From 2 Miscarriages to Positivity: Over 35 And PregnantBy Nikki Igbo
Published: March 17, 2015
The day was a Thursday. My husband was out of town and I was ironing his dress shirts while watching a rerun of Game of Thrones. It was the episode where the evil Prince Joffrey had been poisoned and lay dying in his mother’s arms. The first time I saw the episode, I’d felt Joffrey had gotten his just desserts as he was truly an unlikeable person with a knack for being abusive and outright murderous, but this time I recognized him as some mother’s son and his mother as someone who was powerless to save her own flesh and blood from the clutches of death. I wept for a good twenty minutes after watching that scene.
My husband and I had been trying for a child for the past three years. I had experienced countless examinations, three transvaginal ultrasounds, an injection of dye into my fallopian tubes to determine if there was any blockage, and a laproscopic surgery to remove endometrial scar tissue from my uterus. We’d had two miscarriages—one at six weeks and one at about 11 weeks. The latter miscarriage had been particularly heartbreaking because I’d had a sonogram and seen the life growing inside of me only to have it slip away two days later. I mourned for the child that could have been and wondered with very little hope in the affirmative if my husband and I would ever be parents. So as I watched Joffrey and his mother, I’d known that acute sensation of powerlessness all too well.
Still as I wept, I felt every bit as silly as I felt compassionate. Why in heavens was I crying like crazy over a television show? Maybe I was coming down with something. I recall unplugging the iron and going to the bathroom to look at my eyes and throat in the mirror. The skin on my face didn’t feel clammy. I wasn’t experiencing any soreness anywhere. My period, however, was a couple of days late.
At the thought of a late period, I felt numb as all my worst fears paraded through my head. Early menopause. Ovarian cancer. Some other strange undiscovered affliction. Anything but pregnancy. Nevertheless, to rule out what I considered the impossibility of being with child, I took a pregnancy test and couldn’t quite believe the positive results. I’d not thought of trying to get pregnant again since before my second miscarriage. I’d made my peace with God and said, “Okay, I love my husband and he loves me. If it’s just us together for the rest of our lives then I’m happy.” I figured that the pregnancy test was faulty, so I took a second test and ran water over a third test as a control. The second test was again positive. The third test wasn’t. I took a picture of the positive tests with my cell phone and texted the image to my husband. His reply indicated an equal level of perplexity, “Huh?” I texted back that I’d take another test the next day. I think we both held our breaths all night.
The next morning, the test was again positive. Again, I texted the results to my husband and then a new fear set in. Neither of us wanted to experience another miscarriage. When my husband arrived home from his trip, we talked about everything but our pregnancy until I finally informed him that I’d scheduled an appointment with a midwife. The appointment would be another three weeks off. In the days leading up to it, I experienced a full gamut of pregnancy symptoms.
First there was insomnia and ridiculously sore breasts. Then I developed a bionic sense of smell and revulsion to meat. The foods that I could tolerate to smell or stomach tasted completely different and always left a sweet aftertaste. In addition to all day queasiness and the constant urge to spit or vomit, I also experienced the strangest dreams when I could sleep and would often wake with nosebleeds. The days leading up to my miscarriages had not been this way. As uncomfortable as I was, I began to feel hopeful.
During the actual appointment, the midwife reassured me that my symptoms were indeed normal and good. My uterus was about the size that it should be for someone who was just under eight weeks along. My temperature was good. And when she performed the ultrasound, our baby was growing at the right weight and his/her heartbeat was fast and strong. I cried again, but this time with joy and an overwhelming sense of peace.
That appointment was two months ago. As of today, we are four months along, I’m starting to show and the worst days of my morning sickness (what a misnomer!) are behind me. Though I still have a wacky sleep schedule and a revulsion to meat, I feel very energetic. I also feel as if the specter of another miscarriage is no longer haunting us, though I do feel a special connection with any woman or couple who has had similar pregnancy struggles. If you are reading this, I know you don’t want to hear about staying positive or miscarriages being natural and positive. It certainly doesn’t feel that way when it’s happening and yes, you did experience a loss that most people will not be able to understand. But I’ve known women who have had five back-to-back miscarriages before giving birth to happy, healthy babies and thus I want to encourage you to do two things.
First, be patient with yourself, your family, your friends and your doctor. None of you may have the answers but that’s okay. You all want the same thing: life. Let me assure you that life always finds a way in the end. Second, try to find a way to appreciate each day you have, and that which you already possess. That may be your spouse, your career, your individual talents or whatever makes you uniquely you. I know this is easier said than done for anyone trying to have a baby or not, but I’m living proof that letting go and letting life may be the best formula for a positive future.
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