Anyone else keep a journal?
I was cleaning out some old boxes and found a journal I had written in from years ago. When I was reading it, memories were flooding back. I was 24 when I started writing this ….
I got married when I was 21 and wanted a family so badly. We discovered it was not really that easy. Referrals to specialists. Sperm counts. Ultrasounds. Temperature charting. Progesterone. Clomid. And … Finally, a confirmed pregnancy. I was elated over the moon excited. I was put on bed rest but then the bleeding started. It got to be a point of concern and they had me come in.
When I got to the exam room, they were so concerned, they didn’t even have me get redressed, they wrapped me in those paper sheets and whisked me off to the ultrasound room.
I knew by the looks on their faces and those dreaded words, I’m sorry .. can I call anyone for you. Take as much time here as you need. I was completely devastated. I drove home balling my eyes out. I had heard that little beating heart and then it was gone. I blamed myself. The year was roughly early-ish 1997 and this was not something that was talked about. It was a loss that a lot of people didn’t understand. It was hard to go to work, hard to go to the store. If you asked me then, I would have told you every single person had a child, except me. I struggled pretty much alone. I was put on anti-anxiety medication for a while until I was ready to try again.
Then I started writing:
3/31/98 – Today I ovulated, it was very exciting. This is the first time since the miscarriage. I really hope we can have a baby soon.
4/27/98 – I got my period. It is so frustrating having to always depend on the doctor every month. If I didn’t want a baby so bad, I would say to heck with it. A friend’s sister had her baby on Saturday. It makes me so jealous. She didn’t even want one. Can she ever appreciate what she has.
5/18/98 – I went to the doctor today. I am about ready to give up on the idea of a baby. All the run around is not worth it. It’s so emotional. I cry all the time.
8/12/98 – I had a meeting with Dr. O today to talk about the baby stuff. I was referred to him by a friend. She could not believe all the hassles that we had to go through with the other doctor, with all the precious time wasted that we could already have a baby. Dr. O was so helpful and so willing to talk about what to expect. He was very encouraging and referred us to Dr. B We finally have some hope again.
9/16/98 – We met with Dr. B today. I was so excited and happy that someone wants to help us. She never made us feel rushed. She answered all of our questions and kept saying to call with any questions. I actually have some hope again and feel like this is going to be it and we will have a baby. She gave me a shot in each hip. One to get my period so they knew when to get the clomid going, the other was a hormone. She told me when to come back for the dye test to see if the Fallopian tubes are open. I also have to have an ultrasound after I take the clomid (starting on double dose with the history of miscarriage) to see if I am ovulating.
9/28/98 – I had a HSG test this morning. It was a test at the hospital where they put dye into your fallopian tubes to make sure everything is open and clear. I did not know what to expect and was very scared. The procedure was in the x ray area so I was alone. It was cold and there were no foot holds for me. The doctor put a long catheter type tube up through my cervix and opened this balloon and released the dye. It hurt so bad and I started crying. It was the worse procedure I’ve ever had. It did not last long and everything turned out normal.
10/2/98 – I went to the hospital for an ultrasound. This is going to be the first of many. Everything went fine. I am really sick of going to the doctor all the time. I know the end result will be worth it. I just don’t want to keep waiting.
10/8/98 – Was having a very bad pain in my right side. I was told it was my ovary. The doctor said it would quit hurting within 24 hours.
11/5/98 – I went to the doctor today to find out why I was bleeding. I did not know if I should be starting the clomid or if there was another reason why I was bleeding. They told me I was five weeks pregnant. What!! I could not believe it. The emotional rollercoaster. So excited, scared, happy, beyond elated, but also scared to get too excited after the last miscarriage. I’m not sure who to tell because if something bad happens again, it will be very hard.
11/11/98 – I went in for another ultrasound and there was a heartbeat. It was going so fast. What a glorious sound!
11/14/98 – I have to keep doing the progesterone suppositories and continue to be careful and rest. When my husband is away, I'm at moms.
11/24/98 – Another ultrasound. Things look good.
11/27/98 – We left for Seattle today. Going to visit my aunt and uncle. Six of us went, we had to rent a minivan. Did as much sightseeing as I could, but I’m so tired. The plane coming home was delayed over an hour. I was living on saltine crackers because my stomach was so upset. The turbulence on the plane was terrible coming home. I was very close to getting sick a number of times. I was very glad to get on the ground.
