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Becoming a parent

Both my pregnancies were not necessarily pieces of cake to achieve.  I remember thinking, after six cycles of trying the first time around, that it didn’t seem fair that some women (especially those who weren’t even trying) could get pregnant so easily. I had been convinced my entire life that I was made for motherhood. I certainly had the hips for it. So why didn’t it just HAPPEN?

The rule of thumb is that you should try for at least a year before looking into the whys and hows and what nows of getting pregnant. When you are desperate to become a parent, however, a year is unbearable. Six months is an eternity. At six months, my doctor convinced me to stop stressing and take a month off… to give myself a break. The next month I became pregnant with Ethan.

When Jack and I decided to try for Baby #2, we figured it might take several months. I carefully charted my cycles. I faithfully tracked my basal temperatures. I peed on numerous sticks to determine my ovulation windows of opportunity. Every month that went by that didn’t result in a positive result on the stick broke my heart a little further. After six cycles I started to get depressed. When people would say to me, “At least you have one child,” I wanted to kick them in the face. Seven, eight, nine cycles went by and I began to think that perhaps I wasn’t supposed to have more than one child. Ten cycles and I went in to see my OB, who ran tests. I was fine. Jack was fine. So why weren’t we fine? Eleven cycles… I started to give up.  We took Ethan to Disneyland where I burst into tears during dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen for no apparent reason. I spent the trip alternating between snapping at Jack and Ethan, and wanting to hold them close, never to let them go. When we came home, Jack looked me square in the eyes and said, “I think you are pregnant.”

“Why would you say that to me!!??” I yelled at him. I had all but given up, ready to accept my inability to get pregnant again, and he was planting a seed of hope. That seriously ticked me off.

“Honey,” he replied calmly. “I just really think you are pregnant.” What he wanted to say, but didn’t, was that I was acting like a raving, irrational, emotional banshee, and pregnancy was the only thing in his mind that could explain the lunacy.

The next day I peed on a stick. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I drank about fifty gallons of water and willed my bladder to fill up again. I had no more sticks to pee on, but plenty of the strips that you dip into a cup. I dipped two different brands. I dug through the bathroom drawer and found another stick and peed on that.

I made Jack a card. On the front it said, “You were right.” On the inside I taped three positive tests. He came home from work that day and I handed him the envelope. “Just a little something to say sorry about being a raving lunatic this weekend.”

Needless to say, he was thrilled about being right (no surprise there).

I don’t think I could have hacked going through the stress of fertility treatments. I know women who have, and the strength and resolve they have is quite herculean. What we go through to become parents! For some, it happens ridiculously easily. For others… for others it is a painful, difficult journey that can last years and years (and years). Our seven and twelve-cycle waits were mere blips of impatience compared to what some couples go through.

My friend, Julie, has been on the path toward parenthood for many years now. She’s been through the battles of fertility treatments, and now she and her husband are hoping to become parents through adoption. They write an honest, heartfelt, and sometimes heartbreaking blog about the adoption process. I had been rather behind on it and just recently caught up. By the time I got to the current entry, I had tears streaming down my face and wanted to scream out in frustration to the world about the challenges that threaten to drown so many hopeful parents-to-be. Julie is meant to be a Mommy. She and her husband will most definitely be fantastic parents, so why-oh-why does this road have to be so emotionally arduous for them?

Read her blog. Do it now. Learn something. Thank me later.

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