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...

53 comments:

~Rae~ said...

Awesome post. *tears*

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing all of that. I feel very similar to you in many ways. I am almost 35 weeks pregnant after 2 1/2 years of trying and it still sometimes bothers me when others get pregnant seemingly at the drop of a hat. The insecurity that comes from infertility does not seem to go away with pregnancy. Who knew? I am very excited for you and while I agree with your list of things you would never do (I have not done them either), it struck me that maybe we are shortchanging ourselves. Knowing that the pain from the struggle will never completely go away, can't we celebrate like the fertile people. You should be very proud of how you have handled this entire process and feel free to celebrate the awesome blessing you are about to enjoy. My husband and I are already preparing ourselves for the rush of overwhelming emotion that is going to hit us when we finally meet this baby. I was putting the finishing touches on the nursery yesterday and shed many tears of joy. Best of luck to you and your husband! Enjoy this time!!! Take care, Jill

Julia said...

The gratitude in that last comment made me cry. I've never dealt with infertility. But I did have a miscarriage. And it was probably the worst few days of my life. I know it doesn't compare since it was only a few days and so many infertile women have been through years of disappointment and heartache. But I know that if I did struggle with infertility, none of those, "Hang in there, you're not a failure," comments would have really helped. What I wanted was a baby. And the only thing that would make me feel better was a positive pregnancy test.

Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones (I'm 20 weeks pregnant now). But that little paragraph of gratitude toward your former self hand me totally break down in tears. It's just so beautiful! I can't even fully explain why I think so. I just do.

Lacey from The Southern Mommy Chronicles said...

I'm so happy for you to have reached this point in your journey! I blame the hormones coursing throughout this body of mine but I definitely cried when reading about your realization of SITT & Pregnant Jay becoming one person!

You HAVE made it! You ARE almost there! You struggled through the roughest waters imaginable for a woman that wants to become a water and came out on the other side, showing that it is possible to overcome one way or another, even when it seemed so bleak and hopeless.
Hugs!

cgd said...

love to you and baby

Kakunaa said...

I will admit to being guilty of the first 3 items. I put all my struggles out there and as part of the process, all my joys as well. And on my blog even...it was a way of chronicling my journey. I also understood if people couldn't handle it. But many of my bleeps are also on FB. And I strongly feel that when able to, we celebrate success just as we grieve in the failures...all together. As a community. My issues lie with those who don't know the struggle. Who complain. Who take things for granted. And post that kind of thing. But within our community we are not that way. Thank goodness. My intent being anything but malicious or unfeeling, I think that my sonograms, my nickname, etc, were encouraging...a sign of what could be. I will NEVER be fertile. Surprise whoopsie pregnancies will always ellicit envy in me. Twin pregnancies even do. I will always wonder what it is like to become pregnant in a night of passion, not in a sterile room with 15 other people. Having now spewed in your comments, I also want to make it very clear that I totally understand why you have those "rules" and that I had my own...until I became pregnant and my perspective changed. I completely admire you for sticking to your guns! Awesome post my dear!

AL said...

Great post, Jay. Now that I have a son and I'm on the other side, I feel like there are three versions of myself. IF AL, pregnant AL, and now still in disbelief parenting AL. It's really hard for me to know what to post at times because I don't want to be that girl that seems she forgot where she came from, but I still want to be true to my journey, the good, the amazing, the horrible, all of it.

So glad you're 31 weeks and I can't wait to see your blog after your little one is here.

Sarah Q said...

Oh gosh. This made me cry. I love that you thanked SITT Jay. I would have to thank my former self, too.

Sometimes, I look back and I am amazed that I was able to come through it but I am so thankful I did. I am even thankful I went through all of it because I appreciate it so much more than I would have otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I know you don't wanna post pics and write cheesy updates about pregnancy and your baby... but I sure am still hoping for a belly picture and OBVIOUSLY a huge picture of your BABY, once he is born!!!! I am still hoping.....
Eny

Anonymous said...

