Tag Archive | infertility

Unexpected

There’s no other word for it.

Well, that’s not entirely true, is it? There are other words for it really…surprising, unplanned for, accidental, unforeseen. There are more surely, but “unexpected” seems to perfectly describe the course my life has taken. The path most of us infertiles face. The pregnancies that come when we’ve hit rock bottom. The losses that occur just when we start to feel “safe.”

And it’s unexpected that I’m coming here now, under much different circumstances than I predicted in my last post. I’m here because I need to say this, because I need to tell you, though I don’t have the right words to say or know how it will be received. But let’s not beat around the bush.

I’m pregnant.

Unexpectedly expecting, so to speak.

In fact, today I am thirteen weeks pregnant. Entering my second trimester. I have had three ultrasounds. Baby has a good heartbeat and is measuring a couple days ahead. When I start to feel anxious, I bring out the doppler and search for that heartbeat while muttering prayer after prayer. It all still feels unreal.

This is my first natural pregnancy. No Clomid, or RE, or monitoring. No endless cycles of hope and then failure. My body is a funny thing. Since puberty, it has not cycled regularly. It did not know how to put all the pieces together to make it all function so that a mature egg would be released on a monthly basis. By my college days, it hardly happened at all. And yet, there is something about the weaning process that just works for my body. My menstrual cycles don’t start until after I wean my babies, but always within thirty days of the time when I have officially stopped breastfeeding, I ovulate. And this time, I was prepared for it. Watching and waiting and having a bit more sex than is usual for us. They say it only takes once and I’m proof that it does.

I’ve been wanting to come here for a while now to share my news. But I didn’t know what to say. And I was scared. Scared that putting my news out into the world would be an irreversible curse. But if I’m being completely honest, even more scared that the easy road I have walked to achieve this pregnancy would mean I was no longer wanted or welcomed here. I didn’t want to face the rejection.

The day I learned I was pregnant, I told two of my good friends. One of them said to me, “See! You’re not really infertile at all!” I didn’t say much to that (well, I did actually — I argued with her over it, but she didn’t want to hear me or believe me, so I let it go), but she just clearly has no idea. If I hadn’t caught that one lucky, post-weaning egg, we would be right back where we were two or three years ago as we were trying to conceive Skittle…smack dab in the middle of Clomid and uncertainty. One ovulation doesn’t mean anything. I will always be infertile. Who else prays so fervently countless times each day for a healthy baby? Who else has high blood pressure only when at the OB’s office? Who else lives from one doppler listening to the next, just hoping her baby will still be alive? There was once a time when I wanted nothing more than to be as fertile as the next gal. But infertility is part of my identity now, a part I am not ashamed to own anymore. And if I don’t belong here, in this community, then I don’t know where I belong at all.

With that said, I don’t know if I’ll be posting here again in this pregnancy. That’s not to say that I definitely won’t…I just really don’t know. Maybe it will depend on the feedback I get to this post. Maybe it will depend on how anxious I become over the next few days or weeks or months. Maybe it will depend on something completely unexpected. I think when it’s time to post again, I’ll know. I’ve known this post needed to be written for weeks now and I will trust my heart to tell me when there is more to say.

Until then…may life’s unexpected twists and turns be kind to you, friends. Thinking of you all. xo

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Hard Candy Christmas

It’s December 1st. That means Christmas is just around the corner. For those dealing with loss, grief, regret, illness, disappointment, homesickness, and/or loneliness, the holiday season can be so difficult. It can be especially so for us infertiles, who know that Christmas is made all the brighter when seen through the eyes of a child. The child we so desperately long for.

So, friends…wherever you are at in your journey — be it, grieving the loss of an unborn child, or still hoping for a miraculous conception, or holding your breath through a long-awaited-for pregnancy, or finally celebrating with the child your heart had yearned for and already dreaming of another — I wish you well this month. I know these festive days aren’t often easy, but may a great sense of peace find you and may you find something great to be joyful about.

Last year, this was my theme song:

This year, it is a gentle reminder of how far I have come, and a quiet nod to those who still have sorrow in their heart. Thinking of all of you today and in all the days ahead. xo

Sooooo Happy

The other day, while playing and laughing with my daughter, Cupcake stopped and looked at me. “Mama sooooo happy!” she exclaimed as she clapped her hands together.

And I am. I really am. I’m happy.

