There were a number of "what if" questions to choose from or we could come up with our own, I believe the question I chose is always on my mind, and it's about time I blogged and really thought about it, I'll also touch base on other "what ifs" I have.
What if despite my ultimate success I never let go of the resentment at and jealousy of the women who got to do this the “normal” way and who never experienced pregnancy loss?
In August of 2003 Chris and I decided that I could stop taking birth control pills and we'd start trying for a child. I knew that it could take up to 6 months for cycles to go back to normal and I remember thinking that would be perfect timing. It would take 6 months to get pregnant and 9 months later would be fall, a perfect time to be 9 months pregnant, not too hot, not too cold. Well, 6 months pasted, and I started to get nervous. I started researching on the Internet and joined Baby Center Community groups about trying to conceive. And it wasn't long before I became obsessed with getting pregnant. I charted cycles, I made Chris reduce the temperature of his showers, I gave him caffeine before "BDing" (baby dance a.k.a intercourse), I checked cervical mucus, I even bought an oil to put in the bathwater to increase ovulation, I can't remember what it was now, but it did cause cramping and that's about it. It wasn't long before Chris started asking where the time clock was on the bed post because it wasn't about making love any more, it was about making a baby, sex was now a job and was not fun. And every month that I was sure I was pregnant, my periods would come earlier and be so bad I would lay on the floor in fetal position and cry. I was a good year after trying that we said that this was ridiculous and it would happen when it happened.
Fast forward to 2006. Still not pregnant, still no child. We have moved to Maryland, we have purchased a house and a dog... we are settled. Time to take action. This was some of the scariest time in our relationship. We argued, we cried, and finally we agreed to get some help. This started with my regular gyn doctor in the form of sperm analysis, HSG testing and LAP surgery and about 6 months of clomid. Still not pregnant.
Meanwhile, numerous friends and family members were getting pregnant, having babies, getting pregnant again, having more babies. Some planned, some surprises. This takes such a toll on your Psyche. Chris and I put up a good front by making light of the situation. Often we would joke that we did things in the wrong order. Had we not gotten engaged, then married and the tried for a child in the traditional way of things, but gotten pregnant first, we wouldn't have had such a problem. I mean, a lot of our friends did it that way, many had kids then got married, they never seemed to have fertility issues! But inside we hurt, we were confused and we began to resent those whom pregnancy seemed to come so easily.
Starting fertility treatments with Shady Grove (after 6 months unsuccessfully on clomid) helped some. We realized we weren't alone. We became educated about infertility and found out 1 in 6 couples experience infertility. Yet this didn't take away the pain when we would find out another friend or relative was expecting "accidentally", or it only "took one month". And even everyday things like going to the grocery store or out to dinner would bring tears to my eyes when I was filled with envy at the big round belly of a pregnant stranger. This bothered me the most. I would feel resentment and envy at strangers. I would be mad at someone I didn't even know because they were with child and I was not. I would remind myself that I didn't know their story and maybe this was result of years of trying too, but it still hurt.
After 4 1/2 years of trying to conceive we were pregnant with the help of Shady Grove and an IUI with clomid. Our dream had come true! I remember my dear friend had been trying for her 2nd child when we were going to the fertility center. I can remember her getting so upset thinking she was experiencing secondary infertility after trying for 2 months with no success. Like her first pregnancy, after 3 months she used ovulation predictor strips and was pregnant within 2 more months of using them. I knew she was pregnant but she wouldn't tell me until I told her our good news. It was aggravating while she was trying, I was so mad that she thought she was infertile because she had tried for 3 months without getting pregnant, she had no idea what it was like to go over 4 years! But it was also nice knowing that she cared so much about what we had experienced that she didn't want to take away our glory of becoming pregnant.
Only a short 7 weeks into the pregnancy our world was shattered with a miscarriage. Our baby's heart had stopped beating. Again we knew the statistics of first pregnancy loss, but it still did not take away the hurting and again the envy at every birth and pregnancy announcement. I had a D&C and then it was many months of physical and emotional healing before we were ready to try again. Luckily we went back to Shady Grove and with the same procedure, IUI with clomid, we were pregnant again. It was just months short of the 5 year mark of trying.
I should be happy right? I should drop all that resentment. Well, it's not that easy. That resentment soon turns into a bitterness towards those pregnant women that complain. UGH! Don't they know how precious that baby is? Don't they know or realize what a miracle pregnancy and babies are?
Our son arrived 12 weeks early. And since this post is about the what ifs of infertility I won't even go into the resentment that is felt when you deliver a preemie! All those feelings then become angst for those with healthy babies and those whom take their children for granted.
So, what if I don't ever loose this resentment despite my success? I won't. I don't even try to change that. My heart still pangs when women complain about pregnancy. It still stings when someone says they "accidentally" got pregnant, or they had an "oops" baby. I still hold resentment for a friend's comment when I told her of the miscarriage, "yah I heard". That's all she said, and then continued on with normal conversation. There was no sympathy in her voice and I still cannot bring myself to forgive.
So what if I don't loose the resentment?
I'm not a mean person, I will not be rude or mean. Instead I try to focus on educating others on infertility and pregnancy loss. Not only about procedures or when to worry or seek help, but about caring and compassion for others who may be experiencing it. I do not hesitate to warn people about asking "so when you having kids" to someone, really it's not any of their business. I can offer empathy and not just sympathy when I hear of a friend who has suffered infertility or pregnancy loss. I can encourage others to educate themselves. And I do not hide what Chris and I have been through.
I am not ashamed of our infertility. I am not ashamed that we sought help. I am not at fault for the miscarriage or the premature birth of Aidan.
I am an infertile, I am a preemie mom, I am a woman!
- For more information about understanding infertility: www.resolve.org/infertility101
- The Background of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW): www.resolve.org/takecharge
- Here are other “what ifs” included in this Blogger's Unite: www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if/