Today I woke up as normal at 4AM to take my basal body temperature. 97.04 degrees. Not great, but not terribly bad. The last four days my temperature has been on a steady decline which I knew was the writing on the wall that we, yet again, would not successfully conceive this month. Even with knowing that, I make up excuses in my mind that maybe my temperatures weren’t reading correctly for whatever reason.
I quickly doze back to sleep hopeful that my time of the month does not show up today as all my fertility apps project. Maybe this month will finally be the magic one. The one that allows us to start our family!
That hope quickly disappeared. Before my 6AM alarm has the chance to go off, I wake to what I know are all my hopes washing away. I take my heating pad and head downstairs before the sun even rises to cry in the darkness on the couch.
One month of trying quickly turned into three, six turned into eight and then ten and so on.. Anything online that increases your odds, I take it. I do it. I’ve tried it. You could tell me to do jumping jacks while wearing a parka and drinking mud would increase my odds and I’d do it without a second thought.
During those months I’ve watched, what seems like, just about everyone around me become pregnant.. and most all have those precious babies in their arms by now. While I’m always absolutely happy for those couples, even strangers on the internet(!!), announcing their growing families, it still hits hard. Not in a bitter or resentful way, but in a “why is this my experience” kinda way. I can’t help but just cry in my husbands arms wondering why God’s answering what seems like everyone’s prayers except ours. Why?
This month hit harder than any in the passed. Failing to conceive naturally this round meant that we were moving onto the next chapter – fertility treatments. My 6AM alarm was actually set for another appointment at Boston IVF. What just a month ago seemed like the light at the end of a dark tunnel, now feels like a reality check. I hate needles. I pass out at the sight of blood (literally). I have anxiety about anything medical related. I’ve already had more internal ultrasounds over the years than I can count due to my Endometriosis.
How can I ever do this? I’m already at an empty tank and it seems like our journey may just be beginning. I know I can do this because I want it so badly, but right now the unknown, anticipated pain and looming anxiety all just crippling.
I have dreamed about my future with my husband ever since we were 16. When would we get married? Where would we purchase our first home? When would we start a family? While each chapter progressed as we envisioned, this one is different.
I’ve wanted to be a mom ever since I can remember. No question about it. I want to take everything my mother did wrong and do them right by my future children. I walk by newborn aisles in Target yearning for the day I have a precious baby boy mini Sergio or a sweet baby girl laying on my chest. I dream up what our life will look like in decades as we drive by our town’s soccer fields. I melt into a puddle thinking of my husband as a dad.. the most patient, calm, driven, thoughtful, hard working, sweet man ever. I pray that we get the chance to have my future child meet my Grampy Thompson. I wish so badly to have a baby bump like all the woman the fill up my OB’s waiting room. I’ve dreamed about it so much and yearned for it so badly that I can’t even imagine that it will ever actually happen for us. When you wish for something for so long and it seems like it comes true for everyone, but you, it’s like it’ll never be your reality.
While I am so thankful for modern medicine, as it will likely be what finally makes me a mom, it’s still hard to accept what our journey will entail. It’s the unknown future and the thought of being a passenger on this unwanted rollercoaster ride that makes my stomach constantly tied in knots.
Every month is a new ride. The bottom is the start of your cycle and it feels like grief and depression. It looks like crying at home, not moving from the couch and having no inkling of desire to do anything you enjoy. It’s not having the energy to see friends, even when they are your outlet. It’s wondering why you ever allowed yourself to get your hopes up this round because why would this time be any different than the last? It’s thinking you were so dumb to ever think an herbal tea could solve your issues. It’s wondering why you’re being punished by God. It’s wondering why you, on top of all the other up hill battles you’ve had in life, have to be dealt this hand too. It’s wondering if this is a sign that you are not meant to be a mom. It’s going to work and trying to be your normal self when all you want to do is go to bed and sleep for four days straight. It’s wondering how 1 in 8 couples go through this, in yet, you feel so alone. It’s feeling guilty you’re upset because you should replace that feeling with all the blessings you have in other areas of your life. It’s trying to put on your ‘normal self’ for every single text, phone call, IG story or conversation with everyone from a stranger to a best friend. (A reminder to please be gentle to people….. you never know what they are going through or what silent battle they are facing). It’s seeing your Prenatals and having a ticked off feeling every day that you take them because they seem to be useless anyway. It’s still drinking your herbal fertility tea that’s probably just a hoax, but even at your lowest, you still have that strand of hope. It’s seeing a pregnancy announcement literally every week and being so very happy for that couple and at the same time feeling that will never happen for you. You’ve dreamed about it for so long and at this point, it feels so out of touch of ever being a reality.
You grieve every single month and it’s tiring.
Then after about two weeks, you reach the top again. It feels like a huge exhale. The top feels like hope, trust in God, a new perspective and a fresh start. This time, maybe it’ll be successful?! An absolute total 180 from the last two weeks. Although you have a hunch this time around will end in the same result as the last sixteen rides, you give a go at 100%. Why do anything if you aren’t going to give it your all?
So now you get back to thinking of your Prenatal as your friend, rather than a dreaded reminder of what you are not every day – a mother. You look at your 2% chance of conception as a mark you can hit. You can be that 2% story!
Every road to having a baby looks different and this is our story so far. Although I’m currently on a “low day” of the ride, I really am hopeful to see how science can help us. We both agree that we have done all we can on our own. I don’t share this for sympathy. Many couples have had longer, more intense experiences and diagnoses. I’ve finally learned that when something doesn’t come even after hard work, that doesn’t make it shameful. I share this to help other women not feel so alone and to maybe find a community of support myself. Through this journey so far, I have found comfort in other brave women’s stories and, despite feeling alone most days, they make me know that I’m really not.
Writing is therapeutic for me and just as I’ve shared all the “ups” over the last six years, it only makes sense to share my life’s biggest challenge thus far.. in the midst of a world pandemic and the upcoming holidays.. which are both really hard to take this journey through.
If you want to be a momma one day or are struggling to become one, my heart goes out to you. I know how you feel. Always reach out to me if you are suffering and need a listening ear. Xo
Sending you so much love 💗 and hoping your family grows. You and Sergio will be incredible parents when that time arrives.
Jackie, thank you SO much for your sweet words. They mean so much! Sergio and I both hope you are doing well <3 If you're ever in MA, we'd love to see you! Mindy
<3 you got this! Your turn is coming, mama
Thank you, Audrey! I <3 ya!!!
My husband and I are on our own “fertility journey”, with all of the hope, guilt, disappointment, and frustration that you describe here. The only thing that has made me feel better at all is just knowing that I’m not alone in this, so thank you SO much for sharing your story, Mindy! Wishing that you and Sergio get the happy ending you hope for…
Erin, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so happy that sharing this has made you feel less alone in a very challenging time. I wish you and your husband the best in your fertility journey! <3