Unexpectedly, Wonderfully, Joyously

Hello, world! I haven’t been around this corner of the internet much lately, but I thought I would stop in today because I’m pregnant.

Those are two little words that I didn’t think I would be saying this soon or without many more tears and heartaches, but they are unexpectedly, wonderfully, joyously true. As of yesterday, I am 7 weeks pregnant with a tiny little embryo that (I pray) is growing larger and stronger each day.

I took a pregnancy test a few weeks ago, against my better judgment, because… well, because I had a stash of them in my bathroom cupboard, and it’s hard to resist sometimes. I didn’t have my hopes up, but I had developed a habit of testing at the end of most cycles, and it was that time again. After dipping the stick, I sat and watched it for a minute or so. When no second line started to show up, I sighed and tossed it in the trashcan. I had seen so many negatives before, and I didn’t have any reason to think this one would be any different.

A couple hours later, though, I was straightening up the apartment and looked at that test one more time when I was putting a couple things away in the bathroom. Out of habit, again, I reached for the test just to make sure that it really was negative, and I couldn’t believe my eyes: there was the faintest of faint pink lines on that little test. I had seen so many starkly blank tests before – never a glimmer of a positive, not even an evaporation line – that I knew this one was different. I immediately started shaking, and the tears weren’t far behind. I called my husband in to see if he saw the line as well. He wasn’t quite as ready to believe right away, but I knew in my heart that it really was true – I was pregnant.

I took another test that night and got another positive squinter. Early the next morning, I used a digital test that I had on hand, and that left no doubt whatsoever; I climbed back into bed and showed my man the proof. There it was, in plain English: Pregnant. Exactly 3 years after I stopped taking birth control pills and 29 cycles since we started actively trying and hoping for a baby, our dreams were finally coming true.

I worry on occasion that something might still go wrong, but from the beginning I have been telling myself to simply focus on the here and now. Right now, I am pregnant, and I am soaking that up.

One thing that I wasn’t really expecting, but perhaps should have been, is the different twinges of guilt I have felt here and there over the past few weeks. I have found myself feeling guilty, on occasion, that I have reached my happy ending when others have not and perhaps will not. I have no idea why it worked for us this cycle, when it hasn’t so many times in the past. I have no idea why it finally happened, when we had such low odds and when our doctors weren’t giving us much hope with regards to trying naturally. I have no idea why this happened so easily (relatively speaking) for us, when so many we know have gone through much more invasive and difficult procedures in hopes of achieving a pregnancy, and not always successfully.

I am grateful that I am leaving the world of trying to conceive behind me, but I also feel guilty for feeling grateful while others cannot. I know there is nothing I can do to change their situations, but my heart still breaks for those who are struggling. I want to be sure I don’t forget how excruciatingly difficult infertility is, now that I am tentatively moving on to the other side.

From a different perspective, I have also run into a problem of feeling guilty for not absolutely loving every second of being pregnant so far. To be honest, morning sickness has hit me hard over the past couple of weeks, and I have had some absolutely miserable days of trying to cope with constant nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. I have found myself wondering how I am going to do it, how I am going to manage to continue with my normal schedule when I feel like I have no physical or mental strength. I have had to run out of my classroom multiple times over the past week so that I could throw up in the nearest restroom, and it seems so daunting to consider that this sickness is likely going to last throughout the rest of the semester – my last semester of both taking and teaching classes.

In those moments on the days when I hadn’t been able to keep even a sip of water down and found myself exhausted and crying on the bathroom floor after vomiting yet again, I found myself wondering why this was so difficult for me. Over those years of waiting and wishing for a baby, I had envisioned that I would have a wonderful pregnancy and would never complain about a single symptom, since they would just be reminders that my little one was real and growing. Well, I guess you could say that reality has given me a wake-up call, and it hasn’t been easy.

I am learning, yet again, how important it is for me to be compassionate to myself as well as to others. Although I know that this will all be more than worth it, I have to remind myself that it is still okay to acknowledge that dealing with this constant sickness is truly hard. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t trade this for anything, and I am more grateful than I can say for this miracle pregnancy. It is the most important thing that I have ever wanted, and even though it is hard physically, this is exactly where I want to be right now; there is no way I would go back or give this up. I have a little one on the way, and I can be strong for this sweet babe who will soon be making me a mama.

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Dreams

I had a baby dream last night.

It wasn’t the first, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but for some reason this one left me with a feeling that was hard to shake.

In this dream, I had had a baby but then had been sent home with my husband because I wasn’t able to keep him yet. I went back to my normal routine and nearly forgot about having had him at all, until one day the memories all came rushing back to me and I insisted on going back to the hospital to find him. We gathered up bags filled with binders upon binders of our medical records and carried them, staggering under the weight, into the room where we had last seen our baby. He was no longer there, and we felt completely hopeless. We sat down in that room and didn’t know what to do until, eventually, someone pointed us to a distant room down a long, dimly lit hallway. We wanted to leave the bags of records behind, but had to pick them up again and take them with us down the hall, where we found our baby lying in an incubator. I dropped the bags and rushed over to him, reaching out so he could grasp my finger. We had found him. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to pick him up and take him home with us, but I suddenly knew that it was not possible. My baby was there, real and alive and warm, but I could not have him.

When I woke up, it took me a moment to realize that this had not actually happened. It had all felt so vivid and tangible, and it was almost a shock that I didn’t have a baby lying in a hospital somewhere.

The dream hung over me like a cloud. Despite the fact that I have never had a physical baby to mourn, the feelings – the hopelessness and confusion and devastation – were still very much real. The fact that our journey of trying having a baby has been fraught with uncertainty and dead-ends and piles of intimidating medical records is real, and the fact that taking a break makes me worried that I will forget how badly I want this is also real. Above all else, the fact that I wish more than anything that I could leave the shadows of infertility behind us and hold that baby in my arms is absolutely real.