I got pregnant to fix something.
At that time, I might have told you I felt so intensely about it because my cycles had always been so bad, because I hardly ever ovulated and my periods were so painful, that I just wanted my body, for once, to work like it was supposed to. I might have told you it was because I took a ton of meds for a long time and did a hell of a lot of work over many years to get off of them, physically and emotionally draining work that exposed the damage those medications had done over about a decade’s time. Pregnancy became a sort of benchmark, proof that my body really had made it through that gauntlet intact.
There’s that story out there about pregnancy and birth being this big spiritual physical amazing thing where your body will just blow you away with all that it can do, where you’ll feel like the most powerful person in the world, connected to every woman who came before you or after you who had ever or would ever give birth, tapped into the deepest soul of the universe — Yeah — I wanted that.
I needed it. Bad. And oh yeah — we both wanted another baby, too.
I was going to get this. Pregnancy was going to fix everything.
I went to acupuncture for a year to fix my lack of ovulation. For that entire year, my extremely skilled extremely traditional acupuncturist with horrible bedside manner fussed at me that I was too much of a man, too much “blood to the head”, too angry, too aggressive. I rolled my eyes at how she just never would get it, at how hopelessly outdated her ideas were about men and women.
As it turned out, once my acupuncturist finally reluctantly agreed I could try, it wasn’t that hard. It took four tries with frozen sperm. No meds. This was really going to happen.
But then I didn’t stop throwing up until well into the second trimester, and then I broke my nose (long story, but yes, it was pregnancy related). Emotionally I felt off kilter, distant. Absent. Physically, I was in a lot of discomfort. I kept trying to have a good attitude. I mean, I wanted this right? I remember one moment when I was probably about 32 weeks along, walking to the train after work, thinking “Yes! I’m finally that glowing healthy pregnant lady! My belly is finally showing! I don’t feel like absolute shit! I’ve got a baby in here! This is it! I’ve finally got the hang of this!”
Only even at that point, my skin had already been itching horribly for weeks, and then the itching got worse, and then we realized that all that itching wasn’t going away and was actually a symptom of a liver condition called cholestasis of pregnancy, and that meant the baby might die or be born prematurely, and that the baby would need to be delivered early and couldn’t be born at home like we’d planned. I didn’t sleep for weeks on end, up all night itching like crazy.
This whole thing was going to hell in a handbasket.
[To be continued in Part II…]