Full term

 

Today, September 27th, 2018, marks an important milestone for me: 37 weeks into my pregnancy, Mia is now, according to my doctor, a full term baby. A typical pregnancy gestation is 40 weeks, but today, medically speaking, if Mia decides to come today, there is no real reason to worry about her coming “early”. The bun in the oven can be done baking anytime.

Yay!

Also, whoa.

In the back of my mind, I had always been worried that my history as a premature baby might affect any pregnancies I would have as an adult. I was born around 32 weeks, weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces, fourteen inches long, and fitting into the palm of my father’s hand. Knowing what I know now about prematurity and fetal development, it is a miracle of God and science that I am even alive, let alone thriving, with no known medical issues or otherwise relating to my early arrival. It is a wonder that the doctors discovered during a routine check that my heartbeat was erratic, leading to an urgent C-section two days later that likely saved my life. Any delay and there is a distinct chance that I would not be here at all.

Thankfully, my 51 day stay in the NICU was, though traumatic and heartwrenching for my family, overall uneventful, and led to me becoming a happy and healthy baby, child and eventual adult. I bear no ill effects from my early birth, with the exception of possible worse vision, short stature, and small scars on my hands, arms and feet from the many IVs I bore during that timeframe. I was assured that my prematurity held no bearing on my bearing children of my own; however, I still held that fear, small but nevertheless there. I worried even before we started trying, and continued to worry throughout the pregnancy.

It was a relief to find that even a few weeks ago, Mia was already measuring over double my own birth weight, with several weeks to continue cooking. And today, as I feel her rolling around in my belly, I’m grateful to her and to my body for making it this far.

Even despite the immense relief that I feel, I still carry fear. Fear of the unknown for me and little Mia. When will you come? How will you decide to arrive? Will you still be okay? Just because you’ve made it this far doesn’t guarantee you will arrive safely in my arms. The odds are in our favor, for sure, but until you are outside my body and I know you are SAFE, I won’t be able to let go of my fears fully.

For now, I’m contenting myself with the what feels like the thousands of times I feel you move each day. As much as I complain about it, every kick to the lungs and head butt to the crotch lets me know you’re there, safe and sound in my womb, and in no clear and present danger. I’m praying for the both of us that you’ll arrive safely and swiftly (not too swift…), with ease and warmth and love. And for now, we’ll take it one day at a time, together, until you decide to greet us on the outside.

 

 

Just you wait

 

Just you wait.

My new least favorite phrase, uttered by just about any well-meaning cashier at Trader Joe’s or dog-walking neighbor passing me on the street and noticing my burgeoning belly.

Just you wait… Your lives are about to be turned upside down!

Just you wait… When the baby gets here, you’ll never sleep again!

Just you wait… Enjoy the time alone while you still have it!

Just you wait… You think your body is not your own now, but wait till you start breastfeeding!

Insert smirking, co-conspiratorial smile after every comment made above.

Each time one of these remarks have been made, it’s always coupled with some sort of implication that I must not know how good I have it now. That I “don’t know what we’re getting ourselves into”. Oh my god! I just realized right now that I’m in for a long string of sleepless nights, difficult days and tantrums. Thank you SO MUCH, random stranger, for enlightening me!

Maybe I don’t know just how much our lives will really change. It’s probably impossible to predict unless you’ve gone through it yourself. I fully acknowledge that I enjoy my alone time and the ability to pick up and do whatever I want the majority of the time, without schedule or agenda.

HOWEVER.

I am also fully aware that I signed up for this. In fact, we spent hundreds of days and nights, an insane amount of money, and an even larger amount of heartache before getting to this point where people are telling us “just you wait”. It doesn’t mean that I’m not still equal parts excited and terrified to be a mother, but I also would like to think I’m not completely and utterly naive about the sacrifices made once you become a parent.

It is true that most of the people who share with us their, ahem, wisdom, don’t know our struggles. They don’t know my current struggles – the 24/7 pain in my hands and pelvis that basically prevent me from doing anything productive for more than five minutes at a time, the lack of sleep, the mental struggle over said debilitating physical issues, all caused by pregnancy. The pregnancy that I desired more than anything. All they see is a pregnant lady who “doesn’t know how good she has it”.

