When my husband and I decided we would have children it was after we had been together as man and wife for some time. I wanted to have that special time between the two of us because I knew that our lives would change forever when we had kids. He admitted to me later on that he was ready right after we got married, as most of his friends did, but I held off. He was supportive throughout, and for that I am grateful.
Ok, so we decided it was time. We had been together for 7 years and married for 2 of those, and I pulled the goalie from the net. We were excited, but apprehensive too. I became so obsessed as time went on that I was hyperfocused on it at all time. I felt a little nauseous, did that mean I was pregnant? Should I not drink in case I was? But, nothing happened. We waited, tried, went through many pregnancy tests and ovulation kits, and nothing. So I went back to the doctor who recommended a “jump-start” to my whole hormone process. Apparently, with the amount of time I had been on the pill, my ovaries might have need a wake-up call to start dropping eggs again. I said ok, because it wasn’t quite up to the par of Clomid, which seemed to me the step before IVF. Not that ANY of that is bad, but I was nervous to go that route. I am sure anyone is. She told me to wait and give it a little more time, but have the meds to start in case I needed. Shortly after I was told about my own fertility issues, I found out my sister was pregnant. I remember being so confused and upset, I immediately called my husband in tears. “She’s pregnant, and I’m not! What is WRONG with me??” Per his usual, he calmed me down and made me see the value in everything with a bottom line: to be happy for my sister and the journey she was about to embark on. And that no matter what, even if we had to adopt, he would stand by me. (We would even joke that we would have an Italian last name with a not-so-Italian child if we had to.) I eventually began to realize that I should be happy for her, and excited at the baby coming, and the less I focused on myself, the better.
About 8-9 months later, after nothing had happened via the natural route, I decided to start taking the meds. My cycle was so off, and if nothing else, the doctor had assured me that it would help regulate that and make it easier to determine when my ovulation would happen. With only one round of the hormones, I noticed that I skipped a period. I took a pregnancy test that morning, and called my husband at work: “are you ready to be a dad?” Ready or not, here came our first. Shit was getting real.
I know my situation wasn’t dire. I know plenty of people who struggled to get pregnant in various ways, IVF, Clomid, etc, and mine was definitely not up to that level of stress. I always thought it was odd, how that worked. We were so stressed to get pregnant that most likely, that could be the cause of us NOT getting pregnant. And how could you relax when you were taking hormones? You get so wrapped up in what you want that as a result, nothing else matters and the stress levels build. And at the time of my husband and I trying, that was all I could see: what was wrong and could it be fixed.
My second came a bit easier, you could say. My first was a little over a year old, and I hadn’t gone back on the pill after I gave birth. At first, it seemed silly because if I was going to breastfeed, I had to be on a low dose hormone which wasn’t a guarantee I wouldn’t get pregnant. Then, when breastfeeding was nixed, I just didn’t go back on the pill because I didn’t want to keep going back and forth of being on or off the pills. Plus, we knew we didn’t want them to be far apart from each other, so there didn’t seem to be a reason to go back on the pill anyway.
I was monitoring my ovulation schedule. It was really wacky, and I couldn’t even tell when my cycle really started or stopped. I had my yearly ob-gyn appointment coming up in May, and I planned to ask at the appointment what I should do about going back on the hormones. If I had issues the first time around, that had to mean I would have issues again, right? When I told them the last two cycles I had, and they heard how sporadic they were, they asked me to take a pregnancy test, to simply “rule it out” before we went on to discuss child #2. I personally thought it was ridiculous, but as my nurse practitioner had an intern with her, I thought I’d humor them. As this was at the start of my appointment, I waited in the exam room with my first child, eating snacks and chatting, flipping through ladies magazines together. When my nurse came in, with her intern in tow, she tried to keep her face blank, but it didn’t work. “What?” I asked, slightly annoyed. “Well, you’re pregnant,” she responded. I immediately burst into tears. “Oh, no,” she said, patting my shoulder, “is that not good?” I shook my head through my tears. If she only knew how much anguish we had been through trying to get pregnant with our first, then she might understand my tears. The amount of money I spent on pregnancy tests and ovulation kits. The nights I spent praying to God that I was pregnant, and almost bargaining with him…’If I am pregnant, I won’t ask for anything else, ever.’ Instead, I just looked at the nurse and said, “No, these are happy tears.”
Whatever hurdles mothers cross, this is most often one that is overlooked once we actually become pregnant. It’s the “pre-pregnancy” category, and gets filed away once we cross that bridge. It’s a hurdle (#8), nonetheless, and we need to remind ourselves of what got us here, no matter what the story, has given us life and happiness.