Pregnancy after infertility: An honest narrative

July 22, 2015

A scared little Mabel was hiding behind the chair from the thunder

I’m more than halfway through my pregnancy as I write this (viability at 24 weeks actually, which is a huge milestone!), but my thoughts and feelings are constantly running a hundred miles a minute. I’ll go from completely blissful looking on Pinterest for nursery ideas, to completely convinced I’m going to go into preterm labor and will have to go through the struggle of IVF again….or not at all because we can’t afford to.

This post is to share how infertility steals any happiness and excitement you may have after discovering you’re pregnant, the one thing you’ve been fighting so hard for and once you achieve it you slam on the metaphorical breaks and don’t want to let your guard down. Yea, it sucks. So here’s what honestly went through my mind from day 1 of my first pregnancy test to today: a perfect example of the contradicting thoughts us infertiles deal with daily – or maybe it’s just weirdo me, but I’m pretty sure many of the ladies in the infertility community would agree with me:

Upon first learning of my pregnancy, I cried hysterically. “I see two lines! I see it! I see you, little pink line!”

Quickly followed by, “It may not be real, it could be residual from my hormone injections and be a false positive. Don’t get too excited.”

Upon learning of my pregnancy from my nurse after the official blood test: “OMG for real? My beta number is that high? Wow this is happening! I’m pregnant.”

Quickly followed by, “The next follow up blood test could be the bad one and not double. I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

Upon learning of my 2nd pregnancy blood test: “Wow my beta number more than doubled! It’s working! I’m still pregnant!”

Quickly followed by, “It could still be ectopic, molar, a blighted ovum, or there could be no heartbeat at the 7 week ultrasound. Don’t get your hopes up.”

Upon learning that the baby had a heartbeat at the 7 week ultrasound: “OMG OMG *cries hysterically* There’s a baby in there with a beating heart. There is a tiny human in me! I’m growing a tiny human!”

Quickly followed by, “The 9 week ultrasound may be where we see the heart has stopped beating.”

Upon learning that the baby is still alive and growing at the 9 week ultrasound: “OMG this is too good to be true! Am I really this lucky to have this happening to me?”

Quickly followed by, “I am scared that weaning off my IVF medications will cause a miscarriage though” and, “I’m starting to feel a little better. Something must be wrong.”

Upon learning that the baby still has a heartbeat at 10 weeks: “Wow AND it’s moving around like crazy in there!”

Quickly followed by, “SO much can happen between now and my next appointment in 4 weeks.”

Upon learning that the baby is still alive and literally kicking at 18 weeks (and tested negative for spina bifida): “Well, I’ve been having cramps on and off and I could have an incompetent cervix which will lead to premature labor/miscarriage” and “There’s GOTTA be something wrong. I mean I can’t get through this entire pregnancy without having at least one thing go really wrong.”

Quickly followed by, “Cool, so nothing is wrong with my cervix. Now we just have to wait till our 20 week anatomy scan to see if there’s a heart defect. There’s probably a heart defect since 3 people on my husband’s side has one.”

Upon learning that baby doesn’t have a heart defect, “Wow we are so lucky he’s healthy!”

Quickly followed by, “But my placenta is low-lying and I’m afraid that could mean bad things for delivery if it doesn’t move up” and “He may be healthy now, but will I make it to viability at 24 weeks?”

Upon learning that we made it to viability, and if he was born right now the chances of him surviving are 50%, “Ok, we made it to viability, but his chances of survival on the outside are still pretty low until at least 28 weeks. I’ll feel better at 28 weeks….”

OMG I’m so freakin mentally exhausted. Am I gonna have this baby or not? My body says yes, my mind says maybe and that’s just fucking unfair.

Basically, after you (and when I say you, I mean me or general you) struggle through infertility, you never let your guard down. You don’t believe you deserve this because you cheated nature. You never want to get too excited because it could all be taken away from you in an instant. You know exactly what you have to lose. You feel every twinge, cramp, and pain and think it means impending doom. You are afraid to book an appointment with a normal OB after you are discharged from your infertility doc because you might jinx things even though you’ve never believed in jinxes before in your entire life. You feel guilty for buying a baby toy or onesie because if something bad happens, you’ll have these little reminders here and there to break your heart. You don’t want to tell people, even in the 2nd trimester because if something bad happens, you’ll have to tell them the bad news and see their face react to the news. You don’t want to set up a baby registry because you strongly feel this is jinxing everything and you physically feel ill while walking into Babies R Us but you do it anyway because that’s what a normal pregnant person is supposed to do and you’ve been dying to be considered “just another normal pregnant person” since that first jab of the very first IVF hormone needle.

And if luck is on your side and you do manage to get and stay pregnant, there is this little bit of guilt in the back of your mind knowing there are still so many women out there who don’t have their babies, who’ve gone through many more losses, who’ve done way more IVF treatments than you, who seem to have their shit way more together than you.

Basically, to me, pregnancy is a 10 month long fear-fest. Now that I got what I wanted, a loss will hurt even more than if I never got pregnant in the first place because we are SO close to the end. I wish I could just enjoy my pregnancy (and maybe I will once I reach the third trimester in 3 weeks, who knows. I think I will…), and I do enjoy it every now and then like when I feel his reassuring kicks or notice my bump grew practically overnight, but the fear of knowing just exactly what I have to lose and what we’re up against again if it fails is always there.

Just because I’m pregnant after infertility, doesn’t take the bitterness and pain away of all we went through just to have a chance at getting pregnant like every other fertile couple in the world. It’s still there, just maybe not as strong. It’s something I will carry with me throughout the rest of my life. And at least now I can look at babies and pregnant ladies without wanting to run into the nearest bathroom and bawl/puke/scream my face off. Just the other day actually I saw a new mom with a carseat canopy and said to myself how I almost bought one in that very same pattern!

But I know there’s still more pain to come. Pain when people innocently ask, so when are you going to give him a sibling? Oh, if only they knew what we had to go through for just one!

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