Journey of Childlessness
I sat down to write this post with every intention of writing about my divorce. I just feel like I am not quite ready yet. It is not that I am not ready to share my story, I am I just feel like I need to tell you a different story first. This story I have never told, to anyone outside of my inmost circle of loved ones. Also, as I tell this story know that my husband, at the time of this story, and I are no longer together. It is alright though, it has been years and I am now with the most loving and sweet guy.
About two years after we were married my husband and I began to try to have a child. We were a little unsure, as most I am sure, if it was the right time or not. We had just recently moved to Texas for his new job, and finances were still pretty tight. However, after discussing it with close friends we realized if you are always waiting for the right time for something you will always be waiting. We tried for almost a year before I got pregnant. I know this is frustrating to some, but for us we knew the right moment would come and we were pretty patient. Besides, we were still very young. I remember when I first told him he did not really believe me at first, and even when he did he was somewhat passive about it. I was ready for the new-found daddy to be jumping up and down with me or offering me a hug from excitement. I guess that was not us, now that I look back.
We did not share our news with anyone, as we wanted to wait till the beginning of the second trimester to make sure everything was alright. I never had any actual morning sickness, just a lot of dizziness. This was the first time I began to get car sick though. Also, I had never had heartburn prior to being pregnant and my heartburn got to be so bad I would sit up at night crying. I knew if I could just hang in there it would be all worth it though. I had began to journal the pregnancy as a keepsake for my child. I was adopted at birth so to me this was special. I went eight weeks before I actually called to make an appointment at the OB/GYN, mostly because I was scared to death of anything medical related. Since I was a new patient, she could not get me in for two weeks, which was not so bad because a lot of time ultrasounds do not show much until then anyways. Plus, everything seemed to be going great.
A day before my ten week mark I had just arrived home and went running through the apartment to the bathroom. This was a common occurrence for me, since baby made me have to pee constantly. There, sitting in my bathroom, I stared in shock at a bright red streak. No, no - this could not be happening. I slowly walked out of the bathroom and laid on my bed, waiting for my husband to get home from a late night at work. I began having panic attacks, but eventually calmed down thinking it was just one streak and I had read that sometimes women spot a little while pregnant. A little later, when my husband got home, I explained to him what had been going on and he said I was just getting myself worked up about nothing that everything would be fine.
NOTE: I am going to pause here and just tell you that the next paragraph is descriptive so if you feel uncomfortable, you do not have to continue reading.
By this point, I had to use the restroom once again but hadn't because I was too scared of what I might find since my stomach had began cramping. I could not wait any longer, I hesitantly walked back into the bathroom and sat down, I then heard it, the plop. The cramping worsened instantly and tears began streaming down my eyes. My body began to shake so hard that I thought I was going to pass out. I slowly turned around and looked down, there was blood everywhere. I was devastated. I sat down on the bed and called my husband in to explain everything to him. I do not know what to tell you about his reaction, it was so passive. I thought this was something we both wanted. I called my best friend, who had already had four kids and one stillborn, to ask her what to do. She cried and prayed with me and told me to get to the doctor the first thing the next morning. I quietly hung up the phone and got on my knees. "God, I have begged you to protect this little one," I prayed. "God please I am not strong enough for this, please stop the bleeding. Please don't let me lose my baby."
The next morning I got up early to call the doctor's office the second they opened. They gave me an appointment that afternoon. Wow, was that a long day. When I arrived to the doctor's office they asked me if this was my first appointment, to which I answered yes. She then asked if I was excited to which I gave her an extremely quizzical look. She asked once again if I was excited to be having a baby, and I, not so nicely, looked at her and said "I wouldn't be if I was not bleeding so bad right now." She simply handed me my clipboard of forms and closed the window. My husband was there with me and he filled out the forms for me while I dazed off into my mind. So many thoughts ran through my head that day. It was heartbreaking to sit in that office and watch mommy's walk in and out with beautiful smiles on their faces. I was so thrilled for them, but was hurting so bad both emotionally and physically. Forty-five minuets passed, and I walked back up to the window to ask why it was taking so long...they had forgotten me. Another thirty minuets later the nurse called my name. As we walked back, we stopped at a little testing station for a urine sample. I was so frustrated, upset, and tired at this point I could not understand why I could not just see the doctor right away. The nurse smiled at me and asked how I was. I once again gave another quizzical look and told her not good. She just smiled and told me pregnancy is hard. She gave me a cup and pointed me across the little hall to the restroom. I turned and looked at her and asked if she still wanted me to do this since I was bleeding, and she said yes a little blood never hurt anyone. When I returned, I handed her the cup and her eyes grew. My cup was almost completely red. She then asked me if I was miscarrying, to which I replied that I thought so. She shooed me into a room and asked me why I did not tell anyone, to which I replied that is exactly what I told the receptionist when I called to make the appointment. She told me to undress and lay up on the table - what a mess! Yet another, thirty minuets went by before the doctor entered. I was so angry and frustrated by that point, but she was so sweet and caring you could not help but adore her. She checked everything out and told me that she wanted to do an ultrasound. She looked sad, and began explaining that sometimes these things happen, if fact, one in four women miscarry. A few minutes later as I lay in the ultrasound room looking at an empty screen, tears began to uncontrollably fall down my face. My doctor was so sweet that she sat in the room talking with me until I could calm down a little. I do not remember a lot of the rest of that appointment, it was mostly routine things I believe. I was given my appointment card to have my blood tested and a prescription for a pain reliever then we headed towards the elevator.
