I learned from the very first time I was pregnant and saw the blood stains on my underwear to keep my fear and disappointment to myself. Maybe, just maybe, it was a false alarm. If I kept this secret then I could bargain with the Heavens as I prayed the rosary. I’d promise to work less, stop making love, I’d take the horse pill-sized supplements, I’d brew and drink the foul-smelling, nasty tasting potion my acupuncturist prescribed, and slather peanut butter on my stomach and hop on one foot naked, if anyone could guarantee that I wouldn’t miscarry.
I kept my misery to myself to avoid the well-meaning pitying looks and platitudes, to pretend that I was like every female in my family and group of friends, who seemed to sneeze and get pregnant. They were on their second or third child and I couldn’t get farther than the first trimester. When an ectopic pregnancy ruptured my right fallopian tube and halved my chances of conceiving , I imploded emotionally.
Chapter I – December 27, 1991
My grief compounded after the surgery, even though I feigned hopeful, good spirits during our Easter visit in Arizona. Family and friends were well-meaning, but the callow wound of infertility throbbed with each word of solace. To make matters worse, they rarely admitted to a miscarriage, an abortion, or an adoption; when they did, it was in hurried whispers with downcast eyes behind closed doors. When I took the plunge, they smothered me in, “It’s all in the timing.” or “Relax.” The darling of the bunch was, “Let go, let God.” Really? Are you fucking kidding me? He sure didn’t seem to be in my corner on this one. In fact, he seemed to be sending a pretty clear all-points biblical bulletin that I was barren with a capital B. I was even pissed off at the Virgin Mary, who didn’t do a thing, not one damn thing, and she got pregnant. Poof! Just like that. With my luck, the best I might expect from Divine intervention was a stigmata, bleeding from my hands, and spending the rest of my life cloistered in a cold, dank convent tower feeding pigeons.
At home in Santa Cruz, I’d tear up the sand as I walked the neighborhood beaches, scanning the horizon for an answer, a clue that might bring some relief from the insurmountable yearning and guilt. What had I done wrong? Where had I gone wrong? When had I become damaged goods?