Thursday, February 05, 2009

Really, I Just Enjoy Oversharing

This post has been a long time coming, mostly because I decided that I would wait until this particular life experience was over before I shared it. But look at me, using the past tense so glibly; the truth is that what is going on has been going on for nearly a month now, and I'm pretty sick of the whole deal, particularly the part wherein I get blood drawn over and over and over and over again. So the post appears now; I'm not patient enough to wait any longer.

Jarod and I have always known we wanted a family, but no couple knows from the outset how their family will be built. Of course many of us assume that we will do it the straightforward way by having some unprotected sex and conceiving a child. Yet we all know in the backs of our minds, or perhaps more towards the front depending on who we are and what our history has been like, that it's not always that simple. For years I wasn't sure if I'd get married, so my plan was to fill the house with cats and eventually adopt an older child that hopefully wouldn't be allergic to cats. But then I met Jarod, we got married, and so that scenario was dumped. The one we preferred was to have one child we put together ourselves (the IKEA model) and then adopt one or two more (Target or Saks Fifth Avenue models, depending on which country we decided to adopt from, as cost varies quite a lot). We set about attempting to put together our own baby, but it wasn't as simple as we had hoped. In fact, I'd begun researching adoption options quite seriously, as we also prefer not to take extraordinary measures to conceive, knowing that we want to adopt regardless of whether or not we pass our genes on to someone small and unsuspecting. We had been, ahem, not at all careful about contraception for quite some time, and I had peed on enough sticks to be frustrated with the whole thing. Not wanting to pee on all our hard-earned money, when a certain time was later than normally decreed by Mother Nature, I blew it off, figuring holiday stress was to blame. But time wore on and finally I gave in, bought the two-pack Target brand tests, and used one of them. It showed a positive result before I had time to wash my hands.

We were surprised, but happy.

The next day, I got food poisoning, and I kind of figured that couldn't be good for anything trying to grow in my abdominal region.

Two days after that, I started spotting and felt as if I were wearing what I can only describe as a belt made of menstrual cramps. I tried to shake it off, but I knew. This one just wasn't meant to be. I'd known plenty of girls to have miscarriages, and a good many of them had never gone to the doctor about it at all, so I thought I'd just wait it out. Except...then the cramp belt started feeling heavier, and on a Sunday morning, I called the nurse hotline. Because I did not have a female parts care provider (who knew I'd need one?), the nurse, after reading something off her screen that I could have sworn came straight from a Google link, urged me to go to the ER. That was January 11, the day of the worst pelvic exam I hope to ever experience. Ladies, do yourselves a favor and get yourself a female care provider now; I don't care how good your GP is at pap smears. You will save yourself the pain of someday having an ER doctor with little finesse use a speculum the size of salad tongs on you, and you will also save yourself the agony of having to restrain from kicking him in his conveniently located face when he tells you to "Relax these muscles, these right here."

The official diagnosis was Threatened Miscarriage, but I knew it wasn't just threatened. I was so certain that I cancelled my follow up appointment and instead made an appointment with a recommended care provider for weeks later, when I assumed my body would be pretty much done with taking care of things. I figured it would be pretty easy; my uterus would do a little self-cleaning, I'd get a check-up, and we could then resume having unprotected sex in pursuit of our IKEA baby. How wrong I was.

It is now February 5, and I got a call today that I need to go back for more bloodwork on Monday. Initially, my hCG levels were rising instead of dropping, so I got to endure all sorts of new and interesting experiences. Bonus: I got to see what my ovaries look like on an ultrasound screen, which I realize is not fascinating to most of you, but I am infinitely interested in the inner workings of the body. Not so bonus: the means by which I was able to observe the inner workings of my body. (I twittered this before, but some of you ladies will know what I'm talking about when I say the word trans and ultrasound.) At this point in time, the levels are dropping, but they want to monitor me closely to make sure they return to zero. For now all this means is that I will have my blood drawn frequently until I reach that point. And while the blood draws are not a huge deal, the fact of the matter is that I'm a little sick of all this. I've read the blogs of women who have had several miscarriages, and I want all those women to know that I hold you in highest regard. If I have to do this even one more time without having a live, screaming infant, I'll throw in the towel. It's just been too much.

That said, the actual loss of the pregnancy was not so awful. I know there are a great many women who get on message boards to mourn together over their losses, but for me it simply isn't that way. I feel fortunate that we had not known about that pregnancy for long, that it was a delight to know that we could get pregnant at all. I would have loved to have had a baby to hold in my arms come August, but my heart is not broken because it didn't work out this time. This happens to a lot of women, and many women I know have come forward to share their own stories. Many, like me, count it as a natural part of life. I have been grateful for that kind of support; the last thing that I want is for anyone to feel sorry for us or to mourn as if it were already a child. I know that a lot of pro-lifers will be angered by me saying that last thing, but the truth is that we do not know if what came together as a pregnancy was developing into a baby or if there was something wrong with it that would have kept it from ever living. As much as I am against abortion at any stage, I also do not feel it is appropriate for me* to mourn a pregnancy lost at seven weeks as if it were a child. I have seen what exited my body, and it resembled nothing living or whole, for which I am grateful.

We do hope to become among the knocked-up sometime in the future. I won't ever say that we're trying because honestly? Why do you need to know if we are having a lot of sex at an optimal time of the month? I know I've overshared in many ways here, but that is something that I feel is never necessary to share with the world at large. If we are successful at assembling our IKEA baby, I will let you know. If not, you'll see an announcement of a different sort here sooner than we planned. There are a lot of beautiful babies out there; someday one of them will be ours.

*I do not presume to instruct anyone else how to grieve or how to view their own early pregnancies or losses of those pregnancies; I am simply saying that for me, what seems healthiest and best is to accept it and move on.


daysgoby said...

I'm sorry that this didn't work out, Mary - and I hope things turn your way soon!

k-stin said...

I've thought about the subject some, and I like to think that I would think like you do if I went through a miscarriage. Of course, we never know what it's like until we ourselves go through it, but I definitely understand your point of view.

Good luck on the trying. I agree with you on that, too!

Jennifer said...

Oh Mary. I have been so far out of it, I never saw this. until today. Wow. a little late.
Oh, you mean, the Brits Aren't coming??? I don't need this gun? *whew!!* since when? Did they announce it or what??? Huh?? why are you making that face at me???

I haven't read prettymuch any blogs in 2009. Trying to reclaim my real life from cyber space. That, or facebook is stealing blog thunder.

I love you, Girl. I admire your strength, perspective, compassion, focus, and wisdom. Jarod got a goodie. :)

I miss you. MAN we need a coffee date like it's not even funny.

I know the beautiful expression of English eloquence in that last sentence made you feel the same way... oooooh yaaa....
Bless you Girl. You know you have my big smiles and all my thumbs high as I can get 'em for lovin those that need love!!! (aka, adoption!!)