I had a realization today. Throughout this whole infertility thing, I’ve always fantasized about THE MOMENT. You know, the moment when you finally take a positive pregnancy test. When you and your embryonic progeny (and your husband) ride off into the sunset on a unicorn, with rainbows, and…
I’ll spare you the rest of the gory details. But, when I was feeling down, I’d just say to myself: Jenny, one day, you are going to wake up and your life is going to change. You won’t know when, but one day will be THE day that this journey is over and you can put all the bullshit behind you.
And then today, as I was driving home from happy hour, I realized THE MOMENT doesn’t exist.
I’m not sure why I took so long to reach this conclusion. You’d think that a miscarriage after IVF may have spurred this epiphany sooner (nope…). I have a great deal of hope that I will become a mother one day – either through IVF, a natural miracle (one can dream), or adoption. But I don’t think I’ll ever experience THE MOMENT again – and, frankly, I’m okay with that.
When I found out I was pregnant this past September, I thought THE MOMENT had happened. That day was the only worry-free day of my pregnancy (probably didn’t hurt that I found out at 5:30PM, resulting in fewer waking hours to worry in.) When the second line began appearing, a feeling of elation ran through me and I couldn’t stop smiling. Even as we repeated the mantras, “anything could happen” and “no matter what, we know we can get pregnant,” it felt like a giant weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Finally, this was our moment.
And then, as outlined in a previous blog post, shit hit the fan. Infertility doesn’t end when you get pregnant. In fact, my experience was that pregnancy (at least the first trimester) felt like another cycle of infertility treatment – a really long, hard one, with much more at stake than ever before.
It didn’t help that (A) I have anxiety and (B) I experienced a scary bleed at 6 weeks. IVF pregnancies are already highly medicalized until you are released to your OBGYN. Bleeding and cramping just added to the anxiety. My days revolved around waiting for the nurse to call with test results, taking pills, injections, and -most importantly – waiting for the weekly ultrasounds that seemed eons apart. Every time we cleared one hurdle (good BETA, good ultrasound, heartbeat…) the fear would subside for a couple hours. Then you’d realize there’s another hurdle straight ahead. And another one, and another one, and another one….
First trimester seemed like it would never be over. And in a way, it wasn’t. I never got to clear that hurdle, because I miscarried at 9 weeks. Alex and I have made our peace with what happened (as much as anyone can) and are hopeful and joyful again. But, it still SUCKED, man (and continues to suck a little, on bad days).
So, yeah. Lessons learned:
(1) Pregnancy after IVF is like a cycle of fertility treatment on steroids.
(2) There is no MOMENT. One day you’re infertile. One day you’re pregnant. And then you realize you’re infertile and pregnant. Growing a tiny human is a wonderful thing, but it does not erase your infertility.
(3) There are just…moments. All lowercase. They come and go like waves on the beach. We experience them. Some are wonderful, some are sad, some are scary, and some are just bleh. They don’t last forever, though some last longer than others. They overlap. They shift. And sometimes they contradict each other. But they are the fabric that makes up our lives. The lovely, the shitty, and all.
So, as I move forward into year 3 of this infertility adventure, I have one hope. I hope I will wake up one morning, remember the moments this year has brought, and think: Today is awesome. I don’t know what the future will bring. But, we’re doing just fine right now. And that’s all that matters.