Discover more from Zillion Trillion
NOT a pregnancy announcement
* and yes we are trying, thanks for asking *
There are about 20 people having lunch. Ocean behind us. Pasta and Aperol spritz everywhere. Finally, the vacation we so desperately needed. And here I am, living inside a “Tragame Tierra” trying to figure out how to cover the mark I left in the chair. I’m exhausted/ drained. I thought once the process was over I would be able to move on- but a hormonal wave comes in so strongly that I have to hide in the bathroom to calm down. I can’t calm down. I also can’t come out and make an announcement during my friend’s honeymoon - so I stay in that bathroom lying to myself, saying that everything will be fine over and over again - until I almost believed it.
Getting pregnant the 1st time was EASY, despite what my doctor described as a very low ovarian egg count, even for my age - 38 at the time. We tried one time and were done. Doctors knew nothing. I knew the day that we had just made him, I could feel his soul entering this earth- trust me I’m not LA enough to believe this sounds normal but it’s the truth. I saw my friend Amanda the next day, and I informed her I was pregnant. She thought I was insane, told me to calm down, and explained to me that not using protection one time doesn’t necessarily mean that I was pregnant- despite what we learned from our catholic upbringing. She was wrong. Fast Forward to 10 months later, and voilà Atlas was born.
This time around the process could not have been more different. I was ready to be pregnant again, a month after having my first baby. I had never been happier. It was like being trapped in an MDMA advertisement for motherhood. Sure breastfeeding sucked, but recuperating from the C-section was honestly quite easy. All I really wanted to do was dance around the house with my baby and cuddle him. I was in a daze, the best kind of daze. I didn’t even know love like this was possible. I wanted more, more love, more babies- but we waited because they told me it wasn’t healthy to try right away, because of the C-section scar + because of the hormones.
By October of last year, I had waited enough (9 months to be precise). So I did what every Virgo control freak would do, and I booked an appointment with a fertility doctor, given my low egg count, and my desire to have a girl next time around- I had to take matters into my own hands.The doctor did some tests, my low ovarian egg count was even lower. He recommended IVF as soon as possible. So we did it. I have to say I was very naive about the whole process. I thought IVF was a solution, I thought I had “control”; boy was I in for a rude awakening. I got only 7 eggs, and by the time they were implanted, got to blastocyst and tested: We had 0 good embryos. I went in thinking I was being proactive,and I got out realizing I was dealing with infertility.
The doctor recommended doing 2 rounds back to back. We were down $20K, I had gotten zero results and I was supposed to double down? Im no expert in gambling but this didn’t make sense. I didn’t have it in me. I still don’t. So we decided to try naturally, after all, that’s how we had gotten Atlas to begin with.
We started trying. My whole life spun around my period. The white elephant. My days consisted of waiting for ovulation, “trying to get pregnant”, fights with my husband for simply not getting that I was a ticking hormonal bomb, and frantically checking when my period was starting. My period had become a personal failure, a reminder that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t woman enough to get pregnant.
We went to THE famous Chinese acupuncture guy, which all my Beverly Hills friends swear by; I started using an ovulation tracker; went to my healer to be reminded that I indeed had NO CONTROL whatsoever; listened to sound meditations about releasing control; worked thru my Birth trauma with a different healer; took vitamins; ate as healthy as possible; stopped drinking; stopped having fun. This had become a fulltime job and I hated it. My husband hated it. And it wasn’t fair for the kid I already had.
So, just like that, in an impromptu elopement of two of our friends in Vegas, we had fun again. We were back on track, still doing all the things, BUT remembering us. That’s the hard part about “trying” for a baby, you get so caught up in the “work” that you forget about why you wanted to have a baby to begin with.
The next month my period was late. A day late, and then two, and then three…. I kept going every 10 mins to the bathroom to check if there was any spotting. I was so scared but excited, but terrified, but scared. 2 months before I had a chemical pregnancy, so I really did not want to get my hopes up again. I waited. Minutes felt like hours, hours felt like days. I kept telling myself to relax - newsflash it didn’t help. anyone telling you to relax NEVER helps, even if you are the one saying it to yourself.
We finally got the call from the doctor, I was pregnant. Now it was a matter of making it to the 8-week mark, so I could finally get checked. I could do this, my body had been pregnant before. It knew what to do. So we waited, excited, happy, and terrified all at the same time. Until we finally heard the heartbeat on the screen. My calculations were wrong, I was only 6.5 weeks pregnant, but the heartbeat was so strong. We were SO happy. My baby was conceived only a couple of days after Atlas 2 years prior, which I took as a good omen. My Capricorn babies. Our dog Frida started being extra cuddly with me, and Atlas started kissing my belly good night. It seemed like it was all going to work out. Until my next check-up.
