When you know that you don’t know something (and what you practice, grows)

I had a coaching session with my wonderfully insightful coach, Vanessa Jane Smith. She visually records the reflections I make during our calls.

I woke up this morning and put my hand on my belly, just like I’ve been doing for the last six weeks. The last few days have been different, though.

I had my first sonogram on Monday. My soft-spoken German gyno gave me a sweet smile when she saw me.

“Well that was fast,” she said. She’d only recently removed my spiral.

We sat down and determined the date of my last menstrual cycle, and then she asked me to sit in stirrups. I held my breath as she inserted the wand. I looked over at the sonogram screen, all morphing circles as indiscernible blobs of black surrounded by television snow. She stopped on a small circle, gently panning the wand back and forth.

“Ok I see a yolk sac, but……”

*pregnant pause*

“That’s all I see right now. I don’t see an embryo.”

She continued searching for a bit, but her facial expression remained neutral.

It was clear that the little baby embryo I’d been silently wishing good morning to was missing in action.

She told me to come back in a week to check again. My partner and I politely thanked her and walked to the car. We sat there for a few minutes to absorb what had just happened, and then we called his parents.

“I’m really ok,” I chirped half-heartedly before we said goodbye. But I was in shock, and I knew it hadn’t hit me yet.

And then the tears came, and my partner put his arms around me.

“It will work out, no matter what. Look how quickly we got pregnant!”

Indeed, my gyno had said there was no doubt that I had the ability to get pregnant. And as I would later discover, most women who experience a “blighted ovum” (a windei in Dutch) a single time before they go on to have a perfectly normal pregnancy.

It’s days later now, and I do feel ok, overall. I regularly have to resist the urge to google, and I regularly fail the attempt. I have hope one day, and the next day I am resigned to accept that I will eventually miscarry. But the most most persistent feeling I have is that my body knows what it’s doing. Most often, a blighted ovum is caused when a woman’s body detects bad sperm or egg quality, chromosomal abnormalities, or the cells haven’t split properly. It’s a built in quality check, and the reality is that a large percentage of early pregnancies end this way.

It’s just a natural part of life, which does make it easier for me to process, but it still sucks that my belly is growing and I feel pregnant. It’s a total mind fuck in that sense.

That’s not to say I’m not giving up hope. Many women are diagnosed with a blighted ovum, only to go on and have perfectly normal pregnancies. They see nothing at six weeks, and then at nine they witness a hearty little embryo.

The moral of this story: I will trust my body, and I will let it be for now. Procreating is already such an exercise in trusting what you can’t control. You enjoy an act of love, and then your bodies work what is nothing short of magic to make this brand new creature – a lovely baby who has its own way of giggling, of forming words and one day, of making sense of her own reality in this bizarre existence we call life. I sometimes still can’t believe that I “made” this little daughter person who is running around, tearing books off the shelf, scavenging the kitchen floor for remnants of food and joyously dancing to the songs of her beloved, singing teapot.

Today, I will take care of my partner, whose having tremendous back pain that can’t be helped with the strongest of pain medication. I will continue my mission of spending just ten minutes writing a story, which is turning out to be a about a little girl who has a magical relationship with plants. I will attend a BBQ later this afternoon, and I’m really looking forward to making a few vegan dishes for the occasion. Experimenting with vegan cooking has brought me a lot of unexpected joy.

Speaking of practicing writing and vegan cooking…

As I explore my own creative process, I realize that I’ve been expecting to be great at something without regularly practicing. This is very silly given I thoroughly understand that I must run regularly to be a good runner, and I must study Dutch regularly to become fluent. Yet with writing, I would make infrequent, half-assed attempts at a story and when I “failed” to come up with something brilliant, I would quickly resort to my assumptions that I suck and should abandon the dream altogether.

Resistance comes in many forms.

The fact is, practice is what makes nothing turn into something. What you practice grows. If you want to perfect a skill, you have to regularly go at it whether it’s tennis, sex or writing a little story. Obvious stuff, but maybe just maybe you needed to hear this today.

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