Our Journey: We Are Pregnant


pregnant pregnancy babyMy husband wanted to announce our pregnancy at 12 weeks on social media. I was 12 weeks pregnant on Father’s Day, and he had had such little control in any of this.

We had our daughter in the summer of 2018, and we have never not been trying to get her a sibling. We got pregnant right before she turned a year and a half. We lost that baby. We were pregnant the following month. We lost that baby, too—and my use of my right fallopian tube. We’ve lost four babies in all.

When I sit on the paper cloth at the doctor’s office, and they ask me how many pregnancies I’ve had, I have to sit and think. I know the number—it’s etched in my heart. But it seems so unlikely. So impossible. “Six,” I say and try to mentally run through each one, each loss, and my sweet, perfect daughter.

The thing about losses, for me at least, is that the first one was the hardest. The first one knocked the wind out of me, cleaned me out from the inside. The other ones sort of clinked together, one after another in a rut that had already been scraped out from inside of me.

Our sixth pregnancy, the one we announced at 12 weeks, the one I am carrying today, is our IVF miracle. We had 22 eggs retrieved, and one perfect little embryo was genetically normal. One perfect chance. “It only takes one,” the embryologist cheerfully reminded me on the phone when she called to give me our results.

It’s hard for me to describe why IVF was so hard. I can only pinpoint snapshots that cracked me. The waiting to hear if this one embryo implanted inside of me. The knowing that if this embryo didn’t implant, we would be back at square one. Financial stress wouldn’t release its grip anytime soon. My work-weary husband wouldn’t find his lighthearted laugh anytime soon.

I had considered myself tough. I had seen hard things. I had felt them, let them wash through me, and I had survived. But IVF was another kind of beast. The egg retrieval surgery left me crying on the bathroom floor. And those tears were a drop in the pan compared to the tears I cried during the two weeks post-transfer. I was sick to my stomach, certain the embryo didn’t take. I went to my primary care physician seven days post-transfer, and the nurse practitioner was very pregnant. I told her we had been going through IVF when she asked for an update on any medications I had been taking. We decided to take a pregnancy test there at the doctor’s office. “I’m sorry, it is negative,” she whispered with downcast eyes. I was angry with her, the baby she carried, God.

I have never questioned God as much as I have during infertility. I guess that tells you all you need to know about how blessed I have been in this world. The gift of fertility just felt agonizingly random. I couldn’t understand how I could get pregnant and lose babies. At the end of the day, I landed on just this—maybe it’s a gift. Not in the toxic positivity way, but as in the gift of a perspective. A gift you can only be given through trials and experience. The sorrow had emptied me. It had flooded my deepest crevices and fears and emptied me like a receding tide. Maybe the secret was that those tides of grief had washed me out to make room for an even deeper joy. Maybe I couldn’t yet comprehend the depth of the joy that could fill me now that I had been gutted.

I never took another pregnancy test after the one in my primary care doctor’s office. On 12 days past transfer, I dutifully went to get my bloodwork. I used to hate IVs and needles. Now I watched emotionlessly. I had spent the past few days crying, begging, and steeling myself for failure. My sister would sneak out of work meetings to take my calls any time of day. I would cry, and she would tell me things like, “Becca, I read this quote and thought of you. John Steinbeck said, ‘What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.’” She would wait until I had regained composure before hurrying back to work. I have never been more grateful for my sister.

I expected a phone call that evening—I didn’t make it to get my blood drawn until late afternoon once my toddler had a nap. When six o’clock came and went, I was okay. The offices had closed, and it was my fault for getting out so late. I had just taken the trash out and was standing at the garage door, obsessively checking my phone, when I saw an email. PREGNANT the subject line read in all caps. I clutched my phone to my chest. My breaths became deep and exaggerated; tears filled my eyes. My sweet girl looked up at me and said, “Mommy? Mommy, you so frustrated?” I will never forget her voice, her eyes, and her question at that moment. I scooped her up and told her, “No, my baby. Mommy is so so happy.”

“We’re pregnant!” I yelled up to my husband. I cautiously tried on the new adjective for size. But I knew there was another blood test in 48 hours—then likely another after that. Then the scan for the baby’s heartbeat. I knew there were weeks of uncertainty, but we had made it this far.

I guess you can understand why my husband was so excited to tell the world by the time we were 12 weeks into our pregnancy. It seemed serendipitous to him that 12 weeks coincided with Father’s Day. I didn’t feel ready to share yet. It felt wrong to share “we’re pregnant!” with the world when there was so much more to the story. So much more to the story that I just wasn’t ready to say out loud. I knew I wanted to tell everyone in the same breath that we were pregnant and that it was a very difficult journey for us. Too many nights I had spent crying and reading Instagram posts and blogs, searching for signs of hope. Of women who had had a hard time, and yet, their miracle arrived. Those women buoyed me during the storm. Somewhere along the way, I had inwardly made a sacred commitment to the infertility community to share my story—that maybe someone else could cling to a fragment of hope.

Today, we are nearly halfway into this pregnancy. Today, I want to share that it has been anything but easy. Today, I want to share that my sweet girl will get her very own sister this New Year.