I have sat down and stared at a blank screen for months trying to put this post into words. Bear with me, this is a jumble of thoughts and feelings on experiencing pregnancy after infertility.
When we were only dating we were faced with the harsh reality that we would likely have trouble conceiving. This lead to endless research, surgery, reaching out to others to had been through IVF, prayer, long discussions about our future, and never-ending anxiety about getting pregnant. Through our dating years, engagement, and newlywed stage one thing was for certain, whatever trials were in our future, we would face them together.
Fast forward to 2015 when we were officially "ready". It came as no surprise when we saw negative test after negative test, month after month. Though we were "prepared" for this, that didn't make it any easier. We knew time is of the essence and we didn't want to delay the inevitable. We found the perfect infertility clinic for us and were officially told what we had known for 6 years… IVF was our only option. Game on, let's do this! You guys have seen the journey unfold here, from making our journey public to my egg retrieval and embryo transfer and finally to our answered prayer. What I haven't touched on much is how hard it was after we got our BFP (big fat positive).
After we found out we were pregnant, instead of feeling elated that we had finally overcome infertility, all I could think about were the "what ifs". What if I have a miscarriage, what if this baby has health problems, what if… you name it. I was not prepared for these feelings, as I thought I would be carefree and on top of the world. To make matters worse, around week 7 I started bleeding and I was 100% positive I was miscarrying. I left work immediately went straight to my doctor who confirmed that baby's heart was beating away (praise God!) but that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. I was put on modified bed rest and monitored weekly until my body reabsorbed it. This only made my anxiety worse, knowing that this hematoma put me at increased risk for miscarriage.
Even as we transitioned out of the first trimester, my hematoma resolved, and baby was doing perfectly, it wasn't until around week 15 or 16 that I really started to enjoy my pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, my love for that tiny baby was something fierce, but I didn't really like talking about my pregnancy with other people. I felt like I was going to "jinx" something if I talked about it. I didn't have the "run to the bathroom and pee on a stick and surprise husband with the news" experience that you see in the movies. Our road to get to this place was hard so unfortunately I was overly aware of all the bad things that could happen. I think this is pretty common after battling infertility. After going through IVF, you are far too used to hearing what went wrong, what your odds are, "I'm sorry", etc. You feel like one big science experiment.
So, I have put together a list of 3 things that all women should do in early pregnancy after beating infertility:
1. Give yourself grace. You've been through hell and back. It's not easy to flip a switch and go from worried and anxious to happy and carefree the second you see that BFP. Those negative feelings will fade with time as you start to realizing that your miracle baby isn't going anywhere! Trust that God brought you this far for a reason and that "He is knitting your baby together in your womb" (Psalm 139:13).
2. Have a support system. My husband and mom have been my absolute rocks through this entire process. I never went to a single doctor's appointment alone, and my clinic was 2 hours away. My husband knew when I was feeling sad and let me feel these things, then he was there to pick me up when I was ready. His tears of happiness at every ultrasound showed me that we were in this together. He would pray over our baby and constantly tried to reassure me that everything would be ok. It's impossible to go through this alone. Find your solid support system and don't be afraid to ask for help.
3. Celebrate the milestones. Celebrate your BFP, celebrate hearing the heartbeat for the first time, celebrate graduating from the first trimester. It's ok to let yourself be happy! You won't jinx it!
If you made it to the end of this post, kudos to you! At 21 weeks now, I am incredibly thankful and happy for every single day with this baby. I absolutely love being pregnant and would do it all over again in a heartbeat for this baby. If you or someone you know has any questions about IVF or infertility, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the end of the day, I am so very thankful for our journey and I am certain that our struggle made me 100x more thankful for every minute of this pregnancy!