Monday, November 24, 2014

Mommy Monday :: Conception.

I will warn you now that this post will be long and grab some tea, and get ready for a tiny novella's worth of reading.  This week, I wanted to open up a bit about my experiences with conception.  I know, right?  TMI...  Well, maybe not.  I don't plan to tell you all about the intricacies of my sex life that led to my finally getting pregnant.  I wanted to talk about how I DIDN'T get pregnant for years.  It was a very emotional season in my marriage.  Fortunately, we found peace and then BOOM! Baby #2 found its way into our lives. I can tell you now that it would not have happened if I didn't put my Faith in something grander, bigger than myself and my selfish desires.  I don't think I would have survived this ordeal if it wasn't for finding comfort and strength in God.

We planned to have our children 5 years apart, and we started trying for another child when our Little Darling was 4 years old, thinking I'd give birth when she turned 5.  I was off birth control for months before we started "seriously trying".  After 1.5 years of no luck, I started medications.  I did two different meds for about a year and a half with no luck.  Suddenly, some things happened that just made me give up on the whole idea of ever having another child. 

My husband started blaming himself.  I couldn't have that. I cannot see the man I love be in a position of hurt.  I need him strong and confident. He's my rock and he knows it, but I could see this stress eating away at him emotionally. Then, some of my friends, with whom I'd shared my struggles, had gotten pregnant.  I'd always thought that we would be pregnant together, but when I saw they were moving on with their lives, I didn't feel as much of a dire need to be pregnant anymore.  I felt like I missed my chance.  Things got worse, when I went to the emergency room one morning, thinking a baby was moving within me.  I was hoping that, since my period had become lighter, that I was pregnant without knowing.  It turned out to be gas.  I was disappointed, sure, but not as much as I was embarrassed because the nurse was so unbelievably condescending and rude to me.  Like, are you so desperate to be pregnant?  I couldn't live down the embarrassment or the $450 medical bill that went with that reality check.  And the absolute deal breaker was the ultimate confirmation from my doctor.  My OBGYN told me that aside from having unusually short menstrual cycles, everything was in perfect working order for my husband and me.  She told me I was in the 2% of inexplicable infertility and that, if I wanted to have another child, I would need to see a specialist.
After all this time, medicine, and breaking down in tears every month after starting my period, I just couldn't do it anymore.  I was becoming really depressed about it.  I was a failure.  My body was broken.  My husband was completely done for, although he continued to put on a good show for me.  I knew it killed him.  It had been killing him, and I selfishly pursued things with little regard to how hurt he was each month.  I was also really resentful to my friends who were announcing their pregnancies left and right.  I was left out.  Alone.  So, when the conversation about whether we would further pursue the fertility options came along, my husband and I were on the same page completely: HELL NO!  We were 100% done!  We wanted to have sex for Recreation and not procreation.  Sex had become a job. It wasn't interesting anymore because "certain positions are more conducive to conception". We needed to reconnect because we were both hiding sentiments from one another as we struggled with the failure each month.
It was amazing to have that burden lifted earlier this year.  It made us more powerful as a family.  I was able to find delight in motherhood and being a wife again.  I started working out and lost weight that I had gained because I put my whole life on hold while trying to get pregnant.  My husband got a promotion at work and his superiors raved about his productivity and positive attitude.  Everything was much better and I literally was completely content with not being able to conceive.

