I just realized it is National Infertility Awareness Week and the week is already halfway over. Last year I shared this post and was completely transparent about my journey — the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly...crying. As many of you may already know, my experience with IVF was successful and we now have a beautiful baby girl.
I struggled with sharing this next part of the journey — my successful pregnancy — knowing that other women aren't so lucky to have their first round of IVF take and result in a healthy, happy baby. I didn't want to be insensitive. I didn't want to be triggering. But after chatting with a group of women in a Clubhouse room earlier this week, I know I should go with my gut and share.
As a writer, I often journal to process many things in my life, and pregnancy was no exception. Here are a few selections of the many stories I've documented — with aspirations to compile them, along with other women's stories, into a book.
Story #1: Cravings
One morning, I found myself making a breakfast that consisted of fried chicken tenders (with ranch dressing as dip), avocado, and cucumber. Bougie European style meets trashy American FTW? Another time, I had an intense craving for pickles. Now, I don’t mind pickles, I’ll certainly enjoy a good pickle every now and again with a tasty toasted sandwich, but the fact that I stared down an entire wall of pickle jars at the grocery store for a solid 15-20 minutes is a bit abnormal for me. Also abnormal: feeling quite upset (read: meltdown level) when my niece and nephew demolished the jar of pickles I so carefully selected from the wall o’ pickles at lunch that same day. HOW DARE YOU, CHILDREN.
I can’t speak for other women, but my cravings never resembled what you see on television and the movies. I never turned into a raging lunatic, yelling at my husband to go to the store and buy me a bag of potato chips. Derek never found me as a crumpled pregnant heap of emotions, crying about the need for a whole chocolate cake. (Note: he has found me as a crumpled pregnant heap of emotions for other reasons that we can get into another time). Honestly, my cravings felt no bigger than my usual, “damn, I could go for a cheesesteak right now,” type of cravings, so I guess I was fortunate. Not as fortunate as craving healthier items like fruits and vegetables vs. junk food, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Story #2: A Bruised Placenta
Early on in my second trimester, I woke up to use the bathroom and was shocked to find A LOT of blood. Panicked (and rightfully so) I called out of work and then called my OB. She was able to get me in for an appointment that same day, even though I had just seen her the day before and everything seemed fine.
Turns out, I had what is called subchorionic hemorrhaging, which apparently is very common with IVF patients. Essentially it is this: my placenta wasn’t fully attached to my uterine wall, so some blood pooled and expelled. AKA a bruised placenta. Fortunately, the baby was perfectly healthy and not at all impacted by my janky placenta — in fact, when we did an ultrasound, Baby Girl was as active as ever.
The bad news was that the doctor prescribed no sexual activities for over a month. Since orgasms cause uterine contractions this, in turn, can exacerbate my placenta problem. Doctor's orders: no sexy times of any kind (including self-administered) were allowed. I joked that this was probably the longest dry spell I’ve ever had in my life, ever, and No Os October was officially kicked off.
Story #3: Magical Movements
I’ll always remember morning moments with Baby Girl when we are both waking up. It was so cool to spend some quality time together when I would stir and I could feel her moving around too. My prenatal yoga teacher said we’ll never have this experience ever again, having my baby inside of me moving around like that. And homegirl LOVED to move. In her ultrasounds she was SO active! One time she gave the tech a hard time because she kept flipping back and forth, grabbing her feet. I joked she was twerking.
11 PM soon became known as the “witching hour.” Because I am not settling down and trying to sleep, the baby is awake. Since I’m no longer moving around and rocking her to sleep, she thinks it’s time to party. Based on how the movement felt I would say she was taking different kinds of aerobic classes: kickboxing, pilates, and even spin class. My activities were not quite so varied, but I was trying to keep up as much as I can.
Want to share your unique pregnancy story?