I often get a little soapboxy about fertility, getting pregnant and staying pregnant. Why?
I am fortunate enough to get pregnant and stay pregnant. But once upon a time I was pregnant and scared.
I have to take you pretty far back…
When brokebackhusband and I were planning our wedding I frequented theKnot for budget tables, checklists and centerpiece ideas. I found myself on their message boards, chatting with other women like Jill from Baby Rabies who were also planning their Fall 2006 weddings. I could anonymously vent about any wedding drama and ask questions when I wasn’t sure about etiquette. I enjoyed it very much. In addition to boards about Cake, Invitations and Destination Weddings, there were boards about life- places to talk about what was for dinner, home dec. and even BOTB “babies on the brain”.
So after successfully executing our wedding day I turned back to “the boards” for advice on home buying and decorating. I even forwarded recipes to Matt, who used to do most if the cooking, before he became brokebackhusband. At the end of May 2007 I was training for a triathlon and I hadn’t had my period in nearly 7 weeks. On a whim I took a pregnancy test, Oh. My. Goodness. Those blue lines were so dark, so clear. There was no mistake, I was pregnant.
After the initial shock wore off and we regrouped we started to get excited. But I was way out of my element, I needed a safe place to vent my fears and ask stupid questions. And it dawned on me: BOTB.
I hopped on the Internet and vented about how freaked out I still kind of wad and how completely unprepared I felt. The replies were warm, welcoming and comforting. “It’s okay, sweetie, you are allowed to be scared.” “You can vent to us.” “You have 9 months to get used to the idea.” The more relevant part were their signatures, attached at the bottom of every post, was a short blurb of what they wanted to share about themselves. “TTC since 2005, 3 IUI all BFN, hoping and praying IVF works” “TTC with PCOS” “TTC after 3 MC, praying for a sticky baby”
It was a foreign language. TTC- trying to conceive IUI- intrauterine insemination BFN- big fat negative (the pregnancy test) IVF- in-vitro fertilization PCOS- polycystic ovarian syndrome MC- miscarriage
Suddenly my eyes were open. There was this world of women wanting desperately to get pregnant by accident. Just like me, they had things they couldn’t say or didn’t say out loud to other people. Our situations were so different. They talked about how difficult it was to get fertility procedures covered by their insurance. They talked about the loans they had to take out in order to try and have a baby. They talked about the cycles they had to take a break because the cysts that were growing on their ovaries from the hormone treatment. I listened.
My heart ached. I wished I could share my apparently abundant fertility with them. Instead of worry about how the timing of my pregnancy was unexpected and how I was sad about the vacations that would have to wait a few years I was thankful. More importantly, I was aware. I suddenly realized how hurtful “You should be glad YOUR ankles aren’t swollen” or “Maybe if you just drink a bottle of wine” or “Stop worrying about it, it will happen when you aren’t expecting it.” off hand comments could be. And you don’t announce a pregnancy before the end of the first trimester, because if you have a miscarriage (which is the big secret, how many women have at least one and how incredibly common they are.)
I was still occasionally caught up in my own situation (as I should be, I had a baby growing in my ute that I needed to buckle-down and prepare for). ::Picture a musical montage of me painting a room, registering for random stuff and reading books like “What to expect when you’re expecting.”:: My mind would often wander to my BOTB ‘friends’.
Years later. I still think of them.
Many of them have blogs (it’s the natural evolution of those who over-share on the Internet.) They all have children now. Most of them have more than one! They have been replaced by a new crew of women who shouldn’t have to endure the dreaded two-week -wait (TWW) month after month after month. Who shouldn’t have to drain their financial and emotional resources in order to make a family.
So I say this, to my friends, my sisters, you are not alone. You shouldn’t have to walk this path alone. Join a Facebook group, follow an infertility blog, leave a comment, don’t hide, don’t be shy about your struggles and your losses. Because, like me, your friends just need to have a glimpse of the world through your eyes.