(Get a snack, it’s a long one. But I think it’s worth the read.)
Rule for Life: Never ask a couple when they’re planning on having kids.
You never know what’s going on behind the scenes.
So Craig and I dated for six years before we got married. In that time, I bet we were asked, “So, when are you going to get married?” at least one trillion times. (I don’t exaggerate.)
Then, we got married more than 5 years ago.
You know what they started asking next, right? “So, when are you going to have kids?”
Initially, we laughed off the question – like all newlyweds do – and said, “Oh, we just want to spend some time together first.” or “Kids? Who wants kids?!”
Then a year went by, then another, then another. We were cool. We were completely happy with the three of us. (Craig, Nattie and I.)
Then we moved to Mexico. Who had time for a baby, right? New job. Margaritas to drink. No gracias.
All the while, seemingly well-intentioned people were still asking: “When are you two going to have kids? It’s about that time, right?” We were still offering flat, though humor-infused responses…meanwhile thinking, “What? Really? How does that matter to you?”
Then about two and a half years ago something clicked. It was time. We wanted a family. It just felt right.
The first six months or so after our decision were half-hearted. I’m sure you’ve heard it, too: “We’re not trying… but we’re not preventing either.” That was us.
Clearly, those six months were…um… “fruitless.”
Then two years ago we started focusing. We went to my Dr. – she gave me a once-over and told me I was healthy. That’s all I needed: I was on a mission. A quest. Clearly we just needed to “focus,” right? I took my basal body temperature every morning to watch for the shift of my temperature in order to pinpoint ovulation, I bought vitamins, I bought ovulation predictor kits. I.was.ready. Craig.was.ready. Clearly, it was a matter of time, right?
Twelve consecutive months of disappointments later resulted in another trip back to Ohio to see my Dr., tests for both of us, misdiagnoses, consistent anxiety and smothering sadness.
All the while it seemed like EVERYONE around us was getting pregnant and having babies. Heavy sigh.
It’s so difficult to explain the sheer joy you have when someone close to you announces that they’re pregnant, but the overwhelming and oppressive sadness when you wish it were you.
And of course, people continued to ask us: “So, when are you two FINALLY going to have kids? You can’t wait forever.”
Dear readers, dear friends. Again, I implore you to never ask anyone this question. It’s like a roundhouse kick to the heart if you’re the female, and 3 junk-punches in a row if you’re a guy. Of course, if s/he is your close friend or family member, ask away! If not, it’s better to just shush.
I was embarrassed.
My head was clouded daily (ask Craig) with the “Why’s?”
Why can’t this just happen? EVERYONE else in my family had NO issues with getting pregnant. What in the WORLD was wrong with me? (Craig was given a clean bill of health.) Women.get.pregnant. It’s what they do. It’s supposed to be as natural of a skill as computer-hacking skills are to Napoleon Dynamite. Crack-heads get pregnant everyday. I’m married and adore my husband. I have a good job. I’m not a crack-head. WHY CAN’T WE START A FAMILY?!
I cried. I prayed. I cried. I prayed. And, we pressed on. Silently.
We were doing everything right. Still, every month we were disappointed.
I didn’t tell anyone. I was so embarrassed. It was terrible.
It’s when I decided to talk with friends/family about this insane journey that I started to feel a wee bit better. Eyes were opened and sensitivity (for the most part) flooded in. Thousands of couples experience fertility issues, you know? Why be embarrassed about it? It’s not my fault or Craig’s. However, bottom line? It just blows.
Now, when people would ask us, “When are you going to have kids already!?”, our responses changed:
“We’re giving it our best shot…” slowly turned into, “We’re seeing a specialist right now… we’re doing our best.” In other words, “BACK OFF.”
They shut up.
Still, from “well-intentioned” women we heard, “Oh, just relax…it’ll happen.”
NOTE: THAT IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING YOU COULD POSSIBLY SAY TO A COUPLE WHO IS CRAVING HAVING A CHILD. Don’t ever say it.
