April 19th, 2010…the day that changed it all.
The birth of my first child, Isabella.
If hindsight were 20/20, I would’ve cherished those precious first moments more than I did. I was freshly 19 years old and barely out of the womb myself. When I was holding my swaddled newborn, I had no idea that it would take me years to achieve another pregnancy and hold her sibling. Secondary infertility seems to be a hot button topic in the infertility/TTC community, but I’m a firm believer that secondary infertility is still infertility. As someone once told me, this isn’t the pain olympics. We’re all hurting and making others ashamed of their hurt is going to make yours less.
What I didn’t know was that the hurt doesn’t stop once you see those two pink lines.
With my first pregnancy, I walked into every appointment nonchalantly. I had no reason to be scared as I never experienced true heartache prior to TTC. This pregnancy is different. You see…ultrasound rooms are a trigger. It’s where I found out my IUD was embedded into my cervix (which doesn’t sound too bad except that was the worst pain I felt in my entire life excluding labor). It’s also where I discovered I had polycystic ovarian syndrome. The bane of my existence and the cause of my infertility.
My first ultrasound produced more panic than excitement. She couldn’t find anything besides what looked like might’ve been the start of a sac. Luckily, two weeks later, baby grew. Baby was barely conceived at the first ultrasound, where we thought I was 6 weeks due to my LMP. While I’m thankful that it turned out fine, I wish I never agreed to an (extremely) early ultrasound in the first place. Those two weeks of what felt like pregnancy purgatory were painful. I fell asleep in tears over the thought of a chemical pregnancy or a miscarriage. I never once saw a positive pregnancy test in my 18 months of trying to have a baby, and to have that happiness potentially ripped away from me caused me to fall into a depression. Nothing could make me smile, and I wasn’t thinking optimistically. I remember rubbing my ‘bump’ begging baby to please stick around and telling her how wanted she was. My baby was barely the size of a sesame seed, and I was already so attached.
I’m now halfway done with this pregnancy, and although I do still have some fear, my nerves have calmed down. I’m able to breathe. I feel like I’m out of the woods. I know that something could go wrong, even this far along in a pregnancy, but I’m choosing to let those bad thoughts exit my mind and fall off my shoulders.
I know many of the bullet points on birth plans fly out of the window when it’s all said and done, but my desire to have a natural, intervention-free labor and delivery is strong regardless. I believe I feel this deeply about my ability to birth the way my body intended due to the lack of control I had during my TTC with infertility struggle. I lost control of my mental state and my physical well-being, and I want to be in control of my laboring body. As much as I possibly can, anyways.
This isn’t to say that if baby is in distress that I’ll turn away necessary interventions or a c-section. My birth plan is to walk out of the hospital with a healthy baby. After all, that’s the reason why I persisted through month after month of disappointment and heart-wrenching tears.
If you’ve been going through your own trials and tribulations with infertility, nobody can tell you how you’re going to feel once you actually achieve your dream of becoming pregnant and becoming a mother. Many women are on edge from the time they ovulate until even after baby is born. Some are overly elated to the point where they block out any negativity that comes their way. Regardless of how you feel, it’s never wrong.
You are entitled to your emotions.
You are entitled to your happiness and your fear.
You deserve this pregnancy.