Trying again

As I said last time, I want to talk about some thoughts that came from the most recent #pregnancychat hosted on Twitter by March of Dimes on the topic of pregnancy loss. I find I’m squeezing multiple topics into single posts, so it looks like I’ll get through these ideas more quickly than I had anticipated. Anyway…

During the chat, @sstaylor posted “How many of you are TTC again? It is so emotional.” It took me a minute to figure out that “TTC” meant “Trying To Conceive.” Yes, trying to conceive again is indeed very emotional.

It was very difficult for us to get to the point where we were ready to try again. As I’ve said earlier, my wife more or less checked out of life for a couple of years. She really couldn’t face much, and adopted an outlook of “if at first you fail, never try again.”

On the other hand, I was doggedly carrying on as if there were no emotional reverberations going through my soul, which I discussed last week. This process was not helped along by the fact that we were getting all sorts of solicitations from diaper services, baby portrait places and other newborn-based remoras. I developed a perverse sense of satisfaction in snapping “he died” at the callers as a way to make them Shut. Up. Already.

Meanwhile, we frequently discussed that this huge crater in our lives had tremendous power, and that it would either shatter us apart or bring us closer together. We made a conscious decision that whatever happened, we would make sure that it brought us closer together. We put a lot of effort into it, and at times it was that commitment – and that commitment alone – that kept us moving forward.

I tried to convince my wife that we should try again quickly. My brain told me that trying again and succeeding would wipe the memory of failure from my brain. And, of course, I was feeling like the failure was on my part and I would never make the mistake of trusting the doctors unquestioningly the next time. That I would make sure that we had a doctor that would be prepared for any eventuality and not have a laissez-faire attitude about any potential issues that cropped up.

By this time, I had long abandoned any faith in religion and lapsed back into agnosticism, feeling that any belief in a higher power was just misguided hope. I’m still largely agnostic, though I do continue to follow many of the traditions of Judaism. I’m not sure whether I can ever go back to believing again.

Of course, my wife was dealing with this differently, and needed to get through her grief before she could even function normally, let alone try to conceive again. We had some very tense days where our competing world views came into intense conflict. I said some things that were terribly unfair given her mental state that I now wish that I could take back, but they were the only things that I could get out back then, the only things that my brain would think.

A couple of years or so later, once she had dealt with her grief and come to a place where she was willing to try again (she admits that this was due to my coaxing, as she would have given up after our loss on the first try if it were not for my persistence), we visited a high-risk specialist to make sure that we knew all of the risks going into the process again. This doctor had obtained some measure of local renown after having successfully supervised the delivery of a healthy set of sextuplets, and everyone said that she was “the” high-risk specialist in the area.

My wife doesn’t want her medical details splashed over the Internet, so let’s just say that we had several challenges that we would have to deal with, and if we did succeed at getting pregnant again that there was a high likelihood that we would be delivering early again. Oh, and there was the little matter of the fact that we would be putting my wife’s life on the line if we were to get pregnant again. After some discussion and determination that we really wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we didn’t give it one more try, we decided to press on.

The next couple of years consisted of us enjoying the process of trying to make a baby. Unfortunately, as time went on and we failed to conceive, the attempts became a bit more desperation-tinged. Tests were done, more tests were pending.

My wife then had an epiphany. She found some measure of inner peace, her outlook changed, and soon afterward – magically – we were pregnant. We were overjoyed. But we now had to try to stay pregnant long enough to deliver a baby that could survive. And we had to keep my wife from dying in the process.

What emotions did you go through when deciding to try again after a loss? Or while trying again after a loss? Or continued trying in the wake of not even having partial success? How did you deal with it? Please share so that others may benefit. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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