Lots of little girls play with dolls, I was no exception. My fascination, or obsession, with playing ‘mums and dad’s or ‘happy suburban family’ extended to my dreams. I would lie in bed at night and design the perfect suburban home, picturing myself preparing school lunches and driving the children around. When I was six and started year one I started to fantasise about marrying a boyfriend. I owned a large collection of marbles, including a couple of the big ones. Instead of playing the normal games most children would with marbles, I turned the bigger marbles into mum and dad whilst the little marbles were their large brood of children. Around the lounge room they would travel as a family.It came as no surprise to me, or my family that at the age of twenty I was engaged to my high school sweetheart. Even at twenty we had maturely discussed our dreams and hopes for a family together. In H I found a kindred spirit. The plan was to have three children whilst still in our twenties so we could be young parents of teenagers.
First we needed to ensure a sound financial backdrop to our dreams. I finished my teaching degree and H established himself in the field of IT, financing my way through uni. By the age of twenty-six I began to feel ready for family life. I had completed my degree and spent some time working as a high-school teacher. H had upskilled in the IT area and we realised that time was getting away from us as we grew comfortable in our double income, kid free, lifestyle.
I entered the baby-making business naively. My contraception was removed and I waited…four weeks. I wasn’t at all surprised, that’s how it worked right? The positive test left us both so sure this was meant to be. Then six weeks in and the bleeding began. I was devastated, things like this didn’t happen to us, we were always so blessed and I knew how to get what I wanted. But this I couldn’t control.
For the rest of 2011 I fell into a deep, pit of hormonal and emotional turbulence. My skin broke out with hormonal acne around the jaw line and neck. Some days felt so dark I questioned what hope could lay in any future for me. It feels strange to write that now as I can only remember thinking at times that I didn’t want to live, but that emotion is so far removed from my current life. I prayed a lot, I cried almost every day on the way to work. Sometimes I screamed at God. I can see he never left my side through all of it.
Towards the end of the year we decided to try again. My hormones seemed to be evening out some what and the acne had subsided a little bit. Another four weeks later and a positive pregnancy test. The week counting began. I was so thrilled, and so sure that this time it would work. I couldn’t face the thought of another heart wrenching six-week ultrasound and the words “I’m not getting a heart-beat…are you sure you’re six weeks?” I waited until I was nine weeks along before entering the ultrasound room again.
I took the afternoon off work, intending to go back after my appointment. H wasn’t able to make it, we only had one car and I needed it. Besides, I’d reassured him, everything would be fine, it was only a dating scan.
Waiting to have my name called, stomach churning, I remember wondering why I didn’t insist on H coming. I couldn’t shake a nagging feeling, my breasts didn’t hurt, I hadn’t felt sick yet, I didn’t ‘feel’ pregnant…but the double line on the pregnancy test said I was.
I was beckoned into a small room with the lights dimmed. The sonographer wasn’t one for small talk, it must have been a busy clinic. She started looking around with the wand, pausing at points to press keys on her keyboard. I started at the black and white blurs, amazed anyone could decipher human parts from it.
“Are you sure you’re nine weeks?”
At that point my heart sank and panic rose in a flush to my cheeks.
“Yes.” Of course I was sure, how could you not be sure with apps like P-tracker to tell you your LMP.
“I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat.”
I couldn’t hold back the tears. The sonographer casually passed me a box of tissues and walked towards the door.
“When you’re ready.”
I spent an hour sitting in our parked car howling my eyes out. Trying to cling to some sliver of hope that maybe it would be a misdiagnosed miscarriage…after all, I hadn’t even bled yet.
It took another two ultrasounds and three blood tests of declining HCG before I let go of that hope. Our baby hadn’t made it past six weeks.
I must have clung to that pregnancy stubbornly because it took a round of misoprostal to trigger the miscarriage. At the age of twenty-six I’d had two miscarriages, what kind of woman was I if I couldn’t even carry a baby. Wallowing in my own self-pity I allowed myself to go a bit wild. Having stayed away from alcohol for so long I binged as much as I could on the weekends, partying longer and harder than the friends around me just wanting to forget about it all.
But time healed the sadness. I remember speaking to a social worker at the Mater hospital in Brisbane, she gave me some perspective as I realised it hadn’t even been a year since trying and already I’d had two pregnancies. Some woman go years without even that. So I swallowed my spoon of cement and toughened up. 2012 began and was already proving to be a happier year, my skin was cleared up, I loved my job more than ever, had fantastic classes and I was a little bit older and wiser.
Sure enough, by July I was pregnant again…and this time all worked to plan, until the birth. But that’s another story.