Coiled on yet another floor, I yearned for bed but knew better. Sure enough, my stomach lurched and rumbled like a washing machine knocking about soiled sneakers. I bolted to my knees, clutched the sides of the toilet and retched while Jeff, my husband, rubbed my arched spine. “Sorry. Sucks to be miserable on our anniversary.”
“I’m not miserable,” I lied. To feel anything but gratitude seemed sinful.
After six years of trying, two brutal miscarriages and one round of IVF, we were expecting again. Twins. Perhaps the universe was trying to atone. At my eight-week appointment I had described my frequent vomiting to our fertility doctor, but an ultrasound indicated my pregnancy was normal. I could “graduate” from weekly treks to the center to monthly visits with an OB-GYN. Encouraged, Jeff and I left town the next day, but by night two of our wedding anniversary road trip, the vomiting grew more violent and a creeping fear that I would again miscarry consumed me.
I felt like a malfunctioning vessel. I did not resemble any pregnant woman I had known. No baby bump. No cravings. I was not “glowing.” I was not eating for three. Or even one. I certainly was not planning. No discussion of names this time. No designs for a nursery. I could not bear more disappointment. Like a dim fog, dread shadowed me through every room where I lay, too panicky to sleep, and into every restroom where I knelt, terrified I was starving my unborn babies.
Once home, I phoned my new OB-GYN, whom I had yet to meet, with my concerns. The call was brief. “It’ll get better.” It didn’t. That night I filled a basin with puke and bile. Jeff quickly cleaned the sink and grabbed his car keys. A new routine was born.
I traipsed through the sliding ER doors, was hooked up to an IV, and then I implored anyone with a badge to listen to me. “Something’s wrong.” Tired personnel offered different versions of “Some women get it bad.” I waited another hour for the attending...