Formerly-Infertile Myrtle

It's May. Oh my goodness. That means that by the end of this month - the 31st at the very latest - I'll be holding my newest (and last, sniff sniff) little man in my arms instead of in my grotesquely bulging abdomen.

Seeing as this is my last pregnancy, I'm really trying to enjoy it ... but, y'all? I can't sleep. I can't walk without feeling like a wishbone about to split in half. I can't climb four stairs without huffing and puffing. I'm hot and sweaty all the time. I have like two shirts left that still (kinda) cover my belly. And I'm getting the looks every time I go out in public - not to mention the comments. Literally everywhere I go, I'm asked a.) if there's more than one baby in there or b.) if I'm overdue. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

There isn't. And I'm not. I'm just huge, okay? Sheesh.

But when I feel extra-complainy (that is totally a word, by the way), I think about the years I spent wishing - more than anything in the world - that I could experience this. I think about the despair and desperation when, each month, for years on end, I wasn't pregnant yet again. The feeling of isolation when it seemed like everyone else was. The searing, involuntary jealousy every time I'd see a baby bump. The frustration at not being able to do what, as a woman, my body was designed to do. The inability to attend a baby shower, or even walk through the baby section of a store, without mourning something I thought I'd never be able to have. The sting of the well-meaning but hurtful comments and suggestions like, "Just relax," and "All my husband has to do is look at me and I get pregnant, har har."

Every month, I was pumped full of fertility-assisting drugs and monitored and poked and prodded in places that most women only have to expose to their doctors once a year. The bend of my right arm bears a permanent scar from the sheer volume of blood draws I underwent to check my hormone levels. I had exploratory surgery and injected syringes of medication into my abdomen on a daily basis. My brain, my emotions, sometimes felt like PMS times a thousand. My privacy and dignity, and my husband's, were handed to the fertility specialist on a sterilized stainless-steel tray as he tried to do in his office what most people can accomplish in their bedroom (or, you know, the couch).

And I prayed, ceaselessly. And I hoped, fervently, with every fiber of my being. And I thought about it all the time. And every month, I went through hell ... only to look down at a pregnancy test with one stark, lonely line; a cruel visual confirmation of my body's repeated failure. It was a crushing blow, equally hard each time. But every time I thought I couldn't take another poke or jab or comment or baby shower invitation or negative test, I thought about the purpose - my sole reason for going through all this in the first place - the chance to have a child.

Now I'm one of those women who, theoretically, could brag about my fertility. I mean, I'm about to give birth to my fourth child ... whose presence, although as joyous as any of the others, wasn't exactly planned. I never in a million years expected to be in this position, and I don't know how it happened. Not the pregnancy (I'm pretty sure I know exactly how that happened) but the fact that I could get pregnant at all after everything that we went through. The fact that my slow-learning body just happened to "get it" one day and was like, "Oh. So this is how you do it." No explanation has ever been offered, no solutions ever found. There was never a magic key, nothing I did that suddenly allowed me to get pregnant.

But however it happened, whatever miraculously "clicked" ... I have what I wanted most. Our amazing, beautiful, wonderful sons ... and one more to add to the mix in a matter of weeks.


So while I may be uncomfortable (and just as I typed that, I felt a tiny knee or elbow or foot scrape painfully against my bladder), I can't complain. Not really. Not legitimately. Not when there are countless women (and their partners) out there who would give anything - everything - to experience this. All of it. The simple physical discomfort I'm going through is laughable compared to the suffering they're feeling, every day, every week, throughout the whole never-ending cycle. Because I know that at the end of all this, I'll be holding a baby.

And they don't have the luxury of knowing that.

And that's the worst part of all.

If you know someone who's having trouble conceiving, hug them extra tightly as soon as you can. Offer no advice. Don't try to console, only commiserate. Just be a shoulder if they need one to cry on. And if you're pregnant, or can get pregnant without effort, or can tuck your kids in at night and watch them as they sleep peacefully ... be sure to count your blessings. Today and every day.


12 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful post. I was in a similar position when we started our attempts to have a family. Good luck and may baby come sooner rather than later. :)

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  2. I got pregnant with our first two children just fine, but couldn't get pregnant after that. With many mixed feelings we started our journey trying to get pregnant with outside help. After a miscarriage with twins, we took a break and started again (there was never any explanation for my infertility). I joyously became pregnant with twins only to have the most horrible pregnancy culminating in 9 weeks of bed rest. I felt like the Lord was testing me to see how bad I really wanted to have those babies. Let me tell you I was extremely miserable but felt like I could not complain. I do have some residual effects from that pregnancy, but not a day goes by that I don't count myself blessed. I am so glad to hear that someone else feels the same way. Good luck. What a beautiful family you have.

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  3. I had no idea you struggled with infertility. What a blessing that you have been able to have 4 miracles!

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  4. That made be bawl because, yes, yes to every single word of it. I remember that awfulness all too well. My heart squeezes with happiness every time one of my infertile girls has a baby, whether it's her 1st or 4th.

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  5. I remember hurting for you every Mother's Day, every baby shower for someone else, and every time someone asked, "When are you and Curtis going to start a family?" Miracles DO happen, and you guys are proof!
    Children are a blessing, no matter how you acquire them. I've give birth to some of mine and "inherited" some, and every one of you kids is a miracle! I'd go through it all again just to have the family that we have now. Can't wait to meet your newest miracle!

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  6. Thank you for the gentle reminder to quit my bitching. Because, seriously, I'm tired and cranky. But, super happy and lucky, too!

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  7. I really identify with your experience. It took us 4 1/2 years of trying to conceive our first and then somehow, my body just figured it out. Five kids later I have had to remind myself to be thankful I am when I'm pregnant and my whole body aches!

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  8. This makes me teary. Exactly why I was a surrogate, because infertility hurts so much, and those that can have children (like myself) should remember how lucky we are!

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  9. You are talented! You can make me laugh and cry all in one post. Thanks for this reminder!

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  10. Wow. As someone who has been suffering from infertility for more than 7 years - I must thank you for writing this beautiful post. I hope that, one day when I finally get what I've been hoping for, I too am able to take a moment and remember what it was like for me and is currently like for so many women (and men). Best of luck to you with beautiful baby number four!

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