Practicing for Pregnancy

This time last year I was waiting for our first cycle of trying to conceive. It worked. We were both shocked, I think, that it had been so easy. That naïve bliss did not last long, as my first ultrasound showed a fetus with no heartbeat. Getting through that was very difficult, but we were successful again on our next first attempt. I was in really good shape too. I had worked out all winter, regularly practicing yoga and running on the treadmill. I could go three miles in 25 minutes. After the miscarriage, I, of course, tortured myself by reading everything I could find online about pregnancy loss.

That was not a good idea, especially because most of the advice went something like this:

“Taking in regular exercise, a healthy diet, reducing stress and getting your weight to within normal limits gives you something to concentrate on, and improves chances for long-term fertility. Certainly reducing your alcohol intake and stopping smoking will help, too. Remember to start taking folic acid to help normal development of the baby’s nervous system.”*

The sites were right, of course, but there’s nothing more frustrating than being advised to do everything you’ve already been doing for more than 6 months. So instead I gained seven pounds and did not get enough sleep. I advise anyone not to read this stuff since if you’re like me, it will invariably only exasperate you without helping.

This morning began my first honest and true effort towards re-preparing myself for “a next time.” I made a schedule. Up early, workout, spend one hour looking at email, blogs, and scenes from last night’s Daily Show and Colbert Report, write for four hours, get in some more email time, then go home and clean, eat, hang out. I have a lot to do before we try again, such as write a good chunk of a dissertation. And guess what? I’ve been successful. So now I’m congratulating myself and bragging to you all about my triumph. We’ll see how it goes as I try to up the work time.

But back to our two “first try” successes. Many people have told me, “At least you know you can conceive. That’s something.” I suppose it is, but I haven’t expended much energy considering whether I’d rather be infertile, miscarry, or mother to a stillborn child. Mom to a living child would really be my first choice. Natan was not my practice pregnancy.



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