was one of excitement for her; her first true sign that life exists inside. The other reaction was one of sheer shock.
Since the miscarriage, it hadn’t occurred to me that pregnancy ends in anything other than a miscarriage and here, in my life, written in a text message on my phone, was an example of how it does.
That was a confronting moment and I spent a few seconds whimpering and trying to stop my face from contorting into the expression that ends with tears and gasping.
I couldn’t do it. I cried on my husband’s shoulder, soaking it with tears and begged him to help me understand why. “Why not us? Why not our baby’s heartbeat? Why did this happen?”
He didn’t have an answer. No one does and believe me I’ve asked: doctors, nurses, friends, and yes, God. The same thing I hear over, and over, and over again is “Everything happens for a reason.”
OK. I can buy it. I get it. It makes sense. But what’s the reason it happened to us? Answer me that and should I be fortunate enough to have a successful pregnancy, I’ll name my firstborn after you.
I never thought I’d be so anxious to get a period. Yes, you read it right: anxious, not eager. I’m starting to get jumpy here. Before the pregnancy, I was regular to the hour. It was actually kind of creepy. Now, I’m on day 35 of Period Watch. Yep – it’s an official event with official lingo.
I’ve adopted some of the National Weather Center’s lingo to help liven up the waiting. “Watch” actually means, conditions are favorable though no actual signs have been spotted. “Warning” means that there’s been an actual sighting.
Indeed, conditions are favorable. It’s been more than 20 days without bleeding and my last ultrasound showed no remaining products of conception. Plus, I really, really, want to get it. What’s not favorable about that?
Getting old Aunt Flo will be the first sign that my body is back in business. The second sign will be getting another one within a reasonable time frame.
I feel a bit like I’ve become my own science experiment. Watching, waiting, observing; adding variables like vitamins and folic acid: “Let’s see what happens if I take these.” And then, subtracting other variables: “If I don’t wear a pad, and I wear white pants, will karmic forces intercede?”
Soon I’ll be sampling my own cervical mucus and comparing it to pictures on the internet. But hey, it’s in the name of science! Exhibit 100E: Female Homosapien post-miscarriage.
Come to think of it though, when you’re trying to have a baby, conception is really more science than it is romance. If you look for information on trying to conceive, then you’ll probably come across three of the most popular topics:
Temping: the process of monitoring your basal body temperature to detect the subtle rise indicating ovulation is imminent or occurring. A decline in temperature after a slight elevation usually indicates the egg was released and not fertilized. If the temperature stays elevated, it could indicate implantation of a fertilized egg.\
Cervical mucus: I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to start sampling it. Otherwise known as CM, cervical mucus morphs throughout the month from sticky to creamy to slippery and thin like egg-whites. It’s the slippery thin stuff that helps sperm swim and when you see it, it’s time to get it on if you know what I mean.
Charting: the process of recording temperature and cervical mucus among other signs throughout your monthly cycle. There’s a whole system of checks, and circles, and squares and letters and morse code involved with charting (just kidding on the morse code part – but it’s almost as complex)
All of that is well beyond my reach at this time though. I’m still waiting for my monthly cycle to make an appearance for the first time since January. I’ll give it two more weeks until I start to panic. In the meantime, I think I’ll go buy some white pants and see if I can tempt the universe.
“Why do you want a baby?” There it was; the question that left me speechless.
There I was. Back in the psychologist’s office and facing the one question I never thought about answering. “Why do I want a baby?”
I looked across the room at her, blinked a few times, and said, “That’s a good question.” And then I laughed. I laughed because I legitimately didn’t have an answer.
And now, I can’t stop thinking about it. Is there a right answer to this question? There are definitely some wrong answers, at least according to pop psychologist and TV talk show host Dr. Phil. He writes on drphil.com that a child should be wanted, not needed. “Don’t give a child a job before they’re even here — the job of saving your marriage, of making your spouse settle down, of living out your unfulfilled dreams.”
Good advice Dr. Phil.
At least I can sincerely say that I want a baby; I don’t need one. I just don’t know why I want one.
I’m not a person inclined to want. I have a four year old cell-phone and it doesn’t cross my mind to want a new one. My car has nearly 110 thousand miles on it and I don’t want a shinier, newer model. My closet doesn’t have the latest trendy clothes from an expensive retailer and I truthfully don’t want those things anyhow.
I guess I haven’t thought about wanting a baby because “want” to me has always meant something material and in the case of a baby, it means something different. It’s the desire to give myself to something meaningful. It’s the desire to be something more than a married couple: the desire to be a family. It’s weekend walks with the stroller. It’s family fun night at the ballpark. It’s Christmas’s with Santa Claus and Easter with the Easter Bunny. It’s all the things I remember from my childhood like big family parties and vacations, running through the grass behind my grandmother’s house, and simply being loved more than anything in the whole world.
I want, more than anything, to give that to someone else. I want to take all the love that’s been given to me and to share it. That’s why I want a baby.