Last month, I wrote this post about the struggles of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. I was gratified with many readers, kind and thoughtful comments, and several appreciative messages from friends, as they were–news to me–in similar situations themselves. That’s all I can really hope for when I write, so thank you.
But I quickly felt like a fraud, as I continued to receive loving and sympathetic messages, because I had actually just realized it was past that time of the month. I’d been paying less and less attention as the months went by, kept less detailed counts of days, because that becomes rather exhausting and stressful, and everyone will tell you not to stress when trying to conceive. So I took a pregnancy test with little hope, planning to quickly glance once at it after three minutes had passed and immediately throw it in the trash along with any emotions it might summon. But husband walked in almost as soon as I had set it on the counter to wait, because he always seems to sense when I’m trying to do something in private. He picked up the pregnancy test stick and stared at it until a very faint second line appeared, indicating a positive result.
“Wow! You’re pregnant!” he said.
“Let me see that,” said I, snatching the stick away. “Nope, I don’t believe it. That line is hardly visible.” I picked up the box it had come in and pointed to the directions on the back. “And it says specifically right here: ‘Place the test stick on a flat surface and wait 3-5 minutes for the results.’ You picked it up, so I don’t trust it anymore.” I threw the test in the trash and left the bathroom, feeling next to no excitement whatsoever. Perhaps I sound like a biotch, and perhaps I really am. But I am rather good at blocking out emotions and not getting my hopes up when it seems necessary for my own well-being.
Husband followed me. “Then I’ll go buy another test, and you can take it again.”
“No, not today. They say they’re most effective with morning’s first pee…. So if you really want to get one, I’ll take it tomorrow. But don’t get too excited about it, okay?”
The next morning, I took the test, placed it on the counter to wait and backed away in a nonchalant manner while husband hovered over it intently. A second pink line appeared once again, slightly darker than before, causing my heart to beat just a little faster and a few flutters of excitement to form in my stomach.
“Well okay then. I guess I’m pregnant.” We exchanged hugs and smiles and happy words, but only 50% of me really believed this news. And it was only that large of a percentage because I knew positive pregnancy tests are rarely wrong. Besides that fact, I didn’t really believe I was pregnant, because after a year of trying with many false hopes and sudden letdowns, it takes some time for this news to sink in. For skepticism to take a back seat. For real and true emotions to become unblocked and allowed once again.
Over the next few weeks, nausea set in. Not nearly as bad as with my son, with whom I threw up almost daily for months, throwing up at work, in between college classes, in restaurant parking lots so suddenly and vehemently that I couldn’t even manage to miss my shoes (it is truly a wonder that we women could ever possibly long to be pregnant again when we handle it with such dignity and grace). But this time, the queasiness was rather subtle–I just had to make my son’s oatmeal that he begs for first thing almost every morning with my eyes closed, clean up his poop with a scarf tied around my nose and mouth, quickly race through twenty foods in my mind every time I was hungry, careful not to give any of them more than half a second’s thought, before finally landing on one that didn’t sound completely barf-worthy.
I was also feeling very tired. Of course my son had begun waking up every morning almost two hours earlier than usual, and so we began a new bad-mom routine that I had no problem justifying where I quickly got him breakfast and set him down in front of a show and went back to bed as long as he would let me. Bless his little heart, he was often times very merciful and allowed me to sleep until I felt quite rested indeed. Even still, later in the day when we went around town with dad, I could hardly keep my eyes open while sitting in the passenger seat and would inevitably fall asleep once we’d been driving more than five minutes.
These symptoms made me feel rather unlike my norm, so it didn’t take long for me to 75% believe I was really pregnant. Once or twice I had the thought, “Wow, it would really suck if I had a miscarriage, after trying for a year to get pregnant.” But time went by, I hadn’t had any pain or bleeding, so that never became a real concern, and I 85% believed I was pregnant.
The only thing that would make me 100% believe I was pregnant would be my first prenatal checkup, once I’d seen the small form of the developing baby inside me and heard its heartbeat.
I called to schedule an appointment, not thinking beforehand that it would be almost two weeks before I could be seen. But that was okay; it was still pretty early. I could wait.
I believed I was ten weeks along when I went to my appointment. I went with my husband and son, prepping him beforehand about what we were going to be doing. “Mommy has a little teeny baby in my belly, just like you were once a little teeny baby in my belly. We’re going to the doctor so we can see the baby and hear its heartbeat, bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum. After a long time, mommy’s belly will get really big, we’ll go to the hospital, the baby will come out, and Desmond will be a big brother! Just like Daniel Tiger!”
“Yay! Dessy’s going to be a big brother!”
We drove to the doctor’s, a happy anticipation filling me all the way as I remembered the same scenario almost four years ago, on my way to 100% believing I was pregnant with Desmond. Talking with the doctor all excited and jittery and nervous. Lying on a chair to feel that cool gel slathered over my belly, the transducer moving across it until an image appeared on a screen, and although it wasn’t clear and certainly didn’t look like a baby, I knew it was, because then a fast and steady bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum filled my ears. All jitters and nerves vanished, my eyes immediately welled up with happy tears, because there was, without a doubt, a baby inside of me, and he was alive and healthy and developing just as he should be, because he had a safe place to grow in me, his mom.
These were the memories paralleling my present-day reality as we arrived at the doctor’s office, filled out paperwork, were checked by a nurse, spoke with the doctor, and I laid down for my sonogram. But almost as soon as I looked at the screen once the doctor began searching across my belly for the baby, I had a jolting feeling that something was wrong. In just a moment, my reality was not going to coincide with the happy memory I’d been replaying in my head. My eyes were already welling up with tears, the tears already streaming down my face once he said it.
“Stacey, I’m afraid this doesn’t look like a good pregnancy.”