The Waiting Game Part Two: The Mating Game
Okay, so now that you've waited what seems like forever to find and marry the right person, it's time to think about starting a family, right? Heaven knows that the moment you get married you can't so much as have a stomach bug without people asking you if you're pregnant, after all. When, if any, is a good time to start a family? Anyone can have kids, can't they? At least anyone most of society would deem unfit seems to be able to pop them out in regular fashion.
B and I were married when he was twenty-one, and I was twenty-three. B still had a year of college to finish, we were dirt poor, and that was obviously not the right time for us. If it had happened, we would have stepped up to the challenge, but thankfully it didn't. We weren't ready then, and we enjoyed just being together for quite a while. We weren't in any hurry, and frankly I had the same idea many young women these days do and was fine waiting on kids until I was closer to thirty, though I didn't want to get started too late.
Five years after we married, B had finished his MSEE, we had a house, stable jobs, and were finally settling down a bit after having moved about once a year those first years. We even had Lucy for year, and though she was/is a bit neurotic, we were pretty good dog parents. I was twenty-eight, and B was twenty-six. It seemed that if there was ever a good time to start trying for a baby, it was then. As they say, all of our ducks were in a row - so we thought.
So I stopped taking the pill in either August or September of 2008. We were partially afraid that we would be one of those couples who would get pregnant right away and also afraid that we might never get pregnant as well. For us, it seemed that it would be the latter.
I vividly remember being a few days late that Thanksgiving and stopping in Russellville to buy a pregnancy test on our way home from spending the holiday with B's family in Little Rock. We had taken a vacation in late October and hoped that we had gotten pregnant then. That was honestly the first of many months of disappointment. It's funny how much you want your period when you're not trying for a baby, and how much of a failure you feel like when it comes. Clear Blue Easy made a mint off of me, what with pregnancy tests and ovulation tests.
Most of everything you read says to try for a year on your own before seeking fertility treatment. So, we decided to wait a year until we would speak to my OB/GYN about the dreaded word of infertility. I have to admit that was probably one of the most difficult years of my life. I turned twenty-nine in May, had my former OB/GYN make the comment that I was no longer a spring chicken in reproductive terms a week after that at my yearly appointment, and it seemed that everyone around me was having babies. To top things off, I had family causing me very unnecessary stress, and B was working ungodly hours and had even started teaching adjunct at a nearby private university. That meant our free time together all but disappeared. Whenever he was home, he was grading or sadistically planning tests that were far too difficult for his students. Actually, it seemed that it was impossible for us to even be in the same state when I was ovulating. I tried to keep a positive outlook, but frankly it was just Lucy and me more often than not during that time. So, I focused on the dog; dog toys, dog food, dog forums on the internet, dog blogs, dog walks, you name it. I even talked B into adopting Dory that autumn.
My attitude was less than stellar then, I know that it was - at least at times. I was depressed and in denial of it. I think I remember even telling a very good friend at work once that I "hated my life." I didn't hate my life, but I was certainly tired of basically feeling like I had no control over any aspect of it - tired of feeling like a failure. Quite honestly I just felt tired.
Things didn't help when people would assume that since I was twenty-nine, had been married almost six years, had a house, and didn't have children that I didn't want children. Some people even assumed that I didn't like children, which is the furthest thing from the truth. I love children. I've always loved children. It was all I could do at times to not pick up a child I knew and get all Lennie from Of Mice and Men or Looney Tunes Abominable Snowman on them. Seriously, I want to hug them, and squeeze them, and name them all "George."
So, we decided to see the doctor about our infertility after the New Year. God had other plans though, and when I took a pregnancy test on our sixth wedding anniversary, it was positive. It was positive, and I thought that I was going to need a paper bag to breathe into long before I woke B to tell him the good news. We went to watch The Blind Side that night, and I felt all warm and mothery. It was five days until Christmas, and all anyone could talk about was how they couldn't wait until the next year. I had about a week and a half of pure bliss, but in the back of my mind I felt something was wrong.
Then I awoke on New Year's Eve, and noticed that I started to spot some while getting ready for work. I went in to work, called the women's clinic, and then left to take blood tests. The blood tests showed that I was low on progesterone, so I started taking suppositories every night to get those levels higher. Also, I was told to relax (ha!).Things seemed ok, for a little while. Honestly, everything now seems muddled together and fuzzy, because I had an ultrasound the next week, and I almost forgot about it.
I guess it was around a week later that we had a crazy, busy day at work due to lots of snow and ice and I felt it. I was full-on bleeding. I went back to the doctor and had another ultrasound. We saw our baby's heartbeat, and felt a little better. However, the baby wasn't growing at the rate it should have been. I was told to take it easy that day, but not put on bedrest. I had an appointment for another ultrasound in a week and a half. I probably should have gone in multiple times before then but didn't really know if my bleeding was heavier than a period and tried not to worry. All I could do was worry though. At my next ultrasound, there wasn't a baby any more. I had lost the baby, though I'm not sure when. At least I was spared having to go through a D and C.
After that, I tried to just carry on like normal, but something had changed in me. I was sad, but I was no longer depressed. I had decided to enjoy life again, and I did. I also decided to stop allowing people, especially close family to stop treating me without respect and honestly causing a lot of the stress that probably contributed to both the infertility and my stress. I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to get pregnant again, and just tried to enjoyed not trying not to get pregnant.
In the mean time, I didn't want to buy clothes, because I was always hoping to need to buy maternity clothes. Well, honestly at first I didn't want to buy clothes, to cut my hair, or change much of anything, because I didn't want things to change from what they had been while I was pregnant. To do so, seemed to take me further away from then. I had to realize that life was going on anyway, and that I needed to be a part of it. Still yet, I was always hesitant to buy clothes, for fear it would be wasted money.
I wanted to go on Clomid as soon as I could after the miscarriage, because I was afraid that I didn't ovulate regularly. My thirtieth birthday was coming, and I was feeling the time ticking away in my biological clock. However, my doctor advised against it since I did have a spontaneous pregnancy. When, after another year had passed, we once again discussed seeking infertility treatments. I just wanted to get being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding over with first. Somehow, I knew that I was going to get pregnant the next month, and I did.
I believe in prayer, and so many people prayed for us to have a healthy baby for so very, very long. I will be eternally grateful for that. I prayed for it as well - at times all alone in a room with my knees to the ground I cried out in prayer. Like Hannah, weeping bitterly in the temple, I cried out for a child of my own. Yes, I love children so much that I want to hug them, and squeeze them, and call them George, but all I really wanted was my own baby - whether biologically or even eventually by adoption.
Once I found out I was pregnant, one of the first people I told was my dear old friend, Melissa. She shared with me a prayer that I prayed every day for Firecracker while I was pregnant. "Dear Lord, please let my baby be healthy, happy, and whole." She was. She was worth the wait. She doesn't replace baby #1. She can't, and I don't want her to. She is her own, special little person - quite the little person with so much to say at that.
The wait for her made me really grow up and take charge of the kind of life I want to live and who I want in it. I think it has made me into a better and wiser person, and I hope that in reading this someone else who is waiting will know gain a little hope themselves. Good things do come to those who wait, they really do. However, the road is definitely not an easy one. It has peaks and valleys, but the climb really is worth it.