I'm putting on a brave face today, posting this post. Eighteen months ago, I never thought I'd be writing about my fertility woes. But I chose to bring up this subject because I'm tired of keeping it to myself. It shouldn't be a secret. And it shouldn't be taboo.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
You may remember, back in January, I told you about our miscarriage from the previous year. It only took us 6 months to conceive, which back then, felt like a lifetime. I clearly remember the day my test stick read positive. I sat down on the toilet and cried from a strange combination of relief, gratitude and panic. That weekend, my family had plans to get together for Mother's Day. It was the best feeling, to be able to give my mom a grandchild.
A planning frenzy commenced. Books were ordered, cribs were researched, names were discussed, and my mom even scheduled a premature shopping trip for maternity clothes. A few days later, I began to spot. My sister-in-law, an OB/GYN, assured me it was normal implantation. But when I woke up with heavy cramping and bleeding, I knew the dream was over. I went to the doctor and tests confirmed it was a chemical pregnancy. One that happens very early, usually around 5-6 weeks. It felt like a cruel joke.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that it actually did happen. I grieved the loss of our little pea but knew she'd come back when she was good and ready. The world can be a scary place, I get it. We were confident we'd conceive again soon. Statistically, they say it's common to get pregnant within four months of a miscarriage. But four months came and went. Friends got pregnant. Five, seven, ten months passed. More friends got pregnant. A roller coaster of emotions every 28 days. This month, will be a year.
A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.
It's not an easy thing to admit to yourself you have a problem. We got pregnant before, we can do it again. But a little nagging voice inside told me to seek some answers. We both went in for testing and discovered that we do, in fact, have a medical issue that is drastically lowering our odds. Our chances of conceiving naturally are around 0.5%. Which means our pregnancy last year was a miracle in itself.
Earlier this week, we met with a fertility specialist to discuss our next move. We're considering intrauterine insemination (IUI) for the next few months. It will increase our chances to around 10%. Which isn't much, but it's something.
Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
– Max Ehrmann
When I first learned of our challenges, I was angry, shocked and confused. Then sadness set in. And the usual suspects of doom, gloom and jealousy. I'm the girl that makes things happen. Not having control of my life was a sobering realization.
But I wouldn't let myself stay there for long and neither would Hal. He reminds me daily to stay out of my head and appreciate our lives together at this present moment. There is so much to be grateful for. Today, I am hopeful. I find solace in meditation and Reiki. And I understand that this will be a part of my story, even if it's the very first chapter of a long dramatic novel. No matter what the outcome, these struggles are defining my character, strengthening my resilience, growing my compassion and shaping me into the person I need to become.
Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity...
– Gilda Radner
Please know, I didn't write this post for sympathy. More than anything, I wrote it to reach out to other women dealing with infertility. Quite a few of you, more than any of us may think, are going through similar trials and emotions. At the doctor's office, I was surprised by the number of couples in the waiting room. My friend and her husband went to an infertility seminar to educate themselves about what they were up against - the auditorium was packed, standing room only.
So loves, if you're struggling to start a family, whether you've been trying for a year, or five, I want you to know that you're not alone. I hold my hand out to you, so we may walk this path together.