I’ve had my fair share of those who have shared with me the delights we have to look forward to – the baby smiles, the every day milestones, seeing the world from a brand new perspective, feeling like your heart lives outside your body with this little person that is a piece of each of you. Thank god for those people, who make the worry about the total upheaval of our lives minuscule in comparison to the joys we have in store for us. Especially because that’s what I’m clinging to, now, to get me through these last few weeks (!!!) of pregnancy.

My current state leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. I want to feel like I am totally ready for this baby to get here, but in reality, right now I feel like an utter failure in the “nesting phase” that I’m in. I want to be doing so much more than I am physically able. And it’s making me frustrated and depressed that I can’t. So I am stuck in this weird limbo of desperately wanting her out of me so I can feel semi-normal again, while simultaneously not feeling ready for her to come at all.

Dale has been an absolute saint through all of this, especially in these last several weeks as my physical state has been in a rapid decline. He’s gone back to working long hours at school and then coming home to doing a full load of dishes or putting together pieces of furniture for the baby’s room at night. He’s constantly putting out an arm for me to grab, letting me lean against him, and has pushed me around in a wheelchair for a full day at Disneyland. I literally have no idea what I would do if I was doing this on my own, and thankfully, I don’t have to.

At the end of the day, I think most of my desires for the conversations surrounding infertility, pregnancy and parenthood focus on one thing: connection. Let’s do our best to try to understand each other’s struggles and meet each other where we’re at. To try to make a real connection instead of relying on blanket assumptions. To lift each other up instead of preparing each other for the worst. Because don’t we all want to be able to see more of the joys in life instead of the pain? Our struggles bring our joys into sharper focus, but they shouldn’t cloud our vision either.

This is 30

 

Today, I am 30 weeks pregnant.

I will meet my baby girl in around ten weeks, give or take a few.

Time, it seems, is going both lightning speed and excruciatingly slow. I have a million and one things to do before she gets here, but my body is screaming at me to GET HER OUT.

My mind mimics my body. I absolutely love with every fiber of my being feeling her roll and stretch inside my womb. I also desperately want to feel normal again, despite knowing that even after I give birth, there will be a completely new “normal” to embrace.

You know those people who say they loooooove being pregnant? I would pay a decent chunk of change to feel what that feels like right about now. I had a golden week or two, right as the first trimester was wrapping up, when I had a cute little belly, the all-day hangover was subsiding, and I felt like a million bucks. And then the swelling hit. Which led to the 24/7 severe carpal tunnel. And all of a sudden, my bladder felt like it was falling out of my body. I never got a shot at that second trimester “glow”.

The third trimester, like clockwork, brought back pain that keeps me up at night, as well as the feeling that I’ve been kicked swiftly in the groin by a ninja. Baby also thinks that any time I adjust in bed equals *PARTY TIME!!*, so that definitely helps with the whole insomnia thing. And the kicker – a diagnosis of gestational diabetes this week, meaning I can no longer drown my sorrows in ice cream and In N Out like every respectable preggo should.

So here I am, struggling to move forward to get ready for baby, in what feels like quicksand. One step forward, two steps back. How do I live in this space, where everything I’ve prayed for is finally happening, but I can’t escape the feeling of being held back from basking in the joy of a dream realized?

Yes, I have been throwing myself quite the pathetic pity party. Don’t worry, I still find ways to come up for air. When I get a text or call from a friend or family member, checking in. When yet another gift arrives for baby girl from a well wisher. When I think about just how amazing it will be to finally hold her in my arms. When she kicks me to remind me, hey, Mom, I’m here. Remember?

Yesterday, I was wallowing even more, due to our replacement dresser for the nursery from Buy Buy Baby arriving just as damaged as the original (#firstworldproblems, I know, I know). I was down about my GD diagnosis, and this was just the cherry on top of my non-existent sundae. I had these grand plans of starting to wash and fold and put away all the adorable little clothes we’ve already stockpiled, and here I was, at yet another roadblock.

