I was 26 when we decided to have a baby.
This year, around Christmas, I will celebrate my 36th birthday. My kid will be celebrating her second birthday.
The road to our daughter has been hard, with many potholes, and many things out of the scope for this particular thing I want to share.
My monthly mate would appear bang on time, always.
It was irritating when we were not TTC. It made me cry when we were cycling.
But my periods have become devil's incarnate since.
Both of my pregnancies changed my bleeding pattern.
(For two full-term pregnancies, I have only one living child to show. Hard.)
I had heavy bleeding after every pregnancy.
My second pregnancy temporarily snapped me out of bleeding hell, but after delivering my second baby, I struggled with the bleeding for almost a year.
Now, my bleeding has been tamed, but it's stretched out to eight day episodes when it was once a five-day affair.
I'm glad that I'm not bleeding every 11 days. I'm glad that I'm not bleeding so much that I smell of my blood.
My initial problems of adjusting with the baby, and all other issues were compounded by the fact that I was not feeling well thanks to the continuous bleeding.
I was consulting my OB, and it took a while to get things on route. That year was hell.
Now, I'm not sure if we want to try for more children. I mean, we want to.
I still have baby fever. My husband doesn't oppose the idea of a sibling for our child.
We do not want to adopt, so we are passively trying.
I hope to become pregnant.
But I do not want my periods. I hate it. My mind flaps down, obsessed with my uterus for four days before my periods.
So you are reading an essay from a woman who wants a swollen belly, and is dreaming of a hysterectomy half of the month.
I dream of having a hysterectomy. I can't wait for the menopause to come. And if I take my mother's age as the benchmark for when my menopause will come, I think I still have a decade of periods-hate left for me.
And I am terribly torn apart. There are other signs. I am on a blood sugar regulating medication, and I lose weight like a breeze on it, but I have been gaining weight. I have constipation.
My mind is exploding. And I think of having a hysterectomy so much. So I want to ride two boats at the same time.
Having a hysterectomy will rule out me carrying a pregnancy. But seriously, I just want to be free. But I want to be pregnant too.
Hey Band, do I make sense?
After four years struggling to get pregnant, going to the doctor, getting tested and undergoing fertility treatments (3 rounds of Clomid), I'm pregnant!
I'm due April 5th of 2014.
I'm so excited, obviously, but there's something else, too.
I had tough pregnancies the first two times. With my first, I was sick for the first 20 weeks before finally started to feel better. Then, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and put on bed-rest.
For 18 weeks.
Yeah, not fun.
My doctor didn't want to put me on any medications for it, so I felt sick all the time. I also have a bleeding disorder, so even though other on-call OB's said I should be delivered, he waited until I was term to attempt a (failed) induction and then c-section.
The pediatrician told us if we'd waited any longer, our baby would have died.
The second time around was a lot better. I felt great throughout the pregnancy, but the preeclampsia reared it's ugly head the 30-week mark - this time much worse than before. I was immediately given steroid shots to mature the baby's lungs and sent to a hospital that had a waiting NICU bed. Fortunately with bed-rest and medication, the doctors managed to get things under control and I was discharged two weeks later. I had a repeat c-section at 38 weeks.
I keep waiting for that other shoe to drop.
I know I could have a perfectly healthy pregnancy, but given my history I doubt that'll happen. My sister-in-law is also pregnant and dealing with preeclampsia and bed-rest. So even if I could somehow manage to push the fear out of my mind, there's a constant reminder of what can happen.
I should be happy and thrilled and basking in the joy of this. Don't get me wrong, I AM very happy - I just can't get those negative thoughts out of my head.
What if it doesn't end so well? What if the baby isn't okay? What if I'm not okay and leave my kids without a mom?
I'm only 16 weeks along, but I've already placed myself on modified bed-rest, doing as little as possible. I don't know if it's because I think it will help or I'm depressed... or a little of both.
I don't want to do anything; I'm grouchy, emotional and I don't feel myself. All symptoms of pregnancy, but maybe prenatal depression there as well. I certainly have a history of it.
I just wish this could be easy.
Someone told me a few days ago that I should quit complaining and feeling sorry for myself; there are so many people who can't have kids who'd gladly trade places with me. It's not that I'm not grateful and happy to be pregnant, there's just so much fear and worry thanks to my history.
Of course I know there are people out there who have it way, way worse than me, but does that make my feelings less important?
I wish I was good at being pregnant.
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
What do you do when find a guy that wants a family as much as you do? You think you are a great match, get married and after a year of just the two of you, you start to try for that baby.
Typical, normal story.
