The Inevitable Question

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A big pet peeve of mine is as soon as you hit some major milestone in your life, people are always rushing on to the next. Take getting engaged for example. As soon as he puts a ring on it, you no sooner can buy a bride magazine before someone asks, “Have you set a date?” Then, you get married, and before you’ve even had the chance to change your last name on all of your documents (what a PIA that is), people are already starting in, “Are you trying?…maybe a honeymoon baby?!” Like pump the brakes and let me enjoy being married for a hot minute. One upside of infertility is that after so many years of marriage without a baby, people tend to stop asking. Then, if you’re lucky enough to have a baby, you no sooner get home from the hospital to hear, “When’s the next one coming? Ready for another?” I mean, can my stitches heal before you ask this? I haven’t even been cleared for action down there yet.

While more often than not they’re really well meaning questions, I find them utterly annoying. I think it’s in part what’s wrong with society today. I mean we can’t even celebrate one holiday without the next occasion’s motif lining store aisles. It’s always such a rush to get to the next big thing that sometimes the opportunity to savor and relish in the delight of one momentous occasion can be lost. I love that I had a long engagement to enjoy being engaged and was married for a few years before trying-to-conceive. Of course, six years of marriage before a baby wasn’t ideal, but I know that many first year marriages wouldn’t be able to survive the wrath of infertility. I’ve really been able to enjoy each stage to its fullest and feel like each chapter was complete before the next. I know that’s not in the cards for everyone nor what many people would prefer, but for me I like spacing between these joyous life events.

This holds true for adding to our tribe. There’s nothing more I want to do than to have another child to raise and love with my husband; to give Mikie a sibling so that he could share the same bond we do with our brothers and sisters. But if I could plan 😁🙊 I’d love to have them spaced about three years apart. Truth be told, I want to feel like I’m starting over. I know that sounds crazy to some, and there are definitely pros and cons to having kids back-to-back or years apart. For us, spacing just seems right. Unfortunately given our infertility issues, this means that we’d have to start really getting the ball rolling by the fall if we intend on doing a round of IVF in a year or so. And that effing terrifies me.

It’s not the doctors appointments, insurance dilemmas, and loading my body with hormones that’s scary. It’s the fact that I thought if there was a next time of trying to get pregnant, it’d be different. I always say the pressures off next time around. We already have our baby, which is such an abundant blessing, that regardless of the outcome at least we have him. And it’s not that that isn’t true. It is and I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m not complete. I’ve always read articles from moms that tell you, you just know when you’re done and it’s your last baby. I’m not there yet and if I had to guess, I probably won’t be there even if I am lucky enough to have another (Please don’t tell my husband 🤐, but I think 3 is our magic number). That probably sounds so selfish and ungrateful of me, especially since it’s truly a miracle that we even have one to call our own. But if a fertile couple wanted more kids, we wouldn’t think less of them, right? We might say they’re very blessed already, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve more if their hearts so desire.

So this must be what secondary infertility feels like. The great divide between feeling appreciative for the child(s) you do have and yearning to hold another. It’s like a tug of war of the heart. And while it’s easy to say at least, all you want to say is at last.

I have to admit, I never really got it before. I was that infertile girl who thought at least you have one healthy child.  I can’t even have that. And even after getting pregnant and having my son, I still felt that way to some extent. It isn’t until now, when I’m faced with the possibility of not getting pregnant again, that it’s starting to hit me.

I wasn’t intending on writing this post so soon, but lately it seems to keep hitting me.  Since our baby is upwards of a year and a half, I can only anticipate to hear more of the inevitable question-one that I try to consciously avoid asking others, especially those I suspect might be having difficulty trying to conceive.  At this point, I want people to ask.  I really do.  It’s just now I think I’m rewording my response:

“Yes, we’re beyond fortunate to have him, but we’d love to have another if we could.  No, I don’t know it’s going to be any easier and the pressure isn’t off the next time.”

M O R A L of the S T O R Y: infertility never ends.  Not even after you’re lucky enough to overcome it.   When you want a child to rock, nurture, teach, snuggle so badly, the heartache never fades, no matter if it’s your first, second, or third time around.

Faith & Fertility

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For a Type-A-ish person like myself, it’s hard to hear “It will happen when it is supposed to happen.” Yet, as a fairly religious person, it’s even harder to hear “It’s all God’s plan.”

