In “After IVF: Pregnant but still stuck in the past,” Klein talks about a term I used as well during my pregnancy with Ev, that came after eight years of stop and start fertility treatments, several failed rounds of IUI (or as I called it, the “turkey baster method”), two miscarriages–one that came after hearing the baby’s heartbeat–and one subchorionic hematoma that resulted in two weeks of bed rest. “Pregnancy PTSD.”
This story is longer and harder and is the subject of a book that I hope to put the finishing touches on this summer.
But I wanted to share Klein’s piece today because I get it. I get that she thought getting pregnant would usher in nine months of happiness. And instead it brings with it nine months of terror and anxiety.
I am taken back to the fear in my cells as I carried Ev when I read Klein’s description:
But I’m still mentally preparing myself for the worst, running through the scenario at the doctor: the silence of the ultrasound technician when something is wrong, the stillness of the fetus, the trauma of everything suddenly being over. The knowledge that I’ll have to go through it all again. And maybe again.
Because with Ev, I know she was the last shot. That there was no way I could put myself through all of the preparing for the worst Klein perfectly describes. Because those moments are trauma. Deep, awful silent trauma. And then we are expected to confront the exact same spaces, the same people, the same apparatus over and over. It hurts. A lot.
So how did I manage?
The first few months, I was doing what I now call the “sandbag method.” Instead of allowing myself to be happy, I told few people, I said I wasn’t having a shower, I didn’t move much. Just as a community puts up sandbags to protect a town from a flood, I was putting up barriers in an attempt to protect myself from pain.
Through yoga and writing, I realized that those sandbags wouldn’t work, that there was NO WAY to protect myself from the silent room, the hospital, that if those things happened, no amount of sandbags would shield me from the flood of sadness.
So I let go. I told myself this was the only time in my life I would be pregnant. I surrendered to the fear and told myself that breath by breath I would bring her into being.
I did. And when she was born, I didn’t cry out of happiness. I cried out of relief.
I pray for Amy that in a few months she will taste those same kinds of tears.