As young girl, whenever I spoke about the future, my plans always seemed to include having a baby at about the age of 28.
I think I picked that number simply because my own Mother had given birth to me when she was about 28. This baby planning went along with the other “one days.” One day I’ll get married. One day I’ll buy a house. One day everything will all work out. These things were not things I put into a hope chest and thought about constantly, but they were just basic things I saw in the distant future for myself.
However, as John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” This turned out to be true, because I did not get pregnant for the first time until I was 36.
I was in the throes of an exciting new relationship and decided to go full force and get married. I figured since I was basically 40, it was now finally my time to get married and have a baby. I had not tried to get pregnant before this time and I never imagined it would be something I would ever have trouble with.
Actually, I didn't. It was easy for me to get pregnant. I just could never hold on to the pregnancy. I had five miscarriages by the time I was 39 years old. I think with six you get an egg roll.
I had grown up in New York and as an independent native New Yorker, I never wanted to have the white picket fence. I had always liked children and I knew I wanted my own, but I wasn’t hiding baby books under my bed and dreaming of rattles.
This all changed the minute I took that first pregnancy test in the bathroom at work. My soon-to-be husband and I had jokingly mentioned trying to have a baby the week before. It sounded like a nice idea. Little did I know, I was already pregnant.
The minute I found out I was pregnant, I felt different. I can’t quite explain it, but it was almost like I took an instant Mother pill. I flew through the sky and across the Hudson that day, when I rushed home to tell my future husband.
He cried when I told him. We hugged and decided to get married. The wedding would be in July.
Pretty soon, my nightstand would hold a tall stack of baby books, right next to the scented candles. I was growing increasingly exhausted, but I ate my vegetables, got plenty of rest and took my pre-natal vitamins. I did everything I was supposed to do.
My world fell apart the day I went in for my 12-week ultrasound. I knew something was wrong when my doctor was silent. As I stared at the ultrasound screen, waiting for my doctor to tell me how big my baby had grown, I started to cry. She told me there was no heartbeat.
How could this have happened? I heard my doctor muttering words about this being common, but I wanted to scream. Something I didn’t even know or know I loved so much was just gone. Just like that.
They say you’re not supposed to tell anyone you’re pregnant, until you are at least three months. I guess this is why.
At the time, I wanted to shout it on top of every mountain. I told everyone. If Facebook had existed then, I’m sure I would have been sending the updates. That’s just how I am.
Unfortunately, when I lost the baby, I had to share this tragedy with the entire nation. It was more than painful. Even loved ones didn’t know what to say.
Along with the doctor, everyone loved to say how common it is. I have had a lot of friends who have had a parent pass away. Funny, I never once told them how common it is.
People just don’t know what to say when you have a miscarriage. I was also told, “Be glad it happened early.” Yes, the severity may have been greater if it had happened later in my pregnancy, but the pain was still strong. It was awful when people would say things to try to make me feel better and it was even more awful when people said nothing.
Soon I became angry. I had treated my body like a temple and lost the baby. There are crack addicts that seem to push out babies easier than me. Me, I have a fruit shake and the baby dies.
Over the course of the next two years and into my marriage, I would go on to have four more miscarriages. It took a toll on not only my marriage, but on my body and spirit. Two of these I had on my own, painfully at home, bleeding profusely into the toilet and writhing on the floor in pain. The other three occurred after about the eight-week mark, which entailed going to the hospital for a DNC each time. Basically, I had to have three medical abortions to remove the dead fetuses. There isn’t a pretty way to say it.
With each pregnancy, my husband grew more and more distant. He did not want to get excited for another one. My friends lost steam after about the third announcement. They couldn’t seem to get that excited for me. I had become the girl who cried baby.
By my fifth and final loss, I decided to have the fetus tested for any abnormalities. When I got the results back, they stated that the baby would have been a girl. I always wanted a little girl.
The results also showed that the baby had been missing a chromosome and would never have been able to live past three months. Again, I heard the infamous line about how common this all was. I was told I was healthy and sometimes there was no explanation. I was told that my husband should get tested, but he never did.
We are divorced now. I will never know if the miscarriages happened because of him, my aging eggs or both of us together.
I am now 42. I have not given up hope -- but as cliché as it may sound, my clock is ticking. The alarm is about to go off. I am starting to fear I may never have a child and I am trying to come to terms with that fact. I always said I did not want to be an old mom, but the truth is that even if I went into labor this very instant, I would be.
It has been a few years since my last loss, but I'm still raw. I often feel like the odd man out, when my friends with kids talk about their kids and how I can’t fully understand, because I’m not a mother. I have to tell myself they don’t mean to be so insensitive, otherwise I would probably want to punch them in the face. Instead, I push forward and try to remain as positive as I can.
A miscarriage can be a very isolating experience. I think it is important for more women to be able to openly discuss these issues and not feel like there is something wrong with them or they didn’t lose enough to be so sad. This is dedicated to all of the mothers who have lost. You are not alone.