I was devastated, not just because my dream just slipped from my hands, but it is amazing how soon a mother builds a connection to the baby growing inside of them. It is not something I can even explain to you. As we entered the parking lot and began walking towards the car, my husband looked at me and said, "Oh well, we will wait the three months and try again, no biggie." I think he thought he was trying to be encouraging but these words hurt so much. No biggie? We just lost a child but it was no biggie? I did not know this then but those words would eat at me for years and cause a lot of resentment and anger. My husband did not say much else to be during the next few weeks, I do not think he knew what to say. Honestly, he just invested himself more into his work and I dealt with the depression that comes with miscarriage.
Almost exactly a year later, I was pregnant again. This time I was extremely hesitant, and I was reluctant to be happy. I set up an appointment right away. I was not going to put it off this time. At five weeks, I entered my doctors office once again, thankfully not waiting as long as I did before. I was slightly a little more optimistic since I had extensive blood tests that even evaluated my chromosomes. My husband and I once again met with the doctor in that tiny room. She was smiling this time saying everything looked good. We were then sent into the ultrasound room to attempt to get some kind of picture on the screen. The smile faded from her kind face. She would not turn the screen to us, but simply said she was not happy with the size and she thought I would once again miscarry in a few days. After she left the room I sat there and thought...Why? Why me again? The statistic is suppose to be 1 in 4, why am I going through this for the second time? I spent the next week on the couch since this time I actually was having a false labor. The pain was horrible and there was not even a reward of holding a precious baby at the end. This continued for two days while my husband disappeared into his work.
A half a year later, I was pregnant for the third time. At this point I knew this baby was not going anywhere. In fact, I knew that it was going to be a girl. I nicknamed her and bought a few clothes and books. I hardly had any morning sickness and I actually felt pretty good. I was making sure to not get stressed and even went in for a pre-natal massage. I had gone to the doctor as soon as I missed my period and she had noticed a few of my levels were lower then she would like them to be so she gave me injections. I was so excited when I still had not seen any blood nor had any cramping when I went in for my twelve week appointment. I actually had fun going to this appointment, and was probably the first time anyone in that office saw a smile on my face. I went through all the routine steps that happen during an appointment. Then it was time for the ultrasound, I couldn't have been more excited. I laid back and waited as she viewed the screen. I was watching her face intently. A tear streamed down her face. As she choked up, she quietly said so me, "Sorry." This moment was surreal. I could not understand why she was saying sorry, I was so sure this was it. I was not bleeding. My doctor informed me that sometimes your body has trouble discharging a miscarriage so there were some steps we were going to have to take in order to prevent me from getting an infection, I chose taking the prescription.
This prescription she gave me made me go into yet another false labor which was painful and made me incredible sick. It was horrible. Not only that, but my husband disappeared a couple days later to visit a friend out of town. I was alone. I had not told anyone but my mother about my pregnancy and she was seventeen hours away. The week following my third miscarriage was one of the hardest weeks of my life. I battled depression extensively and had no desire to even get out of bed. I was angry at my husband for leaving me while I was suffering so much.
Difficult years followed, as my dream of motherhood shifted from joyous hope to desperate pleading, to the grief of impossibility and finally, to settled acceptance that it just was not going to be.
Although there is much more to the ending of this story, that I will share later, I have now come to a contentness about not having children. I know, you are probably gasping right now saying why would she write that? I also know that I could adopt or foster children, but I have chosen instead to invest in the lives of those already around me and my friends children and my career. I am not angry or even heartbroken anymore, in fact, I find great joy in watching other people raise their children. I understand this decision is not for everyone, but it is the right decision for me. I thought this decision would eat away at me, but honestly I could not be more happy in my life right now because I know I am exactly where I am suppose to be doing exactly what I am suppose to do. The only challenge now is getting other people to understand that childlessness is something I have honestly chosen.
I do have one piece of advice that you can take or leave. So many divorces are caused by a loss of a child. If you have to go through a situation like I did do not allow it to pull apart your marriage. Get help, do anything you have to. In our case there was a lot more at play behind our divorce then just a loss of our babies, but we still let our marriage take a huge hit nonetheless. Also, I understand the intensity of depression, and if you feel depressed for any reason, do not hide it - talk to someone. I held mine in for so long, and to finally let it go is so freeing.