Have you ever had an unsettling awareness of the beating of your own heart? You’re lying on a pillow and all you can hear is the thrum-thrum-thrum as blood pushes through your veins. It feels as though your heart has nestled in beside your brain and taken up residence in the cradle of your skull.
That’s what it feels like trying for a baby after pregnancy loss.
You have only just began making friends again with the body that has devastated you and you find yourself attuned to her every signal. Watching. Waiting. Torn between conviction that she will betray you again and hope that she will not. Headaches. Tiredness. Nausea. Spotting. Everything is a sign.
And depending on the day, it’s either a sign that the world has righted itself and a healthy baby is burrowing into your womb. Or it’s a sign that all your efforts have been for naught and your period will be back to taunt you again in a week’s time.
You become (even more) superstitious. You wear rose quartz for fertility and on the days when the trying to conceive anxiety is really bad, you put on your Grandmother’s ring and silently beg her to send your baby down from Heaven and into your belly. You cling to the conversation you had with a palm reader when you were 25 who predicted your husband and therefore surely is right about the two kids also.
Ovulation—when pure biology would normally have you jumping your partner’s bones—transforms into tactical love-making. The first time is fun-ish. But then you get all weepy and weird about trying to conceive and your husband has to tread very, very carefully. He says you don’t have to try again. But the smiley face ovulation tracker said you had to. You demand sex in a voice that makes him think you need an exorcism more than an orgasm. And it’s fun-ish. You both swear to approach it differently next month, to make it less choreographed. To just go with the flow a bit more. But you both secretly hope you don’t need to because this time it will have worked.
When the baby dance week is finally done you relax for a few days, distracting yourself with work punctuated by nightly Netflix binges. But then the signs start. The signs that could easily be PMS, anxiety… or early pregnancy.