One day, my friend invited me to a worship night.  I almost didn't go.  This friend and I had a small falling out, I think related to Facebook (isn't social media the worst?!), and we never discussed the issue with one another.  Instead, we just stopped talking to each other unless it was to attend her kid's birthday party or for church.  I had this invisible tug at my heart, telling me I needed to go.  It had been so long since I had that spiritual shot in the arm.  I went and the service was the Best worship experience I'd ever had!  There was an indescribable energy flowing through the room. 
The message throughout the worship was that you need to place your Faith and Hope in God.  You need to submit to God's will and allow for his plans for you to surface, rather than pushing your own agenda.  That message hit home with me so hard, and for the first time in about a month, I felt the pains of not being able to conceive return.  It was different, though.  It was more like, I just wasn't honest with myself.  I was fine and happy that my life had returned to a state of normal.  I was happy I wasn't depressed. But, Man!!!  I really still wanted to be pregnant!  After the worship, I made up some excuse to run out and get away from everyone.  I sat in the parking area, crying and praying for about 20 minutes before driving home in silence.  It never occurred to me that I wasn't honest with myself about my feelings regarding wanting another baby.  I hid how much I wanted it from everyone, pretending like I didn't care if it happened or not.  I did!  I spent 3 years trying.  Of course I wanted it!  So I prayed for hope, for a stronger sense of faith, for guidance, and most of all that I be pulled onto His path, rather than fighting for what I wanted.
I know I have several friends who aren't religious and think prayer is a waste of time.  Maybe you all are right.  But you know what?  MY life is fuller knowing that I don't have to carry the burden on my own.  MY life is more positive and comfortable knowing that there is a greater Being in control of the things I am not.  MY life is more manageable knowing that, when everything and everyone else fails me, I have at least one constant in my life:  I am Loved and Cared for by my God.  That power and that confidence is something that can't be shaken or replaced.  If it wasn't for that moment, I would have never found peace.  And that night I did.
Fast forward 3-4 more months, and Bang!  I am pregnant.  It was perhaps the BIGGEST shock of our lives.  I took the test and showed it to my husband.  He didn't believe it was true.  I ended up taking 3 more tests just to be sure.  Somehow, after 3.5 years of failing at conception, we were both a hot mess emotionally when it finally happened.  My husband was an overprotective crazy person, barely allowing me to do anything.  I was sure I wasn't "supposed" to be pregnant, so I just kept waiting to miscarry every day and secretly praying in my closet, hidden from everyone, over the baby's safety.
I only told a handful of friends on purpose.  Unfortunately, there were a few people who found out by accident, and while I appreciate their support, I want to really thank and acknowledge the friends I meant to tell:  Jami, Jen, Saima, Brian, Amanda, and Danielle.  I don't usually drop names on my blog, but I had to in this case.  I chose these friends specifically.  I knew that if something horrible happened, and I fell apart as a result, that I could trust these people out of everyone I knew to care for me and to help me pull myself back together.  These people are the most selfless Blessings I have in my life right now outside of my family.  Thank you for your support, prayers, positive thoughts, play dates, long-winded text sessions, and Thank You for just plain being amazing!  I learned an important lesson about trust through these friends, as I rarely open up to people about anything personal.  I don't know many women who are confident and wonderful enough to put aside criticisms and competition long enough to just be compassionate and understanding.  I know these women are.  So thank you!
Enough with the heavy...  Time to return to my snarky, sarcastic self!  I would like to end this with the top 10 things I heard during the 3.5 years my husband and I were trying to conceive.  I am happy I don't have to listen to them ever again!

