Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dam Gates

As I was driving back to work after having my blood drawn for a pregnancy test, I asked myself why taking pregnancy tests made me so nervous, why they sent me into panic attacks, and why they always made me feel like I was about to vomit. My answer was huge and somewhat overwhelming.

The amount of feelings and emotions that build up to that moment is huge. There is so much riding on the second you get the result. For the past month you have done everything you could to make possible that one little word that will change your life forever. You have put so much of your time, energy, and life into making it so.

You ate right, you avoided foods and drinks you knew could hurt your chances, maybe you even exercised in the quest for baby. 

If you had to use ART (Advanced Reproductive Technologies), you saw your doctor multiple times in the past month for follicle and lining checks. Each one of those their own mini dam of emotion.

"Is my lining thick enough?" Yes. Victory!
"Do I have follicles?" Yes. Victory!
"Are the follicles I have good? Does it look like they will be good ones?" Yes. Victory!

Sometimes one of the above comes back a no, and you leave feeling deflated, wondering if the cycle is even going to work. If it comes back a no, what is your next step? Can you fix it in time? Meds, meds, meds.

Then you enter into methods of procreation, be it timed intercourse or your spouse making donations for IUI or IVF. No matter which path you take, you always wonder if you did enough. Was Hubby's sperm good? Did he have enough good swimmers? Should I have gotten after him for sitting with his laptop in his lap the other night? Should I buy him different underwear to help his counts? What is he eating/drinking when I'm not around that might lower his counts? Did we have intercourse enough? And then you start analyzing his donations. "Did enough get put in there to make it work this month? Maybe we should try to do it again 5 more times, just to be sure."

Then it is back to worrying about you again, "Did I lay there long enough afterward? Were my hips elevated enough? Should I have laid there longer?" What if you get sick, do you dare take meds? What if you need antibiotics? Will that hurt your chances?

During the Two Week Wait, you protect your belly like it was very fragile and easily breakable. Then your toddler jumps on you and thrusts her elbow into your abdomen. Did she just abort your potential baby?

Of course during the Two Week Wait the news is filled with stories of people who abuse their children. Who beat them to death, who starve them to death in a backyard shed, who do drugs around their kids, who abandon them, who are pregnant with their 16th kid and have no idea where kids 1-6 are, even though they are under the age of 12. People who should not have children are having them and not loving them or taking care of them while here you are struggling, praying, agonizing over having a baby to call your own. Why can these people have kids when they don't want them and won't care for them, when all you want is to build your family, love your children, and bring them up right. Why are children sent to homes where they are not loved, and not given to people who would love nothing more?

So your anger builds. And you question God. You tell your friends that you and God are going to have a talk one day, but that no matter what His reason, He will NEVER make this make sense to you. You don't understand it, and you never will. Why has He put these desires there and then not fulfilled? Why do you have to ache so much for something He will not deliver?

You then start paying attention to every little thing that happens with your body that feels like it could be a pregnancy symptom. You felt a twitch in your abdomen. Was that a baby implanting? Please, oh please let it be. Let this difficult journey be over. Let it be my turn. After eating breakfast, you feel slightly  nauseated. Is it possible morning sickness? You try to play off all these "symptoms." Try to keep your feet on the ground. It could be the meds you are on, like the estrogen or progesterone. It is probably nothing... but you hope that it is something.

During these two weeks you go back and forth between hope and despair, "I might be pregnant." Five minutes later, "I'm not. I just know I'm not. I want to cry."

Then finally, it is The Day. The one where you have to take that pregnancy test. Every single feeling you have felt in the past month comes rushing to the dam gates, just waiting to be opened upon hearing the verdict. Will it be good, is this aching finally over? Or will it be news that you are in for another month in the trenches? Even if it is good, the fight isn't over. You've just overcome the first hurdle. But you can't think about that now. Let's just get the good news first.

Either you pee on a stick, or you wait for that phone call. Regardless of how you are waiting for the results, you can't breathe. Your stomach does flips and flops. Are you? Aren't you? Please, please God, tell me I am.


The dam gates are open and all of those feelings and emotions come spilling out, pooling up here and there in anticipation of being collected again over the next month. You're angry. You're bitter. You want to cry. You want to go home and be alone. You don't understand. You question your body's ability. Why didn't it work? What are you doing wrong? You've been at this for years. What do you have to do to make it work? As you battle this, people's snarky remarks enter your head, "Infertile people should just get the hint. They should just adopt; there are so many children in this world who need loving homes." You just want to start taking swings at people.

It takes you a couple of days of wallowing, and then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and prepare for another month in the trenches. You go see your RE and revise your battle plan. Hoping and praying that this month, this time, it will work.