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The Fragility of My Fertility

Posted by Keka Araujo on

Being peri-menopausal since the age of 34, I hadn't taken for granted the day would come when I would no longer be able to get pregnant. In fact, I've never had a problem getting pregnant. I have one daughter turning 17 in October and although I wanted more than one child, it didn't happen for one reason or another. To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought until I miscarried for the first time in July 2011.

I discovered I was pregnant at the beginning of June and I didn't really know if I wanted to be. There were so many thoughts running through my head. My baby girl was turning ten and I thought about the age gap among other things. I didn't want to be that mom with an adult child and one in elementary school. It just didn't seem right to me so I struggled with the idea of starting from scratch again. Not to mention, she was such an awesome baby. I thought about this baby crying all night, not nursing, being fussy and going back to diaper duty. I, also, cherished my freedom. Since 2010, my daughter has spent every summer with my family in Michigan. Even though she's my heart; I, selfishly, enjoyed that time away from her.

A series of unfortunate events sealed the fate of my unborn child. I was involved in a minor car accident at the beginning of July. I wasn't seriously injured, but the accident aggravated my already, delicate back. One week before the month of July ended, I miscarried on a Saturday night right before my husband I were to begin our date night. I got up that day feeling pregnant and by the time late afternoon/early evening rolled around, I wasn't well. I was cramping and just chalked it up to a rough pregnancy day. My mom called and I told her how I was feeling and she suggested that I go to the hospital. We got off the phone and I proceeded to get ready for my night out. And that's when it happened. I used the bathroom and I miscarried. I was in complete shock. My honey came home right away and not wanting to waste a perfectly good Saturday night, I insisted we go on our date. I promised to go to the hospital the next morning even though I saw the fetus and I, no longer, felt pregnant. The next morning, the hospital confirmed I was no longer pregnant via an ultrasound and blood work.

I couldn't, honestly, say that I was devastated. Hell, I didn't even know if I was going to go through with the pregnancy but the thought of not having the choice bothered me. It didn't even occur to me that I lost the baby because I was perimenopausal. I chalked it up to being in a car accident earlier in the month. It wasn't until 2014 that I began to question my body's ability to carry a baby anymore.

Although women can still get pregnant during perimenopause, 1 in 2 women will miscarry. Also, women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever produce. By the time four decades have passed, those eggs have aged, increasing the chance of chromosomal abnormalities. In addition, older women are at increased risk for a host of medical issues and complication throughout pregnancy, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

Needless to say, these factors came into play when I miscarried again on Halloween 2014. My husband and I had taken our daughter to Party City for a costume. While we were inside the store, I began to feel nauseous and achy. It was the same low- frequency throbbing I felt that fateful night in 2011. I told my husband that I was going to the car to sit and close my eyes. Ten minutes later, we were on our way home. A sudden urge to go to the bathroom came over me and before I knew it, I had miscarried all over the bathroom floor. The first time, our baby was with my family. This time, she was in her bedroom which was about 10 feet from the bathroom. I wasn't hysterical but I was emotional. And as I called my husband to the bathroom, he comforted me and helped me clean up. I saw our baby on the floor and that's when it hit me. What if my ability to carry a healthy baby was over?

Yeah, I know that we had conversations about not having any more children but the thought of not having the choice to carry babies even though I could still get pregnant made me overwhelmingly sad. That was my God-given right as a woman, right? Life and age shouldn't determine if my body could healthily do what it was meant to do. At that moment, I mourned my youth. I knew that having the ability to carry a healthy baby to term didn't define me as a woman, but the thought of not being able to control that part of me made me sad. It still makes me sad. Since then, my husband has spoken about having one more. We are both forty-four. Although it's not going to happen, I can't help but mourn for the young woman and mother who didn't have to ponder these things. I hate feeling like I am riding the fence. With menopause, the ability to not bear children is a given. Being trapped between two worlds is gut-wrenching.

If I had to do it all over again, our daughter wouldn't have been an only child. But alas, we will never know what could have been.