I spent over $30 on prenatal vitamins the first time.
This time, I’m going to do things right, I told myself. I’ll exercise the whole time and do yoga and cherish every moment. I won’t complain at all, even when I look like an actual beached whale.
I made a special trip to the health food store — the one that sells ridiculously overpriced foods and every kind of essential oil you could think of. I debated between about 10 different bottles of prenatal vitamins. I wasn’t sure how much more “all-natural” all-natural vitamins could be, but I was willing to pay the extra $20 to find out.
When I lost the baby a few weeks later, the sight of that absurd, oversized bottle felt like a knife to my heart. I couldn’t stand to look at it — the visual representation of all I had hoped for taunting me from behind my cupboard door. But still, I couldn’t exactly throw them away. I had spent over $30 on them, after all.
At school pick-up the next day, I brought the vitamins with me in a bag and handed them over to another mother who was pregnant. We had been due days apart and although I couldn’t answer why she got to keep her baby and I did not, she was still very much pregnant. It took everything in me to hand over the bag to her. “Hey, would you want these?” I asked, trying desperately to keep the tears out of my voice. “They are some fancy all-natural ones, I thought maybe you could use them.”
The next time I was pregnant, I couldn’t bring myself to order any vitamins. At my first appointment, when the intake nurse announced that she would be sending out an order for my prenatals, I begged her not to. I’ll pick them up, I protested. We don’t need to waste any and plus, they’ll just make me sick.
She didn’t listen.
Off through the computer system the order went, and the next day, my phone lit up with the pharmacy’s phone number ready to tell me my prenatal vitamins were ready for pick up.
I couldn’t bring myself to answer.
Day after day, the pharmacy called my cell phone, ringing a reminder of the prenatal vitamins that sat on their shelves designed to nourish a baby I couldn’t let myself believe would make it. I ignored all the calls, focused my anger on the nurse who had refused to grant me just this one reprieve from the constant knot of fear that filled my body.