December 8 — Weeks Trying to Get Pregnant: 45 — Cycle 10
That subheader is misleading. Cycle 10 is out. It’s still here, but it’s out. Six week left until it’s been a year. I have the new patient questionnaire from the reproductive endocrinologist to prove it.
I have somewhat regular cycles which I track methodically, so for the last several months, I have been able to pinpoint exactly the day when my body switches from preparing for pregnancy to preparing for menstruation. Did you know that many women’s breasts get really sore a few days after they ovulate? That’s because their levels of progesterone increase causing an expansion in their milk ducts. Isn’t that crazy? It’s 37 weeks before the due date, and already a woman’s body is preparing to sustain life outside the womb.
I’m in my eleventh month of feeling that soreness peak and then fade away, to be replaced by cramps and spotting. I read this post the other day which resonated deeply:
Infertility is a disease that takes away your ability to conceive and bear children. But it rarely takes it away all at once (although it can). It usually acts more stealthily, taking it away slowly, month after month. As a result, its a continual mourning process of children that never were. Children that no one will ever see or would ever even be expected to know about.
I wish it was more apparent to people that its not that we’re not thankful, its not that we’re not appreciative of what we do have, its just that our dreams, our husband’s and our children, are dying. On a repeating loop. Right in front of us. We are mothers to invisible, never-living children, and we are mourning. Death cannot be moved past until it is properly grieved.
The sentiment shared by this courageous woman (who is so much further into the journey at the time of her writing than me), is probably why it drives me up a wall when someone tries to provide comfort by saying that we will have a family, one way or another. Yes, I also know there options for expanding our family if I never have a baby. And those options are absolutely on my mind as the months go by. Trust me, I think about my barrenness way more than you, friend.
But we are a single couple, we cannot fight a war on two fronts. (Likely) infertility is the battle we are in right now and it is not helpful in the slightest to preemptively turn our attention to what might be the next battle we face. Right now, it is about surviving. It is about grieving, month after month. It is about deep breathing through panic attacks when you’re by yourself for too long and the sadness finds its way in to take over every thought.
I have a great life. I have a good job that I really like. I have an amazing husband and our marriage is strong and goofy and fulfilling. I have amazing friends and family around me. I have faith in a God of peace and comfort. I also have immense, compounding grief. I have the memory of ten children that never were. Nothing can change that. As John Green wrote, “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
That’s all I’ve got for now. Signing out from the trenches.