Where do I start? I finally announced a couple months ago on the blog that I am expecting. The nerves can’t handle the stress of thinking that speaking the truth aloud will somehow make something go wrong. Maybe it did? I was diagnosed with placenta previa, very common for women in my age group and even more so for those who undergo IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The condition is pretty much what it sounds like (Latin). The placenta is first. It can cause bleeding and early birth, severe enough to threaten the life of mother and child. So, I’ve had to take it easy. All those ideas of walking and exercising are out the door. At least, at 28 weeks (when I wrote this article) it’s now posterior located, though still complete. It could still move and allow me to carry to term and have a vaginal birth.
Dealing with this pregnancy complication makes the pregnancy even more surreal. I’m left wondering at what point I can be excited about finally having a child. If you’ve read previous articles about this journey, then you know about my miscarriage and IVF journey. That journey is not just emotionally challenging, but financially exhausting as well. Your savings dry up and you watch your chances go with it, not to mention the fund you intended to use on the nursery and daycare. And, choosing adoption is just as, if not more so, expensive (both emotionally and financially). So many do not make it to parenthood for those and other reasons. That outcome is heartbreaking, and I was certain I would be in that group, with only one embryo to transfer after three retrievals and genetic testing. Thus, I am also aware of the many other things that can go wrong post birth—in childhood…teenage days…college…
The biggest lesson I am learning is that I have no control over a part of my life that is important to me, and also something I would very much like to control (as far as being protective and providing). Add to this the status of single-parenthood, and things get overwhelming. I barely have time to even think about what is going on, so it remains distant, not to mention incomparable.
Think about it. Even though I am 42, and most of my friends have already done this multiple times, and advice and guidance comes in aplenty, I have nothing to compare this experience to in my own repertoire, which makes it difficult to fathom. Despite the fetus moving around my burgeoning stomach and the ultrasounds, the heartbeat and the symptoms, there is doubt exhibited in thoughts that root in denial.
Yes, that single embryo managed to stick and has since developed into a tiny fetus, now a ready to burst forward fetus. As you read this, I might be in the hospital having a c-section because of the previa. And, until the moment I hold her, I don’t think I am going to believe this is real.
Can you imagine holding your very first baby for the very first time? Experienced parents probably read this with a small knowing smile. The first is the big unknown, no matter how much reading and preparation you undertake, or the amount of support surrounding you. In all honesty, I hold no starlit ideas about parenthood. It’s messy and it’s for life. The questions that make up the in between are numerous: will I be good at this or ruin them, will I love them and will they love me back, what will they look like, how will they identify, what is their future, can I keep them safe from the nightmares that can happen in life, will I react with strength and intelligence in emergencies? And my nursery wasn’t even done at 30 weeks, so you can imagine the roller coaster of stress being ridden outside of all that.
The surrealism of the moment no doubt arises in the turmoil of getting ready. There’s no time to truly prepare, while you’re trying to figure out what you need to do—and work, eat and sleep. Experienced parents would tell the first timer, get used to it. That’s how things roll from here out, at least until the empty nest.
I don’t think I’d give it up for the world. Getting here wasn’t easy, and I was convinced my dream of motherhood was drying up with my eggs. While I’m stressed over getting ready, I’m avoiding that end and it’s a blessing I’m lucky to experience. As I mentioned before, my reserved feelings stem from my knowledge of all that can happen.
Best wishes to those still trying. There is hope, even if you just have one viable embryo. I’m proof.
Here’s to a surreal 9 months for you.
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