Some things going on in the drama circle lately brought this topic to mind… so I decided to write about it a bit. Sort of fits in well after the baby story anyway.
With having colic and reflux issues and never managing to adapt to a set schedule, Boo was a really hard baby. Lots of crying and screaming, but she did very little sleeping.
The one time we tried the whole ferber method sleep training where you let them cry themselves to sleep on their own and only go in every 15 minutes, she was 6 months old… we started at 8pm, and finally gave up at 2am, no sleep occurring in the process.
So, I seriously had my hands full with her.
She was born at the end of January. At the end of July, when she was right about 6 months old, I started dating a guy that we will call J.
J was older than me, and had been separated from his wife for about 4 months, but the divorce was not yet final due to a bitter custody battle.
He had 3 young kids, one of which was autistic… and was on a bunch of different medications and therapists that J felt helped a lot, but the wife didn’t think were needed at all.
So they were alternating weeks of who had the kids, but because the wife didn’t give the medications and very frequently missed the therapist visits, he was fighting for full time custody of at least the autistic son but preferably all three.
He told me upfront, very clearly and early on that as much as he wanted the full custody of his kids, he did not want any more kids at all, and just as soon as the divorce was final and he could get his finances stable again, he would be making sure that he medically couldn’t have any more.
J also made it clear that he was still getting his bearings after not dating for the past 8 years, and so he wasn’t looking for anything serious. I was well aware that he’d started dating at least one other girl not too long after we’d started dating, and figured there were more I didn’t know about based on his schedule.
But then, I wasn’t sure that I was looking for anything just yet either… still a bit cautious after the mess of the previous relationship that I’d jumped into too quickly, so I was ok with this… and honestly a bit glad that he wasn’t pushing towards any sort of commitment any time soon.
J was also allergic to latex.
I don’t know if they have gotten any better by now, but at least at the time, non-latex condoms really don’t cooperate nearly as well, or stretch quite the same way to fit and stay well.
And so it was that at the start of september…
I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test.
A bit less than 6 weeks into a relationship that I knew wasn’t stable.
with a guy that I knew passionately did not want more children.
when I was already barely keeping it together as a single mom with a 7 month old baby that was just now even sitting up by herself.
and still recovering from what to me was a traumatic experience with the first birth.
And so, I did the same illogical thing that I did when I had my first pregnancy test with boo, and I took another one by a different brand. And a third.
And just as before, they refused to change to the outcome that I wanted.
The next few weeks were the only time in my life that I’ve considered myself pro-choice.
Adoption might have been a possibility this time since I didn’t see J as likely to object to it as the previous jerk had… but that still meant giving birth again, and trying to survive it, and that was something that I didn’t really think that I could do. At all.
And so, I started looking online into sites giving information about abortion…. and trying to get up my courage to tell J what was going on.
I never did get that courage.
And so I told nobody.
A major contrast to the first pregnancy, when most people close to me knew within a week or less of when I knew for sure.
The one friend that I considered telling was going through her own divorce at the time, some of the problems related to unsuccessful attempts to have a baby… so she wasn’t told either.
But admitting what was going on to someone would have meant also admitting where my mind was as far as possibilities.
I wanted no one to know about that… my excuse at the time being that I didn’t want them to be sad after it ended or be upset with me, but in retrospect, I think it was a lot more from fear that they would have talked me out of it.
After just under 3 weeks of fear and worries and feeling hopeless and alone, I was starting to feel pressure that if I was doing what I was considering, then it needed to be done soon… and so I decided that no matter what happened that night, I had to tell J.
But dinner didn’t seem like the right time. And Boo had actually managed to fall asleep during dinner, and so immediately following dinner J led me by the hand to his bedroom in a sweet way that I still remember this many years later.
And so afterwards… I’m trying to hold back tears in the semi-darkness as I’m trying to come up with a way to begin the discussion… and he heads towards the bathroom, which opened right off of his bedroom door.
He turned on the light, then paused and grabbed a towel, wiped himself off and then leaned back and held the towel up in the light coming into the room so that I could see blood… and a lot of it.
I don’t think that I’ve ever been as relieved as I was at that moment.
I made an appointment the next week with a new general practice doctor to start birth control. When I told them what had happened, they just brushed it off as a wrong test thrown off by my hormone levels being off, and just being a late and heavy period… nothing too abnormal.