Acceptable responses are: “I am so sorry to hear that.” Or, “I’ll keep you in my prayers”. Or, “Oh, that’s tough.” Those are all ok. Incidentally, it’s ok to ask you fertility-challenged friends how they’re doing.
Fast forward to August 2008. Per my AMAZING fertility specialist in Toledo (Dr. Karnitus at the Toledo Hospital. GO SEE HIM IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS.), I started on clomid, a mild fertility drug. It’s the first stop in the world of infertility. It’s cheap and easy to take. And, it just so happens to make some women crazy. (That would be me.) It was no less than 100 degrees in Cabo in AUGUST and I was having such severe hot flashes, I could barely sleep. Or live. (Ask Craig.)
At night, I believe I said on more than one occasion to my dear, patient husband: “Craig, your pinky toe is slightly touching me. I AM SO HOT AND IF YOU DON’T MOVE IT NOW, I WILL KILL YOU.”
Ah, now that’s love, no? Insanely fluctuating hormones ALWAYS get a couple in the mood.
Anywho, round one of clomid, combined with ultrasounds on various cycle days to measure my determined too-small-follicles was a bust. A no go. My follicles were still too small. (They’re merely, “petitie”, as I’d like to think.) The clomid didn’t work.
September 2008: Round 2 of Clomid. We increased the dosage. (Craig was excited about that decision.) And, we continued with the ultrasounds. I produced a good sized follicle. Care to see it?
Next, we waited.
If anyone else has been trying to conceive, they know that the two-week-wait is the most treacherously awful time EVER. You’re trying to relax and put everything in God’s hands, but you’re still thinking, “I hope this works… it probably won’t, but I hope it does! But it probably, won’t. So don’t get your hopes up. But I hope it works…”
Oh, and you need to act normal because you still have a job and stuff.
So when it was time, for about the 24th month in a row, I took a pregnancy test on October 17th.
(Do you know where I’m going with this?)
I have a routine. I’d take the test, walk away, take a shower and come back to see the BIG FAT NEGATIVE laughing at me. Loser.
That day, I took the test, started the shower and just happened to glance at the counter…
A plus sign?!?! I’ve never gotten that before.
He looks at it, looks at me, looks at it, looks at me. Then in a calm Craig-voice he asks, “What does this mean?”
(I love him.)
It was positive. Praise. G.O.D. NOOOOO WAY! (My heart was beating so fast I thought I’d have an attack.)
Then I proceeded to take 3 more tests and get a blood test.
As it appears, I’m going to be a mommy and Craig’s going to be a daddy.
We’ve heard the heartbeat and had three ultrasounds. (They do them on every visit in Mexico.) I’m 12 weeks (3 months) today. Happily into the second trimester I skip…
The little bambino will be making it’s entrance into this world around June 29, 2009. I’m still floored.
I feel great – I’ve had no morning sickness and I miss wine and blue cheese tremendously. Like a lot. (Socializing without any alcohol is odd.)
That said, I PROMISE not to make this blog all.about.my.pregnancy. (I may make another blog for that. As if I need another blog.)
I also VOW from this day forward, to be exceedingly sensitive to the fertility struggles, known and unknown, of those around me. If you’re going through it, DON’T give up hope. And incidentally, I sure as hell didn’t get pregnant because I just “relaxed”. Ignore that lovely piece of advice when you get it from ANYONE. Also, consider telling those people around you who keep asking you, “When???” – it helps.
And, if you’re ever recommended or prescribed clomid, INSIST on doubling the medication with ultrasound evaluations throughout the cycle/month. Without those ultrasounds, I think clomid’s useless. The combination is key. (Also, fertilityfriend.com was a daily stop on my website tour. The women on those boards are supportive, informative and great. LOVE that site.)
Thanks for reading, friends.
And I love you, Craig. You’re going to be the most AMAZING daddy ever. I hope the little plum is as kind, intelligent, noble and artistic as you. And, I hope it has my hair. 🙂