After suffering so many losses, I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a mom. Then I lost a baby. Here’s what I learned.
The first time we got pregnant it was somewhat of a surprise. We had just “pulled the goalie,” a few weeks before and were on our honeymoon when I started having symptoms. I greeted them with a mixture of denial and disbelief. Sure, I was nauseous and dizzy, but I assumed it was jet lag.
When my period was 2 days late and my breasts began to ache, we knew. We were not even fully in the door back from our trip before we grabbed an old pregnancy test.
The second line was not distinct at first, but my husband began to google. “Apparently, a line’s a line!” he confirmed beaming. We ran to Walgreens and three more tests later it was clear — we were pregnant!
I had not wanted kids for most of my life. Honestly, it was not until I met my husband that I even considered it a possibility. I told myself it was because I was independent. I joked that it was because I did not like kids. I pretended that my career and my dog were enough.
What I was not allowing myself to admit was that I was terrified. You see, I had suffered a lot of loss throughout my life, from my mom and my brother to a few friends and some more close family. Never mind the types of losses we might face regularly, like moving constantly or living a life that’s always shifting.
My husband was so certain that he wanted children, and I was so certain I wanted to be with him, it forced me to face my fears. In doing so, I realized that it was not that I didn’t want a family. I was afraid of losing them.
So, when the two lines appeared, it was not pure joy that I felt. It was pure terror. I suddenly wanted this baby more than anything in my entire life, and that meant I had something to lose.
Not long after our positive test, our fears were unfortunately realized, and we miscarried.
They used to recommend you wait three full period cycles before trying again. I now wonder if this had less to do with the body recovering and more with one’s mental state, but I kept hearing that trying right away is actually a good idea. That the body is more fertile after a loss.
Of course, every situation is different, and you should consult with your doctor about choosing the right time for you, but I was ready. And I knew what I wanted now. This time was going to be very different. I would do everything right. I was not going to leave anything to chance.
I began to read books and research. I read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Wechsler from cover to cover in a matter of days. I bought a thermometer and became very intimate with my cervix and cervical fluid. It felt like control when I had just experienced a total loss of control. I did not yet grasp that loss of control is the first taste of motherhood.
It took us one cycle to hit the bull’s eye. When I could not stop crying after watching a movie about a boy and his dog, my husband and I shared a knowing glance. I wanted to wait to test this time. To be a full week late, just to be sure.
I continued to take my temperature every morning. Your temperature rises at ovulation, and if it stays high instead of gradually decreasing during your usual luteal phase (the days after you ovulate up until your period), it’s a strong indicator you could be pregnant. Mine was reasonably high, but there were also a few dips.
Every morning was a roller coaster. If the temperature was high, I was elated; when it dipped, I was in panic. One morning it dipped well below my baseline and I was convinced I was miscarrying again. Alone and tearful, I ran into the bathroom with a test.
The results shocked me.
Two distinct lines. Could this be?
I called my healthcare provider in a panic. The office was closed. I called my husband at work. “I think I’m miscarrying” was not the way I wanted to lead this pregnancy announcement.
My OB-GYN called for blood work, and I all but ran to the hospital. Over the next 5 days we tracked my hCG levels. Every other day I waited for my results calls, convinced it was going to be bad news, but the numbers were not only doubling, they were skyrocketing. It was really happening. We were pregnant!
Oh my god, we were pregnant.
And just as the joy arose, so did the fears. The roller coaster was off and running again.
When I heard the baby’s heartbeat, I was in a New York City emergency room. I had severe pain and thought I was miscarrying. The baby was healthy.
When we found out it was a boy, we jumped for joy.
When I would have a symptom-free day in the first trimester, I would cry in fear that I was losing him.
When I felt him kick for the first time, it took my breath away and we named him.
When my belly took nearly 7 months to show, I was convinced he was in danger.
Now that I’m showing, and he’s kicking like a prizefighter, I am suddenly back in joy.
I wish I could have told you that the fears magically went away this second pregnancy. But I’m no longer sure we can love without fear of loss. Instead, I’m learning that parenthood is about having to learn to live with joy and fear simultaneously.
I am understanding that the more precious something is, the more we are afraid of it going away. And what can be more precious, than the life that we are creating inside of us?
Sarah Ezrin is a motivator, writer, yoga teacher, and yoga teacher trainer. Based in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and their dog, Sarah is changing the world, teaching self-love one person at a time. For more information on Sarah please visit her website, www.sarahezrinyoga.com.