After having two miscarriages, giving birth to stillborn twin sons and experiencing lots of infertility in between, I came to know the “pregnancy roller coaster” all too well. Here’s how a typical month in my life at that time went:
Two weeks into my fertility cycle I became excited that maybe, just maybe, this was the month I was going to get pregnant. When my temperature, ovulation predictor test, or any body signs indicated I was about to ovulate, I called my husband. If the time was right, he knew he had to do what he had to do, no matter what the circumstances. One time we rushed home between a wedding and a reception. Another time I got up at four o’clock in the morning before he had to leave on a business trip in order to try and conceive. Those days were rather humorous on occasion, weren’t very romantic, and were at times quite frantic, driven by our(my) intense desire to have a child.
The next two weeks after I ovulated were hopeful, anxious and tense (ten years ago when I was attempting to become pregnant there was no such thing as an early pregnancy test). Each month I went out and bought two or three pregnancy tests in the hopes that maybe one would show a positive result (we should have taken out stock in the company that made those things!).
Most of the time the result was negative. I was crushed, depressed and imagined I would never, ever become pregnant. And the three times I did have a positive result my pregnancies ended in disaster. I was beginning to think I would never conceive, carry a baby to full term and give birth to a live, healthy baby.
And then the cycle would begin all over again. I stayed on that roller coaster for a little over five years. Infertility treatments weren’t for me. I figured if I was meant to get pregnant, it would happen. But lots of friends and family were becoming pregnant seemingly with ease, and I was left sad, jealous, angry, empty and broken hearted.
Then, one day I had a forth positive pregnancy test. I was cautiously hopeful. Could this actually be the one? I made it through my first month (the length of time I miscarried for the second time), and then my second (the length of time I miscarried for the first time), and then though four more (the length of time I carried my twins). All the while I was pretty much a basket case, couch potato (I didn’t want to do anything physically to jeopardize this pregnancy) and nervous wreck. The months went by and I miraculously stayed pregnant. We were told the baby I was carrying had a one in seventy-two percent chance of having Down’s Syndrome (based on my age and blood work). I didn’t care. A level two ultrasound determined that he (it was a boy) was most likely going to be fine (whatever that meant).
Finally, after a knuckle biting forty one weeks (he decided to stay inside of me an extra week just to give me a bit more anxiety and distress), my son Andrew was born. It was a joyous day. Nineteen months later (I didn’t want to wait another six years to have another baby so my husband and I started trying quite soon after my first son was born) my son Matthew was born.
So, I’d love to say it all ends happily there, but of course nothing in life is easy. Both of my sons suffered from extreme colic as babies (that about sent me over the edge- fodder for another blog someday) and both have allergies and asthma (we rushed my younger son to the emergency room seven times when he was a baby because of breathing difficulties due to asthma and dehydration from stomach bugs- yet more information for another blog in my future). He ended up in intensive care on one occasion.
My children have not always been the easiest kids to raise- both are very active and defiant. But as I always say, survival of the fittest! I worry about them a lot- probably much more than the average parent.
There are of course many moments of pure bliss, like when my younger son cuddled up with me in bed this morning, showering me with kisses and saying, “I love you, mommy.” I treasure my children for who they are, and for those those many times in our lives that now make the whole “roller coaster” of my life worthwhile.