The Space Between
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. This week also marks my second year as an "open" infertility blogger, sharing my heartaches and real life story with you.
This anniversary also marks the true beginning of many friendships I have made with women quite literally all over the continent. These women have laughed and cried with me. They understand me better than most people I see on a daily basis. They are my infertile sisters. I have grown to truly love and respect these sisters.
Usually, by this point in the game for Infertility Awareness Week, I have posted a million times about all things infertility. You all know our story. We've been married over ten years and have wanted a child for so long, but life didn't lead us down that path. What is there really left to say?
You know how this goes: So, we fought the infertility beast. We found a wonderful OBGYN named Dr. S, who led us through testing, a PCOS diagnosis, surgery and early medicated cycles. We moved on to Dr. M who was not the right fit. He told me I was too fat to be a mom and I needed bariatric surgery. So, with Dr. S's help, I showed him and shed the weight on my own. He was kind enough to label me as "unexplained infertility" along the way.
Then, we found Dr. D. He is wonderfully patient and kind, without promising the world. He thinks about me as a person and an individual. Everyone at his practice is so remarkably compassionate. I was overwhelmed when I started my treatments with them at the love and respect they show toward their patients.
It's no secret that infertility has both brought my husband and I together, as well as tried to tear us apart. It rips at the core of what it means to be a woman, a man, a couple. It robs you of something inherently human. It makes you ache for a part of yourself you've never met. It makes you question yourself... something even the most confident among us is likely a victim of during the infertility game. So, infertility makes even me, the seasoned infertility blogger, pause and consider if I have anything worth saying this year.
But, this year, I had another reason for my pause. As many of you might know, J and I did an injectable IUI cycle this past month. I sincerely don't remember how many Clomid and Letrozole IUIs I did in the care of Dr. M. However, I can tell you, March was my second IUI with Dr. D.
I wasn't really nervous this time. I had done the shots before. I had done the scans before. Everything was "been there. done that" this time around. So, I stepped outside my comfort zone and asked for everyone's positive thoughts and prayers since we were pretty sure we would move to IVF if it didn't work.
Something crazy happened.
The IUI worked.
As of today, I am pregnant.
Yes, you read that right. Today, I am pregnant.
I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that notion. It seems like it's someone else's life and world... definitely not mine. It's like I will wake up from this dream any moment and it will all be ripped away.
But, this is why I am in the predicament I am in with Infertility Awareness Week.
I have lamented whether or not to share this wonderful news with my friends and family because it is so early in the pregnancy. I'm still in the first trimester, so conventional wisdom says I should keep it to myself until it is safe.
But, that's what I want you to know. It's never, ever completely safe.
From the moment I got the positive pregnancy test forward, I have been downright terrified of losing this pregnancy. I have read everything I can. I take it easy. I slow down and rest when my body demands it.
So, I know many of you might question why I would share this news so soon. My husband said it best. If you want them to listen to your heartaches, to understand your pain, let them celebrate your joys, too.
So, today we celebrate the fact that for the first time ever, I am pregnant.
Today, I step out from hiding this joy into the light. Today I am not alone.
Today I live in the space between. I'm a pregnant infertile. I'm an oxymoron. I don't fit in the pregnancy world of thinking of nothing but names and blankets and nursery mobiles. I'm too worried about the embryo that is hopefully developing just as it should. I'm too aware of the reality of loss.
I'm also not a perfect fit in the infertility community anymore. I know how it feels to read lamentations about morning sickness and fatigue. I know how sonograms and baby announcements can hurt. Sometimes, I forget I am pregnant and they still hurt. I am a unicorn that doesn't have a tribe that completely fits.
I'm also fearful. I am afraid you will share my story and explain I got a "miracle." Please, don't. Share my story, please. But share my whole story. Share the heartache, the failed cycles, the pain, the fear. Nothing but persistence and sheer luck led to this pregnancy. There wasn't a magic number or trick I tried. It just happened to work this time with this medication and this doctor. I didn't hope more or less. I didn't relax more or less. It just worked. Don't equate my experience to anyone else's. Share my story so women know they are not alone in their pain, in their fear and in their joy.
I'm not sure where I really reside any more, so I will stay in this space between for a while. As DMB tells us
"The space between the tears we cryIs the laughter keeps us coming back for moreThe space between the wicked lies we tellAnd hope to keep safe from the pain"
So, today, help me keep safe from the pain. Don't make me tell wicked lies by omission that aren't true. Celebrate the fact that today I am pregnant. If heartache comes, as it does far too often in infertility, I will ask you to help me up then. But, let's dance together in the laughter and cry only the happy tears....together.
For more information or resources, visit the links below.
For more information or resources, visit the links below.