And two months later, just a few days before Christmas, J ended things by instant message, telling me that he had decided to live with another girl and move to another town about 2 hours away. Only then did I realize exactly how bad I’d failed at trying to make “no commitment” mean “no attachment”
About a year later, in a different and stable relationship, I ended up going to planned parenthood for birth control, as I had no insurance and their sliding fee made it about $30 every three months with no fee for the yearly female exam.
I found myself shocked at how different they were from what I had expected. Very professional, and given that they do birth control and reproductive stuff all day every day, they were really good at what they did.
I’d been on the birth control shot for about a year through the general doctor, but I’d had some side effects that he’s basically brushed off as being part of the deal. The person I saw this time asked about any side effects I was having, and had very simple answers on how to easily fix them… and their answers worked!
So, when the next yearly exam rolled around, they asked the same question… and I mentioned the solutions that I was using when I had them…
And I jokingly mentioned that with the shot suppressing periods, that my main side effect was paranoia that I was really pregnant and didn’t realize it.
And from there, the discussion went to pregnancy tests.
I told them that with my hormones being off, I was never sure that it was accurate and that it wasn’t being thrown off by hormones.
They explained that it wasn’t possible.
The chemical that is measured by a pregnancy test is only made by the placenta. So it only exists really when the placenta does… so no matter what high or low level my other hormones were, they wouldn’t fake its existence… nor would they mask it.
She also explained that this meant that a negative might actually be false if there were not high enough levels of the chemical floating around yet…. but that a positive would only very rarely be false from test manufacturing issues mostly, because if the chemical is there, there’s no other reason that it would be there.
And so why did I have three different false positives, by two different brands, within a few days of each other?
Because they weren’t false.
She said that one of two things happened.
The most common would be something called a blighted ovum… where the egg implants but then never develops a baby, and so it eventually gets kicked out by the body when it figures out that it’s not actually growing and is just sitting there.
(Looking at stuff online since then, it can be a bit more complicated.. and sometimes a sac does actually form from the egg.. but that’s the basic explanation she gave)
But she said that given the timing, she would have expected that to be a shorter time frame.
(Though I’ve seen things online of people only finding out when there was no heartbeat.. so not too sure on this reasoning.)
The second possibility that she saw as more likely, particularly because I was having pregnancy symptoms besides just the tests… and with the sudden appearance of a lot of blood rather than a slower start like a normal period… is that what I experienced was an early miscarriage.
For whatever reason, whether there was something wrong with the baby’s development, or whether something wrong with my body from the issues with the c-section, or whether my body just wasn’t healed enough yet to be ready for another round that soon… for some reason the baby had started to develop, but wasn’t able to be maintained.
She went on a bit from there… basically just telling me some stuff about miscarriages… that sometimes they never know why, but if I ever had trouble getting pregnant in the future when I wanted to be, it’s something that I would probably want to mention and that might need looked into further to eliminate issues that might exist from the c-section healing not going right.
I’d asked for an explanation… and I got it.
And while I’m usually glad to learn things instead of being brushed off… I’m still not entirely sure that I’m glad that I asked.
It’s nice to know how the tests work… and what I’ve read seems to back up the info that she gave me…
But sometimes I think I’d have been better off just accepting the brush off answer that something else was making the tests give false answers and that all the rest was just mental as a result.
Because now sometimes I find myself wondering.
Would I have gone through with what I’d been thinking? Would J have supported that, or gotten over his no more kids passion in the face of another one existing?
If he had been ok with the plan, would it have been enough to calm me down and give me enough support to be ok with it?
If he’d been ok with another kid, would it have calmed me down enough to be ok with it? Would it have changed the way that things played out in the relationship?
And as hard as it would have been in what was already a hard position… and as totally not ready for it as I felt… how would it have turned out if I did have a second kid instead of just an only child? Especially that close in ages…. I’d calculated early May for a due date at the time, meaning they’d have been less than 16 months apart.
There’s always a purpose and a plan to everything. Things happen the way that they do for a reason.
But I guess the more and more time goes on, and the massive emotions of the incident fade… and the more that the years have calmed things into more openness to future possibilities…
The more I wonder about alternate endings the story could have taken.