1.20.2015

ON FORCING TIME'S HAND


The thing about infertility that'll kill a person is all the waiting. 

It's a magical, mystical time, this moment you're waiting for for whatever reason. For some it's because they have to save up first, for others it's a matter of work schedules, when busy season is over, for example. Some people, they get to this stage where they need the help and have to wait, but they can keep on trying on their own, because they're more laid back than me or something. But me, when I realize I can't do it on my own, and the timing isn't right, I sort of shut down. I go into power saving mode. I need a certain percentage of certainty in my life in order to be able to function well, you see. The certainty of borderline-infertility is far better than the uncertainty of borderline-infertility-but-you-never-know, if that makes any sense. And so, I wait.

I'm lucky, in that mine is a simple fix. And I'm the luckiest kind of borderline-infertile, because I've seen it work before. But it's still a hassle. First of all, you can't be traveling. You need three cycles in a row in one place so you can get all your shots and make all your visits and have all the sex and get all the ultrasound wands up yer hoohah. It takes a certain kind of single-mindedness to accomplish this. First of all, to be able to physically withstand the deal, because fertility drugs are sort of the biggest pain in the ass, but also, even more than that, because of the emotional trauma of the thing. Because waiting is torture. Waiting for a pregnancy test to stop blinking that hourglass at you and give you your fate. Waiting for your specialist's appointment because he is always booked a million weeks in advance. Waiting for your follicles to mature. Waiting for your husband to know for sure he won't be traveling for work. Waiting for your hormones to stick around those two extra days you need. Waiting for a basic outline of your book tour to materialize so you know whether or not you'll even be in the right time zone at the time for the baby making.

The right timing.

When the timing is right. 

What does that even mean, "when the timing is right?" 

There is no such thing as a good time to get pregnant. I remember my mom telling me this 10 years ago, and the great thing is, it's totally true. No matter how much you want to get pregnant, actually being pregnant is a total inconvenience. It sucks. And no matter how prepared you are for having a baby, a baby will send everything topsy turvy, and it will always be hard, and really, really frustrating. This is why babies are so ultimately blissful, I think, is because you have to give up so much in order to have them. We were still in the honeymoon phase of life when my mother told me this news, technically speaking, living in Brooklyn Heights with our furbaby Peter Pan, and Brandon was starting to get serious about LAW SCHOOL and my five-year-plan was having to shift to accommodate, and suddenly I found myself wanting to factor in babies into all this nonsense? Because somebody had turned on my biological clock somehow without me noticing? But then there's this "babies in law school" situation, which is obviously not ideal, but my mother is telling me that, yes, babies in law school are a pretty bad idea, but no, because getting pregnant is always a bad idea. Because there is never a good time for a baby. So if you sit down and try to find the perfect time for a baby, the baby will never come. Because there is never a good time. So you just go for it. Right? Because all times are right times when all times are wrong times.

However. If there isn't ever a good time to get pregnant, but in order to get pregnant you have to find a good time to get pregnant . . . do you see where I'm going with this? This lands rather awkwardly, doesn't it.

The first time around, with Huck, the timing was pretty horrible. Brandon was in law school. We had health insurance that covered exactly zero fertility treatments. There weren't any jobs, the economy sucked. But I had figured out what was wrong and had an inkling of what would fix it, and so, we fixed it. We jumped, we got pregnant, we moved in the middle of it, I gave birth without a doctor because I had to use the free clinic because nobody in New York takes on a new patient when she's in her 8th month, and then when Huck was born it was a Tuesday morning in the middle of midterms and Brandon was stressed out of his eyeballs. 

And it was bliss

The timing could not have been dumber, and yet I have never been happier in my life. My body has been screaming for that kind of happiness lately, more intensely than I can even stand, because my body is convinced the timing is right. And I'm ready. I'm ready, it has to be now, I'm ready.

See, I got my period on Christmas Day this year. This year, and the year before I got pregnant with Huck, too, I got my period on Christmas Day. (Well, in 2009 it was a chemical miscarriage, potato potahto.) And then there's this: When you're pregnant and you're getting set up with a new doctor--which I did, like, four times--the first question they ask you is "what was the date of the first day of your last period?" which, in my case, was January 20th. 

January 20th! 

So January 20th had started to take on this reverential tone for me. It was on that day that my life had begun to change. I could never have known it at the time, at the time I was cramping and bleeding and more than a little bit bummed out--that was back when every period brought hours of tears--but that made it even more significant to me, this idea that brilliance could be born out of so much pain. 

So, when I got my period on Christmas Day this year, I sort of froze. I thought to myself, yyyyyeah okay, this is a sign. This is totally a sign. It's go time. Forget the book launch. Forget possible book tours. This is happening! THIS IS HAPPENING. 

First thing I did was book an appointment with my fertility specialist. And then I told Brandon to Get thouself tested! ASAP! cause doctors won't prescribe you your cancer-causing drugs unless they know for sure that your dude's junk is working. Common sense I suppose. And then Brandon said, "When is your appointment so I know when to schedule mine?" And then I said, "January 20th." 

And then I shook my head and went---wait. Tuesday the twentieth? Nooooo.... Tuesday . . . the . . . HOLY SHIT. 

That was how I knew FOR SURE for sure that this was REALLY going to happen. This was it. How could it not be? We were in Utah at the time, and I was SINGLE-MINDED. To hell with the rest of it, my date was set, Brandon's date was set, it was all falling into place. 

But then. 

Late at night, I'd start to wonder. Maybe a book tour shouldn't be put off. Maybe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Maybe trying to get pregnant while also trying to launch a book isn't the smartest idea. Maybe I'd be happier being patient. Maybe I should wait until the stress of the book dies down. Maybe it should be one baby at a time. Book baby, then human baby. Maybe, maybe, maybe. More than anything else, the timing stopped feeling right. The most right thing in the world, and it had stopped feeling right. But--January 20th! If this wasn't the Universe sending me a signal, what was it? I couldn't let this January 20th go to waste! It was completely confusing. I'd waffle between thinking, "I need to be pregnant, NOW," and ". . . but it's still okay if we wait a little longer." 

Well, today is January 20th. Here we are. Huck woke up with a death rattle in his chest and the Niagara Falls of runny noses. Brandon had a last-minute work emergency and wasn't able to make it to his testing appointment this morning. I grudgingly called the office and confirmed that without the boy component, there wouldn't be any girl component, and anyway, the last thing I needed to do is drag my sick child into a place where perfectly kind and reasonable people are trying to get and keep their pregnancies, and, ugh. We rescheduled. His next opening is in April. Is this the slammed gavel on a verdict that had already been made but that I'd been ignoring despite persistent niggling? Is this January the 20th not for babies? Is this January the 20th for something else? (Maybe it's for Mexican food, I could go for a burrito.)

Being the opposite of sure about the most sure thing in the world doesn't feel good, even though, at the same time, it does feel right. Summer, not winter. Later, not now. Like my feelings on the matter aren't really important, and it's just going to happen when it happens, and not when I decide I'm ready for it to happen. It's an odd feeling, because, if you ask me, my feelings on everything should be important, much more important than some mystical, arbitrary "timing" type of thing, come on now. It's odd, and it's uncertain. I hate uncertain.

Sometimes, even though I know a baby is coming eventually, the waiting and uncertainty will start to hurt so hard it makes me feel utterly empty.

When you're borderline-infertile, and you've had success once, the timing of babies starts to seem entirely up to you. But when I finally got Huck, maybe that wasn't up to me? Maybe it was because that timing was actually right? Even though it felt all wrong? Maybe I hadn't forced Huck against time's will. Maybe time forced me. Clearly my sense of power in this case, as in most cases, is entirely an illusion of my own creating. Clearly this is my human condition.

Huck is in the living room, in his pajamas, watching Mr. Peabody & Sherman. There's a beautiful sequence mid-film where Mr. Peabody & Sherman visit these famous moments throughout history together, going back through time. "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon plays in the background, it's a total tear jerker. Part of the sequence shows how Mr. Peabody discovered Sherman as a baby in a cardboard box in a side alley. As we watch this for the third time today, Huck pokes his head up from the sofa and asks in a raspy little voice, "Mom, when I was a baby did you find me in a box?" 

No, turkey. I didn't find you in a box. I found you in my arms at the most perfect moment on earth


I don't like it. Not at all.

56 comments :

  1. Beautifully written Natalie. I can't can't say much more that compares to what you've said. Everything will fall into place for you!

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  2. Hey doll, I read psalm 42 today. Thought of you. Take a read if yiu can, I'm sending some words heavenward on behalf of you today.
    Xox

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  3. so well written... what a journey, Natalie... hope everything works out for the best xxx

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  4. ultrasound wand up your hoohah. I, unfortunately, know all the feelings that encompass this experience. I really appreciate your posts on infertility. It makes me feel less alone and square peggy in the baby making scheme of things! x

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  5. beautifully written. fingers crossed, prayers to heaven that you get another baby soon, because it's obvious that he/she would have all the love in the world from you. thanks for sharing your story.

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  6. beautiful. although i haven't had a conscious struggle with infertility, i really appreciate your honesty & transparency about this. i, too, am a control freak (eh hem, no i'm not calling you a control freak...), and went back and forth with hubs about "the most perfect time in life to have a baby". and just when we'd decided it was "the most inconvenient time to have a baby" while my husband was in the middle of graduate school, we got pregnant. and it was blissful. xo

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  7. The fact that I read this whilst listing to horrible muzak as I sat on hold with my doctor's office, waiting but for reasons not having to do with infertility, is certainly some kind of sign. I love signs, and numbers, and dates, and all the magic tied up therewithin when it come to things like synchronicity. So, as I navigate all this medical uncertainy which I'm currently facing, and am met with something so beautifully written which speaks quite directly to my personal and immediate anxiety, I take it that all is as it should be, and that everything little thing is going to be alright. For us both. For all of us, really.

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  8. There is never a perfect time, so cherish today; you have a loving husband, a beautiful child and new day to be written. Infertility sucks, a monthly constant reminder. Baby showers and birthdays, and long days and cold nights. I don't think that anything that I say would comfort my wife, unitl she knew how sencere my words where when I say: "I love you, just the way you are." I do, I wouldn't change anything, and when it happens it happens; and we'll continue to do eveything we can to make it happen.

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  9. Girl. I am sending big, huge hugs. It took 10 years to get our daughter here, and I couldn't do fertility treatments because of some other health problems I have. So I can't speak to that part, but I understand the waiting. Oh, do I understand that! And then I had the pregnancy from hell and my daughter was born at 25 weeks- 1 pound, 3 ounces, 11.5" long- and we won't be able to have any more. And my heart aches that my pregnancy and her birth pretty much sucked, after all those years of waiting. I didn't get to hold her for weeks, I didn't hear her cry until she had her breathing tube taken out at 81 days old, I didn't even get to meet her until she was 8 hours old. Sorry, you don't need my whole story! I just hate it because that was my one shot and it was so horrendously wrong. But my daughter is 6 months old now and after 5 1/2 months in the NICU is finally home! And I am praying so hard that YOU will get to enjoy the second pregnancy and baby that I never will. Because you are a wonderful person and kick-ass mom. Who knows why things happen the way they do? All I know is, everything has a purpose. Your time will come (SOON, I'm praying!), and while that doesn't make the waiting any easier right now, it will all make sense one day. Sending really big cyber hugs and a box of tissues and some killer chocolate- you can do it!

    -Alisha, long-time reader and fellow mama

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    Replies
    1. And I experienced a miscarriage with my first pregnancy in 2013. Horrible.

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    2. And I experienced a miscarriage with my first pregnancy in 2013. Horrible.

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  10. i hope your book is FULL of this. xo

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  11. Sending you lots of hugs! I hope everything works out!
    Love
    Pili
    pils13.blogspot.com

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  12. I'm not much of a commenter, but I love your blog and find it so comforting and positive, even when dealing with the tough stuff. Thank you for sharing what you're going through. There are a few lines from a poem by Li-Young Lee that I think of often because I'm terrible at waiting: "And since we've not learned / how not to want / we've had to learn, / by waiting, how to wait." Here's to not having to wait too much longer.

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  13. I love your blog its heartfelt and beautiful in it's honesty. I understand the frustration you are feeling . I did eventually have 3 boys yeah. I wish much success and happiness.
    simmer Dougherty
    Agoodmourning.blogspot.com

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  14. Oh man Natalie. You are my sort of internet hero type human. I've commented before and mentioned my divorce, but here it is again. For three years I tried to have a baby, with the human I was married to back then. I've now realized and accepted that he is scum (is that harsh? Maybe.) and we've been separated/divorced for one glorious year. But during that time of trying, we tried so many things. Nothing worked. I was starting to wonder if maybe I'd never have a baby. My doctor said everything was working properly, I had even had surgery by said doctor, and he was starting to worry that maybe he had done something wrong.

    Fast forward to today. I'm with the most amazing, most handsome, most kind man I've ever met. He's not LDS, I am, but you know what? After three years of sex being allowed, it's hard for it to suddenly be forbidden again. So...we were maybe not as chaste as some church folk might hope. And guess what? A baby is on it's way. A beautiful, miraculous, 100% surprise and unplanned sneaky little bean that has worked it's way into our hearts. I'm 12 weeks, 4 days, terrified of telling everyone but SO thrilled that my body can do this, and thrilled that the man I'm doing it with is as amazing as he is.

    You rock, Natalie. I can't wait for the moment I read that thrilling news on your blog of baby #2!

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  15. I could not disagree more with the idea that "it's never a good time for babies." I might have thought that at one point, back when I wanted to plan it around fun tropical vacations and promotions. But after losing a baby in the second trimester and having to be on bed rest for 5 months with our second (and most likely all future babies), I've realized that they're the very stuff of life, and they'll always be a blessing, whenever they come.

    www.anna-bird.com

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  16. My husband and I have a little boy who will be 2 next week. We had a miscarriage last November. Now we're in the limbo phase waiting. Whoever would have thought there could be so much heartache in having babies? They're worth it though. A million times over. I think about it like this: you won't get pregnant until YOUR baby is the one up to bat. And when you have that new little one in your arms, it'll make perfect sense. All those other times that you didn't get pregnant, it was because if you had, you wouldn't have the EXACT baby that you're holding in your arms - and she's the one God meant for you. Love and prayers to you, Friend. And patience, as horrible a thing as it is.

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  18. We may have never met, but you're one of my people. We are one in the same. If that sounds totally creepy, I'm sorry. But since I really feel like we're so similar I know you won't find it the least bit odd. Anyways...

    I've been battling my own "right time" demons lately. Just last night we were having the baby #2 conversation. I may not be infertile and got pregnant in our first month off the pill, but our son (now 14 months old) was born at 35 weeks and spent 3 weeks in the NICU. My husband says now or never, but I always say it's not the right time. But the more I think about it, there will never be a good time. Your words give me hope that I'll be brave enough to jump in with both feet and come out swimming.

    www.twotylersandababy.com

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  19. Makes me cry. Thanks for putting into words what I can't say. You've captured my own feelings exactly. I don't know if I feel better but I certainly feel peace knowing there are other people in the world going through these things. You're awesome. Here's to waiting.

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  20. Holy shit is right. Holy shit I cried so much reading this. Timing and waiting has the power to ruin us all, but it's not ruining you today or tomorrow or the next day Natalie. Hey, Natalie Jean, you got this girl.

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  21. Wishing you the best and a lot of peace in the meantime. We are finally expecting after six and a half years of trying and a million rounds of fertility treatments. It's surreal.I remember caring what month I'd have the baby for timing purposes and wondering how many I wanted to have and then thinking it might only be one and dammit if I have to wait at least I get the fancy crib. And then, somehow, I let go. I kept moving forward. I adopted the stupidest most restrictive diet. I threw every medical option at my body. And I said "universe, whatever babies you can make of the embryos we have left, I'll take them." And we are pregnant with twins, and still have two on ice. And it's crazy and amazing and surreal. And tip-toeing into the second trimester, I still say "if we have children", because I truly and honestly believe it could all disappear at any minute.

    Infertility is a landmine. The waiting messes with you, the loss messes with you (I've had four chemical pregnancies, too, before this one), and the doom follows you around and threatens to steal your joy. It's a daily battle to live in the present when so much of your time is focused on the past (medical records) and future (what ifs and those damned HPTs).

    PEACE. Blessings. And all the luck in the world. x

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  22. Try to get in with a different specialist!! When you write about what being pregnant felt like, you sound profoundly happy. It also sounds like you're at a cross-roads right now, and wondering which direction to go. But you answer your own question with this sentence: "The timing could not have been dumber, and yet I have never been happier in my life." I think you should run top-speed in the direction of the little baby you're dreaming about and go full steam ahead, book be darned. Best to you. xo

    I'm rooting for you!

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  23. Sending lots of love and peace your way. Time is a strange, strange mistress.

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  24. This is so beautifully written. Sending you positive thoughts!

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  25. Ugh, girl you are gonna HAVE baby and it will be at YOUR right time and I am just really, really, rooting for you. So much love and baby dust your way. <3

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  26. This was good. I've been going through a similar mental conflict with having another baby (I don't have fertility problems, but a health problem that might cause fertility problems). Uncertainty. My "type A" personality can't deal with it.

    Somehow, someway everything works out in the end, but we don't realize that till hindsight. Good luck with your book and baby endeavors :)

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  27. well obviously you're getting pregnant in march. :)

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  28. Last month we had a check to see if my fallopian tubes are free, then told my doc that next day i 'll have ovulation so it would be great if we hurry.I could swear it's the perfect time and I counted every damn day. With every day after my regular period I felt happier that's why when I got my period on 30th day it was like the end of the world.
    After all I thought, maybe is not the right time. But as you already told. when is the right time?!
    I hope we'll do it this year!

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  29. Well I'm crying. You and me have been waiting it out together because I'm in the same boat. But I got pregnant with my Sebastian in APRIL! Our due date was January 20th! This could be it!
    I'm waiting too. It took years to get pregnant with our first and now we've been trying for four years for number 2. I try not to think about it. I'm afraid if I think about it too much I will go crazy and get depressed. So I just trust that the Lord knows what he's doing.

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  30. We're in control of nothing other than our response. While we often think the timing of something sucks it is always in perfect accord with The Higher Ups.

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  31. You're one of those, for me. I love you even when you make me cry.

    Rooting so hard for you, girl.

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  32. My story is very similar to yours, complete with stressful book tours, except that after miscarriages we decided to find a different way to build our family. (See: http://blog.elizabethjoyarnold.com/2010/03/10/and-now-on-to-serious-ponderous-stuff/) And then...more waiting.

    But because of it all (not in spite of it all), we have our wonderful, perfect-timing meant-to-be little girl Anna. It WILL happen for you one way or another, in exactly the way it's meant to happen, and regardless of how painful it all was, when that baby comes you'll be grateful for the wait. The universe really does know exactly what it's doing.

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  33. I cannot wait for your book, I hope the whole thing will be as lovely as this post. It will happen, I just know it; I suspect when you least expect it. My fingers are crossed for you!

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  34. I love how open, honest, real, and raw you are in this post. I don't struggle with infertility but I know so many that do and this post represented all of their feelings so well. Thank you for sharing <3

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  35. It seems to me that January 20th feels so right to you because January 20th is Huck. You will have a new date for a new family member, and then you'll look back on it, and it will also feel right. All my love to you. Hang in there.

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  36. What a beautiful time though. It may have not been what you wanted and so desperately anticipated, this January 20th. But it is. It is still a sign and it is still the day that everything is changing. It was a new moon yesterday. A super moon that we could not see, and so a great beginning of something new; of change. You have a beautiful soul and a way of opening your heart to the world.

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  37. It"s such a different world now. Back many decades ago there were no fertility specialist. Personally, I know 3 women who could not get pregnant, were told by their doctors - you will never have children (this was in the 50's and 60's). A few years went by and each of these 3 women adopted a child...then, a miracle happened and each of these 3 women immediately got pregnant and even went on to have several more children. I find that amazing. They let their guard down...and got pregnant.

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  38. I have to add - all three of these women (2 have passed on - they were much older than me) said that in their adopting their first child, they had fully excepted everything by then and felt so happy and blessed with their new precious babies. I often thought it had to be part of God's plan - these little ones needed a loving home. I just wonder how many similar stories are out there...I mean, I know of these 3!!! Oh, one of those adopted babies became a very important person in the world of politics. We just have to realize...we can't know the when, where, and why's to every single thing in this life...we have to go with the flow.

