PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Infertile. Pregnant. Myself.

In the last seven months, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive several generous compliments on how I’ve remained sensitive to those who are working towards getting pregnant even though I am now pregnant after my third in vitro. Although I have genuinely been mindful of what I write on this blog and who is reading it, if I’m being entirely honest (which I tend to be on my blog), the woman I've been thinking of the most whenever I write is my former self who I will call “Still-in-the-trenches-Jay”.

When I was that person, still in the trenches, I made several promises to myself about what I would do and not do if I ever became pregnant. Some of these promises are private but some of them, I’d like to share with you, BUT, LET ME BE CLEAR: If you or someone you know has done any of the below, it’s not that I think they are wrong or that I judge them in the least. This is just my personal list in reaction to the feelings I had when I was struggling to get pregnant. They were/are:
  • Do not post your sonogram picture anywhere.
  • Never talk or post photos about your nursery.
  • No over the top cutesy-poo nicknames for the baby.
  • Don’t make every post, tweet, status and conversation about your pregnancy.
  • Never, ever forget your struggle with infertility or the others who continue to struggle.
Again, if you have done any of the above – I totally understand. All of the things mentioned are a way of celebrating an incredible, life changing accomplishment that you have every right in the world to express and enjoy in anyway you see fit.

My personal gauge though has been how would my former self have reacted if I saw, read or heard about any of these things? Sonogram pictures used to sting, nursery decor talk used to depress me, and if and when I felt like someone forgot about me and my struggles as soon as they got pregnant, it definitely hurt my feelings.

So, still-in-the-trenches Jay (or SITT-Jay for short) is the person who has been standing behind me with her arms crossed reading over my shoulder whenever I post anything on my blog. Occasionally she’ll say something like, “Oh god! Don’t write that! Give me a break!” And I’ll respect her feelings, rewrite a sentence or take it out completely. I would never want to betray my former self.

And that's how it really has felt... like I have been living with these two sides to me: The “Still-in-the-trenches-Jay” and the “Pregnant Jay”. I like them equally, they both are funny, attractive (on a good day) and good hearted but their views on fertility, infertility, pregnancy and life are not always in agreement. Because of this, in the last few months, I’ve been wondering if Pregnant Jay could possibly say anything comforting to SITT-Jay, what would it be? What words of wisdom have I now gained being almost 31 weeks pregnant? What lessons have been learned, if any?

What has stunned me is as hard as I tried, I couldn't think of anything. Sure - I wish I got a second opinion sooner and I wish I spent more quality time with my husband while we were trying… but honestly and truly… I really think I did the very best I could under the circumstances. I may not have done as wonderfully as some people and I certainly won't win any awards, but again, I absoultely tried my best and you can't ask for more than that.

So, the only thing I ever came close to in terms of what I wish I could say to my former self was this: “You are not a failure. You’ve done nothing wrong so please, please, please stop thinking that. Infertility is a medical issue and not at all a reflection of who you are as a person, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend or a woman. Don’t be ashamed because I swear to you – infertility doesn’t make you any less of a person or any less deserving of happiness.” The truth remains though, although this is all completely true, I don’t know if SITT-Jay would have believed Pregnant Jay or quite frankly have even listened. SITT-Jay would think, "It's easy for you to say that. You're pregnant. I'm not. End of story."

I continued thinking about all of this when I started unpacking gifts I received at my baby shower which was about a week ago. Slowly, actual baby stuff has started filling my home and surrounding me. Right around the same time, I began feeling the baby move more and more and this has been very exciting. Then suddenly last night, for reasons unclear to me, something happened that was one of the most moving, powerful things I may have ever experienced. I don’t know if it’ll make sense but I’m going to try to explain it anyway...

It hit me (and hit me hard) all that my husband and I have been through… the surgeries, the procedures, the medications, the injections, the ups, the downs, the fights, each fertility attempt that failed, the days, the months, the years, the heartbreak, the finances, the tears -- all of it. And now, here we are. I’m really going to have a baby. Exactly this is what it's all be fore. This is what we dreamed of. This is what we hoped for and wondered if it was ever going to happen. In this moment of realization, SITT-Jay and Pregnant Jay unexpectedly became one person... and that one person is having a baby.

I started to cry uncontrollably... not because I was sad but because I was so overwhelmed with happiness. It was like a montage of all the struggling flew through my head and I realized that in a few weeks, I’d hold a baby boy in my arms. The two sides of me were on the same page and that’s when I finally knew what I would say to my former self and that was, “Thank you. Thank you so much for hanging in there. Thank you for not giving up. It's because of your strength and perseverance that we're able to be a mother. Please know it was worth it. Thank you so much for going through all of that. We’ve made it... we're almost there."

