Posts from the ‘Infertility’ Category
Google “only child” and you get more than 31 million hits.
This strikes me as completely ridiculous. Why is our society so obsessed with only children and the good or bad aspects of being one?
I am often asked if Sabine is an only child and up until recently I would always give my very canned response with downcast eyes.
“Yes. She is, and will continue to be, an only child. It took years and a lot of medical intervention for us to have Sabine. She is very special.”
While this response was not bad in the sense that it brought to light our struggle with infertility, it was not particularly good. You see, I don’t like the negative edge that “only child” has. The word only implies “not enough” and that is not fair when it comes to a human being. We are all enough. We are all amazing creatures with cool thoughts and awesome abilities. Why on earth would we refer to ourselves as an “only.” We might be one, but we are far from only.
It is with this in mind that I have changed my canned response. When someone asks me if Sabine is an only child I now respond with, “Sabine is our one amazing child. It took a long time and a lot of medical intervention to have her. She is very special.”
I want to change the way we speak about families with one child. One is awesome. One is perfect. One is exactly what we all longed for when we were neck deep in injections, transvaginal ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and tears. One is amazing.
When I saw those two pink lines at the end of January this year my entire perspective on life shifted. My focus went from my one amazing child to the prospect of another. Then the pregnancy ended. And my husband accepted a permanent job. And we prepared our apartment to sell. And we listed it. And on and on.
Since those two pink lines I have not been the best mother. I’m not being unnecessarily harsh on myself here. Actually I’m doing the opposite. I’m allowing myself to feel all the feels that go along with major life changes and loosing sight of the present.
Now it is time to return my focus to Sabine.
It happened when I picked Sabine up from school on Friday. It was unseasonably cold and drizzling rain. I did not have a coat and my feet ached. I just wanted to go home and veg out.
“I want to take a walk with my rainbrella (Sabine’s term for umbrella).”
This was the LAST thing I wanted to do, but something in her voice told me this was important.
“Yes, let’s park the car at the apartment and we’ll leave all our stuff in it and go for a walk with the umbrella right away,” I said. “Shall we walk into the fancy neighborhood and look for the bee hive?”
Sabine’s eyes lit up and she bounced with joy. So we walked in the drizzling rain and when the rain stopped we folded up the umbrella and kept walking. We walked along the grassy median in the road and stopped to inspect things whenever the mood struck. We laughed, we played. We got a little wet and dirty.
For the first time in a long while I felt like I was fully present and alive with my little person. I was a mother again. A mother to my one perfect child and two more who might have been. And, most importantly, I was perfectly comfortable just where I was. I don’t need more. I don’t need less. I have everything my heart desires right this moment.
On our walk back we noticed some mushrooms. Sabine paused to inspect them and announced they were “a family – Mama, Dada and Baby.”
Yes, my child. Just like us. Just like us.
It’s been five weeks and one day since my D&C. Yes, I am counting. No, I really don’t want to. I wake up every fucking morning and it is the first thing that comes to mind – five weeks, one day. No longer pregnant. Staring down the possibility of actively trying to conceive. Slinking away from the possibility of more loss.
I mentioned before that I had my D&C performed at a Manhattan abortion clinic because in a city of 8 million it takes a week or more for your OB’s clinic, or his OB buddies, to get you on the D&C schedule. Some might be able to live for a week with a dead baby inside of them. I cannot. So I opted for the abortion clinic.
I did not cry the morning of the procedure. I did not cry in the cab. I did not cry in the waiting room. I did not cry as I sat, naked and draped in a gown in the “holding area,” absorbent square of paper under my butt. I did not cry when they called me back to use the restroom.
I did cry when they walked me through the doors into a sterile, brightly lit room. I cried big hot tears when I saw that all to familiar table and stirrups. I cried when I saw all the white coats, all the machines, the suction device. I could not catch my breath as they laid me back and put the IV in. I desperately needed to speak but I couldn’t find my voice between the sobs.
All I wanted was to tell these women my story. I needed 60 seconds to say that this baby was WANTED and if they saw a heartbeat to leave it. But I couldn’t. I could not get the words out and rather than give me a moment to collect myself the anesthesiologist said, “You are going to feel sleepy.”
And then I was gone.
I just wanted to tell my story. I wanted them to know this was not an abortion. I’m sure they knew from my paperwork but I still needed to say it. I needed them to know that this was my miracle that they were about to suck from my womb. I needed to share my pain for just a moment. I needed closure.
But there was no moment.
For the last 36 mornings I have woken up wondering if my baby might have been alive. Even though I know it wasn’t. Heartbeats don’t come and go. But the ache is still there.