When people ask me what is the most devastating thing to happen to me in my lifetime, I used to say my parents’ divorce. It wasn’t so much for my parents not being together since they brought out the worst in each other. It was because of the turmoil and sudden change that it brought to my life. One day, I had a bedroom, neighborhood friends and a home. The next, we were living upstairs in my grandparents’ house unsure how our life will play out one day to the next. Looking from a distance, it appeared that my life had taken an immediate right turn. Now, my answer to that question has changed.
The most devastating thing to happen to me was my miscarriage after my eighth try to become pregnant. My doctor was nearly ready to give up on me having me up my medicines with each try. Nothing was happening, though with every try, I felt like it was. My body always displayed the signs of pregnancy after each try and my period was always quite late. It seems like my reproductive system was simply playing cat and mouse with me.
It was October. My grandfather died during the previous month after six months of various hospital stays. One spring day, he was watching men working in his yard trimming his tree. He decided that he wanted to work on the tree as well. While looking up, he fell off a wall and hit his head. He made several minor recoveries but in the end, he could not survive this. The impact of grief on my family was great.
I almost skipped my next insemination because I was still upset from his loss, but I decided that he would have wanted me to and did it anyway. Then, I learned that I was pregnant! I was in great shock. I remember walking into my aunt’s house while everyone was there saying, “I have news!” The room exploded and my grandmother said repeatedly that my grandfather surely had a hand in it. It was like a joy had descended on my family after that black cloud of his illness and passing.
My doctor was relieved since I was proving quite a puzzle. My duties included regular monitoring during this fragile time. Chemicals start doubling and tripling in your body during the first few weeks after conception. Numbers were being rattled off. My numbers were never quite where my doctor wanted them to be, falling just short of the double mark. I wasn’t worried, there was life inside me finally. I would lie in bed rubbing my belly excited for the future.
After Thanksgiving, the tests continued. During this time, I was part of an interview committee at work. Candidates were coming in every hour for a set of questions. By the end of the day, we had to share our recommendation. One final interview left and our candidate was not here. It gave me a moment to check my voicemail since I received a message from my doctor’s office. Over a voicemail, I was told that the numbers for my chemicals plummeted and that I was going to have a miscarriage.
My body immediately went into automatic. It got me out of my chair, back into the room where I asked my share of questions. Outside, I appeared tired, but inside I was numb. I remember walking out of that room, back to my office to grab my purse then immediately turning on my heels to run for my car. Yes, I ran. I ran through another building to save some time. As I burst through the doors on the outside side of that building, my grief finally emerged. I let out a combination of a scream and cry that my body has never produced before. It amazes me to this day that I made it to my car. I drove home in a fit of rage. Thank God that I did not hurt anyone on the drive home.
Bear with me since most of the events afterward were a blur. It was like a lifetime of rage emerged out of my body that night. I managed to call some friends, though I believe that talked to voicemails. Once I got home, I remember slamming the door and immediately trying to destroy everything in my house. There were photos of my grandfather immediately as you walk into my house. They were the first victims to my rage. I blamed him for making this happen though I don’t know why. There was lots of screaming and crying. Several times I hit the floor in a loud thud. I didn’t care. I didn’t care if I hurt myself. My body had betrayed me.
Quietly there was a knock on the door. It was a friend who learned about my miscarriage. I refused to let her inside. My rage was too great and I was past being polite for company. She refused to leave until she had “laid eyes on me”. I opened the door. Blur. She hugged me and I cried. She asked me questions and I remember answering them, but there was no way that I was making sense. Another friend came over later per her suggestion. She left the hospital around the corner where her sister gave birth to her niece. In one day, my friend was seeing someone’s world change for the good and another person’s life change for the bad.
There was alcohol and hamburgers per my request. By the end of the night, I was worn out from the release of all that rage. To this day, I am still in awe of how much anger can reside inside someone’s soul.
My doctor agreed to let me try again after that since he was relieved to know that I could get pregnant, but you already know how this story ends. After that one more insemination was in vitro fertilization and the end of the road. My final doctor looking back stated that she believes that I was having miscarriages all along my fertilization journey. My body was simply refusing to stay pregnant. It turns out that my stubborn streak goes down into my ovaries.
The most devastating thing to happen to me was my brief eight weeks of pregnancy ending abruptly and unlocking a huge rage that lived deep in my soul. Never before have I scared myself by my own emotional state. The world seemed like a cold, dark place for those 24 hours. It took longer for me to recover emotionally than it did physically.
That December, I was waiting for the miscarriage to happen. It took 10 days for my body to release this pregnancy. Since I like to use projects to divert my attention, I had a handful of friends over to help me lay stepping stones in my yard. They were heavy and unforgiving. With one of many heavy lifts, I could feel something release in my body. Once my friends left, I confirmed that my miscarriage had begun. Part of me believes that I scheduled this heavy lifting to force this event to occur. The image on the ultrasound haunted me as it laid in a suspended state of development like a baby tadpole. I was ready to release it and move on in some way. With it’s passing, it took a bit of my goodness that was replaced only when I met my son for the first time.