Today, at the encouragement of my ever looking on the bright side husband, I decided I didn’t NEED the dresser to get shit done. So I put on my big girl panties and did my first load of baby laundry. I put on some Disney music (Mia better be a Disney lover; she’s getting a Disney nursery and I’ve been playing songs for her nonstop) and got to work. Before long, I had a massive pile of clothes ready to wash and fold. And that’s when it hit me. This wave of gratitude washed over me, and I stood by the crib and sobbed. How grateful am I? Who cares if my hands hurt, or I can barely walk, or I can’t eat french fries for a while. I’m not thinking about any of those things when I’m focusing on getting ready for my little girl.

So this is what 30 weeks looks like. Hot mess, cranky, can’t breathe, falling apart, so tired, deliriously happy pregnant.

40 years

 Louise Brown turns 40: the first IVF baby!

Last week marked forty years since the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born. Forty years since one of the craziest advancements of modern science literally brought forth human life.

I was going to write a post last week about how grateful I am for being fortunate enough to have access to this incredible technology that is allowing us to become parents in just a few short weeks. However true, I’m not quite in the mood for blanket platitudes at the moment.

You see, I posted this CNN article, written by a fellow IVFer, about the forty year milestone. More specifically, the author poses the question that why, even after over 8 million IVF babies have been born since the first one forty years ago, is IVF still considered “experimental”? Why is insurance coverage in any way, shape or form still woefully lacking for those that need this procedure in order to have a biological child?

After seeing the article on my Facebook page, one of my close friends reposted the article to her page. And that’s where things got sticky.

I have been fortunate enough to be in a relatively insular environment when being open about my infertility and IVF experiences. I haven’t had anyone say terribly judgmental or insensitive things. But we all know the internet is a quick to judge place, where people are free to share their opinions as they see fit, without a thought as to how it might affect someone else.

I read the comments that were posted after my friend reposted the CNN article. They ran along the lines of:

IVF isn’t covered because the world is overpopulated.

It isn’t medically necessary.

IVF doesn’t fix medical issues, it just circumvents them.

If people really want to have children, they should just adopt.

Whoa.

Typically, I am a non-confrontational person by nature. I am a people pleaser and readily admit it; conversations on politics or religion make my heart race. I’m very much a “let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya” kind of person. This time, however, I could not sit back and be silent.

I can’t know for sure how much the commenters knew about infertility, or about all the reasons why a couple might need IVF in the first place. All I can do is share what I know, and do my best to educate when I can.

Things I wish everyone knew before placing judgement on the use of IVF in the family building process:

  • No one wants to have to use IVF in their process to have a biological child.
  • There are complex medical conditions that people are born with that do not allow them to have a biological child.
  • IVF may be a medical circumvention rather than a “fix”. Using that argument leads down a very bumpy path, however. By that logic, we shouldn’t be expecting insurance to cover Viagra, a pacemaker, or even a prosthetic limb.
  • Adoption and/or fostering is extremely expensive (often more so than IVF or other medical interventions) and can take many years until successful. It often leads to dead ends; many families work with a particular agency for years, only to find the agency has closed, or the country they are trying to adopt from no longer is allowing adoptions out of the country. It is no less a heartbreaking, resource draining, and mentally and emotionally exhausting process than IVF – if not more.
  • Although some states and some employers offer insurance coverage for IVF, it is spotty at best. State mandates often only ensure that some coverage be offered somewhere in the state, and it is extremely rare for insurance companies to fully cover almost anything related to infertility beyond diagnostic testing.

To those of you who have supported us on this journey, THANK YOU. To those of you who are still in the process and are fighting for medical coverage for your disease – KEEP FIGHTING. And to those of you who wish to support us in this fight, start here: https://resolve.org/get-involved/

 

 

Pregnant and barefoot

 

“You look amazing!” “You’re glowing!” “Pregnancy agrees with you!” “You look great! How are you feeling, mama??”

