Week Three ~ March 18, 2004
~ A New Beginning
I'm feeling pretty ill this morning. I did manage to eat one slice of toast, though. I know that nausea is not statistically bound to the success of a pregnancy (correlated, yes, direct link, no). I know that the risk of miscarriage goes up with age, and the odds of morning sickness go down with age, and the two are only connected by the age factor. And I know that I have had four pregnancies go past five weeks, three of which involved plenty of nausea, and only two of those made it to term (the other two - one with nausea and one without - I miscarried at seven-and-a-half weeks or so). Of the early losses, half had nausea that continued through the loss and into the next week. So morning sickness isn't exactly a guarantee of viability.
And yet I still find it reassuring to retch when brushing my teeth in the morning. I guess I'll cling to whatever is handy, especially when I'm short on courage. Morning sickness (or all-day sickness, since I'm really kind of ill all day long), is a fine thing to cling to.
I tested positive yesterday. That's a full three days before my period was due. In one sense, reassuring - I've got enough hormones to show a line, even if not a really big fat one. A line is a line is a line, and I got one. Having it early is a good thing. Or so I'm trying to convince myself.
If you've had a lot of miscarriages, nothing but getting past the danger zone seems to be enough of a good thing. I now end up wondering if this just means I'll know for sure and certain that I was pregnant before I lose it. With four losses at around 5 weeks, and two more at nearly 8 weeks, I don't exactly have the greatest record. And that gives me plenty of reason to feel nervous . . . or cautious, perhaps.
I hate being cautious. I don't like hesitating to bond. I'd rather walk into the fire openly, and love even the child I will not see - or will not see this time, in this way. I'd rather hurt than never feel. I've been on the other side, lived without being alive, and it isn't worth the freedom from pain to also be free from joy. I'm pretty fierce about my living, these days. I'll take the whole thing, embrace it, breathe it in, and burn me or light me up, I'll call it mine.
But then I've also lived through the dark night of the soul, spent a night awake waiting for my heart to stop with each beat, knowing the agony was too much for any physical being to bear for one more moment. I didn't die. My heart beat me right into the next morning, and with the dawn I found a thin thread of hope that because I did survive, I could survive. I made the turnless turning, and moved onward into my life, laying claim to every inch of it over the next few years.
I've healed a lot since then. Even my therapist says I'm done, as done as anyone ever is. I find it easy to forgive, even the men who sexually assaulted me when I was just a child. They don't own me, and while I've had to grow around the scars they left, they do not define me. I define me.
Still, miscarrying hurts. It hurts differently each time, depending on the experiences around it, but the hurt is still real. I've miscarried and been comforted by the palpable presence of a soul, promising that the separation is merely a delay, to have faith, be at peace. Live on, and breathe easily. I've also miscarried and been greeted with thundering silence from the soul I knew was there just days before, and plunged into despair so deep it left me incapable of speech. There's a reason that women who have had pregnancy losses show classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
And here I am again, pregnant. Here I am, insisting on being connected, being excited, and trying ever-so-hard not to obsess over every twinge and symptom.
Sigh. I've jokingly limited myself to obsessing three times a day. First thing in the morning, lunchtime, and bedtime. Unfortunately for my husband, those are the time he gets to see. Poor dear.
So far, so good. I've managed to not go to the bathroom to look for signs of bleeding yet. That's a big improvement. It has been a whole day and a half (almost). Last pregnancy, I lasted two hours. Granted, I have checked when I went to the bathroom for legitimate reasons, but I have managed not to run off at the slightest sense of wetness to verify whether this is still the beginning, or the beginning of the end.
My husband is both proud and thrilled about the pregnancy (woo-hoo, he's the MAN . . . and we chuckle at his pride, but without scorn), and he's also justifiably cautious. He doesn't have the same connection to our babies before they are born that I do. For him, they become real when he can see them, face to face. At that point, they are his, and the loss of them would devastate the way it does me, earlier. But not until then. Still, he knows how much it can destroy me, and having had our marriage damaged once by the experience, we are both careful about what it would mean to lose another. So he proposes caution. Yes, go out and buy a new pregnancy calendar. But this time, start it in pencil. Strange that the suggestion doesn't hurt. At this point, we're about 1 in 4 for success, so it seems only reasonable. Good heavens, have I become somewhat used to miscarrying? How sad.
I'll still use pen, though. No half-measures for me. That wouldn't be living, it wouldn't honor the chance that this one will be the next child I hold in my arms. And I'm willing to honor that.
Pen it will be.