Katherine Lee Bates
I go from 0 to 60 in a year's time. On the 16th of this month in 2002, I had my seventh and final miscarriage. One year later in 2003, almost to the day, I am holding my newborn daughter in my arms and thinking she will be another last. Almost 10 months prior I stood in my bathroom, belly exposed - riddled with bruises from twice daily injections. I had just prepared another one and as I made ready to stick the needle in, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it, I wanted to be done. I was weary. Weary of temperature charting, weary of injections, weary of blood draws and follicle scans, of progesterone supplementation and baby aspirin, weary of peeing on sticks and crying in disappointment or crying in fear, and of running to the bathroom and checking, always checking. I'd had 2 miscarriages already that year. One, a multiples pregnancy with intrauterine sacs and one growing in my right fallopian tube. I dealt with mild overstimming and cysts rupturing and then my tube rupturing. Then, another HSG, to get the all clear to try again. Trying again, more injections, more scans, more peeing on a stick and then low betas. Betas that don't quite double - almost, but not quite there. Finally, bleeding, and crashing betas and me crashing, falling to earth and landing hard. Trying yet again - one month, two months, three months of the same and then that 4th month after. I hit the wall. I cannot do this anymore. I have done this for years, a full decade of loss - loss of babies I had created and loss of my sense of humanity. What it meant to be normal - to lay with your husband and without knowing what cycle day you were on or even what a bbt was, creating something beautiful in the moment and perhaps hoping, but not really knowing, until later. I didn't want to know anymore - what ovary they came from and to within 36 hours. And I was tired of loss. So, win, lose or draw - that would be it. No looking back. And finally, finally - choosing to stop, I felt relief. Not sadness, relief. So that day, looking in the mirror I knew I was done - no more injections. There would be no more after that cycle, no matter how it turned out. And it seemed as though this was it - all there was and all there would be to the story. We doubled my dose, my labs were poor, my ovaries bare of follicles - slow to respond, ten days, then twelve and finally - one follicle, 19mm, mature and ready to go and on the wrong side. The side that was bound up in adhesions and endometriosis - out of position. Scrap the AI. Cry for two hours in the car on the way home. Then, get up the next morning and get on with the getting on with my life.
Only, even though I thought I knew the ending - it ended differently than I expected, and one year, almost to the exact day after my last lost baby - I found joy again.
I never take another injection or have a follicle scan again. And the story doesn't end there after all.
Happy Birthday Sweet Sadie Rose and Happy Angel Day my Easter Lily
April 15th, 2003 and April 16th, 2002