this history is strange, full as it is of pregnancies. mac and i have, for better or worse, not had trouble getting pregnant. i just have one hell of a time carrying a baby to term. i’ve heard docs call that infertility, but it doesn’t seem quite like infertility to me. then again, what do i know?

1998: first pregnancy. mac and i are both surprised, and both certain we don’t want to be pregnant. with some anxiety but no uncertainty we opt to terminate the pregnancy. i promptly have my doc place an iud.

2003: iud removed. second pregnancy. my period is late but the tests are always negative. once i start bleeding i don’t seem able to stop. i finally visit a female ob who tells me i am miscarrying. “no, i can’t be, i’m not pregnant,” i say. “well, yes you are. or were,” she replies. horrified by her bedside manner i promptly change clinics.

2004: third pregnancy. we see the heartbeat at six weeks. i start cramping and bleeding at seven and a half weeks. a very kind nurse/midwife talks me through my very tearful miscarriage.

2004: fourth pregnancy. we see the heartbeat at six weeks, a little gunshy but optimistic nonetheless. see the absence of a heartbeat at 9 weeks. one week later, when i still haven’t started to bleed, my (again, new) ob performs a d&c. lots of tears, lots of fear, no small measure of anger. plant a gorgeous plant in baby’s honor, and burn one of our two u/s photos to scatter the ashes around the plant’s base. start reading about loss and grief. have no idea what i’m in for.

2004, interval: fertility workups for me and for mac. everything is perfectly normal, except for my slightly elevated titer of anticardiolipins.

2004-2005: fifth pregnancy: effie! so thrilled to make it past the first trimester without spotting or cramping. on baby aspirin for acl. pregnancy is going perfectly until i suddenly suffer pprom in second trimester. effie is not yet 20 weeks, so i am induced and deliver my first daughter, gorgeous and dead. she has my ears and her daddy’s hands.

2005 interval: grief-stricken, we suddenly have a hard time conceiving. my ob puts me through a round of clomid, a round of clomid with gonal-f, and then a slow but aggressive round of gonal-f only. the third time around he is convinced i’ve conceived triplets. we come up empty each time. i freak out, tell him enough with the meds, start seeing a grief therapist, lose a little too much weight from the stress, and eventually start to feel better about things.

2005-2006: sixth pregnancy: bitsy! on heparin for acl, tri-weekly visits to manage my anxiety (and my ob’s). picture-perfect, easy, glorious pregnancy, producing picture-perfect, easy, glorious child. she has her daddy’s hands, but the jury is still out on her ears.

2007: seventh pregnancy: mae. on heparain, with a new (very good) ob who believes that my pregnancy with bitsy should smooth the way for my pregnancy with mae. imagine the shock to all of us when i again suffer pprom in the second trimester. i opt for expectant management and deliver the beautiful mae two weeks later, still far, far too early. her heartbeat continues for an hour after delivery although she never has a pulse. i hold her on my lap watching her chest rise and fall, knowing she’s dead and being amazed at her strong little heart.  she also has her daddy’s hands, and, it seems, his nose.

2007-2008: eighth and final pregnancy: boo(+). starts out as a twin pregnancy, with extreme nausea and debilitating 24-hour sickness for me until the poor little twin vanishes. boo continues to thrive on his own, both of us drugged with a long list of medications — some necessary, some optimistically suggested, some taken out of sheer guesswork. whatever, something works and boo arrives right on time, red face, squalls and all.

2008– : will happily NEVER be pregnant again.

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