There is a 47 year-old mom in Fargo on the verge of delivering her 15th baby today.
The lady in China...had twins at 63... or was it Korea?
John Travolta is in 50's and has a new biological baby...with 47 year-old Kelly Preston.
There is a blog out there for women over 45 who are pregnant...been there... read it. It has 3000 members.
Sarah...Elizabeth....old. Their children? Isaac...John for-crying-out-loud-The-Baptist!
My own mother had a baby when she was 43 and he turned out to work the World of Color!
But here's what haunts me....
I met a woman who had ten miscarriages and on the eleventh pregnancy, she gave birth to a baby boy who grew up to look like Superman and was possibly the nicest teenager I had ever met. This was her humble reply "Oh, we just call him The Miracle."
Where is my miracle?
A couple of days after #4, I spent the night in our guest room kneeling against the bed in prayer, begging for peace of mind. I was there most of the night. Andy and I had been married 3 years and I felt like I was running underwater. That damned biological clock never stops. It never, ever stops in your head. I could not stop worrying about the clock. Every day I would think about "The Miracle" and every day I would cross off the calendar take my temperature, swallow the regiment of pills and snake oils and pray, pray, pray. Finally...this long night of wrestling with the Lord, was nearly over and I was so dehydrated that I thought I would pass out. So I got to my feet somehow, and when I did, I heard it clear as a bell.... "s.t.o.p. w.o.r.r.y.i.n.g."
I sat on the edge of our guest bed and heard it over and over again. It was spilling into my head. It was resonating in my sinuses. It was like someone was trying to shout at me, quietly....s.t.o.p...s.t.o.p...s.t.o.p...s.t.o.p...s.t.o.p....... but time was passing by the minute and just because someone tells you to stop, doesn't mean the clock stops too.... there's so much madness in miscarriages.
When you have a lot of miscarriages, and you try a thousand things to have your own baby, you start to think that you might be addicted to miscarriages. After number 4, I wondered if I liked the pain. I wondered if I liked the attention I got. I wondered if our parents were just rolling their eyes every time I announced to them that I was pregnant. I cringed at the thought that I was going to be known as the woman that "cried wolf." So I stopped.............telling anyone.
I didn't want my selfish need to have a baby, burden anyone anymore. After all,losing Noah was hard on everyone. Not just me.
Mormons are commanded to "bear one another's burdens, mourn with those that mourn..." and in our amazing ward group, I was a bearer, not a bearee. Since, even I was sick of my miscarriage drama, I retreated into my home, myself and Andy. Sometimes I told my sisters about them, because when you are sobbing on the toilet, by yourself, you really need someone to tell you it's going to be alright. Paula lives four hours North of me and I figured she didn't know who my church leaders were so my secret was safe with her. I'm sorry, to have always burdened you, Paula. In the end, however, they usually told the rest of the family and my mom would call... "We're praying for you, Jan." I couldn't stand the pity party! Why is it so hard to know people are feeling sorry for you? They can! They do. Because you never know when people have gone through something like it and they do know what you are going through because you have probably just drummed it up for them again.
It's not that I didn't appreciate it, but I wondered with all the praying going on, where was My Miracle? WHY was I sitting on the toilet one more time? Why did I have a green colander under my bathroom sink? Colanders are for pasta!
I decided that I wouldn't breath a word about being pregnant until I was 38 weeks along. I would just point when it got too obvious. We visited the doctor for the usual things and I casually mentioned that I was not getting any younger. My good doctor (who's youngest sister was born to a 49 year-old mom remember) encouraged us to get back in the "shark tank" as he called it and give it another go. I was 45. I should do it sooner than later. Keep in mind that we are not wealthy people and our insurance did not cover expensive fertility treatments. That's the bitter part. Why does it always seem like if you're wealthy you can have anything you want, even babies. I read an article once where aging Sophia Loren rented out a hospital wing and just stayed on her back for nine months until her two sons were born. She hired people to wait on her...for nine months! HAHAHAHA! I can't even afford to buy the glasses she sells.
We went on crazy diets, took crazy pills...pills that made me crazy, we took every picture of my manufacturing parts that my insurance would allow, autopsies, genetics counseling, allergists, energy healers... I GAVE UP DIET COKE, red meat, sugar, salt, artificial sweetners, I slept next to a thermometer for months! And still... the verdict was "we don't know why you can't keep those perfect babies."
Right about this time, the readers are thinking...did you do this or that and you want to write me and tell me what to do...or who to go and see... I love you so much. But I am done. Miracle or not, I'm not going to try for 10. Sarah, Elizabeth...those ancient miracle moms in the bible were just better people than I am I guess. You think I'm kidding! Your mind plays those games on you when you grow up thinking that "I the Lord am bound when you do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." Tithing overload, three callings at once, (I was a bad visiting teacher) banana bread to the kooky neighbors... You don't do anything, NOTHING GOES BY, without thinking that you need the "brownie points" in heaven so you can "earn" your baby...er...blessings.
But it's the truth.
So...with the "lady that had ten miscarriages" and the "lady in Korea," and my doctors mom in my mind...I got pregnant three more times in two years. And one by one.... I got out the colander.
