This has been a milestone week for me. I am now 16 weeks along and baby beans is growing big and strong. I also have been going to bed at night without injecting myself in the leg. Another milestone. I’ve been injecting myself (or subjecting myself to John’s injections) for about 4 months now. In all, I’ve had approximately 120 shots during my IVF and first trimester journey. And now? I’m your run-of-the-mill pregnant woman. I just take my prenatal vitamins and various supplements in the morning and watch my belly grow. It’s very strange to me.
Back when we first started trying to conceive (in June of 2009), I had very little indication that we would have any trouble. And getting pregnant just 4 months later confirmed that belief. Even when we lost the baby, I took solace in the fact that we had been “successful” with relative ease. Surely the next pregnancy would come quickly. However, a year after that first pregnancy began, my illusions of being “like everyone else” ended as I made the first phone call to our reproductive endocrinologist (fertility doc).
Suddenly, the girl who dreamed of a beautiful, natural birth with a midwife was swept away by a wave of intense diagnostic testing and discussions of medical interventions. The me who wanted to follow a more holistic path was overtaken by the desperate woman who would subject herself to any invasion, no matter the cost, in order to have a chance at being a mother. Despite an encouraging diagnosis and positive prognosis, I began to see myself as a medical “problem.” And I saw my body as broken – or worse, gone rogue. I put myself in the hands of a medical team I was hopeful could “fix” me.
Even after our first round of IVF was successful, I was hesitant to let go of my mistrust of my body. I operated with a sense of fear, just waiting for it to let me down again. The process of accepting my reality was a slow one (and sometimes I still have my doubts). But each passing week built my confidence and each doctor’s appointment gave me hope. This one’s a keeper.
Just last week we met with a specialist because I needed to know from an expert just how high-risk this pregnancy is and how much care I would need both prenatally and during labor and delivery. Do you know what she said? I’m fine. I need nothing more than any other pregnant woman. I am good to go. She even gave me her blessing to switch to a midwife for my care. Imagine that – my identity has come full circle and here I am, having a natural birth with a midwife again.
I think what this has taught me is not to cling too tightly to my identity, and to know that it will shift and change with changing circumstances. But to also have hope that what I want most, and who I want to be, is never completely out of reach.