Category Archives: Trying to concieve

Whistling in the Dark

My son is obsessed with things that light up the night: glow sticks, solar powered lights, headlamps.  Tonight, he decided that he would don his headlamp in order to play in the dark.  He then proceeded to turn a bookshelf we are about to get rid of into “bunk beds” for his stuffed friends.  He brought out blankets for each one and tucked them in.  It is amazing to watch how his mind is developing.  The empathy he shows is astounding.

little boy with headlamp putting dolls on shelves of bookselfThis has been a tough week in our house.  Besides my dad’s stroke, M was sick with a fever for several days.  We are also ass deep in the joy that is IVF.  That is part of why I haven’t written much this week.  When life gets hard, I retreat.  IVF is hard.  There are twists and turns and unexpected phone calls that can make or break one’s day or hopes.

It was our choice to pursue IVF.  After the last miscarriage, we were down to two vials of sperm from the same donor as M.  The fear of running out became much more of a reality.  IVF, theoretically, will give us many more chances to have another child who shares the same biology as M.  I don’t know why this is important to me, but it is.  There is already this man (the donor) we don’t know in our lives.  The thought of choosing another donor and bringing another stranger into the fold is nauseating.  It feels too complicated.

So we chose IVF.  We chose to spend a tremendous amount of money out-of-pocket (well, we took out a loan) for this one chance at creating the family we envision.  And I am scared.  I am scared it won’t work.  I am scared that we won’t have that table full of our children and their families at Thanksgiving 2043.  M is enough.  Having him is enough, I tell myself over and over again.  Though, sometimes the love I have for him is so much, I know that I have to share it with another child or it will swallow us all whole.

M learned to whistle this week.  Really whistle.  I don’t think I learned that until I was twenty.  I learn so much from him everyday.  The joy that pours out of him is infectious.  So tonight, when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed by all of the what ifs, I have decided to take a cue from my boy.  I am going to put on his headlamp and spend some time whistling in the dark.  I think that will help.

-Betsy

book shelf with one doll laying on each shelf

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Beautiful. Brilliant. Ridiculous.

Just so you know, the last thing you should do when you are trying (and

two women with a tiny baby wrapped in a swaddle blanket, hat on his head

The day M was born.

struggling) to conceive a child is go to an indoor play place.  Every other woman there was pregnant.  The others were holding their tiny babies.  The indoor aspect of the play place just means that the air is thin, filled with tiny baby cries and huge toddler cheers.  Stifling.

This trying to conceive business fucking sucks.  We went to a new doctor last week and the walls were covered with pictures of newborns or large pregnant bellies.  I wanted to see fields of heather or a still ocean, not images of  what we haven’t been able to obtain…yet.

Through all of these ups and downs and the myriad two week waits, the sunshine has been our boy.  When I feel particularly angry or sad about how our process has gone this time around, I try to focus on him.  We have a game that we play.  S asks him what he is.
“Beautiful!” he shouts
“What is Mama?”
“Brilliant!”
“What am I?” she asks.
“Ridiculous!”

This game makes us all laugh, like we are all in on the joke.  Unified.  So, when I look around at all those straight women with endless supplies of sperm, their bellies swollen with their good fortune, I try to remember that even if we aren’t able to have another child, we are still a team.  It is the three of us against the world.  We are beautiful, brilliant and ridiculous, all at the same time.

-Betsy

PS.  Yes, certain assumption were made about those women at the play place.  I certainly know many straight couples who have struggled with infertility.  The story works better in my head when I assume those women got pregnant first try when they felt their perfect little eggs release.  And yes, I realize it is possible that not all of those women were straight.  Again, the assumption they are fuels my anger better.

 

“Mama. Take This. It’s a boogie.”

Be Here Now on SidewalkThe road to parenthood is often long.  No matter who you are or who you are married to (or whether or not you are married/partnered with anyone), getting pregnant is not a guarantee.

We live on a college campus.  The other day, a student who is probably 21 or 22, walked by with her big pregnant belly.  I took a deep breath as she passed, trying to stuff the envy deeper down.  But I am envious.  I hate it, but I am.

I have always had visions of Thanksgivings when I am 60.  Our myriad of children and their significant others around the table.  When I was 25, it seemed like a fact; there was no question.  But life just isn’t that easy sometimes. Miscarriage happens. Negative pregnancy tests happen…and happen and happen.  Adoptions fall through.  Shit happens.

I try really hard not to get stuck in that place of being too aware of these challenges.  I try to focus on our one amazing boy and remind myself that he is enough, regardless.  It isn’t always easy, but inevitably, my boy does something that brings me back around.  When he says to me, “Mama.  Take this.  It’s a boogie,”  I do so without hesitation, because he really is the love of my life (other than S, of course) and he makes everything better.  So, with or without another positive pregnancy test, I will take his boogie willingly because sometimes, that is enough.

-Betsy

Big Brother

M is going to be a big brother…just not around January 10th like we thought.  This has been a very long few days.  We found out on Wednesday that there was no longer a baby growing in S’s womb, just tissue and sadness.

I chose to not write about our conception process or the fact that S was pregnant.  Blogging sometimes makes me feel wide-open and I just wanted to keep a little for me, for us.

She was 10 weeks when she had to have surgery last Friday for the second time. The first time we lost a pregnancy was devastating.  We were both so emotionally fragile and spent.  This time, we knew exactly what we were getting into.  We know the sweet smell of a tiny person who only has eyes for you.  We know the joy that we each feel when he laughs or gives us hugs or wants us to read him bedtime stories.  So this time, the loss feels more tangible than visceral, if that makes any sense.

It has been fascinating to watch M this last week.  He has been particularly clingy to S, wanting her and not me.  He wants to nurse or snuggle on her more frequently.  He wants to just be touching her.

We haven’t hidden any of this from him.  We worked with a fertility specialist so we had early ultrasound monitoring.  They released us to a midwife’s care and explained that the chances of miscarriage were around 5%.  So we told M.  We talked all about the baby.  He even had a nickname for it.  It was quite painful to explain to him that the baby chose to go live somewhere else.

He has seen both of us crying and we have been honest with him about why we are sad.  The other night, when S was crying, he snuggled up on her shoulder, arms around her neck and said, “It’s ok, Ima.”  Then he put his hand on her face and just held it there.  One of the sweetest moments I have ever witnessed.

His affection for me is not the same.  He wants very little to do with me including not wanting to hug me most days, even if I am upset.  That has been really hard.  I am hoping he will grow into a boy who loves to love on his mama.  We’ll see.

I did waiver about whether or not to write about this.  These last few weeks have been a challenge to find something authentic to write about when I couldn’t write about the most exciting thing.  Today, I am choosing to write because I remember how alone we felt when we lost the first pregnancy.  I am writing because this is just a part of life.  A shitty, heartbreaking part of life.

We have escaped to the beach for a week with some friends.  I am sitting on the 3rd floor balcony listening to the rain and watching the clouds roll over the marsh.  I feel hopeful in this moment.  I feel hopeful that S and I will be able to create the family that we crave.  Hopeful that these losses will just be blips on the radar or our lives.  Hopeful that one day, it will all make sense.

-Betsy