recently learned that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Not long after I learned this I was cleaning out my pictures - my hard drive is at risk of overflowing with pictures of Alice - and found myself caught up in pictures I took last October, like the one above and the one below. I went for long meandering walks last year, walks that led me all over the city. I thought about a lot on those walks, but mostly I thought about babies - the one we had lost and the one we were hoping to have. I had had a miscarriage at 10 weeks the February before, which was gut wrenching and awful, and by October I was lost somewhere in the Trying-to-Get-Pregnant Ocean. (If you're not familiar with that particular ocean, it is a vast and dark ocean, a grizzly expanse of insurmountable waves and unreachable horizons.)
The year was tough, but last October was really tough. I had gone to my doctor at the beginning of the month to check my ovaries and the size of the eggs within. She was optimistic. There was one egg that was larger than the rest. It looked good. I went back a week later. The eggs were all the same size, there was no dominant egg. She didn't think I would ovulate. I shrank into the exam table. We talked about the next steps and she set up an appointment with a fertility specialist for the end of November.
Amidst the tears I came upon this soaring sculpture, her arms outstretched in hopeful surrender. I never went to the fertility specialist. I didn't need to. This is one of those better late than never stories; one of those eggs, perhaps it was the early leader or maybe a late follower, got it's act together and made it's way out of my ovary almost two weeks after that last appointment and I got pregnant. The cycle in which I conceived Alice was not a textbook 28 day cycle, far from it, but it was a cycle nonetheless. For my type-A personality it was a good lesson - things don't always have to go as planned to turn out perfectly.
I have thought about this post a lot over the last two years and hemmed and hawed about whether or not to say anything here. I mulled it over a lot the past few days after learning that October is pregnancy loss awareness month and here's what I decided: not enough people talk about pregnancy loss, and I found that talking to friends who had also had miscarriages to be one of most helpful and hopeful things during my moments of sadness; their stories quieted the "I'll never have a healthy baby" voice that sat like a dark cloud over all my other thoughts. If I can quiet that voice for someone else, just one person, then talking about my miscarriage here on the blog is worth the risk of putting something more private out there in the internet.
But as I write about this here I am all too aware of the women who have struggled longer and harder than I have. My heart leaps out of my chest for them. Maybe you are one of those women and in that case I hold you in my heart, and as the Quakers say, in the light.