Tuesday 21 June 2011

Computer says no

I took my first pregnancy test since February this morning. I still haven't had a period - or my 'lady' as I affectionately call it! - since the miscarriage, which was nearly eight weeks ago now. Eight weeks. That amount of time makes me catch my breath a bit, although it's starting to feel like time has passed and I feel like we're slowly moving on to the next chapter in our lives.

While the Boy and I haven't actively been trying since we lost baby Beans, we have been intimate regularly so I had a little voice at the back of my head whispering about what the reason for my lady's no-show might be. While I didn't think or feel I was pregnant and had no symptoms to speak of, there was an element of doubt, and of possibility. I bore this for a few days. For me, sometimes it's easier to hide in a grey world of maybes than live in a black and white world of fact - but I knew this could only be a temporary state so I decided to take a test.

I felt very nervous doing it. My fingers fumbled over unwrapping the box and I re-read the instructions several times. I waited for a few minutes wondering - and if I'm honest with myself, hoping - but the test was negative, so I guess I need to try and be patient and hope that my body all settles down again in due course. I'm finding the waiting for normality to resume quite difficult, but in the grand scheme of things it's still pretty early days. While I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, I trust that my body knows what it's doing and hopefully we will have a different result soon enough.

When the miscarriage happened I spent a lot of time asking myself 'why me?' and 'why us?'. Why were the Boy and I the unlucky ones and why had this happened to us in particular? I think it's very difficult not to ask these questions in the early days, when you're frantically searching for answers that just aren't there. I immediately wondered what I had done wrong, or what we had done to deserve this. I felt like the victim and the guilty party all at once. And at times I still do. The guilt has ebbed away because I know I didn't do anything wrong - I know I followed all the guidelines and took the best care of our baby that I could, and having the explanation of the low hormone levels helps me accept that I'm not to blame. But the 'victim' mentality can sometimes haunt me, especially when I'm feeling sad or tired, and I have to yank myself back from that path and force my eyes forwards. It's the only way to stay sane.

In recent weeks the question has shifted and I've begun to ask 'why not me?' and 'why not us?'. The odds can be as long as they are (and I still greedily consume them - yesterday I read 0.5 per cent of babies are lost after a heartbeat is heard at 10 weeks...) but the Boy and I have as much chance as anyone of experiencing sadness - and happiness - in our lives. I feel more vulnerable these days. Before we lost the baby I didn't think about pain and loss very much. The Boy and I had led pretty sheltered lives, and apart from losing one of my best friends when we were 20, my life hadn't really been touched by death. I guess it's that old cliche that I always saw it as something that happened to other people.

But within the vulnerability there is also a sense of relief. I have a tendency to try and control my life and the world, and that is quite a pressure. 'Why not us?' reminds me that this life is fragile and cannot be controlled, we are all open to warmth and loss, and it is what it is - the good days are there to be seized and enjoyed, and the bad days must be endured and survived. Fear not, I'm not about to do a Robin Williams and run around shouting 'Carpe diem!' but I feel a little bit freer now to take life a day at a time, and a little bit more able to take my light and peace when it comes and where I find it.

And 'why not us?' works both ways, of course. I find myself wondering if I will fall pregnant again and if the Boy and I will be able to experience a family of our own one day. Or will we be one of those couples who battle on for years to come, and never manage to achieve their goal. Those concerns can prey heavy on my mind, and I long for us to be lucky and to have the family we want. But now I can tell myself why shouldn't we have our dreams - 'why not us?' and 'why not me?'. Why not?

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