Wednesday, September 5, 2012
If they had been in my head, they would have known the anxiety and terror I was feeling. I did not want to buy these tests but at the same time, I wanted nothing more in the world for my suspicions to be confirmed.
My journey to that Wal-Mart aisle was over two years in the making. Approximately 36 failed cycles, countless negative pregnancy tests, fertility testing, and repeated pain and heartbreak led to this mess of a woman buying a simple box of pregnancy tests.
The scene in Wal-Mart was just the beginning of infertility’s rain on my pregnancy parade. Don’t misunderstand, the moment those two beautiful lines - the two lines I had started to doubt really existed - came into view, was the happiest moment of my life. But, once infertility entered our life, my view of pregnancy and motherhood was forever skewed by the struggle it took to get there. For better and for worse. My journey through infertility was far from over.
Infertility had already robbed me of the excitement and anticipation of buying and taking a pregnancy test, of joyfully planning a cute reveal to my husband. Infertility continued to intrude on my life.
The inability to find humor in the “it’s about time” comments from people painfully aware of our trouble. Salt in the still-open wound. Questions of whether we had conceived on our own or with treatment offended. Why did it matter? If it had on our own, did it diminish the struggle? If we’d had help, were you going to judge me? Assumptions that we had stopped trying angered. Not ever, not for one single day had we stopped.
My innocence about pregnancy was shot. I was terrified until our first appointment at eight weeks, fearing that every day might be my last with my precious peanut because all I’d known in this process was heartache. I found it nearly impossible to say the words “I’m pregnant.” I choked on them every time. While the world around me gushed and jumped up and down (literally, in a few cases), I felt like I couldn’t get too excited or attached.
Slowly, I found ways to get excited and to connect with my growing baby. Hearing the heartbeat at 12 weeks was a huge turning point in that. It was also then that I allowed the news to be shared with “the world,” i.e., Facebook.
Infertility had strengthened my love/hate relationship with Facebook. At one point, I counted the number of people who had gotten pregnant and/or had babies during the time I’d been trying. The number was in the 20s. It was so difficult to be happy for them while being so sad for me. I decided early on that I would be careful in both my pregnancy “announcement” and how I posted about pregnancy. In this way, I don’t feel as though infertility robbed me of anything, but has made me more mindful of what I don’t know to be going on in others’ lives.
As I enter my third trimester, most of my fears and anxiety (aside from all the normal “holy crap, I’m having baby/going to be a mom” stuff) have lessened. I have a very strong connection with my baby and it all seems real. Most of the time.
There are moments that this still doesn’t seem real. When I feel little kicks or see my expanding waistline, I sometimes cry in disbelief that this dream is actually coming true. I cherish every second from 2:30 a.m. potty breaks to outgrown clothes to every beat of that tiny heart. And I know that every second of struggle and every hopeless feeling was worth all of that.
Infertility gave me that.
Ashley Bearden is a full-time working soon-to-be Mommy after two and a half years of trying to get pregnant.