My depression between 5 and 6 was dangerous. Andy started working out with a friend of our who is a trainer, and I turned my back on that opportunity because I was so bitter. I was making it to work, but I was not there. My creativity shut down. I produced a couple of plays that were so bad, when people said "that was the best show I've seen," in my mind I would reply "You're an idiot." That's not me.
Up to that point, I had never been bored in my life. Okay, maybe for seconds at a time until I would think up something to do or create. I have never waited for life to come to me. I could create a play in fifteen minutes, a party for twenty in ten. But I was bored at home. Andy didn't know how to help me. We watched a lot of T.V. I stopped walking the dogs.
Then I was asked to teach Relief Society. (God reaching in...he's nosey) I started to lift my head up out of the fog. Relief Society is the largest women's organization on earth. I've never liked it. I always thought it was for married women or women raising families. Most of my life, I've lacked one of the other of those skills. It made me feel inadequate when good women in the church tried to teach me, a single woman, how to be a better married person, or what to do if my kids were acting up. "Giving them an F!"... not really applicable to most moms. (I say most because you never know around here.)
But when I got called to teach, I grabbed at the chance to force myself back into the scriptures and use my teaching skills for something other than high school kids. It helped me take control back. It helped me say "I am going to live through this." It didn't happen in a day, and I often employed my acting degree rather than not show up. I've told some good lies about pregnancies/miscarriages over the years.
- "Migraine today" = need to keep my feet up. Literally.
- "Food poisoning" = morning sickness
- "Flu" = post miscarriage day
- "Just closed a play" = No we can't go to dinner with you because we are wallowing in our self-pity.
- "Going to drive to Los Angelos and get costumes for the play" = usually means we just had a miscarriage and we are going to Disneyland to get our minds off of it. It also means, we are going to L.A. to get costumes for a play.
- "We can't, we've got rehearsal" = we are pregnant and I will be throwing up around 7:30pm every night for the next four weeks. It also means 'We can't we have rehearsal." That one's also very versatile.
- "We should go home, we haven't seen the dogs since yesterday" = I am depressed and can't imagine having cheap small talk right now. I'd rather be with my four-legged silent children right now.
- "I just ate" = If I eat, I will throw it up on you. Move aside.
- "Not feeling well" = can't tell you because I'm embarrassed you will think I'm crazy that I just had another miscarriage at 45 years-old.
- I was given an award for "Outstanding Administrator of the Year" in 2009, and I could not be at the conference because I was pregnant and spending every minute I could with my feet above the baby. But we were not telling anyone so we drove 4 hours to get that award at the end of the conference. That night, I went to the hospital with spotting. A couple of days later....green colander. (I do cherish my award however. It represents a lot of hours of raising other people's kids, which I take very seriously and love very much).
Where was I....oh...How do you talk about miscarriage in the RIGHT WAY?
In the rotation, I happened to get to teach a Relief Society lesson on dealing with adversity and I found great solace in letting the women know that I had buried a child, which we didn't advertise. There was an outcry of support (and a little pity...which is easily resolved but just saying "shit" see Noah Blog Part II) ...but one sister came up to me and said "I buried a child too, and it's been so long ago, I don't think about it every day anymore." It was a promise! It was a revelation! I needed to hear that so much.
The great wisdom of God allows us to bear one anothers burdens and he even commands it so that we can hear things like that. WE DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THESE CRAPPY TRIALS BY OURSELVES. My poor husband was suffering too and I was too disfunctional to help him out. I felt rotten about that. (Always remember the husbands) But because of my upbringing, I was taught to cook, sew, clean, change diapers, tend kids, earn money, knit, crochet, decorate cakes, bottle tomato juice....ALL AT THE SAME TIME... Just kidding....up hill both ways.... in the snow...with no shoes...no, kidding. (Sometimes my self-pity runs amuck) because of my upbringing, I wanted to be able to control everything and in my life, I wanted to make my husband a father more than I wanted air and water, and this is the one thing I can not control. (This and my insane desire to have a Diet Coke)
But I don't have to lie about it anymore. Obviously, with the blog...those days are gone. There is no such thing as crying wolf where miscarriages are concerned and people want to mourn with you! I have had a lot of miscarriages. I am not crazy. I just want to fulfill the measure of my creation, damn it, and I feel that accutely every day. I'm not sure why it's soooo urgent for me and not to others. I know so many women that stopped after two because it was just too much and they say "you are so strong." I don't want to be strong anymore. I want to s.t.o.p...s.t.o.p.....s.t.o.p....w.o.r.r.y.i.n.g.
At the end of 2010, I stopped chasing babies when I reconnected with the bigger picture by letting time pass and looking toward a future filled with OPK and my insanely funny and loving husband. God loves me and does not want me to have this pain. He will stand by me and offer me opportunities to overcome it, if I will just have the faith to keep taking hold of them. He has put it into perspective for me (last blog) and he will continue to remind me that I am His child and He will take care of mine while I'm away from them.
If I get to raise those babies in the next life, it will be a kind of funny joke, won't it?...because that is a lot of babies. Think of that!