Expecting Salvation: My Third Pregnancy
Expecting Salvation, a Sunday series on my pregnancies, births and losses.
“All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I never take a break from trying to conceive because every passing month means a decrease in fertility. It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, biology overrules. March 2008 was no exception and what better time or place than on a ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming? Despite the loss a month earlier, I cycled normally and we went for it. I returned home with walking pneumonia and accepted that no baby could sustain life in my ragged condition. But pregnant I was, realized via two home tests and then confirmed by scripture, the blood test. I was happy and proud — my body clearly wanted to be pregnant and this was going to be the one. I had no doubt.
When I look at this picture I remember the beauty of Wyoming and how everything sparkled in the sunshine. Kris would ski far later into the day than I and rather than spend time with myself and the wretch I’d become from failing to stay pregnant, I would drink until he returned and then we’d have dinner together and drink more. Barely surviving and momentarily thriving.
Between the fertility testing, the last pregnancy and loss, this trip and pneumonia, I was missing a lot of days at a job I had just started. And I wasn’t exactly forthcoming about all my doctor’s visits or why I would sometimes close my office door and cry.
Journal excerpt from that day:
“It was near lunch and the cramps were starting. I popped three pain killers and finished some work. Very little blood appeared during my morning bathroom visits so I thought I was just cramping and despite the pushing urge, assumed the miscarriage would happen later. I needed to put in a full day. Soon however the pain escalated to the point where I had to control my breathing through the cramps. Already embarrassed when the day prior a colleague commented on my dried tears and puffy face, I knew I had to leave, pay or no.
I mumbled my excuse, “I need to be close to home, I need to be close to my doctor.” I need to wail. I need breathe with volume. I need to moan. I need to knead my abdomen. I need pads. I need alcohol. I need my own toilet. I need to get on all fours and rock. I amble to the car, surprised by the intensity (will I need to ask a stranger for help?) and rapid escalation. I vocalize down the long hallway, up the stairs, in front of the smokers. The drive is agony. I realize I am having contractions; the pain is great, severe enough that I think about either running off the road so I can be knocked out or pulling off the road so someone will help me. Then sudden relief. The ebb and flow of my small labor. Focus comes and with the privacy to howl alone in the car, I make it home. Within 10 minutes I am on my toilet, heaving, sobbing, passing tissue. Once the tissue is passed, the pain all but disappears. I have labored and delivered my child.”
A couple of weeks later we had our first appointment with a specialist, a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Without looking up from my records he said “Well, you weren’t really pregnant.”
I went home, continued drinking and quit my job.