After having to put my desire for children on hold for almost 8 years, my fiancé decided that he was ready to try for kids (he wasn't the man in my life for all 8 years, although I wish he could have been!).
Last possible date of conception was January 26, 2011. The reason I know that is because I used FAM (Fertility Awareness Method).
My first ultrasound was March 9th. I was crushed when the doctor revealed to me that I had what was called a blighted ovum. The best way I can describe that is a genetic miscarriage. There was something so wrong with the baby when the egg and the sperm met that the embryo didn't complete. I had an empty amniotic sac inside my body. I couldn't believe that without being pregnant I had tripped over $200 worth of home pregnancy tests. The doctor explained that the amniotic sac would have fooled my body into thinking it was pregnant. The doctor also said that my amniotic sac was not as far along as it should have been, as he was measuring from a conception date of two and a half weeks before the last possible date. He said to come back in a week, we would do another ultrasound and then discuss our options. I was crushed, but dealing with it.
A week later, there was some growth in the sac and a little lump had developed inside of it. The doctor told me to come in a week later and sent me on my way.
That weekend, I went to my local Fred Meyers to do a little shopping. I sat in my car and ate a pretzel with cheese. It was getting warm out and the day was sunny. Imagine my surprise when a large shiny black raven descended, landing between my driver side door and the vehicle next to me. I kept eating, but was having fun watching the raven hop around near my car. It's not often I get to see the ravens up close, and this was as good as it was going to get... I thought.
In about the span of time it took me to blink, five more ravens came swooping in, surrounding my car. My car was the only one in the center of the action, despite being surrounded by other vehicles.
The first raven hopped up on the hood of my car. He tilted his head from side to side, hopping back and forth. While normally ravens make a harsher croaking or caw, this raven was chirruping at me. That's the best way I can describe it. It was a soft little bird purr! When he came up and pecked on my windshield, I rolled down the window a smidge and tossed a piece of soft pretzel on the ground. While feeding the wildlife is probably not the best idea, they were eating other human food that they had acquired out of the dumpsters, so I figured, what would it hurt?
Apparently the raven didn't care for my hand coming out of my window so he hopped back down to the ground. He skipped past the pretzel piece three or four times, and then scooted behind my car.
Then another raven hopped onto the hood of my car. At this point, I realized I wasn't the only person to notice what was happening. One of the parcel boys was rounding up carts nearby and seemed just as amazed as I did. But he was the only one. I did a quick survey of the parking lot. Even with the large crowd, no one seemed to be paying attention to what was happening. Either they couldn't see or they didn't care.
The second raven spotted the food I had tossed out, jumped down, retrieved it and perched himself back on the hood of my car. He also made the same soft little chirrup noises that the first bird made. While he ate, the raven kept his eye on me through the glass. When he had enough to eat, he dropped the bread and jumped onto my passenger side mirror, back onto my windshield (where I got the most amazing picture, and then flew off.
As I went about my day, I paid attention to how I felt. How the birds had behaved struck me as very odd and seemed to impart that there was more going on than I could see. But I felt calmer. Comforted. And everywhere I went there were always two or more ravens. Always.
At my next ultrasound, the doctor told me that he could see a fetal pole that was pulsing. That meant that my baby was still alive! I really was pregnant after all! The first ultrasound had just been too early to tell anything, and because the doc was basing his timing of my pregnancy of a different day his calculations for how far along I was were off. A lot!
I practically skipped out of the doctor's. I was so giddy with joy that I went to see a friend of mine. She grew up on a reservation in the lower 48 and is way more sensitive than I could hope to be. As we stood on the sidewalk in front of her business, I happened to look across the street. Perched on top of a street light were two of the biggest, blackest ravens I'd seen yet. I pointed these out to my friend. She told me that those were the first ravens she'd seen all day. She told me to do some research to see what I could find. The whole time we talked, the ravens stayed just across the street.
The next day I started digging around on the internet and came across something interesting. Ravens didn't always mean carnage and death. They meant mystery, the universe, the Creator, the ultimate recycler. The many different meanings of ravens made me smile. The raven is an air element, which would coincide with my birth sign as well. Another tidbit of information I gleaned was that you don't choose the raven as a totem animal. The raven chooses you. According to a couple of different websites I found, my baby would be born under the Raven sign.
As I was reading, I tried on the pieces of information. I discarded each like a shirt that almost fit but something just wasn't sitting right. When I saw that my baby would be born under the sign of the Raven, it hit me in the gut, chest, heart, whatever. The ravens weren't there for me. Not really. They were there for the baby! I really thought about all the times I had seen these beautiful birds. It was kind of freaky but I had to laugh because when I went to the stores to shop, they would take turns watching me like sentries.
The next weekend came and it was time to run some more errands. As I headed down the road I realized that over the course of the week, I'd been so tired that I hadn't really been out of the house and thusly hadn't seen my black-feathered companions in many days.
A couple miles down the road from where I live, both sides of the road are lined with lights, the kind that hang way over four-lane highways. As I approached this area, I had a "what the blazes?" moment. On each overhang were perched at least two ravens, but mostly three or four each. I had the morbid thought that it looked like a mourning of ravens. They were lined up like funeral mourners to watch my car drive by. Not one bird swooped off the lights, jumped around or pecked at it's fellow bird. They just watched. I was struck with the solemnity of it, but refused to consider the icky feeling I had deep in my gut.
After that, I didn't see them much anymore, but didn't think anything of it. Almost a week later, I went in for an emergency ultrasound. The doctor confirmed that I was having a miscarriage.
While the ravens don't seem as devoted as they did when I was pregnant, I still find them keeping an eye on me when I'm out of the house. Due to their representation of mystery, and thusly knowledge, when I see them now (usually when I'm upset and not in a "student" mindset), I ask myself what I could learn and remind myself to be open to new information and knowledge.