To have, or to not have? That was never my question. It was always “have.” Have many. Two? Three? Four? That would be perfect. Four. Two boys and two girls. Or, maybe all boys. Girls are a pain, I thought.
Trigger warning: This column dives into a personal story of pregnancy loss.
As a little girl, out of the million dreams I had, I had exactly one dream of being a bride. I didn’t obsess over it or plan an elaborate day of flowers, cake, chicken dancing, guests and bridesmaids.
Instead, I put a pillowcase on the crown of my head, imagined a pretty white veil and talked to myself in the mirror. I was trying to convince myself that was what I wanted.
It’s not that I didn’t want it. It’s just that I knew it was my destiny. Unquestioned. I’m a practical person who has found unfathomable love in my biological family, my relationship with my husband and my son.
We first got pregnant shortly after we were married. It was terrifying but ultimately exciting. At 11 weeks, we told our families and were excited for our first doctor’s appointment.
We arrived for our appointment and, bless her heart, the sonographer couldn’t find a heartbeat. She was beside herself and left us in the room in an effort to find someone else who had to deliver bad news to an expecting couple.
We were beyond devastated. Our parents were so excited to welcome a new member of the family, siblings were dreaming of becoming aunts and uncles and cousins were ready to expand the pool of “kids’ table” attendees.
We spent days crying and hugging and calling into work. The “could have beens” and “should have beens” plagued us relentlessly. We made a decision to have a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure, rather than allowing my body to act naturally and eliminate the pregnancy on it’s own.
In the ensuing weeks and months, we were optimistic, and I relied on my faith to get me through. Unfortunately, we suffered five more miscarriages over the course of six years. We would grieve, recover and try again.
It was a frigid December day in the suburbs of Denver when my husband and I decided to book a cruise. We had suffered six miscarriages, (one of which was ectopic and, resulting in the loss of one of my two fallopian tubes). We decided it was time to take our lives back. I was 34 at the time and wanted to convert one of our five bedrooms into a dressing room.
After all, we purchased our house intending to fill it with the laughter of children and it was clear that there was a different plan for us. So, why not take advantage of the situation and make lemonade out of lemons? The plan was to turn one bedroom into a dressing room, keep two bedrooms as guest rooms and the last room would be an office.
As the old adage goes, “Man plans and God laughs.” Two weeks after booking the cruise we found out we were pregnant. We were trepidatiously excited and kept our secret from everyone except my sister and one friend.
Although I was 10 weeks along and still had two more weeks until the “safe” zone of getting through the first trimester, after which the chances of miscarriage drastically drop, our doctor gave us the “all clear” to proceed with our vacation.
The rest of the pregnancy was riddled with speed bumps. My progesterone levels were low, so my husband had to inject me with progesterone every day for 12 weeks. I had placenta previa (placenta covering the opening of the cervix) until 32 weeks. I had to see a chiropractor two to three times a week for my joint pain. I was a hot mess!
Every single thing I went through was worth it. Jackson arrived in 2017 eight days past his due date. He was perfectly content to stay in his warm and cozy home inside my uterus, so we had to induce. His birth story is a long, dramatic and one for another time (unless you want to read it now from my husband’s perspective).
In 2019, I suffered another ectopic pregnancy. There are plenty of differences between a miscarriage and an ectopic, but the primary difference is that ectopic pregnancies can be deadly if they’re not attended to in a timely manner.
As soon as I had a positive pregnancy test in my hand, I called the doctor. Considered high risk because of my history, they got me in right away. It was a Friday, and my appointment was set for Monday. I spent the weekend in tremendous pain, but every time I called the doctor, they assured me everything was fine.
Everything was not fine. Again, I found myself in the ultrasound room with another worried sonographer. I knew the drill. She couldn’t find the baby, so she left to get someone else to break the bad news to me.
I was rushed to the emergency room after the confirmed ectopic. Another surgery. Another loss. Another heartbreak. This time, however, was different. I got to come home to the most precious two-year-old child I could have ever imagined.
That’s the thing about life. There are disappointments, setbacks, heartache and loss. But there’s also joy, love, resilience and tiny miracles.
Through all the loss, my husband and I supported each other, loved each other and had faith that everything happens for a reason.
I have been able to empathize and support others who have experienced loss. I have grieved with them, hugged them and helped them. It’s a process that seems so cruel, but we all get through life’s twists and turns.
If you ever need help navigating a loss, please feel free to reach out to me.
And, now, how about some football?
Jen’s Week 6 Friday Night Insights
I’m feeling especially sorry for myself as we head into Week 8. While reviewing all of my lineups across seven leagues, it’s glaringly obvious that I have a running back problem.
Like every other Christian McCaffrey (CMC) owner, we were all super excited to hear the news that he was a participant in practice this week. However, in disappointing fashion, he did not play in the game against the Atlanta Falcons.
My other options at the RB position are Nyheim Hines, David Montgomery and Boston Scott. Pretty abysmal, huh? The obvious start is Montgomery, which I will be doing. However, I still have the CMC slot open and need to decide between Hines and Scott.
Hines likely rode most owner’s benches in his breakout in Week 1 when he had two touchdowns, 45 receiving yards and 28 rushing yards. Pretty spectacular beginning. That was a flash-in-the-pan performance, and we haven’t seen anything near that since then. He’ll remain the Colts’ RB2 behind Jonathan Taylor as they head to Detroit to hug it out on the field.
That leads me to Scott, who had a killer performance last week. He had twin rushing and receiving yards, at 46 apiece, and a miraculous catch, resulting in a touchdown. That said, the Eagles have fared better in the passing game and have seen better success airing the ball out, rather than charging it up the field. Week 8 brings the Dallas Cowboys to Philly and that could mean a lot of points for the Eagles. Dallas’ defense couldn’t stop grandma in her electric wheelchair, let alone the Philadelphia offense.
Taking all of that into account, I’ll likely start Scott and hope the Dallas defense continues to fall apart, allowing Scott to have more carries and maybe even another miracle in the end zone.
I always end my columns with a game day drink, and this week is no different.
I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand, and watch this crazy COVID-19 year unfold. Cheers!
Game Day Drink Recipe for the Week:
Winter Weather Hot Toddy
- ¾ cup hot water
- 1.5 oz whiskey
- 2-3 teaspoons honey or agave
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick for garnish
- Combine all ingredients, stir, put on your comfy clothes and enjoy!
Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.