The day my future husband asked my father for my hand in marriage, I wrote a letter. I decided to post that letter (in its entirety, under the category "past tense") because it’s not the same sorrow without knowing the joy first. It’s also not the same joy without knowing the sorrow. I’m posting these entries on the same day. This is how I’ve lived it, and for all those who’ve experienced a miscarriage, you know how hard it is to make someone understand who hadn’t been beside you, in the rooting, excited with the hope. "Dramatic" people might cough up. They clearly don’t understand what it’s like to experience real pain. This is a blog. A daily blog. I couldn’t write about my pregnancy in my first trimester because of "the rule," but some friends who read this won’t even know I was pregnant, so "miscarriage" is starting a story with an ending. That’s not what I do on this blog. I document my life chronologically. I’ve waited to post both these entries, after some time has passed, for me to heal. I’m tired of having to defend myself. It’s my blog and diary. I don’t do anything to be dramatic, except cry, but that’s in person… I’m living my life, and now that some time has passed, I’m posting about it because maybe it will help someone feel less alone in the process.
Philip and I decided that now was the perfect time to have a child. We love each other; our lives are as stable as they’ll ever be. The men in my life hit Peter Luger’s Steakhouse, split a porterhouse, and talked shop. My father knew what was coming. “The trifecta,” he would say. “1) I want to marry your daughter; 2) you are going to be a grandfather; 3) may I have your mother’s ring for Stephanie to wear as a symbol of her relationship with her as well as our new beginning?” My father knew we were trying to get pregnant; he’s one of my best friends. I tell him everything. "Don’t you want to wait until you’re married?"
"What for? So it looks right? Who the hell is looking? This is right for us."
At the end of their meal, Philip pressed speed dial, asked for my hand, and passed the letter to my dad. Tears came from my father’s eyes as Philip handed him the phone. “My little girl, I’m just so happy.” I started to cry, too.
Things don’t always turn out as you’d hope.
You don’t tell people you’re pregnant when it’s too early. So you keep it a secret and hope no one notices you just ordered a seltzer with lime. “Oh, I’m on a diet,” you say when they do. They aren’t supposed to know because it’s still the first trimester; things can go wrong.
Things went wrong. On our first visit with our OBGYN, at just under 8 weeks pregnant, he couldn’t see a heartbeat. “But I’m hopeful,” he said. Progesterone inserts were prescribed. “It’s an oral medication, but you will take it vaginally.” It’s a baby, not a yeast infection. So Philip, being the positive one in the relationship added, “This will be fun. Is it time to play hide the progesterone yet?” I scoured message boards for information. Well what is a normal progesterone level? At 17 (20 is considered normal, I think), mine was only slightly low. What the hell does that mean? Like now it’s true, I’m only slightly pregnant? No one said the word miscarriage. They said the word “hopeful.” So I was. I was also afraid to be happy.
“Be happy!” Phil cheered. Then he kissed my belly. “Everything is going to be great; you’ll see. You know how stubborn I am?”
“And you know how I’m good at anything I put my mind to?”
I rolled my eyes and smiled, which led to more tears. “It’s the hormones,” I said. “Well, I guess it’s also me.” I was terrified of being happy.
Because when you’re happy, it gets taken from you. That’s the hardest part about loving. It also sucks. That fucking rule about not telling people until the first trimester is through, that rule sucks. Because if something does go wrong, you need people. I needed people. I found myself writing letters to friends I hadn’t even told about the pregnancy, “You don’t tell people you’re pregnant when it’s too early, but now, ironically, I want to tell you because I need you.”
I was pregnant; we found out on our trip to L.A. I was at NBC; Phil was at CVS. He phoned me from the store. “Which test do I buy? I mean there are so many to choose from. Plus, minus, two lines, one line? Do you really care? ‘Cause the pharmacist said the generic brand works just the same as that EPT early test.”
“Holy motherfucker, you’re going to get all cheap on our first pregnancy test together?” My period was one day late; my breasts were so sore I thought I might have a tumor. Seriously, one night in bed (I’m a stomach sleeper), I turned to him in a moan. I felt a lump and worried. Everything hurt though. I swear to God, I didn’t have any idea your breasts could hurt that early on. I thought I’d get a sick heavy case of period. I thought wrong.
“I don’t care which test you get; just get one!” We giggled. Or he did.
He tells me now the pharmacist said, “Aww, you called to ask her? Look, if she has a problem with the generic one, you have her call me!” There was no problem; everything was positive.
We cried and hugged and laughed. He worried about being a provider. Worried if I was too hot or cold or tired. “Baby, whatever you want. I don’t want to fight. You can always be right because you are the woman I love.” We set the automatic timer on our camera and took this photo.
I went to the doctor at 9 weeks pregnant to learn that the fetus never developed properly. “A blighted ovum,” he said. “I’m sorry Stephanie, but you can see, there’s no movement. I can’t see a heartbeat; I’m sorry, but it’s not a good pregnancy.” He said that something genetic wasn’t right so it stopped developing.
There’s more. There’s a lot more, but I’m not getting into it now. We’re trying again. We love each other. We are family, and we’re overwhelmed by all the love and support and warm wishes. I’m still hopeful, and while being happy scares me, I can’t help it. I am. Because we survived that, the shit coming down, and that’s how you know who you’ve got. I’m happy because everything is in front of me.