I am still an infertile (almost 2 years trying w/failed fertility treatments), never been pregnant, and I cried when I heard what you would say to SITT-Jay. I think you got it right. Hang in there, Thank You, Stay Strong, It is so worth it, etc. I cannot wait for the day that I either miraculously get pregnant or have an IUI/IVF that works...then I will do those things that other fertiles do: post my sonogram on FB and talk about how happy I am. BUT, I will also reveal my long journey and acknowledge how hard it's been so as to not make too many people jealous/angry. I would like to think Pregnant Infertiles are people we can look to for HOPE - that one day it may be our turn. If not, that's ok too. I'm still a whole, complete, worthy woman and wife. :)

@EndoJourney said...

Beautiful post. I'm in the 2ww right now and what I need to hear is what I just blogged myself: it's ok to feel. This process involves a lot of emotions and it's ok to feel them all no matter how hard or unreasonable they may feel. They're all part of the process.

I am so excited for you Jay and cannot wait to hear about the birth of your baby! *big hugs*

Kate said...

I am aching, struggling, and desperately wishing for a baby, and this post gave me hope. It's a terrible journey but in the end, the destination is all that matters. Thanks Jay. I really appreciate your blog. Lots of love to you and the baby.

Secret Sloper said...

I know just how you feel. The moment you accept that you're going to be a mother, that the struggle has led here, is wonderful. (And don't be surprised if fear or doubt creep in afterward. That's also normal).

If I could say anything to myself as I was a year ago (or worse, 18 months ago when I was most depressed): You will get through this. You are strong enough to bear it. You will be happy again one day. You won't regret anything as long as you keep going forward.

missohkay said...

And now I'm crying. This is not what I visit your blog for! (I kid, I kid. Loved this post!)

cwdurbin said...

As a fellow infertile with RPL that is also now pregnant I totally understand where you are coming from and I follow the same rules that you have. I am 36 weeks and every day is still a struggle for me. After 3 losses and 5 years of testing I finally understand both sides and I don't think I will EVER forget the rough times, regardless of my recent positive outcome. Thanks for the words of wisdom and for letting us know that someone, somewhere still understands how difficult this can be.

robin said...

I cried a little when I read what you would say to your past self because I imagined it was my future self saying it to me. Thank you :)

Esperanza said...

This is a really wonderful post. Thanks for writing this and putting it out there.

wottadoll said...

I feel exactly the same way. I have been silent about my pregnancy on Facebook, and not a day goes by that I don't wonder if I'm short changing myself of all the support and accolades I could be getting if I just did like everyone else and posted belly pics, sonograms, pregnancy updates, etc. But then I think of how those things by other people used to make me want to drive off a cliff, and I don't ever, ever want to be responsible for making someone feel that way, even if their feelings really aren't my problem.

I still find myself "deflecting" in real life whenever a new person who just found out sees me in public and congratulates me; I feel the need to move off the subject right away, ask, "so, what's new with you?" so I don't become THAT pregnant woman. But again I wonder how much I'm missing out by doing things like this, all because it's so hard to let go of my non-pregnant, jealous and bitter former self.

The other day I chalked it up to, well, I've been watching all my friends get married and have babies for nearly twenty years. I've endured endless pregnancy announcements, engagement announcements, dinners with friends where they lean into me and say, "I think I met someone!", baby showers, weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties. All the while seething with jealousy but having to keep it all inside. Now I'm finally about to have a baby of my own, but it's not like you can just flip a switch and forget all those years of not getting what you want, and watching everyone else get what you want. And again, I know how awful I felt, and I would never want to make someone feel that way. I just can't get past that.

