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Getting pregnant really isn't the goal

Warning: This is not a happy post. This is a sad and disappointed post about miscarriage. I still want to share, but you don't have to read it. Do what you need to do for you.

That said, if you don't read this, please don't ask me about this. I am writing this here in part so I don't have to have lots of in person conversations about it.


Today I am seven and a half weeks pregnant. For those unfamiliar with "pregnancy math", this means I conceived about five and a half weeks ago, and have know for sure I am pregnant (as in been able to get a positive pregnancy test) for three and a half weeks. Seven and a half weeks is 19% of forty weeks, all of which sounds seriously on our way. After that last post about waiting, this sounds good - right?

Except it's not good. Because, as it turns out, getting pregnant isn't the goal. Growing a baby is the goal, and getting pregnant is just an early step in that direction. This pregnancy isn't going to grow a baby. I know miscarriage is common, that the first trimester is prime time for miscarriages, and this doesn't mean anything at all about the possible success or viability of a possible future pregnancy. The thing is, this is not about a possible future pregnancy. This is about this pregnancy, this one right now, that I had got excited about, that I was nervous about, that was and is real, and that won't result in a baby. Right now, possible future is not really much consolation for a crappy right now.

All that nausea and exhaustion and not drinking over Pride? All that being too exhausted to see Fringe shows? That was an investment in the future, and sometimes, investments don't turn out. This time, no baby.

I am trying to find consolation in the idea that getting pregnant twice in six tries is actually pretty good. It's pretty good at any age, and frankly great at almost forty. I'm trying to find consolation in the idea that my body clearly is trying hard to nurture and grow this pregnancy - even if the pregnancy is not doing it's own growing. Apparently my body is stubborn and determined, which should be a shock to exactly no one.

We are not sharing this with our small person. He is so excited about the possibility of a baby. He believes that he "turned our hearts" to make us want a baby because he wanted one so much. Earlier this week he started grilling us on where a new baby, if we have one, might go to school. He thinks a new baby should go to his current school, and he had a whole plan and a number of warnings for us about what we will need to remember and pay attention to. He did not know we were pregnant, although he does know we are trying. We're not going to tell him we're unpregnant. We will tell him when/if there is an actual baby on the way. It's very important to me that other people not share any of this with him. When I was eight, Heather Patterson knew more about my mum's pregnancy, and the sex of the coming baby, than I did, and I felt so betrayed. I'd had a big argument at school with her where she insisted the baby would be a girl, and I insisted that we did not know yet (because that's what my mum had told me). She so lorded it over me that she knew and I did not, and I felt so betrayed. So, it's very important to me that our small person hears about possible baby news from his parents.

As a further note on how excited the small person is, he once, months ago, come to the fertility clinic with me, where I explained that it is a place that helps people make babies, and that I was going to check on how my eggs were growing. He immediately told me that he is going to go there when he is a grown-up so he can have a baby too. Over two months later, at dinner with company, he turned to me and asked "Abba, how are your eggs doing? You know, the tiny eggs that are inside you, how are they growing?" The Small Person continues to be a tiny detective and is on the case.

If you know me in person, please don't ask me about how this is going. I'm sharing here, in part because I can do so on my own terms, when and how I want to. I'm not ready for every dog walk, every trip to the grocery store, any possible trip outside the house to be an opportunity to talk about miscarriage. Thanks, but no. I really do appreciate the love and support other people give our family. I appreciate the encouragement, prayers, community, friendship - but please, not in person or by phone right now. E-mail is great. Notes are welcome. This does suck, and I appreciate other people honouring that this is a loss and we're sad, but it really helps to be able to have a little control about how that happens.

If you are pregnant, or newly pregnant, or have recently had a baby, if you want to share, please do. I like babies, I like people having reproductive control over their own bodies. I can celebrate your success, joy and good fortune. It's not going to make this harder for me, this is not a competition and it's nice to have things to celebrate.

I'm going to need a little down time, but after that, I'll be in boxing class, in the sauna at the gym and drinking scotch (not all at the same time) because those are things pregnant people can't do, and I'm going to enjoy them now, and hope that I am giving them up again soon, but next time, for longer.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
17th Jul, 2014 19:19 (UTC)
Thank you for sharing; your posts are always thoughtful and interesting. My sympathies that things are difficult now.
Cole Legend
17th Jul, 2014 20:57 (UTC)
You are brave
You are brave, even when you don't feel brave. Loving, hoping, truth-telling, self-disclosing, grieving as much on your own terms as is possible, and setting boundaries are signs of courage. They command respect and compassion, too. There is some good news for you (plural) to tuck away. Regards, Daddi Cole & Family
17th Jul, 2014 23:12 (UTC)
I'm really sorry to hear this. Wishing you all the best. Stanley sounds pretty amazing.
18th Jul, 2014 01:55 (UTC)
keyn y'hi ratzon
b'sha'ah tovah!

