"What about Zuma? When we have a baby should we name it Zuma?"
This has been a common refrain in our household since long before we were even married. I hear an unconventional name (or a word that could become an unconventional name: Badger, anyone?) and turn to my husband and suggest that we use it. It's always a joke - obviously, I mean Zuma? We all know I'm not smoking anything that would cause me to think that's a good idea. - but I think subconsciously it's been an attempt to scare the hubby with names so outlandish that my preferred, slightly offbeat monikers will seem tame in comparison. Regardless of our current status we still play this little game on a weekly basis. I haven't even adjusted it to "*if* we have a baby" - not yet willing to vocalize that this whole parenthood thing just might not be in the cards for us. But for awhile now the phrase catches in my throat for a moment. "When we have a baby..." How can I be so sure?
I dreamt last night that I was 40 weeks pregnant and in labor. My stomach bulged unnaturally in front of me and on the right side I could feel individual fingers and toes. I brushed my hands along my belly, feeling odd ridges and bumps of knuckles pushing out through my skin. I remember thinking that it was a strange feeling, not entirely pleasant, but that I was determined to experience it to the fullest as I knew I was so lucky that I was in a position to feel it at all. I'd beaten infertility and recurrent miscarriages and was now finally about to deliver a baby. A doctor entered the room to assist in the home-birth I'd requested. He had me lie on the bed but didn't check to see if I was dilated. Rather he produced a scalpel and began to slice away at my full belly. I calmly asked him to stop, told him that I'd like to at least try for a vaginal birth. He shrugged his shoulders, said "to each his own" and put away the knife. For countless hours I labored, feeling uncomfortable but no real pain. Occassionally I checked myself for dilation (the doctor clearly wasn't interested in doing things the old fashioned way) and learned that I was progressing. After hours of seemingly endless labor I found I was finally fully dilated and my baby's head was flush with the opening of my birth canal. Even upon feeling my own child's hair, wet and matted to the top of her head I wasn't frantic or even excited that I had finally reached this point. Even now I didn't quite believe that the baby would ever arrive. Or arrive alive. I knew I needed to push and push I did, but it did little good. I didn't feel any contractions and couldn't time my pushes appropriately. For hours I continued (often on the floor in an empty room) knowing that it would do no good. My body simply didn't know how to reproduce.
Just as my dream-self had anticipated she never did deliver that baby. I awoke, leaving my dream; leaving her crouched on the ground alone, doing everything she could to birth a baby who had no chance of ever being born.
I've taken nearly three weeks of birth control pills now and will take three weeks' more before beginning stims. For over a week I've had consistent spotting and as of last night a bout of bright red bleeding, spilling over the edges of my pantyliner. I know it's normal to spot while on birth control pills and I'm not genuinely concerned. But I can't help but wonder if my body will ever (EVER) succeed in not bleeding for more than 3 weeks. Pregnancy never held the blood at bay, even when the babies were healthy and hearts beating. Medication eased the spotting some, but full-flow always arrived before the meds stopped. Perhaps PIO will be the key and in this next cycle I will manage to stay dry until after my beta. Maybe. Or more likely I will start to bleed again. Before I've even had the chance to hope.