Really?! It’s God’s plan for me to be infertile, while millions of teenage girls who can’t take care of themselves are getting knocked up? I mean it’s enough to make my blood boil. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve said it before myself. It is one of those sayings that naturally spew out of your mouth; similar to when someone passes away and well-meaning mourners say, “She’s in a better place,” or “He’s not suffering anymore.” Yes, of course that’s what we hope and try to believe, but it’s just one of those things we say because it actually sucks. It really sucks and we offer these sayings as some sort of solace and hope that it’ll get better. Yet in the moment it’s difficult to envision getting to that place.

Throughout our infertility struggles, I went to church most Sundays and prayed to St. Gerard and St. Anne in between.  It’s not to say my faith wasn’t tested.  There were times I was mad at God.  There were even times when I said at the end of the day having a baby was about science, not God.  When you’re in the moment, it’s only natural to start questioning your religious beliefs.  What’s worse is that the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in extraordinary means for conceiving, such as IVF.  One poignant moment I can recall was my sister-in-law coming home from her pre-Cana with pamphlets on the church’s views on infertility. She sent us a text of her “reading materials” and of course that’s the one I spotted.  I immediately told her to throw it away.  It’s not that I don’t believe what my faith teaches, but at the end of the day, my God wanted me to be a mom, regardless of how I got there. I wholeheartedly believe that, despite what any priest or doctrine states.

Now in hindsight, I can say I also believe, without a doubt that God played a role in blessing us with Mikie.  There was definitely science involved and without that would we have conceived? I highly doubt it, even at my most faithful moment.

I’m still on the fence if that was God’s plan, though.  On one hand, I don’t think it’s God who plans for babies to be sick, people to be ridden with Cancer, and lives to end too short.  I do think, though, that it is God who helps us at our darkest times, who comforts us in our grief, and who lifts us up when these unexpected life circumstances arise.  On the other hand, maybe there is a predestined plan-not to cause undue suffering, but maybe to serve a reminder of a higher power and to teach life lessons.  If I look at infertility as God’s plan for me, I can say it taught me how to let go a little and realize I can’t control my destiny.  It taught me the importance of faith and and reminded me of all I was already blessed with.

At the end of the day, science had given my husband sperm, science had retrieved and fertilized eggs to produce embryos, and science had made it possible to transfer those embies back into my body.  But it was in God’s hands what would happen next.

 

Mother’s Day: Another Reminder of Your Infertility

imageI am a fan of holidays. While they can be cliche, I like the idea of setting aside a specific day to commemorate someone or something. All of these National Margarita Day and Happy Hangover Day (I swear it exists-look it up) may take it a step too far but nonetheless serve as a reminder to take a step back, acknowledge all of your blessings, and celebrate each day.

With that said, Mother’s Day can be another reminder of what you aren’t and don’t yet have. As if all the aisles of Hallmark cards and “Mom life is the best life”  mugs aren’t enough to handle, there’s this whole day carved out to celebrate mommy-hood. It’s a reminder of your longing to rub a baby bump or rest a newborn on your chest, as you waft in that new baby smell. It’s a reminder of something that comes so easy for many, and taken for granted by some. It’s a reminder of the one thing missing to make your heart whole and a seemingly unattainable dream. It’s a reminder of your struggle, the bruises from PIO (Progesterone In Oil) shots, the countless appointments, the ups and downs, tears and pain that is your present.

But, my dear friend, it’s also a reminder of your future. It’s a reminder that one day you may be rocking your sweet child to sleep.  It’s a reminder to keep your head up and keep at it. It’s a reminder that someday you might become a mom and you will have a special and unique outlook-you will cherish every moment, every milestone, everyday because you know what it took to get there.

And while I like to look through rosey-colored glasses even that might not be a reality for some.  So, this Mother’s Day, and always remember that not everyone is fortunate enough  to ever get the chance to celebrate.  Choose your words wisely.  “Maybe you’ll be a mom next Mother’s Day-are you trying?” And “You don’t know how lucky you are-I can’t even remember the last time I was able to eat my meal at a restaurant” hurt.  Btw, biatch you’re the one who doesn’t know how lucky you are (oops did I say that out loud 🙊).

Like all woman who are fortunate enough to be called momma, tomorrow I will revel in the bliss of sleeping in, savor breakfast in bed, and cherish homemade gifts. I’ll probably post on social media a picture of me and my mini.  However I will never forget that there are many women still on their journey to motherhood whose hearts are aching and whose smiles are hiding months, even years, of pain.