Dear HB,

Dear Hypothetical Baby…or HB for short, 

I originally started this blog as a future gift for you–a love letter of sorts. I had no intention of ever sharing my thoughts with the world (or my tiny corner of it, anyway). But shortly after the first “installment” of your present, I changed my mind. And Love, even before your existence, you’re making a difference. And I cannot wait to tell you all about it. 

Someday I will tell you the story of how so many people were rooting for you before you were even you. I know that thought is going to seem strange to you at first. “How can people be in the corner of someone who doesn’t exist?” you’ll ask. “What was I before I was me?” 

First, I will tell you to go ask your father. Then, I will tell you how the story of “how you came to be” provided comfort for so many people who were also aching for their own HB. You will grow up knowing that you don’t give up just because something is hard. If you care about it, you keep fighting. You will be brave, my child. You will be brave because you came from fighters. And before you were anything, you were a fighter. 

Someday I will read you my favorite children’s book: Walk Two Moons. The entire book centers around the Native American proverb that says “You shouldn’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” I will tell you about how your story (and this love letter to you) helped others walk in moccasins they would never have otherwise known. To be able to bring light to something so many people fight in the dark…that’s a big thing, little one. 

I don’t know when you’ll get here. I don’t know when I’ll hear your heartbeat for the first time. I don’t know when I’ll get to feel you kick. I don’t know when I’ll get to find out if you’re a boy or a girl. (Your name is already picked out, either way.) I don’t know any of these things, HB. But, until then, I’m waiting. I’m doing everything I can to make sure you hurry up and get here safely. 

Oh, baby, I have so much I want to tell you. But until you get here, I’ll just keep writing it down here so that I don’t forget anything. You see, your momma may be a storyteller, but she is horrible at remembering details. 

Earlier, I said that before you were anything, you were a fighter. But even before you were a fighter, you were loved. 

Love, 

Your Hypothetical Mom…or HM for short

(eleven. eight. twenty twenty-one)

It’s, like, hard.

Turns out getting pregnant is hard. Like, really hard. There are charts and graphs of basal body temperatures (taken precisely at 6:00 every. single. morning.) and LH surges (whatever LH is). There are specific dosages of medications at specific times of the evening. There are ovulation predictor kits and prenatal vitamins. There are fertility superfood diets and all sorts of supplements. And I’m not even going into all the other things that must be impeccably timed. While I would be the person to organize the hell out of my uterus, it begins to feel like a bit much–even for me and my color coded outlining habits. 

Our official journey began this week with another appointment at the fertility clinic. With Justin standing beside me, we stared at a black and white fuzzy screen as the doctor pointed out my empty uterus. “And this is where we hope to see a baby soon.” 

It was in that moment that everything changed. 

Up until then, I kept telling myself that I have to do this because I would always wonder what could have been if we didn’t give it one last chance. This was a “peace of mind” adventure with a possible fantastic outcome. But in that moment, staring at the back and white screen, this became more than a wish. As he marked and measured a ring of cysts in each ovary, I had a glimpse of what it would be like to have him point out a heartbeat instead. It was then that I realized that all of my eggs are (quite literally) in this basket. 

We left the hospital with drugs, charts, and a list of directions a mile long. But we also left with a whole lot of hope.

(eleven. three. twenty-twenty one.)

To Be, Or Not To Be.

I don’t know how to not be infertile. It’s truly all I have ever known. I don’t know how to not make myself physically sick over whether or not I can stomach attending another baby shower. I don’t know how to walk down the center aisle at Target–the one that passes the baby clothes. I’m almost 40 years old, so you would think I would eventually get over it. But, for the last decade of my life, these conscious and subconscious decisions have been a constant ache in the back of my mind. Like a bad knee, it doesn’t really stop you from doing things, but you always know it’s there and sometimes it hurts like hell. 

Which brings me to the point of this post…I don’t know how to do this. This time, I have decided to be open along the journey. I don’t understand why infertility is “supposed to be” something you suffer in silence. Throughout the first decade of this nightmare, I was ridiculously concerned about burdening others with my pain. And while I’ll probably never be the type to just openly talk about “how I’m feeling” (I cringed just typing that), I do think there is value in understanding others’ walks of life–sometimes for the sake of knowing a path you will never experience, and sometimes to know you’re not alone when your path feels like the only one full of thorn bushes. So, here I am…telling my story. Or the internet-appropriate parts of it at least. 

In the spirit of sharing this story, I have told people what’s going on with me this time. I have posted about it on social media. Some people are interested and want to know more, while others want to quickly change the subject. For the record, I’m good with either. 

I have come to realize, though, that I speak my story with a tone of trepidation. I think this is a defense mechanism–an adaptation that has evolved over time. More than once I’ve been asked, “Aren’t you excited?” Answer: Yes. Also answer: Not yes. I find myself currently in this weird in-between stage. I want to be excited. I really do. I even find these short windows in which I’ll allow myself to ponder baby names or search nursery ideas on Pinterest. Hell, yesterday I found myself researching baby monitors (Yes, I’m an enneagram 5), before slamming the lid of my laptop mid-search and walking away in a panic. Because these windows…these windows are damn scary. When hope starts peeking in, that distance to fall becomes higher. And I don’t know about you…but heights can be terrifying. 

In summary…I don’t really know how to be infertile. I figured this road out on my own over the years, and I’m sure I didn’t do it right. But also, I’m learning I don’t really know how to not be infertile either.

(ten. twenty-four. twenty twenty-one.)

The Magic of Three

The phrase “third time’s the charm” is rooted in the ancient belief that the number three is magical. I sure as hell hope there is some truth to that. As I sit here tonight, I could use all the magic I can get.

Today, Justin and I began our third, and likely final, journey down the road of infertility treatment. The previous two attempts, being obviously unsuccessful, have left their fair share of scar tissue clouding my heart and mind when it comes to trying to conceive. I’m not sure what it is, but something tells me this time will be different. So, here I begin this blog. This story of Us: While We Wait.

For the sake of story telling, let me back up. At 39 and 41 years old, this is not something we planned to do again. Three months ago to the day (there’s that magic number again), I began experiencing frequent and excessive periods, with new cycles beginning every 13-15 days. Frustrating. Draining. Exhausting. Scary.

My first attempt at answers was with my family doctor who told me I was anemic (no shock there) and likely peri-menopausal. In a word, I was devastated. The periods continued and I was then referred to a gynecologist, Dr. Mitro. Here, after a series of tests, I was told it could be: cancer, fibroids, or a hormone imbalance. More tests confirmed a hormone imbalance likely due to my PCOS. Dr. Mitro said we could treat this with hormone therapy, which would take away any chance of ever getting pregnant. Or, if I still had the desire to become pregnant, he could refer me to a fertility specialist. So this is how I found myself in the care of Dr. Reshef, my third (3!!) doctor in the last three months.

Today we saw Dr. Reshef for the first time and developed an “aggressive and judiciously swift” course of action. In the world of fertility, 39 is geriatric. Literally. In less than a month, I will be back on fertility drugs. I have hope as this is a new one that wasn’t around the prior two times we attempted infertility drugs. We both really liked Dr. Reshef. We found him both competent and compassionate, and like I said…I feel good about it this time. Judiciously optimistic, to borrow his phrase.

I am a ball of emotions, feeling all the things. At this point, I don’t know if I am more terrified at the thought of my last attempt at carrying my own child being unsuccessful OR actually becoming a parent at the end of this. At forty years old, are we crazy?! Probably. But, that’s a story for another day. Today I am going to pray to the fertility gods and the “magic of three” that this actually works.

(ten. eighteen. twenty-twenty one.)

Here we go.