“I’m a mom.” They were words I had wanted to say and waited to say. And then, in the early hours of an August morning, they were true. Our sweet Maren came into the world and made me almost forget every heartbreak and frustration it had taken to get to that point. She was perfect, with that crazy mop of dark hair and the cutest little Lindblom dimple. She was the miracle that I needed and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to be her mom.
Prior to getting pregnant with her, our road to having children had been long and fraught with disappointments. And while I now know that it was only the beginning of our decade long partnership with infertility, it was all I knew and it was painful all the same.
We had been married for five and a half years when we decided we should start trying to get pregnant. They had been a busy five years that provided both of us the time and opportunity to graduate and get settled in our careers, buy our house, and to really solidify our marriage and relationship. We were grateful for the time we had to plan and prepare and now we were ready to have a baby. But newsflash, I learned I’m not in charge and can’t control everything. Shocker huh?
So after a year of trying with no success, we started on Femara, and after six months of that not working either, we started with treatments. We did IUI (intrauterine insemination) and I was convinced that it was going to be a success and I told way more people than I should have. So then when I learned it didn’t work, I was crushed. And then the next month I had cysts in my ovaries so we couldn’t do any treatment, because any medicine they would give me to help the eggs grow, would also make the cysts grow. It’s not the end of the world, by any means, but it felt like any forward motion that we had made was coming to a screeching halt. We ended up having to do IUI four times, taking breaks almost every other month because of cysts, and getting pregnant once but having it end shortly thereafter in a miscarriage. And then on New Year’s Day, I found out I was pregnant. I was nervous and tried not to get my hopes up at first, because I had been disappointed before. But before long I stepped into my role as a crazy, overzealous, knows everything, future mom.
I will say though, that while that paragraph was relatively concise, there were a lot of emotions wrapped up in it. And because now looking back, it’s hard to remember the details, I am copying a post that I had written on our old blog (RIP blogspot!) when I was in the thick of it and living through the daily struggles. I posted this in November of 2012, just a couple months before I got pregnant.
Infertility as I know it, and as I’ve experienced it:
It’s what you think about constantly, CONSTANTLY, though your thoughts are less optimistic every month. It’s all of the possibilities and impossibilities that are forever running through and being spelled out in your mind.
It’s the fact that it’s nobody’s fault and there’s nothing “wrong” with either of you, but still feeling a little broken. And blaming yourself for things not going right, thinking, “If only I had…”
It’s wearing waterproof mascara on days you find out you’re not pregnant, because you might be fine, but you also might break down crying at any given moment.
It’s buying diapers at Costco every time there is a coupon, hoping this box will be the one that isn’t given as a gift.
It’s the adorable Mickey and Minnie dolls that were bought in 2009 for the future babies, that are still sitting in the closet.
It’s people trying to relate, and giving terrible reasons on how they “know how you’re feeling.”
It’s people that, whether or not they can relate, still somehow manage to say exactly what you need to hear, that you will repeat to yourself time and time again.
It’s not being able to sleep at night because TOMORROW is the day you find out if you are pregnant! And it’s knowing that tomorrow could be the day that everything changes, but then learning that everything will stay about the same.
It’s looking at your cute husband with his dimples and dying to know if your babies will have them too. And will they have his brown eyes or your green? And his curly hair or your straight?
It’s remembering when you would say you would have six kids in six years, and realizing it is now likely an impossibility.
It’s feeling guilty about the years that you didn’t want to get pregnant. Guilty that you didn’t want to be a newlywed, poor student, and mom all at the same time. Guilty that you like working and making money. Guilty that you take vacations in the meantime.
It’s wanting to shout from the rooftops that you’re trying and have been for ages.
It’s telling your friends and family when you first get started with treatments, not realizing that every disappointment would then be multiplied by the number of people you told. Not realizing that your heart breaks a little more each time, and how hard it is to always deliver bad news. Not realizing that you would feel so vulnerable every single time. Not realizing that no matter how many people you tell, you still feel very alone.
It’s counting time by two week increments. Two weeks until the next procedure, two weeks until you can find out.
It’s recognizing how blessed you are and feeling selfish praying and asking for just one more baby-shaped blessing.
It’s splurging at Christmas because it’s your last as a family of two. And then again the next year. And again this coming year. And so help me if next year too.
And speaking of Christmas, it’s not just wanting a baby but wanting a full blown family of 15, because holidays are way more fun with kids involved.
It’s wanting something so badly that seems forever out of reach.
It’s being a planner, and realizing and learning the hard way that you are not in control. And it’s not knowing what to plan anymore.
It’s friends that get uncomfortable around you because they are afraid you’ll come unglued when they announce they’re pregnant, or trying, or not trying but getting pregnant anyway.
It’s learning to be truly happy for others and their sweet families that are growing, even though your situation couldn’t be more opposite.
It’s scheduling appointments without asking what it will cost, because frankly, it doesn’t matter, you’d do it anyway.
It’s shots and pills and very specific timing.
It’s wanting to punch people when they suggest anything. “Have you tried an ovulation kit?” Uh, yeah genius, about 16 of them.
And of course it’s people saying, “Once you stop trying, then it’ll happen.” As if you would ever stop trying to become a mom, the one thing you’ve been sure that you wanted since you were born.
It’s using the term, “bypass the cervix” and knowing what that means. And that your uterus is a common topic of discussion.
It’s going to kids’ birthday parties and feeling like others’ lives are flying by, and that yours is at a standstill.
It’s buying a house to grow into, only for the future nursery to stay vacant for years.
It’s wanting to know what it feels like to love something so perfectly and indescribably.
It’s wanting a baby, your own baby, to know how much it is already loved.
It’s hoping. But trying not to get your hopes up.
It’s frustrating. But trying to endure.
It’s scary. But trying to be brave.
It’s heartbreaking. But nothing.
It’s knowing that God loves you and is aware of you, and that this will all be worth it someday.
It’s wanting “someday” to be now.
Reading through this again brings back the wave of emotions that I was drowning in. Thankfully, our someday came. We are beyond grateful for the opportunity we have to grow our little family, but are so aware of the struggle it is for so many people. Hopefully as we continue to share how we have had success in bringing more babies to our family, we can help others understand a little bit more and we can all be more compassionate to those around us who may be struggling.