Saturday, July 19, 2008

If you can't segue, then bullet point

-- My miscarriage is finally starting. One-half relief, one-half crushing disappointment. Plenty of pain and blood to go around. Once I know that a pregnancy isn't viable, then I just want it gone... knowing something that my body hasn't figured out yet is hard. I want it over with so that we can just get started on the next one. (I almost took the doctors up on getting the D&C, but my body is so good at miscarrying naturally that it seems a waste not to.) Except, there's always a tiny part of me that hoped that the doctors and their machines were wrong... that maybe there was a healthy embryo tucked away in there somewhere and we just couldn't see it-- maybe my uterus has a hidden corner or something. (Except that since I had the hsg done I know my uterus is exactly normal-shaped.) But still. I can't help but hold out a tiny bit of hope until my body gives up and the bleeding and cramping begin. Thank you, uterus, for recognizing the concept of weekend and holding out for me, and sparing me the trouble of miscarrying at work. I appreciate it, I do.

-- We've decided to do this just one more time. For anyone new to the game, this is my fourth miscarriage since last March-- what is that, sixteen months? It's hard physically, but mentally, (emotionally? sanity-wise?) I'm afraid it's pushing me over the edge. I'm losing the emotional stability and rational perspective that has always been one of my more advantageous traits. (Be honest-- you thought that stealing-a-baby-from-the-grocery-store thing was a joke, didn't you.) We can not just keep getting pregnant only to lose the pregnancy, ad nauseum, until we're both bitter, sad, shells of human beings. So we'll try to get pregnant again after the mandatory waiting period. We'll each take our amazing collection of supplements, the selenium and vitamin E and folic acid. I'll take my progesterone religiously, again. But if we lose the next pregnancy too, then that's it. That would be five, a nice round number to stop at.

-- At which point we'll start looking into adoption and etc. ("Etc" being fostering, theft, and those Law and Order: SVU episodes that start with a heavily pregnant woman getting kidnapped. Just kidding. Mostly.) But I've got a bone to pick with the general world about adoption. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with the concept in general, but as soon as people find out about what Don and I have been going through re: trying to have a baby, they jump on the adoption train. Why don't we "just" adopt? Did we know there are lots of babies out there that need loving parents? Well you helpful people, did YOU adopt your children? Perhaps a better question is, why do you see adoption as the last resort of people that can't seem to have genetically related offspring? Don't stand there holding your self-birthed child and mouth cliches about adoption, as though we have no right to even try to have our own like you did. Because we are having fertility problems, suddenly those "unwanted" babies are much more our problem than yours. Why do I have to defend my right to want to get pregnant, when you didn't? Because we need help? Because our attempts at conception are so obviously intentional and can't be written off as thoughtless reproduction? As it happens, I have reasons for wanting "my own". Some of them are selfish. All of them are human. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not ruling out adoption. It may become our salvation. And of course we've thought about it. Find me a couple that's been through what we have that hasn't spent hours going over the idea. I just don't like the concept that us wanting to do what everyone else seems to do almost without thinking, is not okay. (Worst sentence ever, I know.)

-- Random reasons for wanting to conceive own offspring: I want to feel what it's like to have a baby move inside me. Want to waddle down the street, hugely pregnant. Want to give birth. Want to breastfeed-- maybe for a long time. I am a mammal, dammit. I want what every hamster, bat, blue whale and grizzly bear--as well as most female humans-- want, on the most instinctual, animalistic level imaginable. It's a primal hunger, a force. I want to send my own genetic material into the future, for unimaginable, untold generations. Every living creature lives to do that, from the E. coli in your colon, to those blind fish that live in caves, to the morning glories climbing over our front porch, who busily make flowers and seedpods every day. I want to see what my children would be like. Would any of them have my green eyes? Would we be able to trace traits to my parents, my grandparents? Perhaps I'd have a child that more closely resembles-- in looks, or personality-- my brother or sister than me. "You are so much like your uncle, did you know that?" Would they have our intelligences? Our stubbornness? Or perhaps they'd be completely different. Sometimes the apple does fall far away; we all know someone that is completely different than either parent. That would be cool, too.

--I play with Mendel, trying to figure out statistical likelihoods. My paternal grandfather, a Russian Jew, had blue eyes. (If you don't know, that's fairly unusual.) Because of that, even though my dad has the much more typical dark, dark eyes of his mother, he carries a gene for light eyes, so marrying my green-eyed mother made it possible for me to have her green eyes, and my brother to have (our grandfather's? Or something from our mother's side?) blue, and my sister to get his deep brown. Meanwhile, my dad's sister, who of course also had dark brown eyes but was carrying the recessive gene, married my uncle who has the standard dark eyes, and they had three brown-eyed offspring, my cousins. But any of them could be carrying an unexpressed blue-eyed gene, which has manifested again in my cousin Robin's baby; even though both she and her partner have brown eyes, this dark-eyed, dark haired couple has a baby with blue eyes and (so far) red hair. My long-deceased grandfather's blue eyes have shown up again, two generations later. Because I married someone with beautiful hazel eyes, it's certain that our children would have light eyes-- blue, green, or hazel. That stuff fascinates me, and I always assumed that one day I'd see it carried out into the next generation. Yeah, I know, it's a stupid reason to have kids. But tell me that you didn't spend hours wondering (when you were pregnant, when you were trying, or just whenever) about the same kinds of things. Hoping that some defining trait of a well-loved relative would manifest in your own offspring, wondering if the baby you carried would have your height or your husband's non-height. The first thing a family does upon seeing a new baby, is to start arguing over its features. Mothers will inform anyone who is listening that so-and-so (usually the dad) looked JUST like that as a newborn. It's a cliche, and yet the fact that it's a cliche demonstrates that it's not just me who has this selfish desire to see my own traits, my husbands, and my family's, be re-born.

