Not A Pregnancy Announcement
Is it weird that when I share fertility updates now I feel like I have to preface it by saying, “this isn’t a pregnancy announcement.” Maybe it’s because this whole process has been going on for over a year now. Or maybe it’s because of some sort of invisible pressure I feel to stop talking about it and just make it happen already.
I don’t know.
All I know is that this has undoubtedly been one of the most humbling and excruciating experiences of my life so far. And I’ve been through some shit. So that’s saying a lot.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about why. Why is it so hard, that is.
There’s the obvious parts in that we aren’t getting the desired outcome of what we want, baby making is a *sensitive* subject, and the crazy fluctuations in hormones isn’t helping anything.
But then there’s also the more personalized piece, where I’ve realized the vulnerability of this process makes me want to jump right out of my own skin. I know what you’re thinking. Because people on the internet say this all the time when I reference my discomfort with vulnerability: but you share so openly all the time.
Yes, that’s true….to a degree.
Most of what I share is in the aftermath of the big thing happening.
But the thing is that I’ve shared most of the things in hindsight. Once I’m healed, or at least far enough on the other side that I feel comfortable sharing.
Plus, it doesn’t feel vulnerable for me to write or create in some way, and then press a button to post it to the world. Even though I see the numbers, and read the messages- it’s really easy to dissociate those numbers from being actual people.
There’s a big difference for me to share something here, in the safety of my own little cocoon that’s just me, my laptop, and my dog napping on the bed next to me- versus sharing these same words, and these same experiences with my loved ones.
Yes, even my wife.
The other day, her and I had this big talk about our fertility plan, as we need to make some big changes in the direction of it. We’ve also recently sold our house, with no real end goal in sight of where the hell we’re going next. So things have been…stressful (to say the least).
In the wake of another chemical pregnancy, I could feel my emotions ripping through me in a way that’s honestly uncontrollable. Look, I know saying “it’s the hormones” can sound like a cop out. But let me tell you, it’s not.
And when you’re pregnant every other month, and then suddenly not pregnant all within that month- the spikes and crashes of hormones can make even the most stable, grounded person alive go a little coocoo.
When our talk was over, she walked away from the table, and into our room to shower. As soon as she was far enough away, I let myself fall apart into a puddle of sobs. I didn’t realize she could still hear me.
She literally picked me up off the floor saying, “I don’t want you to cry alone. We’re in this together. Let me be there for you,” while I was still resisting her touch.
“Let me love you,” she pleaded.
“I don’t want to be loved,” I replied, without thinking about the truth of what I’d say.
It was like the filter that’s usually there between my mind and mouth just dissolved in that moment. And I actually said how I felt. And let me tell you, those words were devastating to hear come out of my own mouth.
The truth is that after the first miscarriage, six months ago now, I never really recovered.
And when the second one happened, it destroyed me.
But I just kept trying. Because there’s this weird mindset that apparently a lot of couple’s tend to adapt in this process that skipping a month feels like death. Just keep pushing on, even if it hurts.
The reality is that taking time off to actually recover from what had happened would’ve been a better choice. Rather than showing back up at the doctor just two weeks later to get shot up again.
I’m doing my best to look back at what I’ve gone through over the last year and a bit without regrets. And rather to move forward knowing how I want to proceed differently. But it’s hard.
It’s hard when I think about the mistreatment I experienced at the first clinic.
When I think about the surgery they insisted on me doing, even though I knew I didn’t need it. (And lone and behold, once they got in there they realized I didn’t need it either).
It’s hard when I think about the two hits of fentanyl that was given to me without consent that kept me on the operating tables for hours post-op. Because my blood pressure dropped so low they didn’t know if I would make it.
It’s hard when I think about the nurse who told me that “this kind of pregnancy isn’t normal or natural,” and I didn’t defend myself or my relationship. How are two people who love each other dearly wanting to expand their love with a child unnatural?
It’s hard when I think about all of those little tugs of knowing I had along the way. Knowing I was pregnant, even though the test told me otherwise. Knowing hormones weren’t a good fit for me, even though I was dismissed and gaslit.
Yeah, it’s hard not to have regrets when I think back to the times I ignored myself, doubted my instincts, or accepted medical abuse.
But here’s the deal with regret: it turns into resentment.
It turns into a rabbit hole of what ifs that literally serve no purpose other than a spiral into what could’ve been.
So here I am, ending a year with several pregnancies, no belly, no baby. And seemingly nothing to show for it other than those invisible scars that I can feel, but you can’t see. And in this place, this excruciatingly raw place, I’ve decided to start over. To listen to the tugs.
The tugs are telling me to take a break.
It doesn’t make sense, because every other part of me is telling me to keep trying, not to give up. Every other part of me is reminding myself that I’m already a failure. How could I throw the towel in now, too?
As painful as it is to come to this realization, I know that I need to give myself a moment to recover from all that’s happened this year. I need a moment to just catch my breath for a second.
If you’ve ever lived in these two week cycles of trying for a baby, then you know the certain kind of hell it can be. You have the two weeks where you’re not pregnant. Trying to fit in all of the things that you might not be able to do when you are pregnant. Plus, those two weeks you know how you’ll feel. Because there’s probably not going to be this big variable to your mood or your hormones the way there would be with a potential pregnancy.
So those first two weeks it’s like go, go, go. Do as much as possible, because who knows what will happen, or how you’ll feel after that.
And then the two week wait is this period where you’re like, ok I want to live my life and not think about the fact that I’m possibly pregnant. But you’re also hyper aware of every single sensation in your body. Every potential pregnancy symptom that could really double as a PMS symptom. and will still likely end up some doom scroll on Google of said symptoms.
There’s no escaping it, because you live in your body and your mind 24/7.
Even your sleep gets disrupted, because your looping thoughts show up as some wildly psychedelic baby dreams that only further convinces you that you’re pregnant and connected to the spirit of your baby.
By the time you get to the 14th day, you feel like you can’t take it even one second longer. You take the test, and realize that even a negative result is better than not knowing. At least now your mind can rest, even if your heart is broken.
What’s worse is when you get a positive result that seems like it goes away as fast as it came.
When it lasts just long enough for your mind to go to those places of names, nursery ideas, of giddy excitement that it’s all happening. Finally. You know it’s dangerous to be hopeful, but you still touch your stomach five million times a day. And talk to a little clump of cells that you’ve convinced yourself is your baby.
Until it’s not. And it’s gone.
Did I mention that it’s been excruciating? Because that’s the only word I can think of to describe this year.
So yeah, I need a break.
I need a break to properly grieve those losses. And I need a break to recover my body. I need a break to air out my heart. I need a break to take a long nap. To cry. To allow myself to be hugged.
I need a break to come back to that place of wanting to be loved again.
I strangely feel ashamed writing all of this. Probably because taking a break makes me feel like a quitter, and quitting makes me feel like a failure. Like I’ve failed my family in doing the thing I’m biologically supposed to do. Like I failed my wife, myself, and my unborn children by not bringing them here, earth side.
As someone who prides myself in resilience and persistence, failure has never felt like an option for me. Just keep going. Try another way. Redirect. Do more. Show up. Repeat.
Look, I’m not saying resilience and persistence haven’t served me over the years. They’ve contributed to my success, my work, ethic, and inner work.
I did hard things. When I picture it, I see myself facing the jagged edges of those hard things in a full suit of armor and saying, “not today mother fucker,” like I’m actually about to go to war.
But right now, I need to put the shield down. I need to take off the armor. And I need to nurse my wounds. I need to be soft.
I need to be with the hard things, rather than do something about them.
So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Wish me luck.