What the doctors don't tell you....
The goal of infertility treatments are this: Step one = to get pregnant. Step two = to stay pregnant. Some couples that struggle with infertility can easily get pregnant but are plagued with frequent miscarriages. I think most are like us....we couldn't make it to step one and couldn't get pregnant. Either way, both are devastating because you never get to bring a baby home and have the family you long for.
So when we FINALLY made it to step one after several years and procedures later, we didn't realize the uncertainties that could happen after that. I think the hard part for me is that we've never been pregnant, so how do we know if there's a problem with miscarrying? It is a big unknown the doctors never really speak of. It took us years just to make it to the first step and I couldn't imagine trying so hard to get pregnant and then find out we have yet another problem with carrying and keeping the baby. It was a big blow. I'll never forget the phone call from Dr. Sobel when he said our beta was positive. I suspected it was, but hearing it was by far the best words ever spoken to me. "Honey, I'll clean the house" was the second. Just kidding. However, it was followed by news I didn't ever suspect. "Come in every 3 days to get your blood tested to make sure it's a viable pregnancy." What?! How could this not be viable after all we've been through? We were SO focused on getting to step one.....we never even thought about step two. While I was elated I was also more scared than I've ever been in my life. For about 2 weeks I went to the office about every third day to make sure my hormone levels were steadily rising. Numbers that don't rise means you are losing the baby. Waiting for those results every three days was painstakingly slow and horrible. I must have checked my phone a million times. For fertility doctors, this procedural...for me it felt like life or death.
The next step is waiting for your first ultrasound....usually done at "5 weeks pregnant". They kept saying how important it was to hear a heartbeat, but "don't worry, sometimes it's too early". I've ready blogs and internet articles about women who finally got pregnant, only to never hear a heartbeat. It made me sick to think that could be me too and the worry got the best of me, even though I was still happy to just have this chance. I lost a few nights of sleep during this process needless to say. Having never been pregnant, I didn't realize how important and fragile early pregnancy is. It's something that wasn't spoken to me...maybe because it would have just fueled my worry. At week 5, we had our first glimpse of our baby-to-be and we were SO lucky to hear a heartbeat. THAT was the best sound I've ever heard. For the next few weeks, I had weekly ultrasound appointments to make sure the baby was developing according to plan. Although it's pretty obvious, no one ever told me how important this was....mostly because most women don't get 50 million ultrasounds because they are "normal". I can remember long nights of waiting for the next ultrasound, hoping and praying all would be well. There's so many things they are looking for in these ultrasounds....which means there are so many things that could be wrong. Once I knew what they were looking for, I had a check off list in my head each time I went. With each good ultrasound I grew slightly less anxious, but the feeling never completely goes away. Most women get one to two ultrasounds their entire pregnancy because they are "normal" and not "high risk", that it's foreign to them when I speak of so many ultrasounds. While I was dreading the ultrasounds in a way because I might have gotten bad news, they were a needed relief to see that everything was ok. With each ultrasound the doctor's gave me my "chances of miscarriage"....something I never knew or thought of before....but it was real scary.
My point is that people who don't struggle with infertility will never know how this feels....getting the best news of your life but that black ominous cloud still looms overhead. Miscarriage sucks no matter who has one or what the circumstances, but unlike my fertile friends I can't "just try again" next month. This is a once in a lifetime chance the way I see it....a miracle (if I believed in them). When I first started this journey, I didn't realize that I'd accumulate emotional scars that would never go away. This is just one example. While I'm lucky that we are going to have one child, it still kills me that I can't give our baby a sibling, especially when I hear friends say "well we'll likely have more than one". I want that too...but I can't have that. I want my baby to grow up with a brother or sister. I want them to have someone when we are gone...someone to spend holidays with and someone to reminisce about memories. It kills me to hear people "plan" their future. How they talk about how they are going to "try" to get pregnant so their kids are only 2 years apart. Don't talk to me about trying, because you don't know the true meaning. It must be nice to be able to plan your life the way you want it because your body works the way it was intended....so many people take this for granted.