These are all sweet, well-meaning and appreciated statements I’ve heard from friends and family the past several weeks. But when asked how I’m feeling, I’m never exactly sure what to say. It depends on the moment in time and who’s asking. More often than not, I say, “Doing pretty good, thanks for asking!” It’s easier that way.

If I’m being truthful,  I basically feel like crap. All the time.

My first trimester hangover gave way to a second trimester surge of energy and feeling great, for a blissful week or two. Then began a rapid decline around week 15 that has led to a whole host of issues. Oh, pregnancy, let me count the ways in which you have wrecked my body:

  • What I thought was just a stiff neck and shoulders while sleeping causing my hands to fall asleep became something much more dire. General swelling in my body has caused some arthritic-like symptoms, making my hands and wrists painful, tingling and numb to the touch. I currently sleep with wrist guards the size of an arm cast, which eases things ever so slightly, but most days I wake up unable to feel my fingers or close my hands into a fist. While the mornings are the worst, the symptoms persist throughout the day. I can’t drive for more than a few minutes without my hands going almost completely numb (sounds safe, right?), it’s a struggle to put on my jewelry or makeup, and I’m going to have to switch to a hands-free phone setup because my hand goes numb thirty seconds in when talking on my cell phone. All manageable issues, but definitely not fun nonetheless.
  • Speaking of swelling – I’ve gone up a full ring size, my watch is on an additional notch or two, and my feet look and feel like sausages most of the time. That whole “barefoot and pregnant” thing definitely applies to me (not the “in the kitchen” part though, lol), since I can’t fit my feet into almost any of my shoes besides flip flops and Birkenstocks. I’m on a strict “elevate the feet” plan basically any time I’m sitting down.
  • I’d heard of postpartum pelvic floor issues, but did you know that some women have pelvic floor issues even before pushing a baby out of their hoohah? Yeah, I didn’t either – until it happened to me. My already small bladder is struggling with the extra weight of the baby and so much less space; I swear this kid is using my bladder as a body pillow. I’m living in the bathroom and having serious issues on days I’m active and on my feet a lot. Disneyland is definitely not the happiest place on earth if you have pelvic floor issues… take my word for it.
  • General added aches and pains include aching hips, especially while sleeping causing me to wake up multiple times a night, and a stiff back while lying down, creating a turtle on its back type of effect when I try to stand up.
  • Appointments at the IVF clinic have been replaced by appointments with a pelvic floor physiotherapist and chiropractor. And here I was, thinking I’d finally get my time back…
  • Clearly all of this adds up to feeling super sexy! But don’t worry – I’ve been diagnosed with marginal placenta previa (my placenta is too close to the cervix for comfort at the moment if I were to deliver today), so even if I wanted to have all the sex, that’s currently off the table.
  • The worst part about all of this: if it weren’t for the swelling and discomfort I’m experiencing, my energy level is awesome! I have a strong desire to be active, especially for a healthy pregnancy, but I’m being sidelined by all of the other fun stuff happening in my body.

Sounds like a walk in the park, right?

On top of all of this, I’ve diagnosed myself with a separate, unofficial condition that I’ve dubbed “Infertile Guilt”. I’ve got a real bad case of the IG. These tracks keep playing in my head:

Remember, you wanted this! 

You should be feeling lucky right now, not whining about how you’re feeling. 

You have no right to be complaining when other people have it way worse than you.

Who are you to talk about feeling crappy when there are so many people who haven’t had their prayers answered yet like you have?

The IG is real, folks. It’s a catch 22: I want to be honest about how I’m feeling, but I’m constantly cautious about how much I share, since I don’t want to come off as whiny. After all, this is what I’ve been wanting for so long! I don’t want to seem ungrateful, especially to those following my story who have been in the same infertile boat as me.

But this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t tell it all: the good, bad and the sometimes really ugly. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that just because I am being honest with myself and others about the discomfort I’m experiencing, it doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that I’ve been truly and radically blessed to be where I’m at, either.

