Some anniversaries are probably best forgotten. Five years ago today, I miscarried for the third time. Aside from the fact that I brought two healthy boys into the world, it took me at least this long to stop being mad at God for taking away my last chance at a daughter. I haven’t gotten pregnant since. Part of it is because I’ve been too scared to think about losing another one. I just can’t go through that again. Granted, my chance of losing another one probably wavers around 50/50 but the idea of mourning again is more than I can handle. It was almost more than I could handle those other three times.
The first miscarriage was almost a relief. I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time; I happened to be going in for my gyn exam, and we’d been trying but I’d gotten my period on schedule so I assumed we just didn’t hit the mark. Surprise. When I started cramping like I’d been punched in the gut, they ran some tests and discovered I’d been pregnant. Past tense. There was concern that it was actually an ectopic pregnancy so when they did an ultrasound and it turned out I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I was relieved. Until a few days later when I realized, “Uh stupid, you do understand what just happened, right?” (I’m not always the brightest light on the marquee.)
The second time I’d found out I was pregnant and almost immediately started bleeding. At least I have an ultrasound pic of that baby. He/she didn’t stay long. I melted down in a big way this time. My husband (now my ex) called my mother to come talk to me because I spent the day sitting in my chair, crocheting and counting stitches repetitively. I kept insisting I was fine but I must’ve had a wild-eyed look on my face that concerned them. It took a few days but I recovered. We were supposed to wait 3 months between tries but #2 came 2 months after the first mis. I figured I’d just been too eager so after this time I made sure 3 months passed. When I found out I was pregnant again–my HCG levels are always low to begin with; EPTs won’t tell me so I have to get blood drawn–I immediately got in touch with my gyn, who put me on suppositories I had to use twice daily. At that point I would’ve stood on my head, naked, in Macy’s window if that’s what it took to keep this baby. Eight months later, Ryan Gerhard arrived. Much to my surprise, 17 months later, Alexander Philip arrived too.
But then my marriage swirled down the drain (both our expectations were way off base) and I left NY and moved to PA and started dating again, and I met John, also a NY transplant. When we met, it just seemed like karma. My divorce was final in March and in August we went on a cruise to celebrate, and he popped the question on our last day on board. We planned an August 16, 2003 wedding, and got the surprise of our life when a month before the wedding, my EPT came back positive. My period was 2 weeks late but there was a rumor of early menopause in my family. I wasn’t sure if I was happy about that or not until I took the EPT and it looked faintly pink, so I went for a blood test. John was 43 and I was 36 but ready or not, it looked like we were having a baby. Once the shock wore off, I named her Caroline (I was SURE it was a girl) and started talking to my belly. I don’t think John’s shock ever wore off. I’m pretty sure he didn’t get much sleep, between worries of late fatherhood and how we’d support a child. I think he forgot the part about loving your baby but he’d never been a father before so maybe the thing about old dogs and new tricks really is true.
Ten days before (August 6 for those like me who are bad at math), I started bleeding. I’d made my OB appointment but even though I warned them I had a history of miscarriage, the snotty nurse on the phone told me, “I’m sorry honey, but once a miscarriage starts, there’s nothing you can do to stop it; this is the best appointment I can give you.” Needless to say, not only did I not go to the appointment but I never went to that doctor’s office. (It was almost satisfying to cancel the appointment saying, “I don’t need to go because I miscarried. Thank you.” Click.) My GP sent me for an ultrasound, where the tech asked, “Are you sure you were pregnant?” Like I routinely scheduled internal ultrasounds just for giggles? I don’t think so. John was relieved but not for the callous reasons you might think; his mother had been through a rough childbirth and his younger brother Mark died shortly after birth; the priest gave her last rites twice. He was terrified of losing me and I guess at that point, the baby wasn’t real to him. He was just happy I was okay. Except I wasn’t. Losing Caroline scarred the shit out of me. I was a wreck the day after, nine days before my wedding. I managed to go in to work (I was going on vacation/honeymoon a week later; he didn’t think it would look good to take time off so close to vacation) but I cried my eyes out all morning until my boss sent me home. (It’s good to have a woman boss.) I even tried to encourage myself, reminding myself that now I could drink beer at my wedding, but it wasn’t much of a consolation. Like I said, it took me years to stop being mad at God. Now I think we’ve reached something of a detente. I’ve stopped screaming at the clouds.
I’d love to have another baby, but I know at 41, that’s probably not going to happen. My eggs must look like raisins by now. It’s taken me a while to accept that fact, and latley my uterus doesn’t whimper every time I see a baby. (It whines a little when I see pregnant women, though.)
Ironically enough, when we went house-hunting, we found a house we liked on Caroline Drive. It was okay but I wasn’t in love with it; the yard backs up to 5 other back yards, so privacy is non-existent. (Not that we do anything bizarre, but it’d be nice to not see pics on YouTube if we need to scratch a personal itch while on our own property.) After that we found another house, literally around the corner on High Street, on the edge of a park, with a huge yard. We got a call last night that there may be another offer coming in on the house. We’re not interested in getting into a bidding war so if they offer more, we’ll wish them good luck and go back to square one. Thinking about it last night, I realized, we’re not going to get the High Street house because it’s the 5th anniversary of my last miscarriage, and today we’re probably going to have another one.
I’d think about offering on the Caroline house but it just doesn’t sing to me the way High Street did, but it’s ironic. Maybe fate is pointing us back to Caroline. Maybe there’s a reason I should take another look.