You don’t know me. Well, maybe you do (our readership is still small, after all). But if not, all you know about me is that I’m the natural birthing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, make-all-our-food-from scratch CRAZY LADY.
Right? So annoying. A magical mama unicorn.
I have a surprise for you. I AM a unicorn. For reals. But not in the magical, irritating, glitter-farts way. I’m a unicorn in the rare birth defect, mandatory-IVF kind of way. So that’s something you can feel smug about when I’m annoying you with my crazy-mom-ness. I’ll never have a “whoops, I’m pregnant” moment. The one big surprise in my life has dictated that there will be no surprises ever in the baby making department.
When my husband and I started talking about kids 3 years ago, we were very casual about it. We don’t have to TRY, we just won’t PREVENT, we said. I come from a family full of overly fertile Filipino mamas (remember, my grandma had 12 kids), so I was nervous. OMG, I could pretty much be pregnant tomorrow just by thinking about it! Is this the right time? Am I ready to be pregnant TOMORROW? Holy sh*t!
After a few months of not being pregnant tomorrow, I was feeling paranoid. Everything I read said “try for a year before seeing a doctor”, but I had this dark feeling that something wasn’t right. Also…I’m impatient.
Let’s back up a bit. I had my right ovary removed when I was in high school because of a tumor. At the time, the doctor assured my mom that it wouldn’t affect my fertility at all. So I never thought about it again…well, not for 13 years anyway.
So 6 months into “not trying” I went to my annual checkup. Annnnd, I fibbed to my doctor! I told her we had been trying for almost a year. Hey, I just rounded up a little! She sent me to have an HSG test. Probably just scar tissue from the old surgery, she said.
If you’ve ever had an HSG, it sucks, it’s awkward, and you stare at the ceiling and try to pretend you’re somewhere else. And then, if you’re me, the nurse says something comforting like, “That’s strange.” And then you cry in the parking lot, and go back to work and stare blankly at your computer for the next 3 hours.
So my doctor sent me to a fertility specialist. That’s how you know that “not trying” is NOT going well. And to think, my grandmother told me not to hold hands with boys because I might get pregnant (gotta love Asian grandmas). Think of all the hand holding I missed out on!
The new doctor said, it’s probably just scar tissue blockage. We’ll just clear it out. Two weeks later, I woke up from my laparoscopy. My husband didn’t have to say it. I knew when I saw his face.
IVF. Despite what your insurance says, it’s not an elective. No one chooses IVF. But it was the only option. Why? Because I have a unicornuate uterus. WTF is that, you ask? It’s when you only have one half of your uterus. A random, super rare birth defect. Which wouldn’t even be a huge issue, except it was on the right. Where I don’t have an ovary anymore. Not connected to my left ovary in any way. Everything was functioning normally…but they might as well have been on different planets. They were never (ever, ever) getting together. And there were pregnancy risks. Possible breech presentation. Possible premature birth. Possible miscarriage. Wait, aren’t these things possible anyway?
So, we went for it. We went from “we don’t have to TRY” to “we need to do this NOW”. We spent the money (with some help from hopeful grandparents-to-be). I did the many, many, many injections. And in the words of Lucille Bluth, our future babies were “made in a cup, like soup”. The day before the embryo transfer, we watched Babies to get psyched for what we hoped was our impending pregnancy. I might get pregnant, I thought. Like, tomorrow. And I did.
We’re so, so lucky to have our son. He stayed in the right position for my entire pregnancy. He was born 2 days past my due date, even though the doctors warned that he would probably be early. And he was over 8 pounds, so he did just fine with the limited space he had. I know it may not be that easy next time, but I hope it will be. Because I’m a glass-half-full person. A stubbornly optimistic person.
It’s why I don’t look back on that time with anxiety.
It’s why I’ll be excited to do it again.
It’s what gets me through the daily hot messes of motherhood.
It’s what made me the natural-birthing, cloth-diapering nutcase that I am.
It’s why I wanted a natural birth, and why I was so stubborn about nursing.
Every pregnancy I’ll have (and there will be more) will be planned. Monitored. Managed. I want to do the rest of it my way.
On paper, I may sound like a magical mama unicorn. But in real life? I’m just a regular unicorn. Regular farts and all.