SEARCHING FOR PINKY – BLOG #1
(Soon to release as a book)
It was during turbulence 30,000 feet somewhere over North Dakota, syringe and needle in hand, pants crumpled down around my ankles, my ass, bruised purple and yellow like a Santa Fe sunset, leaning against the 747’s cold metal bathroom wall for balance when it hit me – when I had contemplated motherhood, this was definitely not what I had had in mind.
It had been five years since I had first repeated what had since become my mantra – “I am a happy and healthy pregnant woman.” And later, as my pregnancy had gone awry, my In-Vitro prospects were dimming, and we began seriously considering adoption, I updated my mantra to “I am the mother of a happy, healthy child in ___ (fill in the year)”. I ultimately had to include four or five subsequent years in that blank.
But if there’s one thing I’d learned, and sometimes felt like the poster child for, it was the old truism, “Man (sic) plans and God laughs.”‘ Or as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
I was nine months pregnant for five years. That is, I had been expecting, or hoping to be expecting, every second of every day of that time. I watched as friends who weren’t even dating met, got married and had their first, then second kids. I couldn’t decide whether I was proud of or aghast at my own increasingly rabid and single-minded pursuit of this One Thing. I constantly dreaded and whenever possible skipped family gatherings, office parties, and birthday parties (don’t even mention baby showers) – the sheer number of people in my 30-something age bracket made it a likelihood that at least one pregnant person would be there. I avoided opening pink or blue announcements from all of my married friends. In short, I lived in fear of being side by side with someone else’s pregnancy joy when I felt like it was being held endlessly, painfully, inexplicably in front of me like a golden carrot on a stick that I would never be able to reach.
Until you’ve been denied something that you always naturally assumed was your birthright, you really can’t c omprehend the blistering, fuming frustration of seeing what feels like every other person in the world enjoy that same right. On a daily basis I cringed when I saw pregnant women walk past, some glowing, others glowering, but all of them in possession of the one thing I knew I wanted more than anything else in the world.
My then husband and I had met in our mid-thirties, knew we wanted to have children, and I got pregnant less than six months after our wedding. I knew the second I got pregnant; It felt like a gentle starburst inside my body. It sounds corny but I have heard other women say the same thing. I bought a pregnancy test kit and peed on the stick, and when it swelled with color, it affirmed what I already knew. I called my husband at his office. “Guess what?” I said calmly.
“You’re pregnant,” he said.
“How did you know?” I asked, surprised.
“I just knew.”
I could hear his smile.
I felt like a powerful, magical being, like I was physically gliding through space, beautiful and untouchable. I felt sexy, soft, and overwhelmingly happy.
My doctor confirmed my pregnancy and told me that my due date would be around Thanksgiving. “Sorry, but your Turkey day food isn’t gonna be so great,” Dr. Jonathan smiled.
“I don’t care,” I beamed – “they could feed me gruel and I’d be thrilled just to be there.”
They say you’re not supposed to tell people you’re expecting until you’re past the first three months, just in case, but we couldn’t keep it to ourselves. “We’ll just tell our parents and our best friends.” Two hours later we had phoned people from the east coast to the west, and told no fewer than a dozen friends.
But my elation didn’t last long. It was not more than a week later that I began having abdominal pains, and a panic rose in the back of my throat; during college years earlier, an emergency surgery had removed an ectopic pregnancy, where a fetus is growing in your fallopian tube, which if ruptured can be fatal.
As I called my doctor, the bloating, pain and bleeding were all scarily familiar. In my heart, I had a sinking feeling of certainty that this pregnancy was too good to be true and was also ectopic.