A year ago today was going to be a very happy day, although four days before I was fired from my job at 13 weeks pregnant, a pregnancy I never thought would come, a conception that happened on my 39th birthday.
I had woken up on the Friday with bad stomach pains and feeling very dizzy and so I decided to stay home, at around 3pm I received an extremely nasty email from my office manager basically calling me a burden on the company because of my pregnancy and saying that they would have to change my hours if I was going to be so sick in the mornings…imagine that morning sickness in the morning.
Needless to say I was devastated to be so treated when I had just watched one of the lawyers be treated with kid gloves the entire time she was pregnant including not coming in and working from home, sure I was the receptionist, but I had made sure my phones were covered by my assistant before I even called in sick, so they had no excuse for what happened next.
On Monday morning I was in my usual ½ hour early and at about 9am the office manager breezed in and ignored me, and then I saw my bosses who never came in before 10am if before the afternoon when they had cases in court. They called me into the office and fired me, at 13 weeks pregnant and showing and had the audacity to sit across and wish me well with my pregnancy. Wish me well knowing at my time I was unemployable, knowing that my family would struggle that my child would now be born into a single income home, with none of the advantages that theirs had known, and why did this do this to me, well according to them…it was coming down the pipe before I got pregnant…if that was true what was with the cloying sweet noted Christmas card saying how wonderful I was and how the company appreciated all my hard work. What was with them telling me my job was secure and they were happy with me after my office manager wrote a nasty and lie filled “assessment” and I questioned them about my job security. Was that just a ploy because I had told someone in the office that Jason and I were going to try and get pregnant that year, were they already padding the way to fire me when I became in their eyes expendable?
I will never know, but I do know the consequences of their actions led to my fetus dying in my womb. A fetus that had been perfectly happy and growing according to my hormone levels and my GP, that was due to be born in September of that year, a year I was finally to become a Mommy.
Only that never happened, at my ultrasound I was alone, because my husband, now worried about us only having one income and a pregnant wife, was at his catering job, thank fully just up the street from Mount Sinai where this all took place. The woman doing the ultrasound had a look on her face, a complete poker face, the kind of face you have when you are not trying to show that something is wrong. She said she would get a doctor and be right back…that was the longest wait of my life and when that kind doctor came in and I saw his face my whole world crumbled…the fetus had died or stopped growing, extreme stress (like being fired for no reason without warning) can do that to you in early pregnancy and my advanced age miscarriage was always a possibility.
I then had to have a D&C on top of losing my baby, I had to go and have the rest of it vacuumed out, while my poor husband who had no idea what to do or say to make me feel better, sat outside and waited.
So that was the beginning of my the worst year of my life, sure I could have stared with the elation that Jason and I felt at finding out, after 4 years of fertility doctors and pills, and poking and prodding that I was pregnant and we had no idea, we literally weren’t trying that month, but I have to say all of that disappeared the second I found out that it had been for nothing.
I went into therapy, and the therapist brought me to a wonderful fertility doctor who told me exactly how many eggs I had left, and although she also told me I had been misdiagnosed with PCOS and that I had nothing wrong with my tubes and my ovaries, you think that would make me feel better, but it just made me question why I was unable to get pregnant. I was so sick of being poked, bled and prodded every month, that I just said thank you and walked away. I was done, I was tired of every month being a stressful event. Would I get my period? Would I finally be pregnant?
Then just when I was starting to accept that we could still be a family, later on we could adopt or even foster kids who grew up like us, and give love to a child who needs it. I was finally starting to come out of my depression and my sweet 32 year old cousin dropped dead two days after her birthday.
The devastation from the loss of an abstract idea is one thing to get over and very hard, when all you have to remember that loss is a pee stained stick that you have kept because it was the only positive pregnancy test you ever had and yes a part of me wants to remember that elated moment of seeing it with Jason. The loss of someone you have known since their birth that you held as a baby, that you brushed their long blonde hair and helped on with sandals and then watched growing into a beautiful, considerate and intelligent woman…that is something I am never going to get over. A piece of my heart died with her, and there will always be a little hole in my heart knowing I will never see her again.
Lisa Barger what a joy and privilege it was to know you and to love you, and I will be forever happy knowing you died with the knowledge that you were loved, in the arms of your fiancé.
Then I started to write, I had a concept and based the character on my sweet departed cousin, and then after 3 months I had a novel, or at least a ¾ finished first draft. I realized in that moment, that although I may never be a Mom to a child, that I could give birth to ideas, and nurture them and watch them grow, and send them out into the world and see if others would enjoy them. That I loved to tell stories and that I loved to write.
I would get into my Mom having emergency brain surgery and thinking I was going to lose her too, but I didn’t and she is doing better than ever, so that was actually a good thing that happened. I would get into the annoyance of having to move from where we were, but to tell you the truth I love where we ended up and for the first time I have a washer and dryer in my unit, so no complaints there.
I guess what I am saying is that yes this started out being the worst year of my life, but through it all I grew into a stronger and more confident woman. I gave in to the idea of never having children and with the way my back goes up every time the baby downstairs cries…that may be a good thing. I made a lot of very interesting friends on social media who have inspired me in my writing and in my activism. I realized what my passion is and exactly who I want to be when I grow up. I turned 40 and found myself through loss and pain came my true rebirth, and although I would give anything to have Lisa back and know that I would see her again…that can’t happen so I honour her memory by becoming what she always wanted to be and that is just plain and simply happy and loved.