A few months after our daughter turned 2, my partner and I decided to try for a second baby. Because of how unintentional and easy is was to get pregnant the first time, we hadn't really thought about the alternative. What happened next would become a lengthy, frustrating battle with more than one loss. I know my partner struggled with his role, his own anxieties, and his personal pains over things not going according to plan. However, I'd simultaneously been hurt by questions no dad should ask a partner who's trying to conceive. It's not his fault — I know this now — but some questions are better left unspoken.
After that first conversation of "let's do this again," I discovered I was pregnant late Sept. 2009. Hopeful and delighted, I went to that first appointment with the same mindset I had when pregnant with my daughter, only the news I received wasn't expected. I lost the baby. Before I could fully celebrate, he, or she, was gone. Devastated and defeated, it was the first time I felt the realness of infertility. While I'd always struggled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) that left me in endless pain from cysts and irregular menstrual cycles, along with a tilted uterus, my first pregnancy spoiled me into thinking it's easy to make a baby. For some of us, it's not. I was lucky the first time but, after that loss, I wasn't so lucky.
More than year later, after sex had become mundane and my life revolved around peak fertile cycles instead of romance or desire, I still hadn't become pregnant again. My doctor talked to me about fertility drugs and, before I left, we made the next appointment to start using them. Then, to my surprise, I was pregnant again and cancelled that appointment. Within days, I lost that baby, too. I can only explain this portion of my life as paused. Everyone else, it seemed, floated effortlessly in motion while I watched from afar. I'd been trying to have this baby for so long, I'd forgotten how to live.
Weeks later (while on my period), I had the sudden urge to take a pregnancy test. Why? I have no real answer, except there was an intense of intensity I couldn't shake. It was positive, and when I went to the doctor this time, there was a heartbeat and it was strong. I had my son in Oct. 2011 — his sister's birthday, five years apart. Even now, when I think back on those days of wistful disappointment, I mourn. I lost so much more than babies — I lost myself. If only my partner had known, instinctively, to be more sensitive as we tried, and failed, to conceive, it might've made it a little easier. With that, if you and your partner are in the thick of this special kind of hell, this is for you.