The Painful Resilience of Hope

Laura Turner and her husband Zack are expecting a baby boy on June 3 — their fourth pregnancy but the only one to make it past the first trimester. In an essay for Catapult, Turner powerfully articulates the pain of her repeatedly crushed hopes — crushed, but ultimately indestructible — and the challenge of planning for a birth when your self-protection instincts tell you not to bother.

There was a third miscarriage, after a trip to Turkey and Georgia, and in my anger I held it over Zack’s head, this lost child, because I hadn’t really wanted to try a third time without some kind of medical intervention—except that I had; I had wanted it more than anything, dreamed about how we would tell the story: After two miscarriages, everything had simply worked, probably because we had been on vacation and we were relaxed (stress being the ultimate enemy of pregnancy). We would tell the story of how we conceived in a cave hotel in Cappadocia on a day too windy to go up in the hot air balloons.

That part was true enough, but the end came quickly, and this time without the foretaste of blood, just with depressing calls from the doctor’s office about my hormone levels, which were low and not rising quickly enough to indicate a viable pregnancy. The blood came a few days later. At least with the last two I was spared the discomfort of a “procedure,” which is what they call the removal of the pregnancy and its remains, when they insert a catheter into your body and aspirate what was to have been the person who occupied the room next door.

Read the essay