Two weeks ago, Dale and I got to see our little girl via ultrasound for the twenty week anatomy scan, the super in depth check at the halfway point. We saw her fingers and toes, her kidneys, the cerebellum of her brain, and the four chambers of her little heart beating in fast rhythm. It was nothing short of miraculous.

Mia Eva Miller at 20 weeks.

And that’s how I know that despite everything I’ve gone through – the shots, the appointments, the agonizing wait, the discomfort, the stress – is all going to be worth it in the end. So cliche, but absolutely true. We are blessed to have a baby who, by all modern medicine’s standards, is perfect and healthy and growing right on schedule. And so I’ll continue to push through the pain and revel in the joy of feeling my baby girl’s kicks that are getting stronger by the day. Even if those kicks land on my bladder.

 

 

 

 

Just call me Mama

 

 

I’ve discovered a new phenomenon: when you announce to the world that you’re pregnant, people automatically start calling you “Mama“.

“Hey, mama!” “How are you feeling, mama?” “Aww, mama, look at your belly!  When are you due?” “So excited for you, mama!”

My first “mama” took me completely off guard. I did not feel ready nor worthy enough to be bestowed with the title. Apparently, the second you pee on a stick and see a two lines, you are automatically anointed with the title of Parent.

The word Mama carries a lot of weight. It implies nurturing, preparedness, a new level of adulthood. I can tell you quite honestly that in most moments, even fifteen weeks in to my current status of pregnancy, I do not feel any of those things.

I’ll tell you what I do feel.

Nervous.

Excited.

Scared.

In disbelief.

Fearful of the unknown.

Is this baby really going to get here? Am I sure this is actually happening? Is this all going to work out? Am I going to be a good mom?

I’ve had so many people tell me I’m going to make a good mom. It’s sweet, and well-intentioned, and often reassuring. Because I am not entirely convinced, even after all of the struggle to get here, that I will be. I’m selfish, I’m messy, I’m entirely focused on myself much of the time, and I have literally no idea how I am going to react when a tiny human is completely reliant on me for her survival.

I know that many parents and parents-to-be face a similar struggle. With infertility, the path to parenthood is often laced with additional fear and self doubt. I am no stranger to that.

I’m doing my best to embrace the Mama in me. I may not know how I’m going to survive on few hours of sleep and midnight diaper changes, but one thing is without a doubt: I do love that tiny human inside of me before she’s even been born. And that’s a start.

 

 

Foreign language

This week, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I will be highlighting various types of infertility, conditions that may cause infertility, and types of loss. I hope you’ll follow along for education and connection. Let’s all do our best to end the shame and the stigma surrounding infertility; I’m pledging to do my best in my daily life to #FliptheScript. 

PCOS and endometriosis: a foreign language to most, these two medical conditions make up a good chunk of females suffering from infertility. Let’s break down these conditions; I’ll share signs and symptoms, as well as what women experiencing these issues wish others would know.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

PCOS sufferers typically have irregular or missed periods. Often undiagnosed or attributed to other causes, some signs and symptoms include (source): 

  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • cysts on the ovaries
  • unwanted hair growth on the body and/or thinning hair on the head
  • acne
  • pelvic pain
  • disturbed sleep
  • and, of course: infertility

Women who suffer from PCOS often have ovaries that produce large amounts of small, immature eggs.

What real women wish you would know about suffering from PCOS:

I have PCOS and people just don’t get it. Why I weigh more, why I can’t lose weight, why I can’t “just relax” and get pregnant…

I was diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager, and just given birth control pills as treatment. No one told me about weight issues that accompanied this disease, I spent my entire teenage years developing an incredibly bad relationship with food and fostering a low sense of self worth, because I couldn’t just lose weight. No one told me about the mental health issues that often face teenagers with PCOS. Though many women find out they have PCOS when they are facing difficulties conceiving, PCOS is more than that.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. (source)

The largest symptom across the board for women with endo is severely painful, often debilitating periods, sometimes with pain that persists day in and day out. Other symptoms include:

  • nausea/digestive issues
  • pain during sex
  • pain during bowel movements/urination
  • excessive menstrual bleeding
  • and, of course: infertility

What real women wish you would know about suffering from endometriosis:

I have Stage 4 endometriosis. I would like people to know that horrible period cramps is not normal and it is definitely not “just part of being a woman”. Doctors may be quick to dismiss, do not be afraid to voice your concerns and demand answers.

