Even at my best (when I’m not a neurotic, newly pregnant hormonal infertile) I’m a timid and reluctant bicyclist. As a runner, I’m accustomed to running against the traffic, looking out for crazy drivers and making sure they see me. On a bike I feel exposed and utterly at their mercy.
It doesn’t help that I have bad associations with biking and pregnancy. Early into our first pregnancy with IVF 1.0, Mr. T and I went camping in the San Juan Islands, biking 30 miles on the bumpiest roads imaginable. I was less neurotic then, but still very nervous.
When that pregnancy ended in miscarriage at our 8 week visit, my mind immediately jumped to that bike trip, blaming it for our loss. My midwife friends and doctors assured me that the biking hadn’t caused our loss, and I believe them in my rational mind, but in my heart I still wonder.
So last weekend on our trip to San Francisco, when Mr. T and our friends from Germany planned a bike trip across the Golden Gate bridge, I told them I would sit it out. But somehow I was persuaded. After all, I don’t see our friends often, and I’ve never biked across the Golden Gate Bridge. They all assured me it would be an easy ride on the bike lanes. We’d have lunch in Sausalito and take the ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf.
The trip started out well on a flat bike lane. I grew anxious as we hit the hills, but I took them slowly and before long, we were at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Crossing over the bridge I thanked myself for being brave and making the trip. It felt symbolic somehow, proving to myself that I could be brave and positive about this pregnancy, that this little growing baby was tough enough to make it through this trip and the next 8 months.
A quiet bike lane led to Sausalito on the other side where we stopped for lunch before we took the ferry back. When we reached Fisherman’s Wharf, things suddenly got very bad. I was shaken by the crowds, the traffic, and the sudden realization of how far we still were from where we had picked up our rental bikes.
I got off my bike and told Mr. T that I wasn’t going any further. I told everyone to go ahead without me, that I’d find a cab back. Mr. T convinced me we’d follow the waterfront path instead to get back. This route turned out to be a bumpy gravel path. As my uterus bumped along, I cursed him and my anxiety grew thinking about IVF 1 and that fateful bike ride.
Why was I doing this again? I got off my bike for the second time, furious at my husband, telling our friends to go ahead without us. Mr. T and I stood with our bikes on the corner, furious with each other, unsuccessfully trying to flag down a cab willing to take two bikes.
“Go ahead without me,” I told Mr. T, knowing he was late for a networking meeting he had arranged.
“I’m not leaving my pregnant wife alone on the corner,” he said chivalrously, though with evident frustration.
“Well, don’t worry about that. I doubt we will still have a baby after this,” I said, fighting back scared, frustrated tears.
I was angry that he couldn’t protect me- that he didn’t have the stress of protecting this tiny, fragile life. Most of all, I was mad at myself that I couldn’t believe in this baby- that I’m too nervous about heartbreak to let down my guard and be happy.
Tomorrow I go back for a second ultrasound. Baby, I hope you didn’t mind the bike ride. Please give a shout and a wave when we see you, and reassure your neurotic mama that she’s going to have years and years of worrying about you.
But I know that even though I’m pregnant, I’ll never be like other fertiles-and that’s ok. I’m proud to be part of this club. On Sunday, I got to meet my dear Twitter friend, @sassyNtubeless. She’s as lovely in person as she is on Twitter, and I’m just so grateful to have others who understand like she does- and like you all do.
As for the end of the bike trip- I found a saintly cab driver who took me and my bike back to the bike rental place. A good reminder that there’s more than one way to get back home.