Again, I don't know if this all makes sense but what I wanted to say is that although I don’t know where you are in your journey to become a mother (trying, struggling, succeeding or holding a baby in your arms), the best person to tell you the words you need to hear may very well be you.

If you could say anything to yourself right now that you think you needed to hear, what would it be? Thank you? Hang in there? Stay strong? Don't give up? I urge you to take a moment and think about it. If you hit on what it is, it may be the comfort, inspiration or credit you need not to mention deserve!

As always, with hope, hugs and humor...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Missing: Memory, Sugar and Libido

This morning, my boss asked me what the mysterious appointment in his calendar was. As it turns out, I accidentally put my upcoming OB/GYN appointment in his calendar and not mine. Perhaps, in attempt to make light of the mistake, I should schedule a breast exam for him as well.

This is the way my brain has been lately. My energy tank is beginning to really run low, multi-tasking has become more of a challenge and my memory skills are similar to Dory’s in FINDING NEMO. I ask questions over and over again (it’s not that I forget the answer… I even forget I asked the question to begin with), I look for my glasses while I’m wearing them and lately, I’ll walk through the office with no clue of where I’m going. The other day, I was thinking how not filling my lunch was… only to realize I forgot to actually eat the lunch.

I’m 29 weeks pregnant today. It’s the start of my third trimester and clearly, my brain and body are behaving like a thirteen-year-old girl who doesn’t want to do any chores. “Ummm, like, you aren’t expecting us to do anything right now, are you? Cause like I’m good here on the couch. TTYL!”

In addition to laziness, lack of organizational skills and memory loss, I’m also finding that sex is becoming less and less appealing to me. At the end of last week, I sat my husband down and told him to think of my sex drive as a store that’s recently lost its lease. We’re having an, “Everything Must Go” sale in the next week but after that, we’re out of business. That’s right – if you act now, you can get two hand jobs for the price of one! Snuggling not included.

What’s also not helping matters is I took my gestational diabetes test and I was, allegedly, borderline. I say ‘allegedly’ because I’ve been tracking my blood sugar since the diagnosis and I have yet to come up with even one remotely questionable result. So far, the special diet I’m on (what do you MEAN I can’t have pumpkin pie???) and the sticking my finger four times a day seems pretty damn pointless. And after going through IVF quite frankly, I think I’ve stuck myself enough with needless to deem myself exempt from any further torture. Really – I should have gotten a “Get Out of Needle” free card.

When I took the initial one hour test, the nurses actually forgot about me. When I reminded them of my existence an hour and twenty minutes after I drank that disgusting orange liquid they make you drink, they were like, “Ohhhhh. That’s not good. We have to take the blood exactly an hour after you finished drinking the drink. Otherwise, it’s invalid.” After threatening their lives and the lives of their children, they took my blood anyway since if I failed, I would have failed twenty minutes earlier anyway. If I passed though, I would have to take the one hour again to confirm that I did really pass. Between this and the anatomy scan I had to take three times (not to mention my three in vitros), I can’t help but feel it’s my lot and life to never get anything correct on the first try.

The next morning, when the nurse called to tell me I failed, I was excited since it meant that even though the test got screwed up, it didn’t affect the results. Needless to say, my enthusiasm about having to take the three hour test surprised my nurse. It’s not often you say to a pregnant woman, “You have to fast, stay here for three hours while we take your blood every hour and you have to drink more of that orange crap.” and have the pregnant woman respond with, “That’s great news! When should I come in???

Something about having an overly positive response to the prospect of gestational diabetes cracked me up so I decided to keep this over-the-top enthusiasm throughout my three hour test. When it came time to drink the drink, I brought my own glass and put a paper umbrella in it. Every hour I had to get my blood drawn, I would say something to the nurse like, “Woo hoo! Take my blood you sexy thing!” or “I can’t wait to see how this hour turns out!” or "Pick a vein! Any vein!" or my personal favorite, “I’m going to put on make-up for our last hour in case we’re taking graduation photos!” I don’t mean to brag but the nurses said I was the most fun patient they ever had for glucose testing. I'm quite proud of this.

Again, the results came back as borderline so they hooked me up with a nutritionist and a glucose testing meter. I’ve managed to keep my humorously positive attitude about it as the diet really isn’t all that bad… it’s just the actual needle finger pricking thing that’s a bit of a drag… especially when it genuinely seems like I don’t have gestational diabetes.

Any which way, I do think the lack of some of my favorite carbs (macaroni & cheese… I’m looking at you) and not being able to indulge in cookies and cake during the holiday season is getting to me. This weekend is my baby shower…something I’ve literally waited my whole life for and I’m telling you now - I'm going to have a cup cake dammit! I know I won’t feel guilty about it though… mainly because I’m sure I’ll forget I even ate a cupcake within an hour.