Hurricanes, Infertility, and 18 Weeks

by Jen on October 28, 2012

They say Hurricane Sandy is going to be hitting New York some time tomorrow.  Emergency preparedness plans have been implemented.  The Brunos have purchased bottles of water, candles, Cheez-its, and an ample supply of PB&J.  What more could we need???  I kid.  I bought a few cans of Spagettios too.

I lived in Florida for over eight years and never “prepared” for a hurricane.  Having a baby in my stomach changes things.  I gotta make sure he’s hydrated and fed, if for no other reason than he’s more playful when his belly is full.  I ate ice cream for the first time this pregnancy, and my son went spazztastic.  Coolest ten minutes of my month for sure.  Until then, I’ve felt his slight thumps and subtle flutters, but the ice cream episode sent him into a frenzy I can’t wait to experience again.

Feeling him assures me he is growing and gaining strength.  The thought makes me smile, without warning, every single time.  Far be it for Hurricane Sandy to interrupt these moments of bliss, so we are over-prepared and ready.  I think.

In the last week, I’ve thought a lot about infertility.  Don’t misunderstand.  I think about it daily, often hourly, but this week the memories of struggles and heartaches has been magnified.

In the beginning of my blogging “career”, I made friends with a large group of “infertiles”, or  “IFers” as we often refer to ourselves.  The group was a great place to turn when the outside world didn’t seem to understand, a great place to look for inspiration, as we had front row seats to watch some of our friends transition from IFer to motherhood, and a great source of education when Dr. Google didn’t provide a detailed enough description of optimum cervical mucous.  And the very best part?  Nearly three years later, the group of IFers has dwindled from many to few.  (To be clear, “we” always consider ourselves infertile, just sometimes, if you are very lucky, you can become a pregnant infertile, and in the very best circumstances, you can become an infertile with children.)

Just yesterday George asked me if I still kept in touch with some of my infertile friends.  And I do, in the way people who spend their lives with a backlog of e-mails and phone calls to return do.  I’m always behind, never as involved as I would like to be, and living each day with valiant intentions.  Translation:  I don’t keep up with them the way I should.  Especially with the ones who have not yet experienced family building success.

Some of my friends have conceived with the help of thousands and thousands of dollars in fertility treatments, some have thrown their entire savings into adoption plans, others have written large checks for egg donors, sperm donors, and surrogates.  And with all of that, there are a few of my friends who remain childless and hopeless.

One of my greatest fears of infertility was that George and I would get to the point that we’d tried everything but the “big ticket” procedures, and we’d have to make the financial call to keep on truckin’, or to throw in the towel.  This fear crept into my life very early, giving me crazy anxiety about not agreeing with George on when we should say “when”.  In the throes of infertility, I had many irrational days.  There was no price too high, no procedure too invasive, and no way in hell I’d be convinced that living childless was my plight.  George is a realist, and a financially responsible one at that.  Spending $12,000 on a 30% change of IVF success seemed crazy at times- beyond logical at others.  And when I had my first miscarriage, the fears of spending the big bucks increased, as I learned that a pregnancy does not necessarily equal a child.

So, I feel like I cheated in a way.  I feel like somehow, some way, in some bizarre universe, after 2 years of doing everything short of standing on our heads, George and I became pregnant three times in a row with relatively inexpensive medical interventions.  How?  How did this work for us and yet so many of my friends, who are deserving beyond deserving, have lost their savings, their hope, and in some extremely unfortunate instances, their marriages.  I don’t want to trade my situation.  I just want for the “unfairness” of being prohibited from building the family you dream of, to subside for everyone.

When people announced their pregnancies amidst my repeated failures, I was always thrilled for them.  Always.  Whether they struggled to conceive or not.  But there was still a sting.  I never wanted my sting to show.  I never wanted for any woman to feel they had to hide their joy from me, or feel guilt for attaining something I could not.  But still, the successes of others often invited the ache from my heart to the surface, making my reality more grim.

And as I relax into this pregnancy, I think of those who have offered loads and loads of support, stuffing away their own sadness to join me in my happiness, and I want their pain to end.  Today.  Tomorrow.  SOON.

October is SIDS, pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.  On October 15th, we lit a candle for the babies we lost, one of which was predicted to arrive November 2nd.  Next Friday.  That will be a difficult day for me, even with the flutters of hope and life dancing around inside me.  I can’t begin to imagine how I’d make it through that day had I not conceived again.  That baby, like the one I carry today, means more to me than was possible to imagine in the years before he existed.

