by Faiza Hameer
As I write this, I am waiting to lose my tenth pregnancy in a row.
Just that phrase alone sounds like insanity. Trying the same thing over again expecting a different outcome is the very definition of insanity.
But yet here I am, shocked and surprised.
I also find myself shocked and surprised at HOW shocked and surprised I feel.
How still vivid and new this heartbreak feels despite so many prior visits.
Like most people who have suffered from recurrent miscarriage, I have been tested for everything under the sun, yet remain “unexplained.”
Over the last two years my life has revolved around 28-day cycles in which I both desperately hope for another positive pregnancy test, and in which I do not want to hope too much lest I jinx myself.
I have tried medications, injections, vitamins, infusions. I have tried losing weight and gaining weight, exercising more or being as sedentary as possible.
I once ate pineapple core every day for three straight weeks.
I have tried every potion and fertility tea out there (thank you, Amazon). I re-arranged my kitchen for better feng shui and changed my cooking pots to allow for less chemicals.
I have tried acupuncture, meditation, and yoga.
I have read for thousands and thousands of hours on the internet for a miracle solution.
As many of you have also experienced, the cost of this has been far more than financial. I have canceled life plans more times than I can count for various appointments, tests, or because I needed to stay home and miscarry and cry, or because I was newly pregnant and afraid to do anything at all.
I have been often a bad friend, bitter and envious towards those whom it feels my most ardent desire has come to so easily.
I do recognize the irony in that I also have two miraculous living children, from my first two uneventful pregnancies that also came easily and dare I say it, thoughtlessly.
Yet emotions are illogical and I find myself tearful often when I see pregnant women and people with small babies.
Pregnancy announcements are daggers in my heart. I’m likely at times not as good of a parent, so locked into the future that I am missing the present and fleeting baby-ness of the children I have.
I am afraid to make vacation plans, afraid to make work plans – everything perpetually on hold in case I have another chance at a miracle. My marriage has been strained in every way possible.
How must it be to watch the one you love endure such masochism – acting in a way where future heartbreak will come again and again and again.
For the most part, this journey has been silent.
Often I have dreamt of writing about this struggle in the past tense – perhaps posting a cute Instagram photo with an ultrasound or a tiny baby shoe or a rainbow onesie that acknowledges my history of struggle tied in a bow of the more promising future.
The whole idea of having a “rainbow baby” is that some good comes out of the storm. That if you suffer enough through rain and wind and heartbreak that happiness will come for you.
If you are not weak enough to give up, it will be there for you.
That if you really wanted it, you would keep trying.
However, it is more and more apparent to me that not everyone will get a rainbow baby.
I am likely one of those people, with my chances diminishing further into minuscule with every recurrent loss, with every month of aging eggs and ovaries, with every failure of every new experimental treatment.
What will that mean for me if a rainbow does not show up?
What do I get for all this heartbreak and struggle?
Where is my prize for my hard work, sacrifice, perseverance (insane perseverance) and stick-to-it attitude?
As I reflect on this, while waiting for cramping to turn to bleeding to turn to a new cycle, I think likely the answer lies in gratitude for the present. Moving past what “I want” into an appreciation of “what I have.”
And I suspect to many this article will feel like an adult temper tantrum about not getting what I want, or wanting more when I have been blessed enough.
The adult me knows that life isn’t fair. Many struggle more than I have or will. Many have greater tragedy or loss than these I have experienced.
But yet, this is a difficult road to walk, and an even more difficult road to walk alone.
My hope is that someone who needs to see this will read this and feel a kinship. That they are not alone in this bizarre club that gets pregnant so easily but loses them just as fast.
That this will reach others who see a positive pregnancy test and cry in anticipation of what sorrow will come.
Today I cannot tell you for sure if I will make the decision to try again or if I will make the perhaps braver decision to move forward.
I do hope that I will update this article at one point, with a retrospective feeling of peace. That I will tell you that I moved past this period of my life with a sense of strength as opposed to defeat.
That we both can survive.
That this is a horrible journey but not a life sentence.
And perhaps most importantly, that a rainbow may or may not look like a baby but that it will come for us in some other form of life’s karma and that happiness will be there for us when it does.