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One Chance
by Kristen Chase

It only bothers me every now and then. More now. Less then.

I was surprised, but I wasn't shocked. I've always been the skeptic of the bunch. I'm the one who thinks of all the possibilities just in case something bad happens. That way, I can still feel like I was right. I knew it could happen and it did.

So there.

When I got pregnant for the second time, I was excited and scared. I was still breastfeeding my daughter, and the prospect of two under two was terrifying. My mind was riddled with awful thoughts of having to deliver another baby. I felt guilty that I would be taking away time from my daughter. Why did I want to get pregnant again so soon?

I cried. A lot.

At my 12-week visit, the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat. I was worried, but still hopeful that all my skepticism was for naught. I didn't want to be right this time. But, after the ultrasound, I was. And I felt really bad.

There's nothing worse than sobbing in a bleak doctor's office room. Their rehearsed speech is no consolation. You throw you on your clothes, wipe your tears with your white paper gown, and run as quickly as possible out the door.

I moped for a while—praying to avoid the uterus scraping—trying to avoid feeling guilty for what I thought I had done by wishing the baby away.

We couldn't pick a name. Darn it. If only we had a name.

Thing is—I would have stopped breastfeeding, stressed less, and hoped more. But I didn't. And my chances were gone.

It happened at home. My water broke. It was over fast. The bleeding lasted a week. The sadness lasted longer. It's a silent pain. No one sends you "get well from your miscarriage" flowers. There's no nice way to say it'll be okay.

You get the "it was meant to be—there was probably a problem—you'll get another chance soon" crap that people try to feed you. Or if it's your in-laws, they just won't say anything to you at all. Ever.

When I got pregnant again, I was ecstatic. I named the baby. I thanked it every night for being there. I cut down breastfeeding to one time a day. And I cried. A little.

But that didn't matter. And I lost it. Again.

Same crap. Different day. Except this time, less people knew, so less chance for rehearsed responses or tender words of consolation. Or if you're my in-laws. Nothing. Ever.

With one, you think it's a fluke. With two, you get a little more skeptical. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Maybe I'm only supposed to have one. Maybe I'm screwing with the world and I shouldn't. You peruse adoption websites, Google "surrogate mothers" when no one is watching, and imagine your life as a family of three.

You hate on pregnant women, inside your head, and cry a tear as they bounce by in their gaudy yet somewhat familiar maternity clothes. You even try to tell yourself that maybe it's a good thing. No labor. No stitches. No sleepless nights.

But mostly, you wish for your babies. The ones you were supposed to have in your arms. The little ones that you really wanted, even though you didn't say it loud enough. Your babies. My babies.

I wanted my babies.

I know there's time and there are still plenty of chances. But each time it happens, your hope diminishes and the reality of your daughter being your only child becomes more visible. And you wonder if you had already had your one chance, and that's all you're going to get.

Ever.

Kristen Chase took the plunge into motherhood via a surprise pregnancy, now a blossoming toddler, and provides the diversity on her block as an Asian American Yankee in the Deep South. She finds herself trying to balance her roles as mother and military wife while not losing her sense of self. Don't miss her regular Misplaced Mommy column with us.

feature added on 2006-06-11 :: ::

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