Trust your gut. You’re not just a “wuss” – severe cramps aren’t normal.
I also had such extreme tube damage from the endo that both tubes had to be removed. No amount of relaxing or yoga will make them grow back and allow me to conceive naturally when I’m not thinking about it.

I am tired of people saying “just relax and you will get pregnant”. No, no I will not, you are not in my doctor’s appointments nor have you gone through everything I’ve gone through or do you know my husband also has fertility issues. It’s very frustrating to be told something is not a big deal. I also heard someone say the other day “if you don’t have endometriosis, don’t complain about your cramps and be dramatic for fun to someone who does have it. That’s not fair. We live with the pain day in and day out”.  I never wanted to say AMEN so loudly before. Women with endo live in pain every day and if not every day, just about. We still have to wake up, work, complete day to day tasks, etc when all we want is to be in bed and be pain free. And rarely do we even complain about it. We live with it in silence when we can and even depression. That is a bit of my viewpoint on endometriosis. I’m sure those with other fertility issues can relate as well.

Stage 4 endo and PCOS. I wish I advocated for myself earlier by asking more questions. I appreciate the doctors who I’ve worked with over the years and value the help they’ve given me. I also though know that the quicker they can get me out of the office the more people they’re able to see. That being said I wish I had asked more questions earlier on, and spoken up about how much pain I was in. Two surgeries and a bunch of medication later I have a better grip on things, but I always wonder if I’d be in the same spot if I started asking questions earlier.

How you can best support someone you know with PCOS or endometriosis: Acknowledge that what they are dealing with is a medical condition and cannot be relaxed, meditated or exercised away. Realize that not only can their condition be causing them physical pain, it is likely causing them mental and emotional pain and stress as well. Be present, not dismissive, and let them know that what they are going through sucks.

 

Missing piece

This week, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I will be highlighting various types of infertility, conditions that may cause infertility, and types of loss. I hope you’ll follow along for education and connection. Let’s all do our best to end the shame and the stigma surrounding infertility; I’m pledging to do my best in my daily life to #FliptheScript. 

On the surface, they might appear happy. A married couple with a loving family: 1.5 kids, a dog, a house. But what if they have a secret struggle? A struggle that isn’t “socially acceptable” to talk about?

Secondary infertility, or infertility experienced after having at least one successful live birth, is often treated as the “black sheep” of the infertility world. If you are struggling with secondary infertility, you might be experiencing feelings of shame or guilt. How dare you feel sad for wanting a child when you already have a “family”? Can’t you just be happy with the child or children you already have?

Secondary infertility isn’t about not appreciating the beauty in your children, but knowing the beauty of creating a life and not being able to fulfill that dream yet again. It’s like putting together the most beautiful puzzle, only to find that you’re missing the last, most important piece.

If you know someone struggling with secondary infertility, the best way you can support them is to acknowledge and validate their feelings of grief and loss. It is never easy to walk the road of infertility, even if you’ve already been granted the privilege of becomings a parent.

 

Question mark

 

This week, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I will be highlighting various types of infertility, conditions that may cause infertility, and types of loss. I hope you’ll follow along for education and connection. Let’s all do our best to end the shame and the stigma surrounding infertility; I’m pledging to do my best in my daily life to #FliptheScript. 

You’ve tried everything to make a baby. Timed intercourse, charting your cycles to find out what your most fertile days are, putting your legs up in the air, even taking over the counter decongestant meds that can help thin bodily fluids to help the sperm “swim” faster towards their ultimate destination. But still, month after month, only one line appears on that dreaded pregnancy test instead of two.

