This is something that I have been contemplating writing about for awhile now. It is very personal, and something I don't like talking much about, but I am writing it in hopes that maybe it can encourage somebody today.
Here is a conversation I had with the adorable little (now 8 year old!) boy I nanny:
Him: If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
Me: I like what I am doing right now, living in London, being with you, and getting to travel!
Him: No, it has to be something that you aren't doing right now. What is something you really want to do or have?
I just half smiled, shrugged my shoulders, and told him what I think he already knew the answer would be: have a baby.
Sometimes I think there has to be some sort of universal balance scale for each person with blessings on one side, and trials on the other, and one side can't outweigh the other (although I will sill say that my blessings far exceed my trials). I feel like maybe, since I was lucky enough to find Daniel so young and live such a wonderful life together so far, the world would be out of sorts if we didn't have some sort of hardship, and having a baby seems to be one of those hardships.
But with that being said, I want a baby terribly.
I want the joy of finally seeing a positive symbol and getting to hug Daniel triumphantly, I want the excitement of telling friends and family, I want the feeling of oneness with a life growing inside of me, I want to be able to graze my hand expectantly over a baby bump, I want to be able to hold and smell and talk to a wrinkly little lump of love, I want to be able to read books with him before he goes to bed every night and sing "You are my sunshine" to her as I rock her to sleep.
Unexplainable infertility sucks even more, because there is literally nothing you can do to try and fix it (without paying thousands of dollars). Believe me, I've tried.
Eating more vegetables. Eating more fat. Eating less meat. Drinking less caffeine. Drinking less alcohol. Drinking more juice. Drinking more wine (because how many people tell you it happened once they just relaxed?!). Doing more yoga. Lifting less weight. Running more. Running less. Sleeping more. Resting more. Taking prenatal vitamins. Stressing out less. Not thinking about it. Thinking about it. Tracking it. Not tracking it. Going on vacation. Ovulation tests. Clomid. Blood tests. HSG tests. Testing him. And anyone else who has tried knows what I'm saying, when I say doing this until your legs are pale and bloodless:
First, is hope. When you are really trying for a baby and tracking ovulation in order to time everything perfectly, you get REALLY excited during what is called the "Two week wait" (time between, well, trying for a baby at the right time and finding out if you are, indeed, pregnant). "I think I'm feeling sick? Maybe my breasts are sore? I just feel soooo tired all of the time. I should Google when I can take a pregnancy test. I should Google if having a cold might mean I'm pregnant." and near the end of that waiting period (no pun intended), you have begun spinning every single cough, soreness, and craving to mean you are pregnant. You begin planning how you are going to tell people. You begin looking up houses in the 'burbs online. You begin pinning nursery ideas.
And then, you realize that the symptoms that you THOUGHT might mean you are pregnant are REALLY just your uterus shedding it's lining. Because no, silly, why would you be pregnant this time?
And with that, hope leads to anger. You know what is fun to scream? F*cking infertility. That somehow makes the anger more bearable. Anger that something that was supposed to be so easy, actually isn't. It was really hard working at my first school, where unplanned pregnancy was rampant amongst the community. These people are eating all of the foods I avoid, lots of them smoke, they never exercise or take care of themselves... and here I am, eating my organic apple and I can't get knocked up for anything.
The anger, inevitably, leads to an empty, hopeless, black hole of despair. You feel it in the pit of your stomach- this intense pain, this lack of control, this realization that you cannot have what you want so, so badly. You begin to think that what you grew up practising for your whole life, all of those baby dolls you swaddled and pets you nurtured, will have been in vain. It is such a shock to think that a part of life as simple as being a mom might not ever even happen to you.
And if you try to be positive, hopefully the pain in the pit of your stomach can subside a bit and you can find ways to laugh about it. You know what's funny? The amount of money we spent on birth control. How I REALLY thought I would get pregnant if I accidentally took a pill at a different time. But really, you have to be able to laugh about it. When I'm feeling down, I just google "infertility humor" and find gems like this:
1. You cannot plan your life around something that hasn't happened. We married young and thought we would become parents when we were 25 (Ha! Now I am grateful that we have gotten to experience things we wouldn't have if we would have had a child by now). I didn't quit a job that I no longer enjoyed because I thought I would hold out until I had a baby. When we were offered years ago to move to London or Paris, we didn't, because we knew we'd have a baby soon. There were countless times when we nearly moved out to the suburbs because we really thought we would have a family shortly after. Then, thank God, we figured out that we cannot just wait around and make choices for something that might not ever happen! I quit my job and went to a school that I loved working at, and then we made the bold decision to move here! It is a great feeling taking control of your happiness when you CAN'T control having a baby.
2. You cannot let your own challenges make you unhappy for others around you. Not going to lie- it is very, very hard when people close to you have no problem becoming pregnant. But you have to be happy for them. Some people are just blessed with getting pregnant with no troubles, just like I was blessed to find my husband at an early age, just like others are blessed with finding a job that they love, just like others are blessed with great health, etc etc. I have to daily be grateful for everything wonderful in my life, and that makes the whole infertility thing seem not that bad and allows for me to truly, honestly, be so happy for others who are pregnant!
So, to end this long post, let me tell you how the conversation ended with my little friend.
Him: Then you need to go to the doctor. You know, doctors can fix that and give you a baby.
Me: I know and I have and I will again, but it is very expensive (and lots of times doesn't work)!
Him: That doesn't matter. If having a baby is your dream, then it is worth it.
When people can't get pregnant on their own, "What to do next?" is a very tough question to ask. I know before we realized we had this problem, it seemed so easy to tell couples to "just adopt" or "just do IVF" or "you're young- just keep trying". But really, it is SUCH a personal decision and really, no body has any right to tell an infertile couple what they think they should do next and when they should do it. With that being said, our plan is to keep enjoying this season of travelling for as long as we can, and when we move back to Houston if it STILL hasn't happened yet (statics show you have a 2% chance of getting pregnant on your own after 2 years of trying), then we will pull out the big guns and seek the more expensive fertility treatments.
Okay, that was very cathartic and I thank you for reading my story. I hope, if you are experiencing this same monster, you now know that you are not alone and I would love to hear your experience, too. Also, let me just note that I recognize it could be worse. Some of you reading might have had miscarriages, might have endometriosis, might have complications making a pregnancy absolutely out of the question, and just know that I think that really sucks and I am very, very sorry. And please, if you were lucky enough to not have to go through this struggle, don't do this: