Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fragile and Precious - How We Got This Far

I am LARGE. I mean, really, really, large. I feel like my body cannot stretch anymore. And so, the last few days, it's really been hitting me. I'm about to give birth to and bring home a tiny, fragile, perfect little being for the second time in my life.

 If you have ever experienced infertility, you know what a roller coaster it is. I have a tattoo of morning glories on top of my left thigh, a perfect match to a tattoo that my mother had. We chose the design together, because morning glories only bloom at a specific time before closing in on themselves again. At the time, I was dealing with secondary infertility with my first husband. Mom and Dad dealt with it, trying to conceive me. They tried for seven long years, finally giving up and being surprised with me. You see, we each conceived our first child ridiculously easily. The second, though, came with more difficulty. Unless you have been there, faced that crushing disappointment, month in and month out, you never really understand it. You can empathize, but you don't really get it. I sure didn't.

My ex and I started trying for a second child when Will was a year old, and didn't stop until we split up when he was five. At that point, we had just begun fertility testing. Nothing was obviously wrong with me, but I figured that I wasn't ovulating right (my charts were confusing) due to my weight. My ex, on the other hand, had what was called Tetrazoospermia. We were beginning to look at fertility clinics to check into getting IUI with washed sperm when we seperated.

And thus, assuming we were both part of the problem, and also believing that I would never trust anyone enough again to try for a baby, I thought that was it for me. I was done. My precious boy would forever be my only child.

And then there was Mark. Three and a half long years of difficult relationships going nowhere, and then we lost Jamie, and suddenly, BAM. Here's Mark, and I'm in love with him, and we're engaged. Mark is a step past infertility. His only child, his beautiful daughter Gabby, was born sleeping at 39 weeks in July of 2010. When we started seeing each other, he was just celebrating his 34th birthday, and he was still broken from his loss, but ready to pick up the pieces and begin again. So was I.

Remembering four long years of tests with only one line and of stomach cramps and being even moodier than the usual case of PMS, when we got engaged (and he was cussing the alarm that reminded me every day to take a pill) I decided that it was okay if I went ahead and quit taking my birth control. We both wanted a baby, and Mark wanted one quickly because of his age. I thought it would take us time, and maybe if we began trying then, we would be pregnant by the end of our first year of marriage. But, I wasn't even very hopeful for that. I truly believed it would take us ages to get pregnant, if I even could. The first month we tried without any real help or plan, and I began to consider charting. I remembered what a pain it was and how my charts had never seemed to show a truly discernible pattern, so I began to remember a product I had read about toward the end of my attempts with my first husband. I was on the verge of buying it when we were given his diagnosis and told to consider a specialist.

The OV Watch is a watch that you really do wear, only at night. There's a small sensor attached to the back of the watch that measures chemicals in your perspiration. At the beginning of your cycle, you set the watch up, and then you wear it for at least eight hours a day until you are past your "fertile window". I went back to reading about the watch, spending hours reading testimonials and FAQ and everything I could find about it. Then, in the second month that we tried, I ordered it. The second month ended with another period, and I pulled the magic watch out of its box, set it up, and began wearing it. For a week and a half, I waited anxiously to know if I would even ovulate at all - I honestly had no clue if my body worked how it was supposed to or not. And then! The watch began to show fertile days! Which meant that my body was at least going to try to do what it was supposed to! So, well, you know what happened on all of those fertile days.

I calculated the due date, and realized that since my last period had come exactly one day late, if we conceived with the watch that month? Our due date was to be Jamie's birthday. My precious sister that brought us together, who we had lost only months before. I kept that part quiet, telling only Mom, not wanting to get Mark's hopes up. Toward what I thought would be the end of the cycle, I ordered another sensor for the watch, honestly believing that I would get one line and we would go on to try again another month. But still, I bought a pregnancy test and stuck it under the bathroom counter, just in case I needed it.

And then, one day, just a couple of days before my period was due, I had the most terrible time keeping my eyes open at work. I came home that afternoon and laid down for just a few minutes, and completely zonked out. I was so exhausted that Mark had to cook dinner that night. I thought I was getting sick again. And then, sometime around midnight, after Mark fell asleep and while I was wide awake from sleeping all afternoon and part of the night, a whisper went through my mind, that maybe being so tired was a symptom. I laid in bed for over an hour, fidgeting, wondering. Calculating how soon the pregnancy test could be accurate. I realized that from the date I ovulated, there was a chance of a positive. There was also a chance of a false negative, probably a higher chance of that. But, there was a tiny chance that if I was pregnant, I could already get my positive. I decided that maybe I would be able to get to sleep if I went ahead and took a test, and I would just buy another one to take in case my period didn't show up in a few days as expected.

So I took the test, and I fully expected only one line. I hardly glanced at it as I pulled my pants up to leave the bathroom, and then I did a double take. The stick had been wet less than 30 seconds, but there they were, two lines! The second was faint, as it was early and I didn't use first morning urine, but it was very clearly there, too quickly to be any kind of evap line. I was in absolute shock for a few seconds.

So, that's how I wound up shaking Mark awake and holding a pregnancy test in front of him, asking, "How many lines do you see?!" Half asleep and slightly buzzed from a few beers after a bad day at work, he could barely focus, and looked at me like I was crazy. "TWO. There are two lines!" I exclaimed. He struggled to focus, he hadn't even figured out yet what I was holding. When he did, he took it from me and struggled even harder to focus, and then his face broke out in a smile. "We're pregnant?" he asked, and I remind with a nod and a what I'm sure was a goofy ear-to-ear grin. "And our due date is Jamie's birthday..." And with that, my husband drifted back off to sleep, holding me tight, a contented little smile on his face.

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