Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Becoming an (infertile) pregnant person

Depending on whether you follow my midwife's due date estimate or my own calculations, I am either 15 weeks today or I am 15 weeks on Friday. With only 10% of women giving birth on their due date, it's safe to assume I probably won't have a baby on March 5th, no matter which date I settle on.

I haven't written in awhile because I am teetering in this weird territory lately. My spotting has mostly stopped. I still spot maybe once every three days, but it's very pale pink and only when I pee. I have gone back to not needing a panty liner (yet still being afraid to wear my cute underwear, just in case!). When I spot, I descend into doubt and anxiety, but with the lessening of the spotting, those feelings are also starting to be more and more infrequent.

At the same time, I'm slowly accepting that I am indeed pregnant. I went to prenatal yoga on Thursday and Monday this week, with two different pregnant women. I have "naturally" pregnant friends too, but I still feel most safe with the women from my infertility support group, so I went the yoga classes with them. We still always come back to talking about our infertility. It seems to be something that has deeply affected us all. No one escapes unscathed. It's on our minds always, but coupled with that is the immense gratitude we seem to feel at having finally had something work. It feels safe and secure to be around women who also regard this as a miracle that needs recognition, not necessarily from the world, but from ourselves and each other. I do think of each of my formerly-infertile friends' pregnancies as something amazing and special, and something joyful that helps counteract all the unfairness I experienced for myself and for others when attending my monthly RESOLVE meetings for so long.

Other things that have moved me towards acceptance, and hopefully celebration, were having my mom come visit this weekend. She's not a crazy baby person- she only had me- but she is very excited and happy for us. We went to a consignment maternity store on Saturday and bought my first maternity clothes. I know other women often need them before this, but I haven't put on more than a few pounds. No one but me and my husband would really notice. The pants are more for the future. For now, I just stick to my looser skirts and dresses, but it's true that none of my work pants fit anymore. It will be good to have the new pants when the weather starts to cool off. We also bought this super cute tee shirt- it's of skeleton bones, and includes a little baby skeleton fetus! I don't know that I would ever dare to wear such a bold pronouncement of pregnancy, but it made us giggle.

I've also started to tell a few more people- neighbors whom I'm friendly with, mainly. I've noticed that I can't seem to tell someone I'm pregnant without saying that it took years of trying and medical interventions. I'm not sure if people think that's weird, but it's my story, and it's so tied up in my pregnancy that I still can't separate the two in my head. It's being true to myself and to those who also may have trouble. I don't want to live in a world where I'd contribute to the loneliness and despair that I often felt when hearing of others' pregnancies. The truth is that it's not easy for everyone, and it was only my perseverance, financial wiping out of our savings, and eventual good luck that got me to this place. People don't need to hear all that, but they can know that it's not simple for everyone, and that this is a big freakin' deal to me.

Anyway, it feels good to have neighbors' support (I live in a very close-knit community, where neighbors know a lot about each other's lives), and several of the older ladies I've told have almost cried when I told them, since they know a little about what we've gone through or how long we've been wanting this. This feels super nice. At the same time, I kind of can't quiet the voice in my head that imagines how very differently my life would be if that one pregnancy test had not come out positive. I'd still be depressed, yearning, worrying, making plans to head back to Atlanta for another cycle of drugs and shots and ultrasounds.

I haven't given in to the pregnancy bliss that I see when I look at my normally fertile friends, or my acquaintances who tell the world on Facebook as soon as they hit 12 weeks (or before!). I am not yet comfortable telling my coworkers, and I don't know if Facebook will ever be something I'm okay with. My pregnancy feels tenuous still, though I am working on acceptance and peace and security, and maybe even excitement. It's hard to move from infertile to pregnant, but I think I will learn to be more comfortable with being in both worlds.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Why has my pregnancy become all about my spotting?

Because I'm pregnant, and pregnant ladies pee all the time (when was the last time I slept more than 2-3 hours uninterrupted for pee breaks? weeks ago), and apparently this lady right here has to see blood every time she pees. Okay, not every time. Like, 80% of the time. Which equals, oh, about 10 times a day.

It has even seeped into my dreams. Last night I slept fitfully, and woke up in a cold sweat. I'd had a nightmare that my constant anxiety led to the midwives "firing" me as a patient. Could that even happen? I've only called them a few times with my worries. And they have been so nice about it. But in my dream, they told me I was too high-maintenance and I'd have to see a regular ob-gyn.

Maybe some part of me wonders if the midwives are too laid back for me. Maybe an ob would order more tests, or say she sees this all the time, or do something else to put me at ease. I have no idea.

Meanwhile, this Friday I'll be 14 weeks, and most things I read say the spotting should have stopped with the first trimester, yet it's gone on now for almost three weeks. I have not had sex, exercised, or touched my cervix in any other way, other than the exam at the midwife's last Thursday. Do I just have the worst cervix in the world? Will it do it's job when labor comes? Am I not cut out for these kinds of worries for the next six months?

Sigh. I don't know. I lapse into daydreams about my future baby, and then I get up to pee and remind myself that I shouldn't get too confident. At work, my supervisor wants to discuss future planning, and thinks I am odd for not wanting anyone to know yet. She has rightly pointed out that I can't hide the obvious forever. But I've gained little enough weight that I *can* hide it for probably a good while longer, and it just makes me feel more comfortable. So we will see. I also feel bad for not wanting to celebrate and enjoy this pregnancy more. I think if I weren't spotting, I'd feel differently. And perhaps soon it will end. It's *very* light. No pantyliners needed, just a pale pink trace when I wipe after peeing, and sometimes some drops of pink/brown blood in the toilet. Nothing dire or scary, unlike how it started. It's just the longevity- almost three weeks- that continues to upset me.

I know this must seem stupid to those still trying to conceive that baby. I really do remember the grief, and though I feel I am tiptoeing around a possible loss, I know I am way further than I ever dreamed. And I know also this experience is not typical. 25% of women have spotting, which means that 75% of women do not. It's totally reasonable to take those pads and tampons and say goodbye to them for 9 months or more.

In other news... well, I have no other news. This is my busy time of the year at work, which takes my mind off myself, and I've been cooking and eating well in the evenings. I still won't allow myself to relax enough to exercise, but tomorrow I'm going to try prenatal yoga with a friend. Although yoga normally bores me, if it's gentle enough, and the only exercise that feels safe, then I think I will force myself to learn to love it. We will see.

I don't think there's anything to say about this, but my husband is growing tired of my anxiety (though he is trying to be good and comforting and is successful a lot of the time) and I just had to vent about it. Thanks for listening, anonymous blog world.