12/9/98 – Today I went to the doctor. It decided we would have the baby at North Memorial so Dr. B could still monitor my progress. She also moved the due date up to June 30 from July 19. We heard the heartbeat again. So amazing. That little person is growing every day.
12/23/98 – I am still having some cramping. I called the doctor and they said everything was normal. It just makes me scared because I want this baby so bad. We got our first baby outfit today from my best friend. It’s so tiny ..
12/26/98 – We went to Baby Depot and found the crib and a glider rocker. I am very excited. I am still bleeding a little but I was told it is not to be concerned about.
1/4/99 – My second doctor appointment. 14 weeks and 2 days. I am starting to feel better. The cramping has sort of gone away. I can walk farther and faster. I am not as nauseous as I used to be. Some things still make me want to vomit. We are deciding on names and we have the girls narrowed down to Abigail and Natalie. Abby or Ali for short. The boy names are still quite long. We decided we wanted to find out early what it is so we are going to have the names ready like it is being born. At my appointment my blood pressure was 124/74, the baby’s heartbeat was mid-range, Dr. B did a pap and took a DNA swab. I have gained a total of 7 pounds.
3/1/99 – The ultrasound shows … It’s a boy!!
Six weeks to go .. I was walking into work and the severe pains in my gut put me on the ground. I called my doctor and was put on full-time bed rest. It was preterm labor. I was able to work part-time at my office and part-time at home. This way I didn’t run out of all my PTO before my baby was born.
As my boy grew inside me I could feel him trying to turn around but he would only go halfway. He was breech. My heart said just let it happen, my gut told me something wasn't right and to not take any chances.
I was constantly hungry for rolled pickles and spinach dip. He always had the hiccups. Total of about 60 pounds was gained, it was not an easy pregnancy.
June 1 at an appointment, the doctor discussed the procedure of turning him around for birth. They could monitor his heartbeat but could not see the where the cord was. She made it crystal clear that if there was any decline in his heartbeat, she would immediately do an emergency c-section. A c-section birth was scheduled. Whatever birthing plan I had, went right out the window. Scheduling your child's birth isn't what's "suppose" to happen.
The birth was scheduled for two weeks before my actual due date. She did not want me to go into labor.
June 18 - The day came, we went to the hospital. I was prepped and wheeled into the operating room for the spinal for the surgery. The room was cold with bright white walls and metal tables everywhere. The table was small. There were a lot of people in the room yet I felt all alone and scared. This was not exactly how I ever imagined the birth of my child. But my baby’s health was more important than the birth plan I had.
Z was born feet first about 8:50 am, he was 8 lb 12 oz. This was two weeks early! The doctor said he was all twisted in the cord, it was around his neck and between his legs. A natural birth would have been highly unlikely.
Hearing him cry and then holding him was absolutely one of the most emotional days of my life. I call him my angel, my miracle, my sunshine. God lent me this precious sweet little boy. I would do everything in my power to make sure he was safe and protected.
The years of specialists, ultrasounds, procedures, fertility medications and even miscarriage. The range of emotions are something that can’t be described. All to come full circle to that moment.
I wrote down two quotes:
“To the little one I began to love long before I saw your face, before I knew your name, before I could hold you in my arms . . . to my child, my miracle”
“You, my sweet little one, reminded me of the true meaning of love at first sight. You made me feel like the luckiest mom in the world.”
At first, only a couple close friends knew my infertility pain, this wasn’t something that was talked about back then. After he was born, I was actually judged for having a c-section. I never apologized, I never will, I didn’t care, me and my baby were safe.
Now it's 2021 and he is 21. The scar is faded and I can still feel the emotions but they don't have a hold on me. A lot has happened over the last few years. Reading this again was emotional. These words brought back all the feelings. So many ups and downs, feeling alone and not understood. He has had to fight his way basically his whole life. He is definitely destined for great things.
I’m very happy to see that these things are not kept quiet anymore. It should not be something shameful. These women need to be lifted up and supported. Not made to feel like there is something wrong with them.
If you are or you know someone struggling with infertility or miscarriage, know you are not alone. Mid April there is a week dedicated to National Infertility Awareness.
This can be a heart breaking time and emotional rollercoaster. Offer support, an ear to listen, or just ask them what they need or how you can help. If you are also struggling with depression or anxiety, please seek out help. You do not have to go the journal alone.