Knocking Boots and Knitting Booties is a no-holds-barred series about sex during pregnancy from MsBehaved contributor Brighid. Read previous installments here.
Trigger warning: This piece deals with miscarriage.
My partner and I were incredibly lucky in our attempts to get pregnant. Charting really helped us pinpoint the key times for baby making sex and we were pregnant within our second cycle of trying.
As I’ve mentioned, even though trying to conceive means you have a lot of sex, it also means that it is a lot of purpose-driven sex with some restrictions regarding timing, frequency, and lubes. And as hot as whispering “I’m full of egg white cervical mucus” into your loved one’s ear can be… it was always a bit of a relief to pass the point of ovulation after which the chances of getting pregnant are basically nothing. We generally celebrated this transition in two ways. The days leading up to ovulation we’d celebrate with moldy cheese, sushi, extra coffee and booze – all of the things you are supposed to give up during the “two week wait” [2ww] between ovulation and a possible positive pregnancy test. Once ovulation was confirmed and we were waiting to be able to test, we’d celebrate with a return to a more normal sexual repertoire.
In January we pigged out on sushi, drank our way through some good sake, and settled in for the 2ww. 12 days in, we were scheduled for an 8.5 mile trail race. Now, to runners, this is normal. To normal people, it probably sounds like a little slice of hell. But, as you’ll see, I’m not like normal people. Plus, this race finished (albeit at 8:30 am) with free beer. From our favorite local brewery. I’ll do a lot for free beer, even get up at 4:30 am and run 8.5 miles. Being in the 2ww, I wasn’t sure if beer was ok. I figured I’d take an early pregnancy test and if it was positive, than I hade a concrete reason to pass on the beer. If it was negative… well, I’d figure out it post-race.
Up at 4:30 am. Peed on a stick. Holy shit… it’s positive. After clutching the pregnancy test and doing a little dance in my kitchen, I decided to be a civil partner and wait until my partner arose at 5 am before telling him the good news. I lasted until 4:42.
The following week, we had another race planned: a 5K with my mom. It was her very first race and I was psyched to run with her. My mom, my partner and I all arrived at the event, a woman’s-themed race. I felt a little funny and decided to use the portajohns prior to the start. When I got in there I saw blood. Getting over the initial shock, it was clear that I was miscarrying. I stopped for a minute and thought about what I wanted to do. While part of me wanted to hide, the bigger part said, “this happens, this is normal, you’re ok, now get out there and celebrate life with your loved ones.”
I left the john. I told my mom and partner what had happened. I just barely convinced my mom that I was ok and she should start the race – I’d meet her on the course. Then I began the futile search to find a freakin’ tampon at a women’s oriented sporting event. Really people? Over 25,000 women and you don’t have tampons or pads? Give me a break…. But that’s what iphones are for: I googled a pharmacy, ran .75 miles to the store, hooked myself up with supplies, and ran back to the start. I crossed the starting line 13 minutes after the official race began.
I ran like I hadn’t run before. I managed to high five my partner on his way to the finish line and caught my mom at the half way turn around. Holding hands, she and I crossed the finish line together. To top of the successful run, this race also had a beer garden at the finish and we got to celebrate our success with a frosty pint.
Miscarriage is normal and much more common that most people believe, especially early miscarriage like mine. In the majority of cases it happens because the embryo is not viable and would never mature into a fetus. In my case my miscarriage was sad, but not crushing. I had no pain and no more blood than a normal period. Most of the women I know have experienced at least one pregnancy loss so it didn’t come as a surprise. More importantly, it happened at a somewhat chaotic moment, but in a situation where I was doing something I loved (running) with two of the most important people in my life. Rather than isolating myself to deal with the loss, I was comfortably able to turn to my family for support. Miscarriage at any time in a pregnancy has a profound and life-changing effect on the family involved. Although the grief is intense and long-lasting, the loving support of my family allowed me to heal emotionally and look forward to trying again (even if it did mean another cycle with sperm-friendly lube).
Next time on Knocking’ Boots and Knitting Booties: “Oops…. I did it again.” We’re pregnant! Take 2.