The Stick and My Missing Emotions: Part 1
TRIGGER WARNING discussions of pregnancy loss.
I’m pregnant, but where's the joy? The positive pregnancy test came on May 13th, 2021. I took a test with the hope that it would read pregnant and I listened to music and took a shower as it developed. When I finally read the positive pregnancy test I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I didn’t feel anything really. Just thought to myself “okay, here we go.” It wasn’t eventful because I had already done this before. Actually, it felt more like deja vu. You see I had had a positive pregnancy test the month before on April 12th, 2021. It was a faint line and I cried in excitement! I was so so excited. I called a few people that day to share the news but kept it on the low. I was beyond excited.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the loss. I wasn’t even pregnant for a week. I remember retesting and not seeing a second line. I remember thinking maybe I was dreaming, maybe I didn’t have a positive test, to begin with, and maybe it had been a cruel trick. It was such an early loss that I remember thinking that it shouldn’t count. I wanted to act like it didn’t even happen. But I couldn’t ignore it because when I tested positive in May, all those feelings of inadequacy and sadness, and disappointment came rushing back. I couldn’t even enjoy the positive test I had right in front of me because last time it went and came all too quickly. I actually didn't tell anyone of my positive test. I just kept it to myself, but that day I couldn't help but go to the local Carters and buy a onesie or two.
I had never heard anyone talk about their pregnancy test experience. And of course, online, the youtube videos that do are the ones with exuberant, tearful, and emotional experiences. That's, why I felt compelled to include this experience, in this series is because I later learned from my therapist that my reaction was one that protected my heart and kept me safe and that it was completely valid. At the time I remember feeling guilty for my reaction, but I learned to let go of that.
But after about a week it hit me that I was pregnant because I began to get sick. I had developed much more than morning sickness and in desperation went to my general care doctor seeking information and help. Sadly, all she could do was recommend vitamin b6 and plenty of water. I didn't realize the difficulty I'd have in accessing care. Thanks to my insurance, my first OBGYN visit would not even happen until I was 10 weeks pregnant which means I went about four weeks just holding on by a strand of hope before I was able to be seen. The lack of care I received during the beginning of my pregnancy would later lead me to become more vigilant and deal with a lot more mental health issues than I anticipated.
The most bothersome part about the entire situation was that it's common. It is common for women to receive a positive pregnancy test and then not receive any care for the first month sometimes even two months of the pregnancy. It was also common to wait weeks for a new patient appointment at an OBGYN office and to have very few choices for care. In the rural town I live in, there was only one office available to me that took my insurance, and what I didn't realize when selecting that office is that they didn't deliver at the hospital I would deliver at, which was 35 minutes away. So at the end of the day, I ended up having a doctor I didn't know care for me during one of the most vulnerable times in my life. According to www.everymothercounts.org in the United States, "Nearly 84 million people live in areas with shortages of healthcare providers, mostly in rural or under-resourced urban communities." And they also discuss how women lack a clear coordinated care team, and therefore things can fall through the cracks. It's honestly a mess, and you will see throughout this series how lucky I was with the care I received in an overall system that is lacking and broken. Please visit https://everymothercounts.org/giving-birth-in-america/ to know more.
Now that I had a positive test, I thought that would be the hardest part of my journey. Little did I know it would be a physical and emotional uphill fight. Stay tuned for the next entry The Sickness.