You go to the doctor, who suggests running some tests to see if everything checks out okay. So you and the hubs get some tests done, and everything looks great! Good news, right? So you keep plugging away (literally and figuratively…). And month after month, still no dice.

This time, the doctor diagnoses you with “unexplained infertility”. Meaning that modern medical science can’t really tell you why you aren’t able to make a baby. Basically the equivalent of shrugging shoulders, this diagnosis definitely lands high up on the level of frustration meter. Stuck in a virtual no man’s land. Aren’t doctors supposed to tell you what is wrong, and then tell you how to fix it??

This is the situation Dale and I found ourselves in a little over a year ago, after trying in earnest for about a year (the arbitrary mark that “they” say you should try to have a baby for before you should get some testing done). We ended up going through two medicated cycles, under the advice of my OB. I took medication to encourage my body to ovulate, even though we knew I was already ovulating normally. When that didn’t work, we sought the advice of a reproductive endocrinologist (aka fertility specialist, aka RE), who led us through three more medicated cycles with intrauterine insemination (IUI), before we decided to move on to IVF.

Some people diagnosed with unexplained infertility will go on to conceive naturally, albeit maybe in a bit longer of a time frame than they may have wanted. Others may need a bit more assistance – or a lot more, in our case. And truth be told, we may end up conceiving naturally in the future, and have heard many anecdotal stories of others in the same shoes who conceived with no issues after needing IVF the first go round.

The thing is, it’s kind of a miracle that anyone gets pregnant – ever. The conditions in the body need to be completely optimal: the right time, the right place, the right consistency, the right sperm, the right egg. It’s a wonder that any of us even exist. So unexplained infertility can often be explained that despite best efforts, for whatever reason there just wasn’t the perfect storm that would allow sperm to meet egg successfully.

How to best support someone with unexplained infertility: offer support, not advice. A shoulder to lean on goes a lot further than asking if they have tried cutting out caffeine or if they are putting their butt up on a pillow. Trust me on this one.

 

 

Graduation day

 

Friday is Graduation Day! AKA, the day that I “graduate” officially from my fertility clinic to my regular OBGYN’s office.

This is the moment that I’ve been waiting for: the day that I get to go forth into the world with a “normal”, healthy, second trimester pregnancy. There’s just one problem, though; I don’t feel normal. Nothing about the past two years has felt normal.

Truth be told, I’m equal parts excited, scared, and sad to leave my clinic. I’ve been with the same doctor, making weekly or more visits to the same office, seeing the same friendly faces since June of last year.  I’ve laughed with them, cried with them, felt at home with them. The thought of not being under their care leaves me feeling a little…. lost.

I’ve also been blessed with a doctor that practices under the guise of “abundance of caution”, and has been calling me in for weekly ultrasounds to check on our little one. Some might call that overkill (which it probably is), but it has been an absolutely amazing experience to see her growing and changing week by week. Not to mention the assurance I feel when each week, we’ve seen and heart a strong heartbeat, and on more than one occasion, seen her wriggling around like the dance queen I am sure she will be outside of the womb. Once I officially transition to my OB, I will receive only two more ultrasounds: the full anatomy scan at 20 weeks, and a secondary scan at 22 weeks to check for heart defects. And that’s it. Definitely a far cry from the weekly peeks we’ve been getting to see what’s going on in there.

So far, I’ve avoided the trap of getting a home doppler to check on the babe’s heartbeat, since I knew it would probably just drive me more crazy if I wasn’t able to find it. But now that our graduation day is fast approaching, I am already dreading the weeks and months that go by without seeing my little one moving and grooving in my tummy. Thankfully, in a few weeks I’ll be feeling her move a lot, and likely will rue the day I wished for strong, soccer star kicks to know she’s A-okay.

Despite my fears, I am so incredibly grateful that we’ve made it this far. I am almost 14 weeks with our little babe, thanks to God, our doctors, and the miracles of modern science. Our baby girl is just over three inches long. She has tiny fingers with fingernails and fingerprints, is swallowing, and is starting to gently tap her mama’s belly with her little limbs to say hello. And that is, in this moment, the biggest gift of all.