Pregnancy didn’t come easily for me. First there was the early miscarriage, the one that I didn’t know I was pregnant until it was lost. I was sad, but didn’t feel as though it really mattered. It was encouraging to know I could become pregnant. Then it just never seemed to stop bleeding. After a while, my popular and trendy, SoHo doctor seemed annoyed that I still called her. Finally she gave me a drug
that forced it to end. It did, but I never snapped back. You know when something isn’t right – discharge that was like water. Doctor’s dismissed it as signs of ovulation. No – I knew what that was like because I’d been watching for that special, stretchy goo monthly for four years. I knew I wasn’t ovulating.
Three doctors later I finally got an ultrasound. Then some dye and an X-ray with a doctor that couldn’t look me straight in the eye, “it appears your tubes are blocked and distended.” I’m expecting a remedy, like okay what’s next? How do I fix it? I felt empowered with information. But he cowered and muttered something about talking more with my doctor, maybe find a specialist. He scurried from the room as
I was left by myself to dress and leave. My husband wasn’t there. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of information. Alone in a cab, I could feel the dye leak from me as I returned home. I am fertile, but infertile. How could that be? I was only pregnant three months ago? I saw the sac, in the uterus.
I found my fertility specialist through the yellow pages because I was too scared to talk to my friends. I still couldn’t accept this was happening to me. At the time I was a practicing Mormon, and my new doctor was a lesbian who would eventually get me pregnant. I took great pleasure in that contrast. She was a wonderful person. It was
her detached statistics and medical terminology that saved me from over-indulging my emotions. I was an excellent candidate for In-Vitro because everything functioned but the tubes. I worked the process like my job – the needles, pills, schedules, bloodletting – the ultimate project for a project manager. On the first try, I had 24 eggs, of which 22 fertilized. I was a Goddess. Pregnancy would be delayed, the
tubes continued to leak and they had to go. My first scar.
As soon as I recovered, two embryos were implanted and one stayed. I gained 65 pounds during my pregnancy. Exactly one year (to the date) after she was conceived, my daughter was born 10 pounds, 10 ounces.
I wasn’t surprised that the weight didn’t come off easily because I had battled my weight all my life. Why should this be any easier? I didn’t mind because I was in heaven and I finally had boobs. I had a perfect little girl who breast fed with ease, slept through the night, and napped frequently. I returned to my pre-pregnancy weight about one-year later, a little soft in the belly, but just fine. In addition
to having a beautiful child, motherhood had brought me an ease with my body that I had fought hard to love all my life. I have no difficulties wearing a bathing suit, and while there are smaller clothes that I still yearn to wear, when I face myself alone in the mirror each morning, I am satisfied.
When my daughter turned two, I tried again, and again I got pregnant. Two-for-two. At three months I called my local doctor (now in Chicago) about some abdominal discomfort. I thought it was constipation from the extra iron supplements. She brushed me off. My husband left for work because I assured him I was fine. An hour later I passed out on the toilet with my frightened toddler beside me. I fought to regain consciousness as I heard her crying. I called my doctor, my husband,
and my specialist still in Brooklyn. It took an embryo to burst through the walls of my uterus before my local doctor would return my call – no she didn’t, someone else in her office did, after I had already checked into the emergency room. I knew the baby was lost, but I looked to my husband with my face of strength, “It’s all going to be fine. It’s just statistics. I’ll get pregnant again.” The next day the hospital sent me a grief psychologist to talk. About what? I was fine, really.
I didn’t get pregnant again. With each attempt, I grew more and more depressed. Each cycle I gained more weight that I couldn’t take off. With each negative result, I grew further away from my husband. Every challenge at parenting felt like a monumental failure. After four tries, I finally decided to stop. With that decision I gradually began to live again. I embrace motherhood with confidence. My one child
with my one husband has made me complete. This body, this shape of a mother, will never return to the firm, young figure that I so despised in my youth. It is soft, round, maternal. To me, to us, it is beautiful.
PS: One thing no one has ever told me, and still no one seems to talk about… my vagina has changed (I’ll spare you the photos). I didn’t notice it until after the 2nd miscarriage. I thought I had an infection as the insides appeared to be pushing out. “No,” my doctor told me, “that’s what it looks like after a vaginal birth.” Still? “Yes, probably forever.” Damn lucky my husband never said anything.
Oh, and a postscript to the story is that I have a whole stack of completed paperwork on my table, ready to send to the adoption agency.