Expecting Salvation: My Fourth 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 was deep into studying natural labor and birth which would later inspire me to become a Doula. I was against medical management and intervention. I barely tolerated the Clomid/IUI cycles and back then IVF to me was the perfect marriage of poison and perversion. But I could not stay pregnant. Something was wrong with the embryos we created and PGD could give us answers but the only way to do PGD was to do IVF. So while we didn’t need IVF to get pregnant, we needed it to stay pregnant. Still, I was so adverse to the process I would have kept trying on our own indefinitely. Kris, on the other hand, wisely wanted to move forward and most of all, wanted the horror of miscarriages to end. I succumbed.
We figured out finances. We ordered the drugs. We scheduled a date for an injection class at the clinic. An injection class. The day of the class was also the day I was late for my period. I tested at home in the morning. Positive. We arrived at the clinic for the class but instead I asked for a blood test.
Positive. Positive. Positive.
SUCK IT IVF!
My numbers kept doubling and things looked better than ever. After the blood tests ran their course we went for our first ultrasound. This is a true milestone because if a heartbeat is detected at 8-9 weeks, the chance of miscarriage plummets.
We saw the heart beat.
It was my birthday.
I finally exhaled.
Despite the ultrasound’s certainty that all would be well we decided to wait the customary 12 weeks to share our news.
When I look at this picture I see my grandmother’s purse, my mother-in-law’s gold jewelry and my telltale glow. We were in New York City for a friend’s birthday party and before the honoree arrived, her husband declined our offer of champagne saying that his wife, the birthday girl, is pregnant. I was simultaneously thrilled and crestfallen. I bit my tongue stifling a “ME TOO!” and simply gave a peck on the cheek. I desperately wanted the same recognition. Three pregnancies already denied. I so badly wanted a moment to celebrate.
Our RE releases us back to our OBGYN because I’m pregnant, just a normal pregnant woman needing normal prenatal care. She requires an ultrasound to get a handle on our progression. Almost immediately she asks “how far along are you supposed to be?” My blood turns to ice and she tells us she can’t find the heart beat, this baby has stopped developing, that she is sorry.
A missed miscarriage. A dead baby that is yet to be born. At some point my body will deliver this pregnancy but I am strongly encouraged to have a D&C because testing can be done and like PGD, we could get answers. As a home birth student and advocate I am against someone taking my baby out of me not to mention the risks of such a surgery, of any surgery, when my body will take care of it naturally. As a woman who cannot sustain a healthy pregnancy however I am without freedom of choice. The surgery is scheduled and I drink and drink and drink.
I remember being wheeled to Recovery sobbing “they took my baby” and when I arrived in the room Kris immediately asked the nurse to give me something. But I didn’t want anything. This is my motherhood and I will be present for the birth of my children. Time passed, tears passed. I had some toast and thanked the Anesthesiologist for treating me so gently. All the people who cared for me were kind and respectful. I hoped too they were kind to Kris who was going it alone, again.
I went home, continued drinking, prepared for our move to Bermuda and pretended I was still alive.