If there’s one thing I’ve learned about pregnancy that stands out among all others, it’s that – for better and worse – it is all consuming. Some days, I get so wrapped up in thoughts about baby registries and glucose screening tests and the awesome sensations of feeling this little guy kick, that I forget to take the time to appreciate how much of a miracle this all really is – and how very, very lucky I am to be experiencing it.
Not that I don’t still get nervous about the things that could go wrong. After struggling to get here – and watching so many other couples continue to struggle – I am acutely aware that pregnancy is just one (big) part of the battle for a healthy baby. But after losing myself to overwhelming anxiety for the entire first trimester, I’m making a more conscious effort to live in the moment as much as I can. Yes, bad things can still happen. But the odds are far in my favor that everything will be okay. And if it’s not, no amount of worrying now is going to make it hurt less, so I might as well enjoy this time.
I realize that readers who stumble upon No Kid on the Block may be more interested in my infertility story than my pregnancy story – and I totally understand. I’ve been there. However, as this blog was intended to chronicle my journey to parenthood, I figured it was high time for an update. Here are 5 of the most exciting milestones we have been fortunate to achieve.
After one last trip for an 8.5-week ultrasound on Halloween, our RE sent us packing. While I was relieved to bid farewell to our exhausting four-hour commutes to the Bay Area, I was pretty nervous about leaving the place and people that had become so familiar. Especially nerve-wracking was the month-long wait until my first ultrasound at our new midwives clinic (conveniently located 15 minutes (!) from home). I’m embarrassed to think of how much time I spent Googling miscarriage rates and reading through sad story after sad story of lost pregnancies after infertility. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced one or more miscarriages, no matter what the circumstances.
We Finally Starting Sharing the News
I called my mom to tell my parents our news after we got back from our last RE visit, making it clear that it was still too early to know if this would be a viable pregnancy. I guess I was trying to protect her by not getting her hopes up. Silly me, to think I could stifle her excitement! I think it took all of her willpower to not spill the beans. J
P waited longer to tell his parents, until just before Thanksgiving. Even though they had known we were doing IVF – as had my parents – they were shocked. I don’t think they ever thought they would actually get the opportunity to become grandparents. Honestly, seeing our parents’ enthusiasm has been the happiest part of our journey so far!
As for everyone else, I kept waiting to get to a point where I was comfortable announcing the pregnancy – until I realized it would probably never come, and I just needed to bite the bullet. We told the rest of our family when we went home for Christmas and it was so surreal to have our secret finally out in the open. I think what really surprised me, though, is how comfortable we became talking about how we got pregnant. Hands down, the most painful part of infertility for me was feeling that I was going through it alone, secretly and quietly. Once we started talking about our struggle, we learned that other people we know are dealing with the same thing. At Christmas, we learned that a cousin and his wife have been dealing with infertility for years.
It’s a Boy
Since the beginning, I was sure our baby was a girl – and for a totally crazy reason (seriously, you’re going to think I’m nuts). See, the Sunday before our FET, I lost one of our two chickens, Rose. It was awful. I found her badly injured and spent hours frantically trying to track down a clinic that was not only open on the weekend, but was willing to examine and possibly euthanize a chicken. My husband was stuck at an event all day, so I was all on my own. Finally, after hours of agonizing and researching how to humanely kill a hen, I found a kindhearted vet about 40 minutes away who was able to very gently put my sweet pet out of her misery. (I should point out that our chickens are dear pets, and we’d had the original two for four years. I think because Rose was the first in our fur-and-feather family to actually die, it came as a shock.
Anyway, when I got my positive pregnancy test, I was in such disbelief that things might actually work out that the only way I could stifle my doubts and anxiety was to convince myself that it was meant to be because…this is so embarrassing to admit…because somehow the baby was a reincarnation of Rose. The chicken. Yes, really.
I know this sounds absurd, and I don’t think I really believed it. I don’t believe in reincarnation. It’s more like I was comforted by the idea that the soul of my feathered pal was somehow living on? It was just such an incredible coincidence; one being I loved was suddenly, inexplicably gone, and another appeared. It was also a coping mechanism, I’m sure. I started affectionately referring to the little embryo as “Rose,” and when I’d become overcome with anxiety, sure that something was wrong with the baby, I’d be like, “Rose, are you in there?” And I felt like she was.
And so it went for months. At our NT scan, the ultrasound tech even said that, while she couldn’t tell us with certainty what we were having, she could confirm that she did not see a penis. Which of course just convinced us further we were going to have a little girl. So when we went in for my 20-week ultrasound and the tech pointed to our baby’s very obvious little boy parts and said, “What do you see?” I dumbly stammered something like, “Ummm. I’m not…sure?” Seriously, my brain could not comprehend the possibility of a boy. I had been dreaming of braiding hair, reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books, the name Rose. I had given no thought to blue clothes, circumcision, or the frightening (to me, anyway) possibility that one day I might have a kid who wants to play football.
Once it sunk in, of course, I started to get excited! I hate the color pink, I’ve never been good with hair or makeup, and just because I have a boy doesn’t mean he’s going to be a sports jock – he’s gonna be who he’s gonna be. All of a sudden, it started to feel so much more real. There was no speculating any more – now we knew. All along, “it” had been a “he.” Since then, we’ve been able to settle on what we think will be his name – and have even started referring to him by it. Our little Baby C.
We’re Going to Hawaii Next Month
Hearing pregnant couples talk about such frivolous activities as babymoons used to make me want to hurl. All I wanted to do was become a family of three, and here were these people going to exotic locales for last hurrahs as families of two. It seemed so unfair. And yet here I am now, a total hypocrite, planning a babymoon of my own.
Since we first got on this infertility train, I feel like we’ve been running nonstop – especially since we added our puppy Elvis to the family. He is a handful (or as we like to say, a hound-ful) and we haven’t had more than a few hours alone since we brought him home in July! So we’ve decided to cash in our Hawaiian Airline miles and fly to Oahu for four days in March, when I’ll be 27/28 weeks. For us, it’s not so much a chance to vacation before baby, but a chance to step away from our business and dog obligations long enough to really slow down and savor this special time while it lasts. I haven’t had a real vacation, a relaxing vacation, for a long time and I am really looking forward to floating in the ocean in my (yikes!) bikini.
It’s Finally Starting to Feel Real, Sort Of
I’m feeling kicks and punches, reading up on labor, and starting to make serious baby purchases like our crib. I’ve started talking about “when” we have a baby instead of “if.” I’m finally starting to believe this could happen.
Of course, I don’t think it will seem real until they place our little boy on my chest (and then I suppose fantasy will come to a crashing halt as reality sets in, with its own sets of new-parent trials and tribulations!). But for the first time, the dream of that day feels within close reach. And while, just like many other expectant couples, we sometimes have our doubts – about whether we’ll make good parents, about if we’ll make the right choices, about if our kid will grow up to be a good person – I know that we’re up for the task. I know that we’re ready.