I became blind….not in the ways a person loses their vision…but in the way a person loses themselves in their purpose. Burned, branded, and marked by tragedy. I drudged on, one slow, painful, aching step at a time, I kept looking for my way. I couldn’t think beyond my purpose. I sought my destination like a starving man seeks a crumb of subsistence. Nothing quenched my thirst, my goal, the end of my road to freedom was always seemingly within reach. I kept getting advice from various sources, “take a break,” “it will happen in His time,” “you are putting to much pressure on yourself,” on and on the unwanted advice flowed. I was no longer that girl with the ready smile, I was now this frantic person, trying to control something that was out of my control. In my logical mind, I knew these voices were people who had my best interest in mind, they truly were well-meaning. Their words were, however, ill received. I had grown impatient, and their words only spurred me to further my quest. I knew what I sought was going to cause me to drown…there was no good answer to be found. I had not reached acceptance yet. I couldn’t accept that I was fated to never be a mother! I began to refer to myself, as the unmother. I define her as someone who is delusional, destined to bury herself in her grief, begging for the impossible, and never accepting no. She is riddled with heartache, but she continues down the path to her pain, allowing nothing to deter her, knowing that inevitably she will be suffering the same fate.
The “unmother” was her own worst enemy. Unyielding, she continued on, she almost craved the feeling of the pain she had allowed to eat away until all that was left was this….unrelenting mutilation of her soul. She would crawl through the belly of a beast, cross a waterless desert, and walk through the pits of hell…..she had one soul purpose; motherhood. Even in her most irrational state of mind, she knew her quest was futile. She was getting nowhere closer to her baby, because she was destined to never have one…she was the unmother.
Such was my life. Nothing held meaning, one purpose, one thought, one desire thrusted me into my oblivion of denial. I would find a way……I would beat the odds and leave this dreaded title behind. It was a sickness, this need, it robbed me of my sanity, my reasoning, my logic, and I couldn’t think beyond my singular destination. I knew that I would either end this battle with a baby in my arms or my arms in a well suited straight jacket…..On to another doctor’s appointment, another blood draw, endless barbaric tests…they all ran into one endless day of nothingness. I truly had no hope, I just couldn’t abandon my mission. If I did, then all the losses, all the pain, would be for nothing? I went to the doctor for a follow up, this would be another dismissive visit, filled with “we don’t knows,” “we aren’t sure,” and “consider other options.” I went anyways, routinely checking in at an office that knew me all too well. I went back to the sterile room but thankfully today was just discussion of results, no testing, no disrobing, I was there simply to hear more of the same medical jargon that had over the past few years.
In came my doctor, she was wheeling a machine behind her….”oh gosh, they have found a new torture device,” my inner dialogue whispered. I looked up at her puzzled…..through all of this, she was the only opinion that mattered, the one I trusted beyond a shadow of a doubt, a trust that would later break my heart in a way I had never thought her possible. She looked at me, she was a pretty lady. She was on my side, the only one who encouraged me, the only voice that I felt gave justice to my situation. She knew my losses, each and every one, after my third miscarriage it was her voice that kept me from slipping over the edge where you cannot come back from. “April, we will get that baby here! You just trust me, as long as you want to fight…I will be right here by your side. One way or another we will make it happen.” I held on to that after my trip back from Nashville, when the physician there had rattled me to my core, broken me down, those words reminded me that anything was possible. Her eyes were soft, but she didn’t handle me like a fragile piece of glass. She was honest, even when it hurt but not in a hurtful way. She could say things that would send me flying off the handle had they crossed someone else’s lips. We shared this journey together, and she was the only person I let in.
“Why do you have the transvaginal ultrasound in here?” I stammered, glancing at the machine then back at her. She paused as she plugged it into the outlet, then she looked back at me.
“Because the tech is completely swamped, and I can’t send you home not knowing. I can’t leave you worrying and I have to know.” Her words were coming out slow, letting me take them in before spilling more upon my deeply troubled mind. “Your last labs revealed that you do have a blood clotting issue!” Most would be devastated by the news of this ailment, I looked at it as triumph! We had an answer, with an answer came a plan, and I was so giddy I nearly leapt from my seat into her arms. Still, never once did I register what the device she held was going to show that had to do with blood clots. “Undress from waist down, I will be back in to do a pelvic ultrasound.”
