Sunday, January 26, 2014

Contrary to Popular Belief

Contrary to popular belief I don't actually 'tell the world' everything.  I tell 'the world' what I want 'the world' to know.  I work in PR after all.  There are things that I want to talk about on a general level and then there are things that I discuss with people who I feel can contribute or assist in some kind of meaningful way.  I have people I talk to about my work. I have people I talk to about relationships and friendships.  I have people I talk to about motherhood. And I have people I talk to about infertility.  Because, that's something I have been dealing with for several years now and chosen not to broadcast.

The great news is that I am now expecting my second child and I feel like I can write about this without anger or resentment or pain because I have more than I could ever have wished for.  I'm extremely aware that I am one of the very lucky ones.  I was hesitant to publish our baby news on social media last week because I know what a dagger to the heart that feels like when one so fiercely wishes it was you with the news, you with the morning sickness, you with the tight pants and the stretch marks.  I know that feeling and I get it.

The truth is, I went off the pill in 2009.  My son had just turned one and I was 'ready' (haha) to start thinking about having a second child.  It had taken us a year to fall pregnant with our first and I assumed that would happen again.  My 'plan' (haha) included an almost 3 year gap which seemed conservative and manageable.  I'm told by everyone I know with 2 or more children that there is in fact no perfect gap and no 2nd child is an easy addition… but of course you love them more than you thought you possibly could etc.  I got that.

In 2010 my husband quit his job and we moved continents from Dublin back to Australia, which had become 'home' in our nostalgic musings.  We took a long trip via South Africa to get to Sydney and I was convinced that I would get pregnant somewhere along the yellow brick road to Oz.  The return to Sydney was difficult.  You can never 'go back' - as they say. And it's true.  Everything was different. Our circle of friends had changed through additions of children and breakdowns of marriages. New partners were on the scene and largely people were struggling - with the job market and with each other.  As we had all entered our mid 30s and 40s, life had become irreparably complex and our merry band of carefree (mainly) immigrant friends were dealing with that thing commonly known as 'real life'.

I started a part-time job and then added another part-time job on top of that. My husband eventually landed a contract for 3 months which got extended and we began settling into Sydney life.  Our 3 years in Dublin included nannies and cleaners and an abundance of 'ex-pat' revelry.  Sydney was a rather rude awakening after that and the stress manifested in a series of illnesses for the 3 of us.   Colds and flu's and diverticulitis and ear infections … and 2 back-to-back miscarriages for me (while on a course of Clomid in 2011).  Eventually, I went back to my old job (the one I'd left in 2007 to go to Dublin) and I decided to focus on that. Things were entirely on the upswing.  My husband's contract had been extended again and we began to see a future in the place, which we hoped would be home.

As is our general pattern, the moment we got 'settled', the call came for us to move to New York.  I had become content in Sydney - our lives had normalized and our careers were thriving.  Our son was settled in a superb pre-school near our home and had access to an exceptional local "big" school the following year.  We had our baby-sitters in place and had reacquainted ourselves with our friends and reinserted ourselves into our 'circle'. We still decided fairly quickly to say yes to the move and the opportunity for 6 months in the most exciting city in the world.

We continued on our quest for baby but were having a little bit too much fun to really get too disappointed by the monthly failures.  Eventually, the New York role became permanent for my husband and, when it became clear that this Manhattan madness was to become 'real life', my quest for baby reasserted itself but the fear of IVF and other intrusive options kept me a little bit ambivalent.  I wanted my son to have a sibling but I was also really rather happy with my life exactly as it was. I was, however, a little nervous about hitting the 40+ zone and having regrets. Midway through 2013 we had another loss.  Three losses were as many as I felt able to deal with.  I am very resilient and I am very strong, but the pain of those losses is something that will never leave me.  I think only women who have been through miscarriage have any idea - whether it be early on or a little later - what THAT feeling is.  The indescribable joy and then the total devastation so soon after.  Not for the faint of heart.

When our son started Kindergarten in the latter half of 2013, I decided to book an appointment with an infertility specialist. The soonest I could get was 17 December.  Halloween, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah distracted me and, in early December, I realized that I was over a week 'late'.  Five years of erratic cycles and 'maybe maybe maybe' haunted me.  I didn't do a test until days of dizziness eventually took me on a trip to the local drug store.  I decided to do it the way they recommend on the instructions for once. I peed on my 10 000th stick and left it in the bathroom while I waited in the living room for 3 minutes.  I returned to the bathroom to find 'Pregnant' written on the digital stick.

I spent several hours on google and eventually found an OBGYN who was located near enough to my husband's office for him to be able to come to appointments with me. I called and scheduled my first appointment. It was to be on 17 December. The same day that I had scheduled my infertility treatment to begin. My mantra for the last couple of years in New York has been 'Leap and the wind will catch you' and I feel like that is exactly what happened. I needed to make that mental shift and accept that what we were dealing with was secondary infertility and I needed to ask for help.  As it turns out, the help came from well above that scheduled IVF appointment on the 17th floor.

The usual anguish-filled wait until the 12 week mark had some unexpected additions which added to my emotional state.  They also made me realize how important it is to pursue the things you really want NOW and not wait for anything or anyone.  You never know what is around that next corner or what the next phone call will be - for better or for worse.

I'm excited for 2014 and hoping it will be filled with more good news than bad but, contrary to popular belief, you probably won't hear about it until I'm ready.  

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