When I went for my ultrasound last Friday, I was signing my file and noted the last date on it: “
“I don’t think I was thinking very clearly when we were here last year,” I told him. “I got the year wrong.”
I hadn’t been thinking clearly. I was terrified. When I signed that file it was part of the paperwork before the ultrasound to find out why I was spotting. I was nine weeks pregnant and praying silently that everything was going to be okay, even though I knew it wasn’t.
We had seen a heartbeat about two weeks before—a small, regular flicker on the screen—so I knew what to look for when the grainy black-and-white image appeared on the screen.
It wasn’t there.
I went home that afternoon to wait to eat ridiculous quantities of Ben & Jerry’s and wait to miscarry. I told my bosses, who didn’t know I was pregnant, that I was sick and I would be out for a few days. That was on Thursday. I didn’t miscarry until Sunday night.
I had decided Sunday afternoon that I would call the next morning to schedule a D&C. My fear of the anesthetic had made me decide to wait, but I was tired of waiting. I was ready to move on. I planned out the next couple of days as the cramping became harder to handle. I alternated between forcing myself to relax into child’s pose and pacing my bedroom, as I attempted to slow down my breathing and deny what was happening.
And then there was blood, lots of it, and the blood and the pain were something of a relief. At least I wasn’t waiting anymore. At least I wasn’t going to have to go to the hospital.
I took three more days away from work. Even though only one person in the office had known I was pregnant, I couldn’t bear to face anyone. I spent the days reading the news about Hurricane Katrina, eating ice cream, and talking on the phone and IMing with a couple of friends.
I didn’t want to talk to most people. When we told friends and family what was happening, we made it clear that I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone. But I needed those friends. Those friends who promised me that things would be okay. Who let me talk about it. Who let me talk about anything but it. Whatever I needed at that moment.
At least I wasn’t surprised by the intensity of the grief I felt. It seemed reasonable to me. It took awhile to work through, which also made sense, and when I began to reach the other side of it, I was very conscious of the change. I wanted to go out with friends again. I could look around me and appreciate the world. I wasn’t full of hate that I didn’t have any place to direct. I don’t think I was clinically depressed during those weeks, although I know Brian and my friends worried about it. I think I was dealing with grief in the only way it can truly be dealt with, and in the end I was okay.
It wasn’t until months later, until after my original due date had passed, that I got pregnant again. Sometimes I wonder about that connection. Knowing that day was my due date was sad, but I didn’t become depressed the way I had feared I might. I was simply very conscious of it, and I felt relieved when April 1st had come and gone. Getting through that date was freeing. I didn’t have a baby. I wasn’t pregnant. But I had made it and I was okay.
And then I was pregnant.
I was ecstatic and terrified. It had been too soon to test, but I had. It was too soon for the test to show a result at all, but when I looked down, there it was. I am not one who is willing to wonder if that second line is really a line. It was a digital test and it said “pregnant.” I was shocked.Crying is my response to a lot of different emotions. I cry when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm confused. But when all those things hit at once? I freeze. It was four in the morning, and I was frozen. For an hour I sat, not thinking, not crying, not feeling. It wasn't until I woke Brian up and told him and felt his arms around me that I cried.
I told a few friends almost immediately—the friends that I knew I would need in case something went wrong again. One of them asked me how I was feeling about it.
“I’m okay,” I said.
"Well, I alternate among being blissfully happy, being in complete denial, and freaking the righteous fuck out. Which I think averages out to 'okay.'"
I was totally serious, and it’s completely true, even though typing it makes me laugh. I was terrified, but the joy of being pregnant won out. The checker at Whole Foods complimented my necklace, and I burst out with the news that I was pregnant. I called to schedule my first prenatal exam. I started thinking about baby names.
But every day I worried. Even when I would eat to settle my upset stomach and then feel sick ten minutes later because I had eaten, I would worry that it was all in my head. I felt guilty for being so afraid. The baby deserves for me to be happy. He deserves for me to love him, I told myself. And I did love him. That wasn’t something I could stop myself from doing, no matter how afraid I was.
Now “he” is a “she.” I’ve heard her heart beat. I’ve seen her little feet. People are starting to be able to tell I’m pregnant just by looking at me. Still, I’m anxious. But I just felt her wiggle.