As far as Henry is concerned, he is the most fun person I have never touched.  He’s a ham in ultrasounds, but clearly values his naps.  He’s a fan of my left side, likes Indian food, Cap’n Crunch, and apparently, ice cream.  I am 18 weeks pregnant, and it is said, he is now able to hear what’s shaking on the outside.  Poor guy has to endure my singing now.  I can’t imagine how annoyed he must be.

And this weekend, as a break from Hurricane Sandy preparations, George and I hit the Babies R Us at Union Square and the Target in Harlem to register for his spoiled butt.  These moments are ones I’ve looked forward to for a very long time.

These moments are some of the best of my life.

Infertility be damned.

Same to you, Sandy!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 paisleyluv October 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I understand totally how you feel. We always went back and forth about spending that insane amount of money on treatments, and yet somehow, by just doing clomid and then nothing for about 2 years, I got pregnant. It blows my mind. It sucks knowing people who have struggled and spent thousands of dollars on treatments to end up with no baby. It isn't fair.

On the baby note, feeling the baby move is the most amazing thing ever. Although sometimes I wish he'd sleep and stop kicking my crotch from the inside.

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2 Katie @ CNG October 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Gosh, I miss reading your words. I don't know why I lose touch with so many of the bloggers I love. I forget that struggling with writer's block and "taking a break" means I miss out on so much. Glad we're friends on facebook, so that I know all the latest. But I definitely miss reading you!!

Thinking of you often, friend. May Sandy pass you, George, and little Henry by with only a whimper. 🙂

PS – LOVED this line: "As far as Henry is concerned, he is the most fun person I have never touched." So sweet!

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3 Barbara October 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I have become a dedicated reader… You have added to my overwhelming gratitude for my boys and for being a mother. I'll keep following you, George and Henry, sending only good wishes.

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4 Runnermom-jen October 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Holy cow, I hope Sandy misses you guys!!! And what a stupid name for a hurricane. Stay safe, eat more ice cream, and enjoy this special time (I know you are).
xo

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5 Tammy Bartelson October 29, 2012 at 12:30 am

I almost CRY everytime (Okay…I AM crying!) I read something that you write. I am so happy that you are getting to experience this. I too felt the heartache of lost pregnancies, and I am grateful for the FOUR kids that I wound up being blessed with. But those other "due dates" of pregnancies lost, seem to stick in a mother's mind, possibly forever. I never had a due date with one that was lost, that pregnancy came and went before I was even aware of it. But the other one…..that due date was to have been June 14th. I believe that is Flag Day.
I loved when you wrote "I never prepared for a Hurricane OR got pregnant in Florida! Go figure!" Ha Made me laugh!!

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6 Jane October 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

You did a great job describing the pain and unfairness of infertility. We made the thousands-of-dollars-gamble on IVF – when I was unemployed, no less – and thankfully it worked for us the first time. I went through all of the "this is crazy!" thoughts when we were going through the process and watched almost our entire savings wiped out with just one signature on a check. But the gamble paid off for us. Unfair? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. And I'm willing to bet that any person who has struggled with infertility but ended up with a child would agree with me.

Keep on keepin' on. Try drinking ice-cold water – that always made my son go NUTS on the inside!

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7 Andrea October 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

Beautifully written. And yay for ice cream. Note to you – try to avoid eating it at like 10PM. Because then he will dance around at about 10:30. And then you will notice when he joins you on the outside that he is AWAKE AND READY TO PARTY AT 10:30PM!! AND IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT. No, I'm not bitter nobody warned me …

Thank you for sharing such special moments and memories and thoughts with us all. Each a part of why I adore you. Glad you're safe. xo

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8 Erin November 1, 2012 at 1:12 am

I've been kind of MIA for a while and just started signing back into blogger. I am beyond thrilled that you have a little boy growing inside of you! What a beautiful blessing! I will continue to pray for you guys and a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post. I can't seem to collect my thoughts but the best way to express myself is after reading this is that I felt a sense of peace and calm. Thank you Thank you Thank you. Hope you and George and baby are safe!

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9 karenbonar November 2, 2012 at 1:16 am

In Catholic tradition, today, Nov. 2, is my favorite feast day. It's the feast of All Souls. We celebrate/remember all of the souls that have gone before us, not the big and popular names and saints, but the little people. The everyday people. It's a good day to remember.

Hugs today!

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