19th Jul, 2014 23:30 (UTC)
Many hugs to you and wishes to one-step-at-a-time keeping on.
I, too, do boxing class now. My wishes that it brings you all that you've missed and more (a guess: breath, movement, power.)
21st Jul, 2014 02:31 (UTC)
You will find you have unwillingly landed in a new social group of people who have experienced a miscarriage but few speak about it. I was shocked how many people I knew had, but hadn't shared it....until I spoke - and not because they weren't upset - but because they were...and no one else ever seemed to be.
So take your time and space to honor the little spirit who was with you a short time. There are lots of losses. There is a group called "Perinatal Bereavement Services" (they just changed their name to PAIL Network but I can't remember what that stands for). They were very helpful if you need someone to talk to.
22nd Jul, 2014 04:49 (UTC)
Walking with you
I'm glad you gave the warning and I'm glad I am in a space today where I can read this. I could have written it. More than once. I blogged my way through my/our journey with infertility and multiple pregnancy loss. It was cathartic and brought me comfort. I hope it's been at least a little helpful.

I'm not in your shoes and won't pretend to know exactly what you are feeling. But really I coUld have written this. Maybe I did at one point. I'm walking alongside you now my friend.

Do everything and anything you need to do. Be gentle with yourself. As you are. Let yourself be nurtured if you can. Be.

22nd Jul, 2014 18:06 (UTC)
Poignantly written, dear J, my heart goes out to you and your family. Sending much love, hope, strength, and courage your way. It's sad our society doesn't have a widely recognized ritual or means of expressing grief and acknowledging loss. I've not had to endure a miscarriage, but I have too many friends who have. The Japanese tradition of water babies described in the article is beautiful (well, at least the positive parts that I'm choosing and not focusing on the negatives also mentioned in the article.) It struck a deep chord for me, the idea that a water baby will always remember its parents, always be connected with its siblings, and may be reunited some day.
25th Jul, 2014 15:48 (UTC)
Your grief
Dear j,

I was deeply moved by your courage, honesty, and wisdom in telling your miscarriage story. I "second" everything that others have already said in their comments here. Please know that you and Bear - and your wonderful small person once you have figured out a way to share the difficult news - are in my prayers, thoughts, and vibes of positive energy for strength, solace, and refuah shleimah.

Natalie Gorvine

(Met at the National Havurah Committee Summer Institute some years ago.)
2nd Aug, 2014 00:03 (UTC)
Book Recommendation
Baruch dayan ha'emes.

I read About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope a few years ago. I don't know if you'd want to read such a thing but I wanted to tell you it exists.
10th Aug, 2014 20:19 (UTC)
Sorry to hear about your loss after so long of trying. I too had a miscarriage about 10 years ago. Definitely one of the worst feelings ever. I went into the doctors to hear the heartbeat for the first time. They couldn't detect one so sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound. They told me I had had a silent miscarriage I think is what they called it. I was in such shock. It felt like everything around me was dead on the way out. Everyone thought I took it fairly well but truth is, I really didn't. I called my friend when I got home and balled my eyes out. It was awful. It is a rarity for me to bring this up because it hurt but sometimes it helps to feel that you're not alone. Sorry you had to go through it though. Good luck if you decide to try again!

Edited at 2014-08-10 20:22 (UTC)
8th Oct, 2014 13:52 (UTC)
I can very much relate to this post. I had a miscarriage in January of this year...which was more like a chemical pregnancy due to my obsession with taking pregnancy tests. It sucked...but it let me know that my body was ovulating and that pregnancy was a possibility. For a transman off of testosterone for a while, this is a big deal. In March, just one cycle later, I found out that I was pregnant again. This time I obsessed about bleeding, every cramp...even going to the ER after a few cramps because I thought it was certain that the pregnancy would end. They found his little heartbeat at 8 weeks which lowered my miscarriage risk to only 5%. It's hard to realize that our bodies are meant to support another life and even harder to stop worrying about the fragility of that life the entire time.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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