Last night I was lying in bed, past my bedtime, and catching up on my Facebook groups as I often do. I came across a shared pregnancy progression video. The woman showed her belly for each size milestone while the man held the comparable size item in his hand – seed, fruit, melon, you get it. I should have stopped watching right away but I kept on and had to fight back feelings of anxiety and panic and grief.
Against my better judgment I searched the group for videos by a particular couple. They seem perfect. They look perfect, they have a nice huge house (those cost at least a million dollars in my neighborhood), they have infertility and yet they somehow have it all. Like – hey we’re infertile, let’s try some medications, nope let’s do IVF, bam! We’re pregnant! With twins!
I’m not going to preface this with a disclaimer about how happy I am for people who have babies, and how I celebrate the joy of each infertile couple who makes a family, and they fill me with hope. No, I’m tired of having to justify my grief. I have triggers from trauma caused by pregnancy loss.
My first pregnancy was the horrific ectopic twin cervical/ovarian pregnancy. The day I got out of the hospital I went to Target to buy pajamas. I went in sweatpants and a long coat, bleeding heavily, by myself. My husband was at work with no clue I was out of the house by myself. Those babies would be turning three years old this September. I spotted a pregnant woman in the Target and I had to swerve the cart around a corner and hide. I overheard her telling someone she was due in May. I mocked her in a whisper, “I’m due in May!” Then I said softly, “She must think she’s so special.” I was addressing all of this to a shampoo bottle on a shelf. That was the moment I really truly knew I’d never see the world the same way again.
When I got to checkout, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet in my stupor. I didn’t want to drive home because my legs were too tired to be able to make the trip back. My husband rushed to the subway to catch a train and then drive an hour meet me at the store. I waited for two hours, asking myself, Where is MY baby? It was a full year before I stopped spontaneously crying on a regular basis whenever I thought about the pregnancy. My doctors would look at me funny and suggest therapy, as though my grief wasn’t a normal response. I had a future where I had babies and then that future was taken away.
Because this pregnancy was twins, and I’ve wanted twins since I was a child, twin pregnancies are particularly triggering for me. Every time I hear about twins, I fume with envy, internally screaming, I want my twins! Since that pregnancy may have damaged my cervix, I may have an incompetent cervix now and be unable to carry twins.
Last night my grief fought my exhaustion as the anxiety and tension in my body repeatedly interrupted my drifting into blackness and I couldn’t put aside the deep yearning I have for a baby. I want nothing more than to have a baby. I would chop off my hand if meant I’d have a baby.