The decision to pee on the pregnancy test or not felt impossible.
On one hand, I couldn’t bear to see another negative result. On the other, I figured if we found out early, we could start the necessary interventions and maybe this pregnancy would make it. Or, I could find out early, miscarry again, and be devastated anyway. Dammit. Maybe it’s better to never know.
My husband and I had married young. When we decided to stop avoiding pregnancy, we figured conception would be quick and easy. And it was, but sadly our first pregnancy ended in a very early miscarriage. It took several months before we conceived again. Months where I dived headfirst into the Fertility Awareness Method of family planning, used both for pregnancy achievement and avoidance. I obsessed over cervical fluid and basal body temperatures.
“Do you think I should start checking the position of my cervix?” My husband was alarmed, but calmly told me he did not think that was necessary.
“Can’t we just have sex and get pregnant like everyone else?”
My second pregnancy was smooth and healthy and resulted in our oldest son. I loved being a mom. Life with my boy was a dream come true.
When he was a toddler, we began trying to conceive again. We got pregnant within a few months of trying, only to miscarry early on.
“You just need to relax,” I was told. “Quit trying to force it.”
We got pregnant again a few months after that, only to miscarry at the end of the first trimester. I would go on to miscarry twice more still before conceiving our second son.
During those years, countless people told me to “just relax and it will happen!” They relayed stories of so-and-so “who tried for years to get pregnant and when she finally gave up- BOOM!- pregnant! Quit trying so hard.”
Infertility and pregnancy loss are deeply painful and demoralizing. Those of us who endure these challenges wonder why our bodies won’t do one of the things they were made to do- procreate. Is there something wrong with me? At some point, one might even WISH for there to be something wrong because then there would be something to fix. Something to actually be done about it.
I remember how it hurt to walk past pregnant women, their bellies round with life and fertility. I remember how foolish and naïve I felt when conceiving wasn’t as simple as having unprotected sex. I remember feeling angry when fertility testing came back all normal; there was nothing broken that needed fixing.
We eventually discovered that baby aspirin and progesterone are the supports my body needs to carry a pregnancy. Once we started that protocol, I carried four more beautiful boys to term (…and beyond!)
If you are facing infertility and pregnancy loss and feel overwhelmed- I get it. It hurts. It sucks.
I will encourage you to hold out hope and follow your path to parenthood, wherever it leads.
But I will not ever tell you to just relax.