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  39. I'm not yet in this stage of life. I'm in my own twenty year old stage. But I've got a knack for empathy. Please know there is this little (really, I'm only five feet) woman in Ogden, Utah who is in her own darkness cheering you on while you are in yours.
    ALL MY LOVE and good baby juju! ;)

    Erika Wynn

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  40. Perhaps your period and appointment date were signs. And reminders. A sign that this will be the year! But a reminder that the timing will not be the exact same because the is a different baby! A reminder that the timing may not be perfect for your schedule (as you so very eloquently wrote), but a sign that when it happens will be perfect timing for this baby and your family.

    Best wishes! You are an amazing woman and writer, and you are in the thoughts and prayers of many.

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  41. You might like this post.

    https://motheringspirit.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/dear-couple-in-the-pew-i-see-you-on-infertility-invisibility/#comment-3969

    You are so strong and so many women are finding comfort in your words.

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  42. You move me, lady. From the other end of the ultrasound wand.. just so you know, we see you. xo

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  43. I've been following Dayna's struggle with infidelity for months - and it breaks my heart to hear how many people suffer with this.
    This post was so gorgeously written and perfectly but together. Moving and touching, goose-bump worthy!
    I've fallen in love with you writing - even with the sadness it causes because you bring hope.. and that is so special xxx

    www.bohemianmuses.blogspot.com

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  44. this reminds me a lot of that part of my journey. i get the roller coaster ride: the seemingly endless waiting, the despair, the hope, the heart-break. like you, i had one (such an amazing gift) and so desperately wanted a brother or sister for her. i hear you and yet i know it can be lonely. i know you weren't asking for advice, but my sister told me to decide how far you are willing to go…and then be ok with that. she decided to go no further and has no children. we decided how far we wanted to go, got there and adopted another amazing gift! our girls are 18 and 13- incredible! the pain is definitely a memory…but just that now…a memory. wishing you peace and happiness in whatever happens! :)

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  45. Thinking of you and hoping you get some good news soon.

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  46. Natalie-- Ironically, I read your post while I was watching the Sex and the City episode where Miranda accidentally gets pregnant and Charlotte hates her because she and her husband have been trying really hard, with no success, to get pregnant. This is extra ironic because I almost never watch the show and I didn't even realize the connection between what I was watching and what I was reading until the very end of the episode when Carrie said, "They say life's what happens when you're busy making other plans. But sometimes in New York, life is what happens when you're waiting for a table." I don't mean to make light of your experiences by tying them to this silly show but it all felt very serendipitous to me and I wanted to share. Here's to waiting for tables and babies, and to making life and living life, and to you, Natalie! Best of luck!

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  47. Don't you hate knowing that there's a plan for you and you don't get to orchestrate it, or even know when the big parts are coming?

    Natalie, I feel for you. I have one child. I was forty, nearly infertile and getting procedures done. More than once I hoped for another after that miracle, but really? To work to have a second at the age of forty-three? I am very happy with my one good egg, but I remember the strains of that melancholy song.

    I'm sending you good wishes all the way from the other coast.

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  48. Everything is gonna be alright, just be patient :) I send you my good vibes and best wishes :)

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  49. That made me smile reading that. I think that being patient isn't a bad thing at all. Hope it work out for you! Also, everytime I watch that film with my two, it makes me nearly cry every time!
    Xxx

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  50. Oh mama how I know this dance. I had primary unexplained infertility and find myself in a similar boat now when trying for a second. Is it secondary infertility when you've also had primary? Primary secondary infertility? Whatever it is it sucks!
    Sending you love as you navigate this journey.

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  51. I stumbled across your Instagram account and now your blog at the perfect moment. I realize this post is over a year old now, but I needed to read it. I've been struggling with waiting after having had a miscarriage last year, and I've been searching people who get it. Thanks for sharing.

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  52. Timing is a funny thing. I had no interest in having kids when I got pregnant with my son Jack and then it turns out I was mistaken. I did actually want to be pregnant and have alllll the babes. I just didn't know until I realized that babies were the best.
    wishing you the best
    Marisa

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