What do you do when after another year and that baby doesn't appear? You go to your doctor, get that referral to the infertility specialist. That is no big deal. Lots of people need a little help to get pregnant; in fact you know a few and a few more in the internet world.
What do you do when the doctor tells you that they could find no sperm in your husband's cup sample? You look at options. They say that they can do TESE surgery and can find some sperm samples.
After waiting not-so-patiently for my husband to go through a testicular biopsy, I took the sample of his testicular material and went to the lab at a completely different hospital. They said that they would have news for me later that day. I wasn't concerned, they'd find some samples of sperm...they had to.
I grabbed my very uncomfortable husband and off we went.
We got the call a few hours later. They were so sorry. They looked for hours. Nothing. Nothing.
What do you do now?
It would have been simpler if you had just hit me with your fist.
It would have hurt less had curled your fingers up and slammed your fist into my gut.
No. Oh no, you would never hit me. You claimed you would never give in to the urge to physically hurt me. You denied that the urge was there, but I could see it. Please. After nine years I can read you like a book.
On the good days we inspired each other, brought out the best in each other. On the bad days we would stand, six inches apart, applying the verbal lash over and over. Flaying one another to the bone, stripping defenses down until nerves were raw and exposed.
Even after all those years, all those fights, all the pain, I never threw that kind of insult at you. I never said anything that literally took your breath away, never dealt you a verbal sucker punch. Don't get me wrong, I'm certain that I hurt you. Intentionally or not, I know that it's true. I know we both bear scars on our hearts. But I never spoke to you the way you spoke to me. I never poured salt on the wounds.
You took every single self-doubt that I had, every aspect of myself that I hated, and threw them all at me. I sat there, wounded, in shock, seeing the rage and pain blaze in your eyes like wildfire.
If you had just made a fist, punched me in the gut, maybe we'd still be together.
No. You had to wound me and then grab the salt and just rub it in there, didn't you?
Fat. Lazy. Selfish. Mean. Bitch.
Those words hurt. Can't deny that. But I've heard them before.
Do you want to know what the last straw was? The word that hit me like a fist to the gut?
How dare you?
How DARE you throw that in my face?
You. You of all people. You who knew how I struggled with that diagnosis, who saw me weep every month, watched me grieve for another lost chance every time I bled.
Four years of a thousand tiny deaths. Every birth announcement, every baby shower, every happy family in a grocery store: they all left a scar.
Countless appointments, driving back and forth to clinics to undergo tests and invasive medical procedures. Always alone because your work schedule wouldn't allow you to join me. Trying to reign in my crazy mood swings from the drugs so that I didn't take everything out on you. Slogging through life on a second-string antidepressant because it would be safer during pregnancy. Drawing fluid into a needle and shooting myself up with hormones in the bathroom, alone, because you're afraid of needles.
If those scars were physical instead of emotional I don't think I'd have an inch of pristine skin left at this point.
You condensed all of that pain and anguish into one little word.
It took my breath away. I felt a chill ripple from the tip of my skull down to my toes.
And it was over. Over. In that moment, we were over. No going back. No patching it up this time.
It would have been simpler if you had just hit me with your fist.
One in six couples is infertile. About 40% of the cases are caused by problems involving the male partner.
This is his story.
I will try and avoid upsetting anyone with strong religious beliefs, but I want to create an argument for my scrotum being more miraculous than the so-called miracle of birth.
The way our IVF doctor was carrying on, I started to wonder how anyone became pregnant. I am not sure if she wanted to stifle our hope, or just create a negative atmosphere, but she talked to us about all the chemical reactions and minute factors that have to be just perfect for a woman to become pregnant.
For someone selling the hope of getting pregnant, she was doing a lousy job with us. Perhaps she had seen my 96% abnormality rated goods and was trying to let us down gently; if a divine power had given me this empty sack, it could well be for good reason.
I did not harbour the same outlook on this though.
In the recent past our world’s population is said to have reached 7 billion people. In the history of time, over 105 billion people have been born. That is one big recurring miracle.
On the other hand, when I did the IVF dummy test, the doctor - who I don’t think could believe it herself - advised that in my entire sample, she could only find one sperm that was suitable for IVF treatment. Not 100, not 1 in ten thousand…one. Singular.
Taking into account that the average ejaculate consists of between 50 and 500 million sperm, surely my sperm is the miracle. My body is so efficient that it will only ejaculate one working sperm each time I…you know.
Once again, the inadequacy of my baby making facilities surpassed all expectation and failed on a spectacular level. I had to admit it though; for all their shortcomings, my balls sure as hell made me laugh.
Perhaps I should donate them to science.
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