Before we got pregnant through our second round of IVF, I was pretty certain of two things. One was that once I was finally pregnant, the nightmare we had gone through to get to this point would be a distant memory. And two, all the anxiety and worry that accumulated during the two and a half years of infertility would simply dissipate as soon as I saw those two magical pink lines.
I was wrong.
The nightmare of infertility is still something I think of daily and the anxiety and trauma of it all is just that, it's traumatizing. I didn't think it could get worse, but I somehow feel like it did. My head was filled with thoughts of "Can my body do this? Is this real? When will the other shoe drop? It's all been too peaceful the last few weeks. Why did we have to wait so long? Will I ever get pregnant again?"
I didn't truly allow myself to be blissfully excited, in fear that I was going to jinx it, until my third trimester. Because after all, nothing has really been normal about this journey for us.
I was constantly on edge, waiting for the next pregnancy announcement. I tried to avoid social media because I knew that unexpected announcements like that triggered me into a downward spiral. I didn't understand how others were getting pregnant with their second or third baby in the same amount of time that we were trying. How could we be "so fertile" (according to doctors) and it just not be happening? None of it made sense. The only thing that made sense was to me in my head at that time was that the reoccurring voice telling me "It's not meant to happen for you. You won't be a mom. You won't be able to carry a child." I was hurting and I was terrified I wouldn't be able to hide my emotions the next time someone told me they were pregnant.
Going into our second round of IVF, I said "this is it. I don't think I can go through this again if it doesn't work." I was emotionally removed, I didn't get overly excited, I didn't let myself feel negative or worked up, I didn't let myself symptom spot.. I just went through the motions and did my best to turn my emotions off. Because the heartache from the IUI and the first round of IVF was just too much for me. People would constantly say "how exciting!" in regards to us starting IVF. And in my head, I kept thinking "How is our infertility and loss exciting? How is spending tens of thousands of dollars with no promise of a baby exciting? How is injecting myself with drugs that put me at a higher risk for cervical and breast cancer exciting?" Was it exciting that we were taking a big step towards having a family? YES. But was the way we HAD to do that exciting? NO.
Infertility and loss take away from what is supposed to be the most amazing and exciting journey for you and your partner. Once we were pregnant, people again have asked us "are you excited?" - yes, of course we are excited. We have been wanting this for over 2 years. Why wouldn't we be? We can be excited but still be reserved in our emotions. We can be excited and still be fearful. We can be excited and still hold the pain of our journey close to our hearts.
Infertility is tough. But what also makes these things tough is that women and men don't want to talk about it. They don't want to talk about their infertility and struggles because they feel people can't relate. While that might have been true 10-15 years ago, nowadays it seems like that 1 in 8 number is highly inaccurate. For me personally, talking about our struggles helped tremendously. It not only helped me, but I think it helped others around me understand why I may have been acting the way that I was.
I hope that with me sharing my journey, it helps someone somewhere feel a little bit more normal about all of these big emotions that come along with infertility and loss. You are not alone.