Now that the big news (and even the gender reveal!) are out there, I’ve been debating how much I want to so publicly share about my pregnancy. And, maybe more specifically, our journey to even get here in the first place. But our story has a happy ending (which someone out there might need to hear) and I feel like I’ve been hiding from some of those closest to me (which is never good.) I also think this story will make a lot of other things make more sense – like why I stopped drinking coffee (one of my favorite things) and switched to all organic food. And the real reason for any near meltdowns (like this one) I’ve had in recent years.
We didn’t speak openly about trying to have a baby. I actually denied it or brushed it off if anyone asked. Those who know me know I put enough pressure on myself as it is. I couldn’t handle the idea of the same hope and expectations I had magnified in everyone around me. I didn’t want to talk about trying and failing. But we started “not avoiding” having a baby a couple years ago. Yep, years. I always assumed it would take me a while. High levels of stress on a regular basis are not exactly healthy. So for the first year I was frustrated because I knew I needed to make some major changes but was not surprised or frustrated that we didn’t have a baby yet.
I quit my job, taking a position I am ridiculously overqualified and, therefore, underpaid for. This doesn’t mean I don’t like the job or am not learning things but if it seemed like an interesting career choice it’s because it wasn’t really about my career. I needed to focus on my health and not my career. Unfortunately, at about the same time, life decided to throw another stressful curveball my way in the form of family drama. That lasted another year. While the drama was still very stressful (and something I had to deal with on a daily basis), I had already made some positive changes and was managing things better. I hoped the drama wouldn’t matter. Not avoiding became more carefully timed trying. But still no baby.
You may be wondering what my doctor had to say during all of this. Well, I switched doctors during this time and no one wants to meet a new patient and jump right into fertility testing. They’d tell me to wait 6 more months and then come back. I could have pushed harder but, the thing is, I didn’t want to start fertility testing yet either. Current discussion aside, I actually don’t have any major health issues requiring medical treatment. This affords me the luxury of avoiding medical intervention (even pain relievers for headaches – until they get really bad) at all costs. It’s not that I’m not grateful or amazed at what modern medicine can do. I just think that there’s often a more natural or preventative approach that I should have tried first. If you ask me, pregnancy is a pretty big deal. You’re asking your body to create and sustain a person. I knew I would not – and should not – get pregnant until my body was ready.
Late last summer/early fall, I picked up a book called “Making Babies.” I highly recommend it to anyone trying to conceive in the most natural way possible. It’s written from both an Eastern and Western medicine perspective and gives some guidance on what each might be able to do for you. I had already been thinking about trying acupuncture but the book gave me the final push to do it. In addition to our sessions (which I loved), with the encouragement of my acupuncturist, I started making changes to my diet and charting my cycles (I thought this would just stress me out further but I actually wish I had started sooner.) She also recommended another book to me, “Anatomy of the Spirit,” which helped give a kind of framework to a lot of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings swimming around my head. (Hopefully I’m not getting too Eastern medicine/new agey/religious on you – it’s just what I found helpful.) However, with my 30th birthday behind me and the New Year approaching, I was getting anxious. Our general approach to handling our infertility was when we started to get too upset or anxious it was time to try the next thing.
I should probably stop here to clarify that I never had any doubt that we would become parents in whatever way we were meant to. This belief kept me relatively calm, most of the time, about our process. My rising anxiety was about the fact that I didn’t want to spend much more time continuing to try when the adoption process is also so lengthy. I just wanted to be a mom. More than anything else, I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I needed to finally know how that was going to happen.
Pete scheduled his fertility testing first so we could rule out any issues there. To my great surprise, the results indicated there could be some things contributing to our infertility. I always assumed it was just me. He scheduled a follow-up with a male-fertility specialist to confirm the results and get further clarification on what they mean and what could be done. In the meantime, I finally scheduled my first set of fertility tests too. Bloodwork at specific points in my cycle to check my hormone levels and an x-ray of my fallopian tubes and uterus to check for blockages. Everything came back, more or less, normal. One of my hormone levels was a bit high but nothing that should have caused a major problem. My doctor offered Chlomid. I refused. It didn’t make sense to me to take a drug to regulate a cycle that didn’t seem broken. My stubbornness aside, I understand that sometimes this drug inexplicably works and that it’s a cheaper and less invasive option than the alternatives. And I’m not saying I would’t have ever taken it. But I was also paranoid about anything that increased the likelihood of twins – even if just a small increase. So I would wait.
We scheduled an appointment with the fertility specialist to discuss our options. I didn’t want to go. It felt like failing. I know it’s not but that’s how it felt. It also felt final. We had already decided that IVF was not for us and weren’t sure what else the doctor would recommend given our case. We had one more cycle to try before our appointment. I was a mess. I thought, based on my chart, we missed on our timing. Pete and I fought. I cried.
A few weeks later, I was still in a bad mood and our appointment was coming up soon. I decided that since my healthy habits weren’t working I’d like to spend the weekend drinking lots of mimosas and red wine. I was on day 28 of my cycle. Though that’s not late for me and I didn’t usually take pregnancy tests until at least day 32 (given our history what was the point?), I figured if I was going to go buy a lot of champagne I probably better take one just in case. The test turned positive before I could even leave the bathroom. You’re supposed to wait four minutes so I tried to put it down and not look but my heart was pounding so hard I thought it might come out of my chest. Shock, disbelief, and pure elation just barely begin to describe our emotions. That plus sign is honestly the last thing we expected to see – maybe ever.