I’m pregnant. After years of trying and miserably failing; after many heartbreaking losses; after multiple painful procedures; after thousands and thousands of dollars; after many rounds of alphabet soup of infertility treatments like IUI and IVF; after nearly losing all my hope and most of sanity; after seeing the end of the road in the horizon; after walking through hell over and over again; after all that–I am pregnant. The mere fact that I can write a phrase as simple as “I’m pregnant” in describing myself is a mystifyingly grand thing. Yet, despite delighting in every positive blood test, every ultrasound, every detectable heartbeat and every good and blissfully “uneventful” doctor visit, it’s been extremely difficult to let go of the fear and simply trust the process.
This is an extraordinary journey for me. I know everyone feels that way about her pregnancy and everyone has that absolute right to do so. But I don’t just feel that way, I know that it’s true. But for the fact that every single thing has happened in an extraordinary way, I would have never gotten here. That’s not a verbal flourish or an exaggeration, it is just a fact.
Yet, and despite it being so, I’ve found myself unable to write about it with the “ease” I felt with writing about my pain of infertility. I’ve privately journaled throughout the weeks, but not as much as I had imagined I would. I haven’t sat down to record every doctor visit, every milestone, every feeling, or to explore every hesitation and fear. I think that’s because I’ve been afraid to make a contemporaneous record of the journey. I’ve feared that if I record my happiness, the good days (every single day since late summer) and the ecstatic moments (and there have been many), I might not survive if another loss comes and wipes everything away. It’s not like I’ve sitting here, waiting for the loss to come. It’s that I have only known loss after each little triumph and pain after every happy moment when it comes to my quest to have baby for the last seven years. That’s all I and my husband have ever known. So, not recording everything as they happened has been a survival technique and a self-protection mechanism for me. It’s not been by choice. Rather, it has been innate and organic.
Likewise, my utter joy and celebration have sprung up naturally from the deepest place that is me. Along side the utter fear, there has been utter and indescribable jubilation, happiness and elation. I’ve cried at every single doctor visit. I’ve gotten emotional at the sound of every heartbeat and I’ve celebrated everyday, just for being pregnant on that day. Every symptom that did manifest (there weren’t many at the beginning), has been deemed as a gift and worn with pride as a badge of honor. No single thing has gone unnoticed or unappreciated. No moment has passed without immense gratitude and relief and happiness.
Shall I tell you that, experiencing no morning sickness at all, I secretly wished to heave at least once and desperately kept hoping for the instinct to hurl to kick in? Shall I tell you that, although I’m staying very healthy and active, I kind of wish I could be as big as a house and feel disappointment whenever I’m told “you’re small”? Shall I tell you that I have been talking, singing and humming to this baby for seven years? That my drawer is full of tear-stained letters written to her on the way to here all this time? Shall I tell you that even though trust in general has been impossible, I have believed in and trusted this tiny and growing creature ever since she was just a microscopic beating dot on a gray and impersonal screen at 6 weeks old? Shall I tell you about my swollen ankles and my love of talking about them, not as a way to complain, but as a way to repeatedly remind myself that this is finally happening for us? Shall I tell you that, no matter what, I will never feel like all other women I meet who get pregnant and seem to simply live with the belief that it’ll all work out and that I’ve suddenly realized that I wouldn’t want to be like them after all?
Or maybe you’d like to know that, as an infertile pregnant woman, I know that my joys and experiences have a deeper context, a heavier personal meaning and a richness I don’t believe can be felt unless the person has endured and experienced infertility. Perhaps you’d want to know that, even though I would have given anything not to go through the events of the last seven years, I know they have made me into a stronger, more tenacious and infinitely more aware and mindful person and that person that is me today is one of my biggest and most meaningful accomplishments. And, finally, it might interest you to know that the moment I clearly felt my baby dancing in her temporary watery home last night has felt better and happier and more proud than when I graduated college, got into law school, got my first A there, graduated and became a lawyer. And that this is bigger and more precious to me than most of the days of my life until now and until I die.
I may not have stopped to express feelings. I may not have slowed down to make a daily record of every event, but every single day of the last 24 weeks has brought me absolute joy, deep healing, unimaginable hope and has mended my broken and doubting heart in ways I had never imagined.
This is not a race or a competition. I’m not interested in comparing my feelings to other women, expecting, mothering or otherwise. But, I know me and I know what this means to me. And no one will ever know the depth, breadth and meaning of this journey I’m on. And, finally, I am at peace with that solitude. And, finally, I take delight in that aloneness.