It does not seem so long ago when I wondered if I would ever be happy, truly undeniably happy, again. I hurt so much. Every bone ached with the longing for another child. Every beat of my heart was the thump of grief for the one I’d lost.

But finally, I’m not a slave to my pain. I am joyful and I am free. Don’t get me wrong…I have not forgotten.  I think of our Teddy Graham often. I pray for each of you still in the trenches every day. I’ve been damaged and scarred on this journey. And I am never far from the fear of losing this baby, too. But this pregnancy, and my Skittle, have brought me immense healing.

No longer does the weight of a future and dream that seemed so impossible sit upon my shoulders all day long. No longer does Cupcake feel the need to pat my hand as I weep and say “Mama sad.” She can declare my happiness instead. I can declare my happiness.

I am happy.

This mama is happy.

At long last.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I know it’s late in the day and some of you are already resting your sleepy heads and saying hello to Monday, but I want to wish all of you a Happy Mother’s Day.

Whether you are a new mom, a mom-to-be, a mom in mourning, or a mom in waiting, you deserve to be recognized this day. There is an article I recently read (provided by my good friend and fellow infertile Lillian) about hating Mother’s Day.  About how it is insulting to non-mothers, daughters who have lost mothers, and mothers who have lost children. I understand that sentiment, but I also have this to say: I don’t care where you are at on your journey to or through motherhood, you are still a mother.  If you have fought for your children, you are a mother. If you have loved your children before they ever existed, you are a mother. If you have given your bank account, your sanity, your heart, your dignity, and your right hand trying to become a mother, then you are a mother. Maybe the general public does not recognize this, but I do. And I think most everyone else in this community does as well.

And for those of you still in the trenches, I want to add this: I know this day is hard. So hard. It can be a constant reminder of what you don’t have, or have lost. Today, I have thought so constantly of all of you. It is unimaginable to me that, last year on this day, I was just three weeks into grieving our Teddy Graham. And now, one year later, I am nearly halfway through my subsequent pregnancy. My point is this: you never can know what life has in store for you. You can’t know what surprises will come your way, what hairpin turns your path will take, what dreams will unfold or when.

And so on this day, more than wishing you a happy Mother’s Day (though I wish that for you as well, so deeply), I wish you comfort, peace, and a hopeful heart. May this time next year show you, or give you, the true meaning of happiness, if you have not found it already.

On Blind Faith

Note: This is a post about faith and God. I welcome any comments and opinions, but I ask that you be respectful of my beliefs. And please know that I am not in any way commenting on you, your situation, your opposing faith, or lack thereof. This is only about me, what I have learned, and what I believe in the dark corners of my heart.

Also: Pregnancy is briefly mentioned throughout this post.

This is a post I have been wanting to write for some time, long before Skittle ever came to be, or I ever saw a heartbeat, over and over and over again. I have talked about it with Kelly over at Life is Good Today in some great length and it is something I have pondered for many months. Early on in the life of this little blog, I wrote about my struggle with my faith since my miscarriage. I was born and raised a Christian, but I was mad at God and I couldn’t make sense of my loss or anyone else’s. But in Kelly’s comments to my post, she mentioned blind faith, which really spoke to me. Now I realize that it (“it” being “blind faith”) is a bit of a redundant phrase, as all faith is essentially blind — that is, faith is believing in something that cannot be seen or touched, something that we don’t have solid proof of — but it made me see my faith, and faith in general, differently.

I realized that blind faith was exactly what I needed to have in order to get through this difficult period of infertility (and later, the scary first weeks of pregnancy) with any sort of grace or peace. It was my only hope. And it helped, I will say. Letting the control slip from my hands into Someone Else’s, and just working every damn day to believe that everything would work out, would be okay, was all part of some grand plan, gave me what I needed to make it from one day to the next. I will not lie: it has not always been easy. I still get angry at God sometimes, not only for me but for all of you, and I still don’t have all the answers. There have been days when I must have repeated my mantra of “blind faith, blind faith, blind faith” a thousand times because I needed the constant reminder. But it helped. Oh dear God, it helped. And in the end, I believe that’s the purpose of faith and prayer. It is not for God. God is God. He wants but does not need for us to believe in Him, worship Him, or go to Him in all things. Rather, faith is for us. It changes us. It lifts us up. And it makes life so much easier.

