Here We Go Again – the Good

After laying the groundwork the last few months, my husband and I are ready to start trying for another baby. We are officially kicking things off with a frozen embryo transfer in September, however we have this month and next to give it a shot the old fashioned way. I actually realized just last night that we don’t need to wait until August, as the medical reason for holding off another month would resolve itself in time for us to give things a go in July. As in anytime in the next few days. Whoa!

I am keeping an open mind about the next two months, and trying to walk a fine line between “don’t expect anything” and “anything can happen”. Ultimately, my husband and I would like to give our frozen embryos a shot at life, and September already feels like it’s right around the corner. Therefore the next two months do not loom like a frantic final push at a miracle, nor does it feel like time will crawl until we finally get to the transfer date. Already, this is very different than my most recent experiences of trying on our own before conceiving Baby Boy.

Ever since visiting the fertility clinic last week for bloodwork and a sonohysterogram (SHG) to check out the state of my uterus, which resulted in getting the all clear for September’s transfer, the possibility of another baby has been on my mind almost non stop. I have been exploring this possibility from many different angles, some of which are incredibly exciting, while others are downright terrifying.

Two weeks ago, I popped into a baby store on my way home from a doctor’s appointment. It had been some time since I’d gone to a baby store, as Baby Boy doesn’t want for much, and when something does come up, I usually manage to order it online. As I took my time perusing all of the beautiful and well thought out products the store had on offer, out of nowhere I felt myself transported back to my third trimester of pregnancy and Baby Boy’s early days, when visits to our local baby stores were a weekly occurrence. The rush of feelings that washed over me is hard to explain, but I felt overwhelmed that I may be blessed enough to experience that magical time again, but with a whole new baby who I have yet to meet.

I have gotten so used to being a “mom of a boy” that I have trained myself to walk by or see past all of the baby girl stuff, but on this day, I stopped to look at little pink booties and frilly bibs. The realization suddenly hit me that while I will always be a “mom of a boy”, I may not end up being a “mom of boys”; I may also get to experience what it is like to have a little girl. Again, it is hard for me to find the words to express how tantalizing this is, at this stage in the game when anything seems possible.

So this is the good, the hopeful, the exciting part of where I am at right now, as I consider the real possibility of another child in our future.

Advertisements

Crossing the Great Divide – Part 1

A picture from our professional photo shoot the day before Baby Boy's birthday!

A picture from our professional photo shoot the day before Baby Boy’s birthday!

Baby Boy turned one recently, which means that it’s been just over a year since I became a mother. There is an argument to be made that I was already a mother to the babies that started developing in my womb but did not make it, or to the embryoes created during our IVF, but in this post I want to focus on motherhood in the traditionally understood sense of the word: a woman with a child. As someone who struggled with infertility before becoming a parent, it has been interesting for me to explore over the last year to what extent my experience of infertility impacts my identity as a parent, and vice versa.

While we were trying to conceive, as the months and then the years passed by, I found myself detach more and more from the world around me. The experience of infertility is very isolating, and sometimes it felt like every day brought fresh reminders of how different our reality was from that of our friends, colleagues, and society in general.

When you are first trying to conceive, the initial months are unremarkable: you have sex at the “right time of month”; you read the first chapter of pregnancy books to make sure you’re doing all the right things to conceive; you imagine how your life will change when you have a baby; and then you wait to see if your period will arrive on schedule or not. It is very easy to find community and common ground with friends and strangers alike when you are in this stage.

As the months go by, you start to get discouraged, but it still feels like pregnancy is just around the corner. You did not get pregnant the first month trying, or even the second or third, but your experience continues to be unremarkable. At some point though (and this point is different for everyone), you start to notice a divide between your experience and what you have read or heard about. As you go further and further down the road, the divide becomes greater. Key events that signify that your experience is no longer “normal” may  include trying for over a year (and realizing you are now considered infertile), experiencing pregnancy loss, and the initial visit to a fertility clinic. Suddenly, you realize that you do not know anyone who shares these experiences (or maybe you do, but they have kept their struggles to themselves).

Realizing that you have to rely on a fertility clinic to help you conceive is a difficult thing to deal with, as is having to go through the testing and investigations required to narrow down what the problem is, and once identified, learning to accept the problem. Lying in bed after having sex, as you think of baby names for your likely newly conceived baby is a distant memory. There is another divide once you start fertility treatment, and then a further one when you move on to IVF, with each step leading to further isolation and loneliness as your story becomes more and more removed from the typical narrative (there are further divides, but I will stop there, because that is where my experience stops).

Once you become pregnant, the struggles do not stop. You are now part of a sisterhood that you have been yearning to join, and you are closer than ever to achieving what has often felt like a distant dream.  But, even though you are ridiculously happy, the divide is still there. While from the outside you look like any other pregnant woman, as soon as you speak to other pregnant women, or parents of young children, you are reminded of how different you still are. While they are complaining of the normal pregnancy aches and pains, you are terrified that there is something wrong with your baby, and are closely watching for pregnancy complications that could impact your baby’s health. You cannot relate to the experiences described on pregnancy websites.  Even though you are pregnant, you are still infertile.

And then you give birth to a healthy baby. You take your baby home, and your new concerns become feeding your baby, sleep (theirs and yours), and making sure baby is reaching their developmental milestones. You learn about teething, fevers in babies and starting solids. Perhaps you struggle with going back to work, and how to find childcare for when you do.

You find community with other new parents and find that they have all the same concerns. It does not matter how their babies got there; you are all in the same boat now. Sometimes you think you love your baby more because of how much you fought to bring them into the world, but then you see how they look at their babies, and how tenderly they hold them and you realize that they love their babies just as much.

And this is where I find myself today. I am first and foremost a parent. Whether I am talking to my friends who also had babies in the past year (without the experience of infertility), or whether I am reading my twitter feed filled with tweets from women parenting after infertility, the concerns are the same. We all want what’s best for our babies.

When politicians speak of family friendly policies, they are now speaking to me. At work, or at social gatherings, I can finally contribute to the conversations about the joys and challenges of having children. The huge weight that was on my shoulders has been lifted. The feelings of isolation, of “otherness”, of feeling different are gone. I have crossed the great divide.

(To be continued in part 2)

They Grow Up So Fast….

Baby Boy is just over 3 months old, and I have already seen him change and grow so much in the short time that he has been with us. In the last few days, I have packed away the last of the 0 to 3 month clothing, moved his crib down a setting, and pulled out the size 2 diapers for the first time.

I felt inexplicably sad packing away the tiny onesies and sleepers that he wore for the first few months of this life. There was something so final about putting them away and the realization that he will never wear those things again. At times like this, I find myself wishing time could stand still, or at the very least slow down a bit so I can savour and fully enjoy every fleeting moment.

At the same time, it seems like every day I am amazed by new things that Baby Boy is doing. For example, over the last month Baby Boy has managed to increase his cuteness quotient by adding a giddy little laugh to his repertoire. He laughs to express joy, but also to share in little jokes (like when my husband plays a version of peekaboo with him). In the last week alone, he’s also started playing with his feet, and become fascinated with the many little mirrors on his toys.

I can’t believe that we have simply scratched the surface and that the real milestones are still ahead. In the next year and a half alone, Baby Boy will roll over, sit up, take his first step and say his first word. In no time at all, he will be starting school, and from there my brain just hurts thinking about all of the things that life has in store for him.

With every new day, Baby Boy is growing and changing and slowly becoming his own person, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to share these moments with him.