So before you write me off as selfish for trying so, so hard to get pregnant (and stay that way), you had better have adopted your own children-- and not as a last resort when nothing else worked. Only then can you prove that you didn't have the exact same reasons-- or ones just as silly-- for having your babies the traditional way.


MotionDoc said...

Beautiful post, Mara, and very well put. I don't think you're silly at all, nor are your reasons frivolous.

BTW, have you considered trying some chiropractic care? I've heard anecdotally about many women becoming pregnant after years of trying with getting their spines aligned and their nervous system in balance.

Feel free to email me if you'd like help finding someone close to you, at the very least, you can talk to someone about your particular situation and see if it's a fit...

Just a thought!
-Mindi22 from MDC

Anonymous said...


Very well put. I am sorry that you're going through this again.

I get it, I have my Grandfather's blue eyes and his & my Dad's crooked smile...

Jaclyn from MDC

healthboy21 said...

(bella using Jordan's login)
I'm constantly in awe of your ability to remain so well spoken and honest, even when emotions could threaten to take over. You've got the makings of a great parent, and I can't say it enough - bugger on what anyone else might or might not say.

I was condemned by a few folks I knew because we DID get pregnant, not only naturally, but apparently had the audacity to continue to populate the planet - never mind the fact that this guy had a crap childhood and therefore, thinks all people who become parents are mental deranged...

Honestly, you can't make everyone happy, no matter how true the cause. Someone, somewhere, will always point the finger of doom and say "shame on you". I say shrug them off - you owe absolutely no one an explanation; except of course for yourself.

as always - much love to you guys!

Mara said...

Thanks, you guys. I was hoping I wasn't going to get slammed for that post... was even thinking of taking it down. Now I'm glad I didn't.

Bella, I can't believe anyone would condemn you and Jordan for starting a family, especially when anyone with eyes can see what great parents you are (and clearly were going to be, at that point.) What a chowderbrain.

Mindi, I haven't really thought about seeing a chiro--at least, not for this reason-- since we seem to get pregnant so easily. But maybe I will now. It can't hurt, right?

Rachel said...

I so understand what you are saying, Mara. I hate it people who don't have a clue and haven't been there try to give advice on whatever situation you find yourself. I get it every single day from helpfully married women who live on the west side and have nannies so they can go shopping. ((((MARA))))

You have every right to want a biological child and I cannot imagine anyone flaming you for that.

Anonymous said...

I love it when people ask me about IVF and adoption. "Are you going to try IVF? Are you going to adopt?".
As if either one of those options is something I can just pop into Walmart for.
Plus do they think that people trying to have a baby haven't thought of all the options?
STFU already.
You shouldn't have to defend your choices. Do what is right for you and your husband.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meenagirl said...

Found my way over here from MDC. I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope that the 5th time is the charm!

Also wanted to let you know that there are many of us out there that don't feel like adoption is a last resort. We are going through an adoption (babe was placed with us 7 weeks ago!) right now even though we are biologically able to have children.

Peace to you on whatever direction your path to motherhood ends up taking.

Erin said...

I just read this post (clicked on your link on MDC) and just wanted to say..

so beautiful. Your expression of your pain and hope and misery..

WiseMóna said...

I just found your blog. I was looking for information on keeping chickens (I live in Ireland) and found your article. (great help by the way). I am just astounded at your strength to carry on through such a hard time in your life. My sister lost a baby after years and years of IVF treatment so my hubby and I made a very concious decision never to go down that road. If we failed to naturally conceive we would look into adoption. And now, 2 babies later we are finally in the throes of parenting bliss. We chose to go with Catholic Social Services (we were living in Ohio for 15 yrs) although niether of us are religious this organisation did not have one case overturned in 48 years and that was good enough for me to start with. We choose to locally adopt and also have an open adoption where we got to know the birth family.
They told us in adoption class that adopting a baby never ever replaces the baby you wanted to give birth to and I have no way of knowing or agreeing with that statement. All I know, is that as strong as you are, you will find the strength to build your family - one way or the other!
You give women hope. I am so happy to have found your story. It is inspiring. Hang in there!
Feel free to check out my blog to see photos of my two crumb catchers! wiseirishblog.blogspot