And in my hard work of learning to just let God be in charge, and trust that His plan is the best plan, I have come to learn so much about what it means to have blind faith. Because it is more than going to church, believing in God, praying for what you want and expecting you’ll get it. It is more than worship and praise. It is trusting fully, come what may. It’s accepting God’s will, and embracing it, even if you simultaneously despise it. It’s acknowledging the hateful and angry feelings you have towards God, and working through them. It’s knowing you will be okay and you are not alone, even if you don’t get what you want. It’s understanding that God knows best, even if you don’t like His reasons. It’s grasping that there is a purpose for your pain.

Blind faith does not require that we seek answers and try to understand God’s plan. In fact, I think it’s the exact opposite: not wanting or needing the answers at all. Just going forward with your eyes closed, leaping into the unknown. Basically, it boils down to trust. You can’t see where the road in front of you leads, if the trip will be easy or hard or long. But just trusting that, one way or another, God will lead you through it.

To me, this is what blind faith is. I know this now. I know this not because I am growing another baby, but because my faith has evolved significantly since losing Teddy Graham last year. All those times I was standing still — all those times I was waiting for my period, waiting for ovulation, waiting to be done with Provera, waiting, waiting, waiting — I had time to think about this. And yet practicing this sort of faith, letting it take over my head and heart at all times — well, I’m still working on that. I imagine I will be for the rest of my life.

Sorry for the rambling, friends. I don’t want to come off as preachy. I know this is a sensitive subject. I know so many people, especially in this community, find it impossible to believe in anything at all or really struggle as I have, or more. I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I don’t judge and I hope you won’t judge me. It’s just, without my faith and without working towards a greater understanding of what that means, I would have been lost over the last year. In fact, I would have lost it (as in, my mind). So while I’m so happy that some of you made it to the end of this post and have been supportive enough to listen to all my ramblings, this post is really for me. Because when I face another crisis (and there will be another one), I want to remember what I learned. I want every bit of it written down as a solid, tangible reminder that faith got me through once before. And it will do it again.

Pregnancy Post: Small Steps Forward

After every ultrasound and every doppler check, I get such a high. The sound of that heartbeat is my drug and it courses through my veins. But the next day? Gone. It is always surprising to me when it doesn’t last longer, when the worry sets in and even the reminder of a good heartbeat one or two or three days ago is not enough to comfort me.

But I feel as though this cycle of highs and lows is starting to diminish.  Proof? I am beginning to picture our future, our family of four. Over the weekend, I took a few steps forward in believing that Skittle might just be coming home with us this autumn. First thing, I put away my infertility books and brought out my pregnancy books. I started reading about what being 10 weeks pregnant means and reviewed the development of an embryo at this stage. By the end of this week, Skittle will become a fetus and weigh a quarter of an ounce. It is hard to believe that I somehow successfully sequestered myself all these weeks and was able to remain in the dark about this baby’s growth until now.

Today, I had my husband bring in my box of maternity clothes and my body pillow from storage. I am not quite ready to clear my closet of pre-pregnancy clothing, but I am starting to “show” ever so slightly. It startled me at first, but I know it often happens sooner with subsequent pregnancies and my dear friend told me she was in maternity pants at 9 weeks. Strangely, my pants don’t seem tight at all, but hiding the belly that peeks over the top of my waistline is getting a little more challenging. It will be time to start transitioning into a different wardrobe soon.

Also, my mom arrives in two days. She will be staying with us through the end of the month. I’m very much looking forward to our extended time with her and I want to utilize our time well. Which means we need to do a few baby things. Like go shopping for the maternity clothes that I lack.  (Yes, I could do this alone, but what fun is that?!) And I need to start turning our great room into an office so that the office can become Cupcake’s room and the nursery can stay the nursery. I really wanted to wait to take these big steps until I was at least in my 2nd tri, but I rarely get this much time with my mom. And while I’m working on the organization and rearrangement of our house, she can watch my daughter or help me move furniture. For practical reasons, I have to do these things now. And so I will. A bit grudgingly, but I will.

I guess this is just another sort of milestone that we infertiles must all face: moving from doubt to belief, from waiting to planning, from standing still to moving forward. For some, it comes sooner than others. I think it is coming earlier for me than I ever expected. But maybe that’s good. Maybe it means that I’ve come to see my risk of “jinxing” everything has passed, if it ever existed at all. Maybe, finally, I have faith. Faith that, in the end, everything will be okay. This this baby, our cherished Skittle, will be in my arms in another six or seven months.

Please God, let that be so.