Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Understand

So I have definitely abandoned this poor blog. And we've gotten lots done on the house since last April (more on that later).  But we've been busy in lots of other aspects of our lives many of which haven't left me in the sharing mood.  

The biggest and most important of these is having a baby.

For four years JL and I have been trying to conceive and in October 2011 we found out that it was going to happen. I was finally pregnant.  And we are unequivocally over the moon excited with giant love for this little baby boy growing inside me. I get choked up just thinking about what this little baby has already done for our little family. And we haven't even met him. 

But getting here has been one of the most trying times of my life. Not to sound super dramatic but in retrospect, it really sucked. So I decided to use my blog to shed some light on what it was like going through fertility treatments, how it affected us and why life feels really really good right now.

No doctors really knew why it wasn't working for us but we were good little patients and basically just did what we were told. JL and I drove to Mass General Hospital regularly for testing, prodding, poking, you name it. Then the doctors put me on horrible-brat-like-attitude-inducing drugs and told us when to show up to the hospital each month (you know, for the least romantic way to have a baby). But nothing took. For 3 years this was the case. And all the while I tried to maintain a positive outlook even as I was surrounded by friends, family and colleagues who were getting pregnant and having families. As they should have been. But it didn't make it any easier. It was the comments like "we weren't even trying!" or "I JUST went off the pill" that were the most heart wrenching.  Why couldn't it have been that easy for us? And why didn't my super laid back husband care more? (Well it turns out he did. This was tough for him too. He had no idea what to do to support me. And he's just incredibly patient.)

Jump to early 2011. My doctor called me in and said it was time to bring in the "big guns." IVF. I remember feeling so excited and hopeful when she told me. And I was also nervous. When the nurse said, "IVF is as much diagnostic as anything else," what I heard was "THERE MAY BE SOMETHING BIGGER HERE IF YOU CAN'T GET PREGNANT." I hadn't even thought about the alternative. This was going to happen.

So May 2011 I went under for egg retrieval. They took 30 eggs. Almost a record according to the staff. So clearly I reacted well to ALL THE STINKIN SHOTS. Ouchie. But then I got the call from my doctor. There was zero fertilization.

My heart sank. And I sobbed. And sobbed.

Reality set in that this may not be our path.  But I hadn't even thought of the alternative. I so badly wanted to make a baby with JL. To have a little person with his eccentricities and brains and good looks and my... well my sense of humor. Let's face it. I'm much funnier than JL. 

But we weren't out of options yet. ICSI was the next step and I was still clinging to that thread of hope that this would work. When people ask me what ICSI is, I explain that it's still IVF but with basic IVF, my eggs and JLs sperm are put in a dish and expected to party, resulting in fertilization. However, ours was more like an 8th grade dance. There was no co-mingling! ICSI is where they take one sperm and inject it into one egg. Awkward, unnatural, and stiff-armed dancing with that kid you really don't want to touch but you do and you survive. Maybe even grow from it... ;)  

Did you see what I did there? My attempt at foreshadowing.

Well ICSI worked. First time! Now it's April 2012 and I'm 30 weeks pregnant. Doctors said it was likely an enzyme issue that made my eggs hard. It's very typical of us - I have ninja warriors defending against the advances of poor, shy JL. 

I thought the hard part was going to be over. "I just need to get pregnant," I told myself. Well, that was half the battle. The next battle was surviving the early stages of pregnancy. I'm not an overly emotional person but take the natural hormones raging through your body and multiply that times (what felt like) 10 and inject it into your ass every day. (Women that undergo IVF have to continue taking hormone shots for 10 weeks post conception.) What do you have? Lind-zilla. 

I felt paralyzed by it. So worried and paranoid it wouldn't last. Nervous that every. little. thing. i. did. would hurt the embryo.  Because I couldn't go through what I went through again. I couldn't put JL through that. Through my ups and downs and waiting and waiting.  I was tired of being "that girl" that can't get pregnant. Which was the next stage I was about to embark upon. Re-identifying with myself. 

It had seemed that I'd instantly joined this 'club' of women that had children. Like it was all excitement and happiness the moment the good news spread. Only I didn't feel that way.  I wasn't a shoe-in for the club. And I couldn't act like I was. Infertility is and was something that will live with me forever and in a way, it does partially define me. But I survived it. And the little embryo that has grown into a currently 4 lb. boxer is my little high-tech baby. He's our little fighter.

They were difficult years. Years I spent suppressing the pain I was going through and not letting JL into my heart. Years he didn't know what to do with any of it - it was new to both of us.  However throughout those years of trying I made some great friendships, learned my threshold for emotional and physical pain, learned to appreciate JL's sense of patience, learned more about how I can be a better friend to those suffering from their own personal crises, and learned not to take anything for granted. 

Hopefully my experiences will only better prepare me to guide my little one into the real world.  Or not.  But I know that someday when he comes to me after a heartbreak or a great accomplishment, I can undoubtedly say I understand.  

Because we made him.

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