So for me I've decided my private journal, my blog, my family, and my closest friends (mainly ones who have children and so aren't jealous of me) are the ones I can gush about this with. Everywhere else I just keep it to myself and only talk about it when asked, and when asked, keep it brief. I feel all of us who ever wanted a baby but couldn't have one (due to IF or various other circumstances) are suffering from a little PTSD. It's just something that needs to be worked through in our own time, in our own way. And absolutely the private pep talks - that we deserve this, we deserve happiness - are a terrific thing. I think I'll make that part of my daily routine, actually.

Emily said...

Beautiful post. It totally makes sense. You finally hit that point that you realize all the time, struggle and pain has finally given you what you were longing for. I can't wait to be there. Thank you for posting this.

MDG said...

You have moved me to tears. After a year of trying "naturally" we've been told IVF with ICSI is our only shot at having our biological children... I don't know what I want to say to myself right now, but I'll try. Thank you for this post!

Jenna said...

Maybe I am a different kind of infertile because I only had to wait 2 years and go through 2 IUIs to get pregnant. But I did every single thing on that list because I am PROUD that I can say we conquered infertility (for now). Period. And as insensitive as this may sound, I can't not share my happiness on twitter/facebook/whatever just because I might hurt someone's feelings. If that were the case I would have to stay off the internet altogether because I am sure to offend someone somewhere about anything.

I am happy to say that I beat infertility and happy to show off my little Bean and my belly and the ups and downs of pregnancy. It's a HUGE part of my life, just as infertility was, and not sharing it with the world would be like not letting myself let go of my infertile times to enjoy the pregnant times.

Anonymous said...

I admire your ability to not show off your most prized posessions- your sonograms. I must admit, there is one on my FB. But, in my defense, my husband posted it! :) I do make sure to be very open about our struggles to get pregnant and how I don't take a single second for granted. I hope and pray that being open will allow me to share with others what was so miraculously done for us!

When I read your gratitude to SITT-Jay, it was like I was speaking those words to SITT-Pam. Only two IUIs and one IVF, but 5 years worth of depression, tears, heartache, fear and just enough faith to get me through. I'm so glad that SITT-Pam didn't give up and I hope that when people look at situations like ours, they get a small dose of that faith to help them get through, too!

Clara said...

This is a post for MDG - I hope she reads it.
I was exactly in your situation - after one year of trying, my husband and I were told to go straight to IVF/ICSI as our only chance to conceive naturally. We were also told that, even with ICSI, our chances were not good. Fast forward a few months: I am 18 weeks pregnant, the first ICSI was a success - only one embryo transferred, and that was enough. I know we were just lucky, it was so easy that I know I can't compare myself to the brave women (and couples) who have been trying for years and endured multiple heartbreaks. Still, IT DOES HAPPEN.

And great post, Jay - thanks for writing it!

Broedkipje said...

You've got me in tears. Wonderful post and I wish you all the happiness in the world and the happiness of several other planets as well.

Babymadness said...

I have just stumbled on to your blog through the countless clicks of a mouse that we do through this activity us infertiles do very well: cyber blog surfing!

I am so thankful that I found your post and read it. Thank you for that.

I just found out I am pregnant after our 1st IVF and 13 months of TTC, and many, many tears. I can relate with the duality that you feel "your former infertile self" vs " your pregnant self". I am only at the beginning of that duality, I still haven't REALLY understood that I am pregnant. I still feel like that hopeless infertile, and I feel I may always be. Infertility changed me (and my partner). And I am thankful for that as well.

I want to say to myself: thank you for believing, thank you for hanging in there throug the tough times, and the BFN's, thank you for your strength. Those that get pregnant at the drop of a hat (bless their souls) never experience this, and probably never have this conversation with themselves...maybe they never get to revel in the gratitude and joy of their own strength....

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, and thanks again!

Jacksmom said...