Things A Person Who Can't Have Children NEVER Wants to Hear:
1.  "You are actually lucky!  You can drink/smoke/party/ do (_insert illegal drug_) without guilt."
First, I don't have substance abuse problems.  So I actually find zero comfort in having the option to do things that I never do anyway.  Second, when you decide that you want to conceive, you actually have to STOP doing all those things.  So let's just say I was a chain smoking, drunken crack whore.  I would have to check myself into rehab before conception in order to avoid potential miscarriage and potential harm to the embryo months and months before even getting down to the baby making.  But thank you!  Now, I know things about YOU that I wish I didn't.
2.  "Have more sex."
Seriously?  Just let that asinine comment soak in for a bit.  I am TRYING to get pregnant!  I have become a jizz receptacle ON PURPOSE!  If I have anymore sex, my husband's penis will shrivel up and be useless to us both.  You will be able to park a Smart Car inside of my vaginal cavity.  I am not sure why people think "more sex" is the simple solution to conception. Conception can only occur during one week of the month within a 3 day period.  Trying to figure out when that will happen is insane, unless you have the perfect model body. 
I don't have the perfect body.  My cycles are mega short, so "having more sex" during the typical ovulation window did nothing for us because I missed my ovulation each month by about 7 days.  Mind you, it took 2.5 years and an ultrasound to figure this out.  By then, I had received loads of advice on when to have sex, how to have sex, which positions to screw in, and multiple reminders that if I swallow semen I won't have a baby.  Also prior to that point, I was having sex literally whenever I could.  My hubs would take a break from work and rush home to bump'n'grind.  I would be late to work because we would bang, while I was in the shower getting ready for work. If my husband and I had any face time, our parts were joined during this time.
3.  "You already have one kid, so be happy with that. Don't be greedy."
Cue: Throat punch.
4.  "Just get in-vitro, find a surrogate, adopt.  Problem solved.  Now you don't have to get fat."
While I am really excited that you manage enough disposable income to purchase children at your leisure, I am not in the same boat financially.  Had I known ahead of time that conception would be so difficult, I would have saved $40K prior to my being ready to expand my family so that I could purchase or build the child of my choosing when I felt like it.  Unfortunately, my infertility was unexpected.
I don't think there is any wrong way to build a family, personally.  I grew up in a loving, blended family and I couldn't be happier.  But I do find it exceedingly arrogant of people to just assume that tossing money around and using science is a quick fix for us all. For me, I needed to know what was wrong with me.  Why couldn't I have another kid? I spent as much money on figuring out what was going on with my health as I would've on buying a kid.
5.  "Maybe you should have thought about this sooner, rather than waiting so long."
Yes, that's right.  I should have had a child at 8 years old when playing house was my favorite pastime.  Now, at 31, I am all old and decrepit with useless parts.  Please think of the stupidity behind these statements.  I think people should approach conception when they are ready.  That may or may not be on the timeline an observer agrees with or understands. 
6.  "It's just not meant to be."
Why, thank you, God, for letting me know what is meant to be.  Why do people say this crap and think it is supposed to make someone feel better about things?  It doesn't.  It's like wanting something with all your heart and trying with your whole being to make it happen only to fall short and have someone kick you while you're down, and let you know that you were dumb enough to take the chance when you never had a shot in the first place. Well, that's how it feels when you are stuck in the situation.  The truth is, assholes that say this have no clue what they are talking about and should just silently hug you, while you cry about having gotten your period again.
7.  "I am so incredibly fertile.  Whew!  My husband looks at me and I'm knocked up."
Really? *Clap. Clap* Good for you!  I am so happy that you have 8 children and have chosen to singlehandedly over populate the earth with your power-pussy.  Please take a seat.  It's not ok to gloat to someone while they are in pain about shortcomings that are out of their control.  Also, I am not sure you get to brag when three of your children are disfigured, two of them have remarkably low IQs, and the rest are plain ugly.  Just kidding.  That was mean.  But I can't say those thoughts haven't crossed my mind a time or two after someone has bragged to me about their amazing conception rate.
8.  "Kids suck.  They make you fat and ugly.  They never appreciate you and they're a drain on your finances.  Why would you want one?"
Please do us all a favor and pour hydrochloric acid on your genitals.  People like you should be left without the option to contribute to the world's population.  If you have a friend who HAS children and wants more, expressing these sentiments will earn you a slap to the face and land you with one less friend.  Struggling with conception is hard and emotionally painful.  No one gives a rusty fuck if you hate kids.  As a good friend, you should be supportive.... or at least silent.
9.  "Just pray on it."
I am in love with my God and very spiritual.  I just have to be clear on something very important...  The time of Mary Magdalene is over. If people are getting knocked up through prayer alone, well, I need to be involved in this action because I'd have to see it to believe it.  While, yes, I did take time to pray for fertility, favor, and anything else that might aid in conception, I will be honest right now.  I also took medications (although they didn't work) and I had a whole wide world full of unprotected sex.
10.  "Don't worry.  Stress stops you from conceiving.  It will happen for you one day.  Be patient."
Actually, scientifically speaking, the longer you wait, the LESS likely it is to happen for you.  Women have a finite amount of eggs to grow into babies.  I am sure they taught you that in 5th grade health class.  Moreover, who the hell, aside from Halle Berry, wants to get knocked up at 45?  Your body is exhausted.  Your child is considerably more likely to be born with defects.  The pregnancy is also harder on your body.  But never mind those facts.  Let's talk about what raising a toddler is actually like in your 50s.  That shit SUCKS!  It's a game changer.  Trust me. When you are arthritis ridden, naturally tired, and craving a certain amount of peace that you've waited for all your life, the very last thing you want is a toddler, potty training, school activities, and drama related to children hitting puberty.
 I look at these comments/advice now and I laugh. I will say that during the years I was trying to conceive, hearing these statements over and over really got under my skin.  So if you have a friend who is struggling to grow their family, just be supportive!  Hug them.  Make them laugh.  Make them feel worthy and special.

Have a great Monday!

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