Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fertility Friend

I can remember taking the pregnancy test for Emily. It was a stark, white negative. I threw it in the garbage, disappointed but not too concerned, it was after all only our first month of trying. We had learned about natural family planning at our wedding prep course and I was charting my temps and CM.
About 20 minutes later I went to the bathroom to get ready to go out and happened to glance at the test in the garbage. And there were two lines staring back at me. My negative test was a positive test. The thing was, I knew I was pregnant *before God did* as the expression goes so when I went for the blood test the HCG levels came back quite low. The Dr (my own was on holiday, this was after all, 3 days before Christmas) told me that there was a chance it was an ectopic pregnancy or that I was going to miscarry. I had never been so scared. Obviously all turned out well after 40 uneventful weeks of pregnancy Emily was born.

Mary Jo was even more uneventful. She was conceived on the third try. Again, charting and temping. And again my HCG came back low because again I knew I was pg the day my period was late. And the 40 weeks with her were quiet and her birth was even quieter (I honestly remember saying, 10 minutes after she was born - well that was a cakewalk! And I had no meds)

Enter the demon known as infertility. It took a long time to decide to have a third. Mary Jo is a spirited child, I didn't know if I'd have the energy to balance her, Emily and a life for me and Sean too. It took 15 months to conceive Violet. That was hard. After getting pregnant so easily twice before I couldn't understand A: why it was so hard and B: why after 4 years of having perfectly normal cycles they decided to go all wonky when I decided to TTC. My positive test came quite late, I took it on a whim fully expecting to get the 5th negative test for that cycle. It should have been my first clue that something wasn't right. And as excited as I was, I knew in my heart, something was not right.

By this time I'd found Fertility Friend. It was a lifeline and a fountain of priceless information. And I expressed my concerns, not feeling pregnant, not having sore boobs, not being nauseous. And the women shared their stories of symptoms (or lack there of) like mine. Some went on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies and babies and others did not.
And deep down I knew I would not.
July 1, 2006 is the worst day of my life. July 20, 2006 is a close second. The first, when I started spotting. The latter when I finally miscarried.

I took some time off to morn. I didn't go back to fertility friend. In a way I blamed it. All the information I had gotten from there, I felt like I'd poisoned myself. I'd heard all the horror stories of infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths and I almost had an *it's contagious* mentality.
Stupid, I know. But I was so angry at so much of the world. By the fall I was ready to jump back on the TTC horse and ready to give Fertility Friend another go. I was welcomed back with open arms and the support I felt from women who knew exactly how crappy I felt, who weren't just paying me lip service and who weren't telling my to just be happy that I had two healthy kids was wonderful.
I got my positive pregnancy test on December 20, 2006. On December 22, 2006 (exactly 8 years after I found out I was having Emily) I miscarried that baby.

But I had learned something from my friends online...that often times the body is more fertile after a miscarriage. So going against Dr's orders, I jumped back on the horse, so to speak and conceived Connor was conceived 28 days later.

It's funny how some things change. I said above I knew I was pregnant with the girls before God did. This time I really knew. I knew at 6 days past ovulation (the egg hadn't even implanted...but I knew) And I told the Dr so. We had just begun seeing the Dr Roth again. He'd delivered both the girls but this time I needed him for his fertility expertise. He was going to run all the tests he could to find out the reason for my miscarriages. I told him the day we went in to see him that I was pg. He ordered a blood test but at 6 dpo it came back negative. I said, not to worry, I'll be back in a week. 5 days later I went back in and told him, I'm pregnant, do another test. Sure enough I was right.
I celebrated quietly, telling no one except the ladies on FF. They celebrated with me and I joined the ranks of October 2007 Mommy. And together, we went through a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And despite having never met any other them, they became like family. Sharing in the joys of my pregnancy as I shared in the joys of theirs.
Connor didn't make it easy on me. I can truly say, the only benefit I see to being a high risk pregnancy is all the extra ultrasounds I got. 10 to be exact. But as I lay in the bed, Connor's head out, his face purple and distorted because the cord is wrapped so tightly around his neck, the nurse yelling for the Dr and the special care nursery to be ready, me asking what was wrong, Sean telling me not to push....all I could think about was, NOT AGAIN. How am I going to explain this to Emily and Mary? How am I going to go home with no baby?
There has never been a sound more beautiful than when I heard, from down the hall in the special care nursery, Connor let out a yelp.

16 months later I have come to the end of the road. I've not been officially diagnosed with anything. The Dr. suspected PCOS but I got pregnant so testing mode stopped and operation Stay Pregnant commenced. I've got no plans to have more kids so I guess I'll never know what happened. I do know why though. I wanted a third child but I never knew how much. I have so much more of an appreciation for parenthood, for how blessed I am to be able to be a parent and especially for the gifts my children are. I know it sounds cheesie but one stop to the TTC side of Fertility Friend, one peek into the message boards, with post after post from women who've struggled with infertility longer, harder and more desperately than I ever did, who've never been blessed with a child and who may never be reminds me of how lucky I am.

And each day I am thankful that I found such a great site and even more thankful for the ladies on it who have supported me, laughed with me, cried with me and celebrated with me. They have travelled the same road. Having them makes that road less lonely.

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