More on Pregnancy Loss

I read a beautiful article via The Belle Jar on Facebook tonight. It moved me to post something very personal and painful. Most of my close friends know that we had a loss, but sharing our story more broadly felt important.

Here is the article:

My response:

A solid post on pregnancy loss, which is surprisingly hard to find.

“I picture pregnancy loss as a primordial river rushing through me; it carries forces so big, they eclipse my imagination. It runs through my femoral artery and vena cava, through my spleen, my brain, and the chambers of my heart. At first, this force is strong like rapids, flooding everything. With time it slows, but it never goes away. It rearranges my cells like stones in a riverbed. It never stops running, even after I can no longer see or feel it.”

We experienced a loss in late January. Pregnancy loss will take all your wounds, open them, and stretch them as far as they can go. I blamed myself for having a stressful job, taking on too much at work, not being healthy enough (and thin enough), and for pushing myself too hard at a cycle fit class. Mostly, I told myself queer and trans folks like us don’t deserve to parent. I mean, it is damn hard and expensive to make a gaby. There are numerous legal and medical twists and turns that remind you what a family ‘should’ look like, and yours isn’t one of them.

People don’t know what to say. Part of this is the language of ‘miscarriage.’ Part of this is about stigma and silence. My (former) best friend wrote “my sincerest condolences” by email and never called to check in. She disappeared from my life. A doctor told us it wasn’t a big deal and to try again. Another doctor told us it wouldn’t have been a big deal if we had a ‘normal’ pregnancy.

I have no idea how I continued to teach, to answer emails, or just get off my couch.

“Someone once suggested that if I hadn’t lost a pregnancy, I wouldn’t have the beautiful baby I have now. She was trying to make me feel better, I think, or to help me make sense of things. It was a mistake. I remember looking at her face and thinking that if I hadn’t had my miscarriage, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. ”

What did I gain through loss? For me, pregnancy loss reminded me of who I am as a person, full-stop, in addition to a person who is carrying, or desires to carry, a pregnancy. It helped me build boundaries and limits at work, and to think carefully and clearly about who I let into my life and my family’s life. It allowed me to sink into the support of the people who showed up. It was another reminder that I am resilient, and I will pass this flesh-knowledge to my child.


Midwife in the rural 204

We met with the midwife coordinator this week for our first appointment. Upon settling into the office, she exclaimed that the midwives were very excited to work with us because we would be their first “transgender couple” (and their first LGBTQ couple, full stop). We outed ourselves as queer and trans while explaining our isolation and lack of a wide-social support system over the phone prior to our acceptance into care. I think it got us through the door.

Instead of speaking about my medical history and the pregnancy, we spent the first 45 minutes explaining our bodies, identities, relationship, and how we got pregnant to an older British woman who claimed to have a gay best friend (they always do). We talked about how she once saw a trans dad breastfeed and couldn’t make sense of it. Don’t get me wrong, she was very sweet and well-intentioned. I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the office had not educated themselves about the LGBTQ community prior to our appointment, but as I sat there, I kept thinking that they had 12 weeks to at least do some Google-ing in preparation.

Finally, I decided stop the conversation and said “So… babies?!” to try and move on. I promised them videos and resources at our next appointment. I let her know that we expected to knowledge-share;  she needed to help us to have a healthy pregnancy and birth, and we would help the office learn about the needs of our community in relation to prenatal and postnatal midwifery care.

The midwife struggled fill out her “mom” and “dad”-based form, record our donors medical information (what we have, anyways), and to date our pregnancy because of our miscarriage the cycle prior to getting pregnant. We briefly spoke about genetic screenings and toured the office. We found out that there is a male midwife (a big deal in our tiny, conservative town) who she described to Norse as a “woman in a man’s body,” which was hilariously inappropriate.

At the end of the appointment, I laid back on the comfy pillow-filled examination bed and we heard the baby’s heartbeat. A heartbeat! Sure the “morning” sickness was an incredible sign of pregnancy, but there was something so very real and special about having a sign of pregnancy outside of my body and to be able to share the experience with Norse. We both teared and high-fived.

When we returned home from work later that day, we posted our news on Facebook. It is now public and I couldn’t be more relieved. We made a baby.