I feel much like another commenter said, and I am guilty of doing things like posting my ultrasound pictures and posting about my OB appointments. Because my blog started off after our 2nd IVF (first failure, out of insurance help, and broke) and we were moving onto adoption, many family members and friends/coworkers see my blog. I also know that many people check it who don't know me personally. But those people were there cheering me on as we were beginning the adoption stuff, and then as things developed and insurance changed, and our plans changed. They cheered me on through a 3rd IVF cycle (fail), and then a 4th which I was sure failed (it didn't). I felt like I needed to chronicle what happened, and that most of those people would be there to support me still. I definitely haven't forgotten who I was, or even the feelings that came along with it. I remember the sting of seeing ultrasound pics, and hearing about things like nurseries, but I stopped myself from reading those specific posts as soon as I realized that's where they were heading, and tried to continue to support those people when I could make it through the posts they wrote.

I think it's up to those of us posting about happier things to make sure that people will know what they're getting into with the title of the blog post, and those of us still struggling to decide if they can handle reading that post or not, and act accordingly. It's each persons blog to post what they want whether it be good news, bad news, ugly feelings, or mushy sappy feelings.

That's just my take on it.

aliciamarie911 said...

While I have often said, I'm not going to post those kind of things when I'm pregnant, I'm not quite sure that I can make that statement now...as an infertile. Truth be told, I need to hear that It's all going to be worth it. That I just need to keep hanging on to my dream of becoming a mother and not throw in the towel.

I really loved this post, and I applaud you for keeping your promises to yourself and being sensitive to the ones of us still TTC.

You're so close to having your baby, and that is so exciting! Congratulations.

Tara dS said...

I know I wouldn't have believed myself either, because lots of people said all of these things to me, but I guess what I would say to myself would be:

Have faith. The right child will be yours. You will be a mother.

Love and appreciate this time with your husband. Don't squander this precious opportunity to be (relatively) young, healthy, financially independent, and free to do the things you enjoy.


Take good care of yourself. Don't go to baby showers if you can't handle it. Let go of the shame and allow others to support you. And have faith. You will be a mother.

closeencounterswithfertilitytreatment said...

Thank you for this post! It was very moving and I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes while I wait for the phone call where a nurse is going to tell me the result of my second blood test after IVF#1. A week ago, I was maybe possibly a little bit pregnant (low hCG).

nurslouisa said...

Great post. My husband was the one who pushed for us to keep trying with my eggs so after our son was born I used to (and still do) thank him for pushing, not giving up.

Anonymous said...

It always works out. Infertility is not a punishment, it's a gift. It makes you appreciate the past, present and future more. If you think that you cried the other night, just wait until they place that little boy in your arms. You won't be able to stop. All of the pain, money, sorrow will all be worth it. You have passed the test, you hung in there. You are where you deserve to be. Enjoy every moment of this! Blessings

Michelle said...

Beautiful post Jay. I am so happy for you & excited to meet your baby boy. One year ago, I had a not pregnant beta. It felt like the Worst Christmas ever. Just one year later, I sit here with my 3 month old twins. How is this even possible??
I wish I could have told myself It's All Worth It. Every single needle, tear & dollar were So worth it. And I wouldn't have believed me or listened to me but how nice if I could've told me "Just wait one year and you will have everything you dream of"

Julie said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I'm about to start my first round of IVF and I really needed to hear this.

KT said...

I'm hoping that I will be able to tell my current self the same words someday soon. That I will be able to look back on my blog posts about our infertility, my surgery, the tests, etc. with a knowing smile on my face.

Stephanie said...

This is a very powerful post. You're very self-aware and eloquent. Congratulations on your baby boy...I wish you all the best.

metholicblog.com said...

I don't know what I would say to 'myself' that I would want to here. Probably "this sucks, let's get a drink" would be the most helpful :)
Congrats, I am so excited for you.

Belle said...

