I was pregnant with my son (though I was sure the baby was a girl at the time). We were not to that (somewhat) safe zone of twelve weeks yet, the end of the first trimester when many of the risks of early termination have fallen away, but I felt confident. We’d heard a heartbeat. We’d seen the blob that was the fetus. I was not prepared for what happened the Saturday night of Labor Day weekend.
This day now carries a powerful memory of an all-consuming fear that I had lost the baby, that I wasn’t going to get to be a mommy.
I’d remained pretty calm during our whole in vitro fertilization process, only losing it one other time when I’d gotten a speeding ticket on my way to the office for the initial blood test to see if I was pregnant. I had bawled in the car after the officer left, and broken down again while at the doctor’s. But that Saturday night, seeing that blood, I was terrified.
We were set to transition away from our reproductive assistance specialist back to a regular OB, and had an appointment set up for Wednesday, but there was no way I could wait until then. Even though it was Labor Day weekend, I knew Dr. L would be at the office; it was the first of the month, so likely someone was coming to have her eggs collected as I had two months before. He agreed to see us if we could come early Sunday morning. No problem. The bleeding had subsided, but I was morose, tense. Dr. L did the ultrasound and announced what he must have believed all along, that the baby was fine; when we heard the heartbeat, I wept.
I cannot call them tears of joy, though the doctor quipped that he hoped that’s what they were.
It wasn’t happiness I was feeling in that moment, only relief. My tears were my way of letting go of the tight coil I had held my emotions in until I knew for sure. I don’t remember ever being that scared before, ever feeling so entirely helpless. Any doubts I’d had about whether I really wanted to be a mother disappeared that Saturday night, when I thought I might not be after all.
And I did have my doubts.
Jim and I found each other later in life. We married when I was almost thirty-seven. I was so happy being with him, I wasn’t sure I wanted to add anything to the mix. Still, as the clock ticked, and we put off the decision, we were in essence making a decision. So, we made a pro/con list (a spreadsheet – Jim’s an engineer), and we visited an OB-GYN and asked lots of questions. I got a check up and learned I have hypo-thyroid disease, easily treatable, but something to monitor. And then we decided; we’d remove the “goalie” (as my friend described birth control) and let nature take its course.
And then I didn’t get pregnant.
So we decided to be a little more proactive, and I monitored my menstrual cycle and tracked my ovulation. And still I didn’t get pregnant. So we decided to investigate a little further. A trip to the OB-GYN, an ultrasound to take a look at my uterus, and finally referral to a reproductive assistance specialist, who, after more tests, for both Jim and me, presented us with some options. We chose to start with what might be considered the more aggressive treatment, in vitro fertilization, but when it came down to it, that seemed the best route for us to take.
There were hormone supplements and blood tests, shots in the abdomen that I gave myself for two weeks, and finally the collection of just five viable eggs. Thankfully, four of them fertilized naturally, and after three days, we opted to implant three of the four blastocysts, one of which grew to be our lovely little boy.
I am so thankful, so glad he is in our life. The joy he has added to it is immeasurable. We were so, so lucky in our assisted reproductive journey. I wish any others on this path similar success, without the Labor Day scare.