There’s a lot weighing on my mind right now, so forgive me if this is jumbled. August is a particularly rough month in our house, and the closer we get to the end of the month, the worse it is.
It goes all the way back to 2017, when I became pregnant in late February with my second child. Some of you may be doing the math, going what child? And the answer is exactly.
I found out I was pregnant the beginning of March and by mid-April I was 100% certain something was wrong. I had a molar pregnancy. More on that perhaps in another post. I lost that pregnancy and spent the next nine months of my life on a first name basis with everyone in my OBGYNs office.
September, however, before my follow up was over, I had two lines on a pregnancy test pop up. I was pregnant with child number three. It lasted not even a week before the line got lighter and faded. Chemical pregnancy.
December 1, 2017 I was cleared from the molar drama to officially try to conceive again. Throughout my entire molar pregnancy ordeal there was always the question of whether or not I could get pregnant again, if the molar was completely gone, if I would be able to carry another baby to term, and if the molar would come back.
So on December 17th, when I got the positive pregnancy test, I was ecstatic but also equally nervous. I waited a whole week to tell my spouse. Gave him the best Christmas gift ever when he opened the box on Christmas morning to a framed photo telling him his present was on back order until September.
My pregnancy was damn near perfect. And on August 31, 2018 at 9:25 in the morning on a Friday, I had my first contraction. Drove myself to the hospital and gave birth to a tiny but feisty baby girl twenty minutes after walking into labor and delivery at 11:54 am.
And then it all went to shit. I bled out. Completely plus some. They sliced my belly open from my belly button to my crotch. They ripped out my uterus, attempted to rip out my cervix, but I found out a few weeks ago they missed some, they pumped me full of drugs, blood, shocked me back when my heart stopped, and sewed me together to put me into ICU for a night.
I am infertile. It took me over a year to use that word. It didn’t click in my brain that I was infertile until we were at an adoption seminar and one of the requirements for that agency is you have to be infertile. It was a shock to my system, like someone had dumped a bucket of ice water over my head.
Two years later, on the eve of celebrating my rainbow child–my last child, I am wallowing in that same bucket of ice water. I am infertile. Now, I am a ridiculously strong woman, and I pride myself in never being vulnerable. It’s stupid, but I do. It’s also not a good place to live.
I never thought my infertility would lead to me losing friends. I never thought my infertility would be so foreign to someone else’s infertility. I never realized before that there’s really two kinds of infertility. Those who want and have a possibility, however slim. And those who have no chance in hell.
I’m in that second category. I will never feel a baby in my belly again, never have the kicks that while annoying are also sanity saving. People look at my two beautiful children who look so much like me it’s insane and ask when we’re having another. When I answer with never, they get shocked. They expect an explanation. They expect me to open up to them and spill my guts, like I did on that surgeon’s table two years ago.
And I can’t. I can’t even begin to explain to them how I’m infertile, that no matter how hard I pray or how hard they pray or whatever miracle cure they’ve heard about on the news that it just won’t happen. That I’m a thirty-one year old woman without all the working parts. How sometimes, as much as I loathed my uterus in my youth, its loss is devastating to my own definition of womanhood and what it means to be female. How I feel not wholly woman any more. How this word that has been chained to me is not a true definition of what or who I am.
So as I sit in my office, not working because let’s face it there is no work getting done this week and maybe even next, wondering where I fit into this world. Wondering how we can have a better definition of infertility, a better understanding that it’s okay to be vulnerable, that vulnerability makes us stronger. Wondering how I can speak life into other woman who are experiencing this same mess of emotions but have no where to turn because we have never been invited to talk about our own brand of infertility.
I’m inviting you now. Share your story, with me with someone else, but talk about it. Talk about the pain that comes with being in this club. Talk about the realities that our womanhood is so insanely and stupidly tied to the not-quite working or present organs in our bodies. Why is it that no matter how progressive we may be that we keep thinking about our sexuality, our identity based on what body parts we do and do not have? Why this crap of trauma come with so many layers to it that each year we just keep finding more and more?
I know I’m not alone. I know there are others out there who feel like I do. But I haven’t met you yet. I feel alone. I haven’t found a place where people like us talk about this, freely and openly. We are women, whether we are fertile or infertile. We are women. We are strong, and we are vulnerable. We all have limits. And no matter the trauma we have faced, no matter the disruption to our lives that has happened, we are keeping on keeping on. Because sometimes, that’s the only thing we can do.