This is just beautiful and gives me great hope. I am starting my first round of IVF soon and am scared of how it may change me. Your words make me feel better. Cheers and big congrats on the baby boy!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for such a touching post. I am 22 weeks pregnant after 3 miscarriages and a cervical cancer diagnosis. Every day I fight a similar mental battle, how not to annoy others who might be struggling. I feel guilty for essentially putting my life on hold over the last 2 years because I was so depressed this was happening. I wish I could have stayed as positive as my friends and family were. I still think I'd like to tell my former self to have faith and to find the courage to be supportive of friends who were successful. Instead I stopped hanging out with them. But you're right! I did the best I could to get through this in one piece. And I know it will all be worth it in a few short months. Every day I feel like I'm fighting PTSD from this experience, and I hope next time I'm in a crisis I'll remember how to persevere with grace. Thank you for your amazing sense of humor and reminding me to laugh and make this as fun as possible. Congrats and best wishes to you!

christine said...

I can totally relate to feeling like two different people after going through IF/IVF and then getting pregnant. I don't think the two "sides" merged until after my DD was here. I struggled every day of my pregnancy to believe I would actually get my take home baby and I only wish I had reached the merger of my two selves sooner.

ICLW #85

Jessica said...

Visiting from ICLW!! I love this post!

lesterresfertiles said...

Wow, beautiful post. I guess I would tell myself "don't hate yourself so much." Which incidentally is exactly what I should do. Enjoy being pregnant this season.

Jayton said...

omg that post was just so absolutely true, u knw ive been on alot of ttc forums and i swear as soon as someone got pregnant they forgot all about me , so much so that i felt tht mayb i shouldnt get attached to anyone. that being said i promised myself that if i get pregnant eventually, i wont become one of them, i still hold on to tht promise toda, although im not yet pregnant, but i dont think ill ever change tht feeling.

Amanda said...

What an incredible post. Hoping that when my time comes to be in your position - I will exercise the same humility. Happy ICLW week!

Natalie said...

Great list. Makes me wanna hug you! :) congrats on ur pregnancy and thank you thank you for being sensitive to those around you. ICLW #14

Her Royal Fabulousness said...

AMAZING post. I really appreciate your rules and have similar ones for myself.

I think the advice I would give myself is: You can only do your best to have a baby. If it doesn't work, you can still have a great life and that is okay too. Hang in there, but don't lose sight of your greater perspective.

Lauren said...

Very good reminders. I see many nutrition clients TTC and often don't even like photos of my kids prominently displayed, you don't want anything to sting anyone else. Be well, love your blog.

dspence said...

I'm late to the party but wanted to let you know that this is beatiful. Congratulations - you made it!

Krissi said...

Wow! All I can say is Wow! That was a powerful post. And by the way, I really do hope you post some pics when your baby is born. If for no other reason than to bring hope to all your readers! That's the true reason I post success stories on my blog. And, I would love to share yours! Please go to: http://stressfreeinfertilityblog.com/2010/01/17/calling-all-success-stories/ for the details!
Hope you had a wonderful holiday! Happy 2012! And good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

theportofindecision said...

Wow. What an awesome post.

Because yeah, I'd like to say the same to SITT-C. I hadn't been able to put into words that I feel that way, but you know, I do.

V said...

Hope you have a happy 2012! love your blog and can't wait for new posts.

Julia Lynn said...

I needed to read this! I just posted a blog post about being between two worlds. It's encouraging to know that there's potential resolution between the two ahead of me ;-)

I have been off of the internet for some time and just read your most recent post. After reading that and recognizing that your former candor and humor in writing had returned, recognizing that you were no longer walking on egg shells with your writing, I had to back track through your posts to find out what had changed :-)

I love you so much, Jay, and am extremely happy for you! I'm thankful to have run into you and run alongside you for a bit because of this journey.

Hoping.Wishing.Praying said...

Wow, what an awesome, inspiring and uplifting post. Written with such honesty and passion - I felt every word and will hold them in my heart for a long time x

Crystal said...

Thank you for sharing your epiphany. The Truth of it is so loud that it can't be ignored. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Congratulations on the birth of your son! He is indeed beautiful!

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