From April 2013

Join the Movement to Spread Awareness – NIAW 2013

I’m writing this post about one sentence at a time, because we’re lucky enough to already have a three and a half year old son in our life (who is very demanding of our attention these days… but alas, I welcome it!). Maximilian’s birth wasn’t the experience I had expected, nor was the (in)fertility journey that followed. Last year for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), I wrote about our struggles with secondary infertility, our experiences, and our quest to become second-time parents. This year, while I still have mixed emotions about my own fertility, this post will be more of a success story.

I spent the better part of last year focusing on my health, improving my fertility, and doing everything I could to make sure my body was prepared and in tip-top shape for another pregnancy. I continued with Maya Abdominal Massage 1-2 times a month, weekly acupuncture treatments, a regular yoga practice, healthy eating, Chinese herbs and supplements that accomplished a whole host of things, castor oil packs, self-care abdominal massage, fertility support group, chakra realignment… the list goes on. I did basically everything I could find or think of that didn’t involve “Western medicine” or treatments. I wasn’t ready for that (yet). I really was feeling amazing and never in better health, although I constantly still had nagging resentment toward the doctor that performed my c-section which in turn led me to have to do all of this, as well as lingering sadness for the miscarriage we experienced in 2011.

In September of last year, our family decided to do something crazy. Pregnancy wasn’t happening and we didn’t feel like we were quite getting everything out of life that we felt we could. Austin was great (probably the most amazing city we have ever been), but we couldn’t achieve the simplification that we were looking for, among other things. We decided to pack up, sell our house, and move. Part of me thought that leaving the place that held a few painful memories would make them dissipate, but of course they just go with you. But, we were finally on the road to adventure, and we became so focused on our travels and seeing the country and trying to find a new place for our family to settle down. It really did become the first time I was able to let go of the quest for another child (not purposefully), mostly because I was too busy with other life happenings to focus on it. It was the first time in nearly three years that we weren’t actively “trying” to get pregnant.

While we traveled, I dropped every single thing that I was doing the entire year prior during that quest for pregnancy. Our eating habits were those of road worn travelers. We were hopped up on caffeine most of every day. No acupuncture or yoga or abdominal massage. I was pretty much doing everything the opposite of what I was “supposed” to do to get pregnant. I even dyed my hair for maybe the second time ever! While our months traveling had its ups and downs and was far from a “vacation,” overall it was a great experience that I would never trade for anything. It gave us a lot of perspective as to who we were as individuals, and as a family. We wouldn’t have become who we are now without those experiences. We became such a tight-knit family unit that nothing could destroy. Not even unemployment and a fading bank account and no place to live.

And that’s what it was like around the holidays. No job, no health insurance, money going fast, no place to call home, no reliable or steady income (just a few photo shoots here and there). Traveling around the country was amazing, but after a while, not having a place to call home really starts to wear you down (especially around the holidays). But then something amazing happened.

One week before Christmas, as I was searching through my suitcase, I came across a leftover, unopened pregnancy test that I had been toting around since we left Austin. I don’t even want to begin to think about how much money I had spent on those over the last couple of years! Hubby and I were enjoying a bottle of wine together after the kiddo went to bed, and I thought something along the lines of, “Sure! Why not! I may as well take it, see the negative sign, and throw it away like all the others. Then at least it won’t be in my suitcase anymore.”

And then those two pink lines showed up. It was positive.

And what timing! I honestly feel like I couldn’t have gotten to that positive test without all of the steps I took to prepare my body to get there. I also feel like it happened when it was supposed to. And probably only after I truly “let go.” Even though some sadness and resentment lingered, I pretty much accepted the possibility of permanent secondary infertility.

We were ecstatic, and as I sit here at 22-weeks pregnant with another baby boy, I’m savoring every single second of this pregnancy that I never thought (but hoped) I’d be graced with.

The hardest part about all of this, though, is knowing that there are still so many women and men out there suffering from infertility. It hurts my heart especially to know of all of the treatments and struggles that my fellow fertility support group goddesses are enduring so frequently. Including myself, however, there are at least five strong, beautiful women from my group who have either had a baby since our time together in early 2012, or are currently pregnant! Amazing! I pray so often for each and every one of the women in our group, for we created a forever bond. I’m beyond ecstatic for the ones who have become pregnant, and my heart still hurts so much for the ones who are still on that journey. They all want it and deserve it so much, and I want it for them just as bad. And one of the hardest parts for me to realize now is that I’m not even sure I would have been able to completely let go of the sadness and anger that infertility sometimes brings, without successfully getting pregnant again (even though that’s what you’re always trying for– to live and let go). It’s more difficult than you could possibly imagine to just think happy thoughts during that process, and just accept. The people still actively on this journey need our love and support.

My journey to get to this point, being pregnant with another healthy baby, has taught me so much. And I am so grateful for all of it. I have learned more about my body and my health and fertility than I ever imagined I would. I have met an amazing network of people (who I was actually quite sad to leave behind when we moved! They had all become such an important part of my life!) who devote their lives and their souls and their energy to helping people like me achieve a healthy pregnancy (and just a healthier mind and body all around). Not to mention the network of other women I met on the road to fertility with whom I’ve bonded. I have become closer with my husband, as he as been just as much a part of this struggle and success. I have even become closer with my son, appreciating every ounce of him more than I ever thought possible, perhaps almost taking him for granted before I knew just how difficult it could be to conceive a child. And now, with this new life form gracing my belly, I feel an intense connection that is not for one second dismissed or taken for granted. He is there (Oliver, we’ve named him), constantly reminding me that it was his time to become a part of our family.

Just because I was blessed to become pregnant again doesn’t mean I will stop spreading the word about infertility, because it affects so many people and those people need our support. If and when we decide to have another child after this one, I will be on that journey again. I don’t consider myself “graduated” from the group of people who are struggling with infertility just because I got pregnant. Once you are a part of it, it stays with you forever, and you can’t leave others behind to figure it out for themselves. Sometimes a success story to lean on and learn from is just as important as a shoulder to cry on that is dealing with the same experiences at the same time as you.

Thank you for all of your support and positive thoughts and prayers thus far. I hope you will now please join me in the movement to spread the word and support others who may need it.

XOXO

Lea

NIAW