nearly four months ago, Froggy and i started our monthly drives to Belgium, that magic land to the northeast where we are allowed access to reproductive care. as we’d done over a year before, we got up in the dark hours before dawn and drove the three hundred kilometers to our midday rendezvous with a syringe and some of little sun’s donor’s genetic material. i’d already spent months trying to get my body and mind to a better, healthier place, and in the week leading up to the insemination, i would inject myself daily with a drug that stimulated my ovaries. after a few days of that, i would begin the blood draws, usually every other day. finally, i would go to my gynecologist and have an ultrasound to see how many follicles i had and if they were ready to be ovulated. if everything looked good, i would give myself another shot to trigger ovulation, and then 36-38 hours later, we’d be back in a hospital in Belgium, hoping that conception was about to take place.
we did that three months in a row. three full days of going to and returning from Belgium, three months of high running hormones and bone white pregnancy tests and tears and hopelessness. and then, less than two weeks after the third insemination, there was a life line in the form of a barely visible pink bit next to the control line on one of my cheapie hpts. Froggy squinted at it when i showed it to her and just shrugged. later that night, when i showed her the quite light but absolutely undeniable second line on a new test, she cried.
we were both cautious in our words. “if we make it to the first ultrasound”, “if there’s a heartbeat,” “if this baby lives.” and i think we’d both convinced ourselves that we could handle whatever came. nearly a month ago, we both held our breath in the gynecologists office as she did a seven week ultrasound. when the tell-tale white flickering of a little heart came onto the screen, Froggy and i both let out audible sighs of relief. the lines on the pregnancy tests, the digital screen that read “Enceinte”, the strong beta hcg tests, they suddenly all meant something real.
i began to talk to our little “bean”, to tell him that we would give him a good life, to say how loved he would be. i asked the bean to stay with us and grow big and strong so that we could finally meet next March. the weeks dragged by, but with each new number, there was just a bit more hope. maybe i’ll make it to the second trimester….maybe on the next ultrasound, we’ll see her moving. each week also brought increasing anxiety. i couldn’t take my sleeping pills….hell, i wouldn’t even use normal toothpaste or shower gel, so i tried yoga and meditation to help me get through the long, terrible nights.
i ate well, always remembering that i had more than just me to take care of now. and just like more than a year ago when little sun was still a bean in my belly, i felt a kind of contentment…a rightness.
the next doctor’s appointment, the first important one, was set for September 4th, two days shy of twelve weeks. i knew we just had to get there. i let myself go so far as to daydream about telling my dad on his birthday late in September. “i’m pregnant with little sun’s little brother or sister,” i would tell him and everyone’s heart would be a bit lighter.
as one of the characters on Orange is the New Black put it, “hope is a dangerous thing.” over a week ago, the signs that something wasn’t quite right started appearing. i’d been unusually angry and anxious in the two weeks before that, and all the bad signs gave me a panicky feeling. a week ago, a trip to the gynecologist confirmed what i somehow already knew…our little bean’s heart was no longer beating. it had stopped two weeks earlier, and now my body was awkwardly trying to miscarry.
since then, i’ve been stumbling through the days, stunned into silence and soaking in hopelessness. now we’re just waiting, Froggy and i both, for the “hard part” to start… the horrible physical part, which i secretly hope will obscure the other, more excruciating parts.
Monday i’ll take pills that should induce a complete miscarriage. the pills came with a warning to not be alone when taking them. our gynecologist warned of hemorrhages and made us promise to avoid taking them during the weekend because of the crowds we’d find at the hospitals if there were an emergency.
i’m fairly certain that hope and i have parted ways. just a month ago, i could still see myself with a living child in my arms. i could see Froggy holding our newborn baby, smiling in a way i haven’t seen in nearly nine month. i could still see being a parent. now i keep my eyes on the floor and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
there don’t seem to be any words for this hell, but Ani still manages to find some: