When having children doesn’t go the way you planned

infertility

There is a billboard near my house that uses a stock photo of a beautiful, happy, smiling couple. Next to the oddly happy couple, the headline reads “Infertility?” in huge letters. The billboard is for a medical study at a local hospital. Whoever designed the billboard is obviously not super familiar with infertility. Those two people look positively thrilled to be dealing with infertility.

Almost anytime I am out with my kids, someone comments on the amount of kids I have or how close they are in age. What they don’t know is that it took time and money trying to get pregnant in the first place. They don’t see the hurt and pain of getting negative pregnancy test results month after month. There were tests, doctors, and medications involved in conceiving our first baby.

I finally got my first ultrasound after 2 years of trying to get pregnant. And after seeing and hearing my baby’s heartbeat for the first time, my reproductive endocrinologist told me something wasn’t right. He said my pregnancy wasn’t going to last. I went home praying he was wrong, but he wasn’t. I had a miscarriage a week later.

A month went by and we were back in that doctor’s office. My doctor asked Carlos how I was handling everything and if we were we ready to keep trying. I left that day and filled another prescription in hopes this next cycle would be the one. It was.

I later realized that once my body has been pregnant, it sort of regulates for a period of time. I could get pregnant again during the window of normalcy. If we wanted more kids without medical help, having them close together was probably the way to do it. Hence, by the time my oldest wasn’t quite 2½, we had two more babies.

My life now looks so much different from those days. It is a blur of kids and chaos, but those years changed me. I will never look at a pregnancy like it is just a given. I will never forget how it feels to see pregnant women everywhere and wish I could be one of them. I will never hear about a pregnancy and not hope that everything goes smoothly, because I am very aware that it is not a given.

Infertility and miscarriage change things. It changes people. Even if you go on to have a child through adoption or pregnancy, it still changes you. I know it has changed me. It has taken away my naiveté, but it has also taught me huge lessons on compassion; on how to be considerate to the struggles others are facing. It has made me aware that just because I can’t see what other people are struggling with doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling with something.

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