Offering hope

I have added some information at the end of this entry about the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor, which truly made a difference in our lives.

It took a long time to write this because every time I started, I crumbled. After 10 years (four years ago), confident my daughters would survive, I finally could write it. Cathartic. Conceiving children is not all that easy. Planets have to line up, eggs have to be primed, sperm has to be energetic, a uterus has to be hospitable. Then, DNA takes over. For me, three out of five times the DNA was a disaster. It’s discouraging. It’s a total crapshoot. It’s a wonder. When I finally did get pregnant, you can bet I barely moved.

Reposting my 2011 miscarriage column here so I have it forever.

Maybe it will give someone comfort. More of us have miscarriages than we really know. Not many women can write about it, but they want to read about it. They seek a common experience, they want someone to connect to. That’s why this is here. I am offering a connection.

This is a column I wrote for when I worked at cough, cough. Blocked memories FTW. It’s also on Oceanic-Time Warner. Because I don’t want to risk this link disappearing, I wanted to repost.

With Loss Comes Life

What miscarriage has taught me.

By Paula Bender

Two bright little girls and a MomSometimes it’s the people you don’t meet who have a significant impact on your life.

When I was in my late 30s, my husband suggested that we start a family. I was stunned. I liked our perfectly spontaneous double income, no kids life. We traveled to the Mainland a few times a year, we went out to dinner often, we lived impulsively.

All of a sudden, my husband was Mr. Domestic. It threw me off. I wasn’t exactly sure he was serious. But he persisted, presented a convincing case, and won me over with his enthusiasm. I also imagined little tykes with his dreamy eyes bouncing around. So I got with the program. All that baby-making stuff ensued. It was exciting as we planned our expansion.

Pregnancy the first time happened quickly. Unfortunately, it ended quickly, too. It was 1997 and I got a tummy ache one day while having lunch. I had actually gone in to labor at 12 weeks and had a miscarriage. I had two more miscarriages over the next year. The joy of conception was slammed within a few months and all I had to show for it was weight gain and depression. Deep inside, I felt as though I had been given a challenge to prove that I was worthy to be a mom.

Months earlier, I was reluctant to get on the mommy track. Now I was making deals with God to give birth. I was 40 and there was the added risk of genetic frailties that can result in mental retardation and other conditions.

Emotionally, I was a wreck. I was the fat lady always near tears who couldn’t handle seeing a happily pregnant woman or someone pushing a keiki carriage. If I’d see a parent publicly hit their child, I’d die inside. Why were children given to people like that? Yet, we kept trying.

Thanks to a fertility monitor, I was able to determine when we could conceive, which was about six or seven days earlier each month than I had thought. Finally, I took my first child successfully to term. She was born in 1999. By using the same monitor, we were able to conceive again. My second daughter was born 21 months later. Through those pregnancies, I have to admit, I was petrified.

On our way to the hospital for the births, I was overcome with emotion. The prospect of expanding our family floored me. The very thought caused me to weep because our family dynamic was about to change. I was both happy and apprehensive. I was thrilled and terrified. An amazing chemical-like process occurs when a baby is born. It is an exponential growth of love. It’s probably hormones, too.

All told, five pregnancies resulted in two bright little girls and three angels. Had any of those first babies come to term, I would never have met the little girls I have now. But those first babies taught me so much about the value of life. Children are a treasure. They are a statement of hope for the future. They are a reason to live, and they deserve every opportunity to flourish.

Interested in this? Here’s what I used: 

This kit told me I was ovulating much sooner that I had thought. Amazing. You think you know, but really, YOU DON’T! After Charlotte was born, I sold the plan on eBay for very close to what I paid for it. And I threw in the extra test sticks for good measure. Best investment ever. 


By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


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