My sister-in-law, K~, called me in tears on Thursday. “I have some bad news,” she said. “I just had the second ultrasound…” The first ultrasound, performed at her request after several days of spotting, seemed promising. But a week later, “…It’s not growing.” Miscarriage is imminent.
We’ve been on the phone several times since, she and I, my brother and I, each of us crying in turn. It is a tough loss. It is always such a tough loss. But they are handling it well, and graciously transfer all their hope and good wishes to me.
How do I feel? The immediate sense, underneath my condolences and sadness for their loss, was exhilaration. I know this is twisted, but on some underground level, I felt that I had dodged a bullet. As if the fact that the ultimate four-star dedicated mother could go through this proved that my miscarriages don’t indicate maternal failing. As if because my sister-in-law is destined to miscarry, I am not. I know this is ludicrous. But pregnancy after loss feels something like a battle, and the battlefield brings up all kinds of twisted emotions. And like any battlefield adrenaline rush, it passed quickly, leaving fear and guilt and sadness in its wake.
I was going to tell you in this entry about the glorious triumph of the positive pregnancy test…
(J~ and I, squeezed together in the tiny downstairs bathroom, saying, “Is that a line? It looks like a line. I think that’s a line!” and falling into each other’s arms, laughing. B~ the next morning, in the larger, upstairs bathroom, where we intercepted him to tell him the news. “Cool,” he said, turning to the mirror. “Wow, my hair is really getting long.” He’s underwhelmed, I muttered to J~, and B~ said, “It’s not that. I just expected this at some point.” I reminded him of my history, not to get his hopes up. And then he came to kiss me, three times on alternating cheeks.)
…All of this feels like ancient history now.
There have been moments when I’ve felt surges of confidence, allowed myself to embrace them, to tell myself, This is going to work out. There will be a baby this time. But I’ve noticed that the counter-force always appears, the equally powerful wave of doubt and dread. It seems this opposite certainty always comes along to provide balance, to remind me that actually, I don’t know. I won’t know. And even if I do make it through the first trimester, still something could go wrong. And even if I have a healthy birth, there will be new challenges to face, not the least of which might be keeping the child alive. The upshot is this: I am pregnant right now. That is amazing. That is all I know.