It was 9.5 weeks. I was almost done with the 1st trimester. No more walking on eggshells. I was FINALLY going to be able to share the news with everyone. I wanted so badly to be able to be happy out loud.
We walked into the exam room, put our things on the side, and looked expectantly at the nurse, as she was having issues finding the baby. She said she had to ask the doctor for help. I assumed she was new. We didn’t think anything of it. We waited, I took a selfie with the monitor, wanting to have memories of this moment; clueless. The doctor came in, I smiled. 2 minutes later he told us my baby’s heartbeat had stopped. My heart sank to my stomach. It couldn’t be. I never bled. I never had a miscarriage. I carried a baby thru before. He must have been mistaken. It took me about 30 minutes but I finally made it to his office. He mentioned I needed a D&C, my body hadn’t realized the baby wasn’t alive anymore, which is why I hadn’t had any bleeding. I honestly didn’t know what any of it meant. I couldn’t listen. I needed to go home. The next day I started googling what D&C was, it couldn’t have sounded more inhumane. I couldn’t do that to my baby. I didn’t know what my options were so I called some of my friends that had gone thru this before, the saddest club there ever was. They went thru the options with me: I could wait for it to happen naturally, I could take a pill and have it happen at home or I could do the D&C. After 4 days I chose the latter. Those 4 days felt like years. My baby was dead, inside of me, and I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t help him.
When I arrived at the doctor’s office, they told me it would be short, and painless. They were going to give me a Xanax to calm down and get to it. I am sorry but how am I supposed to believe a Xanax is enough for something like this? The doctor assured me that I wouldn’t feel anything. But they also said the same thing during birth after they put my epidural wrong, numbing me only from the butt down, while I agonized for 5 long hours. I could hear the doctors and nurses say I was being hysterical behind my back. I had never felt less protected. I had never felt so much pain. I couldn’t risk having a similar experience, I couldn’t physically be present for this. I couldn’t add further trauma. I knew my limits.
I called a dear friend that told me that in the US, I had the right to ask to be put to sleep. So I contacted our doctor, explained my reasoning, and demanded to be put to sleep. He acted annoyed but agreed to it. The next morning we went to the clinic very early. I was scared and anxious, my husband couldn’t go in. A kind nurse held my hand and told me she would take care of me. She told me she understood. That she had had to do it when she was 6 months pregnant, that she knew. I was not alone. The anesthesiologist was a woman, I told her about my birth experience while she listened and apologized on behalf of the other doctor. I felt seen and heard, probably for the first time since I had entered the American Medical system. In a surreal way/ in an alternative universe, this was a healing experience- a closure to the trauma I had during birth.
I woke up empty, tired, and drained. But physically I didn’t feel a thing.
The next couple of days I forced myself to get over it, to keep pushing thru because I didn’t have an option. I kept reminding myself that it was for the best, that the embryo wasnt healthy and that’s why this happened. That it was a blessing in disguise. That I wouldn’t have wanted to make that decision myself if the baby wouldn’t have been healthy later on. Nothing made me feel better. I was heartbroken. I felt guilty. My baby was gone, and I couldn’t do anything to save him.
We had already planned our trip to Italy for a friend’s wedding, it was supposed to be a babymoon. I would have been 3 months pregnant, eating pasta, wearing bump-friendly outfits, and being happy out loud. And here I was having a breakdown in the bathroom of a restaurant in Ponza. I had wanted to believe it was all a mistake. I wanted to hold on to the dream that maybe they were wrong, that I knew better. That My baby was alive. My period was the physical representation that it had happened. That we had lost our baby. My hormones, like my period, came in, fast and furious. I didn’t realize I could possibly bleed/hurt this much and still be alive.
Grief comes in waves, often when you least expect it. This was definitely when I least expected it. Before this, trips had been an escape. I didn’t realize it until now, but whenever something traumatic happened in my life, I ran away and not confronted my feelings. This time there was nowhere to run. This time I had to go thru it. My healer told me once that the only way out is thru- and I was definitely in the thick of it.
And I wanted to write this while I was in the thick of it. Most people talk about infertility and loss when they are on the other side; as a hopeful tale that things will work out. That you will get that baby, that you need to push thru. But the reality is that we might not get that baby. Things might not work out the way we want to, and we need to learn to have that also be ok. So this is where I am now. Not pregnant, trying, hopeful but scared, working on getting rid of my fake sense of control, and trying to learn that no matter what happens we will be ok.