I didn’t really question, I just did as directed and sat with my paper towel gown, trying to stay composed. The door creaked open and she came inside. She began the ultrasound, and I stared at the ceiling, taking myself to a different place to avoid the prodding, the feeling of vulnerability. “April, I didn’t want to say anything but look.” She pointed to the screen…..I had become quite good at reading these ultrasounds, and what I was viewing was a gestational sac and a tiny blip right in it’s middle, about the size of a bean. The room was spinning, I couldn’t breathe, as I awaited her next statement. “It confirms the same thing your labs did, you appear to be about 4 weeks pregnant. Everything looks of normal size and range.” She was smiling now, a full fledged smile that reached all the way up to light her eyes in it’s wake. I was reeling myself, grasping at words, “normal?” The scan and labs showed I was on “target.”
“Now this will be touch and go, but it is the best we have had so far. The hormones are in the accurate range for this gestation, the sac is perfect shape and size, the baby is reading right where it needs to be. And with a lot of prayers, this will be the one that we deliver.” Tears moistened her eyes, and I found them filling mine…..logically I told myself not to hope; a lot of good it had done me before. Yet as I have confessed, I am hopelessly hopeful, that is the only choice you had when you were an “unmother.”
I hadn’t spoken to anyone, if you excluded my physician and her staff. It all seemed to personal. I barely spoke to Scotty, and when I did it was tense, short, and passive aggressive. I hated myself for shutting him down. I felt so alone, I wanted to let him in. Letting him in, meant letting in logic that I just couldn’t deal with. This was possibly the most nonchalant pregnancy announcement I had ever given. “The test revealed I am pregnant, again. She saw the sac and the beginnings of a baby. I don’t know what you need from me but I cannot discuss the odds against me and this child. So, please just keep your input to yourself, I can’t deal with negativity.” I felt horrible even as I spoke the words, his face fell, he had already admitted defeat. I knew, given the choice, he would choose having his sane wife over this insane one who continued on a fruitless endeavor that promised only more heartache. I understood his reasoning, had I been in my right mind, I would have agreed….but I would choose the hopes of this dream at all costs.He looked distraught but managed to hug me, and plant a kiss on my forehead.
“Well, those are all good signs….” I knew he wanted to say more but he knew that would cross the boundary I had set.
“I go back next week to see if we can see the heartbeat. She gave me shots to administer. I already started them tonight.” I leaned up and kissed his cheek feeling like the worst wife on earth for putting him through this. I was building a wedge between and this man I loved but needed to continue on, even if it was mass destruction. I was still 4 days to my appointment, so decided it would be a proper day to have a little fun. To restore some of the normalcy to my life, so off to swim at a friend’s pool. My tummy was already bruised and I had to tell everyone the story as to why they were there. I found myself actually having fun. I was also on progesterone to help sustain my pregnancy, it made me tired and even more moody than I had been. I went to bed and got up to go to the restroom, I then found that I was bleeding. I vomited and drove myself to the hospital. I was given an ultrasound……I should have been five weeks at this point but the sac was the size of 3 weeks and no heartbeat…..I remembered my hormone levels and when they told me the numbers I recognized the significant drop in them…..it was over. All of this, hopes shot down, dreams gone, a baby sorely missed although I had never met he/she.
I drove home numb, called the doctor the following morning canceling my appointment, explaining I was miscarrying. I would be in for labs to be sure the levels dropped to zero to be sure that I didn’t need a D&C. I had thought that the shots were the miracle cure….I had made a fatal flaw in hoping.
About five months later, I had the exact thing happen except I wasn’t able to do the shots as I miscarried two days after a positive test…….bringing me to the grand total 5 miscarriages……5 babies gone, 5 scars on my non functioning, uncooperating, betraying body and I knew I was flawed beyond repair. And still, I don’t know why I continued, not giving up, knowing it was madness….I couldn’t let it go, the unmother urged me on. She tempted me with thoughts of a beautiful, cooing baby. She filled my mind with lullabies, baby clothes, and all the sweet joys a baby brings.
I remember looking in the mirror, and asked myself who this was? When had I been replaced by this shell of a woman, when had my eyes turned from a blue and aspark with life, shifted to these gray dull eyes staring back at me. The eyes that once held hope and love, were now sad, and tortured. I saw no resemblance in this new reflection glaring back at me…..but I knew that this was no longer me, or a side of me that I knew. No the woman staring back at me was no longer April, I was the unmother. …and I hated myself for it!