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Pregnancy After Infertility: I Knew the Cliches, But I Had No Idea

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After the whirlwind excitement of finally finding out we were pregnant after 124 months of trying, it was time to get around to the nine months of pregnancy that all (well, most) mothers go through. I figured that so many years of movie-watching, story-hearing, and class-learning at the hospital would have, by that point, fully prepared me for what to expect. Of course there would be weight gain, morning sickness, no periods (yay!), cravings, having to pee a lot.

Cliché, cliché, cliché.

Pregnancy After Infertility: One Mom's Journey

I didn’t throw up once. I didn’t get sick in the morning or the evening, for that matter. I didn’t crave weird foods and I barely gained thirty pounds. I know; you all hate me right now. I was told that a number of times throughout the pregnancy when I admitted to these things.

Oh, but what I never knew, never expected: heartburn after having peanut butter or anything fried, or, you know, water. The exacerbation of my anxiety disorder to epic proportions, so much so that I had to go on medication and see a therapist for the first time in my life. The million doctor appointments, each with a different doctor from the group, so that I could meet them all, not knowing who might deliver my baby. (I had a choice of docs at the hospital or midwives at the birthing center and, being 38 years old and pregnant with my first child, I thought the hospital might be the safer bet “just in case.” My mother was 39 when she gave birth to my little sister and almost died of a heart complication…which also helped my anxiety disorder, of course.) It was also fun to have each doctor ask me, “Any Braxton-Hicks?” when I’d go in, but never telling me what they felt like other than “They feel like contractions, but don’t continue.” Which was also fun because I HAD NO IDEA WHAT CONTRACTIONS FELT LIKE. The fact that every single person’s first question was, “Do you know what you’re having?” and then “Do you have a name picked out?” The fact that every previously pregnant woman needed to share her story with me, whether solicited or not. (This was not a problem. Just surprising to me and I would not understand until later.)

Pregnancy After Infertility: One Mom's JourneyBut also, the tiny butterfly I felt one day whispering from inside of me, like an erratic heartbeat in my belly. The tears that I could NOT contain when I heard that heartbeat on a monitor for the first time. The first time I was kicked from the inside (which I likened to the first time I flew in an airplane and looked DOWN at clouds). The desperate need to accomplish as many things as possible “before the baby comes” – cleaning and organizing and simplifying and shopping and painting…. The way I felt about my husband, a love that I never thought could grow, just … growing every day. The new bond I had with my mother, with whom I’d always been extremely close, but now we could finally share this thing we never could before.

But also, the desperate fear that I would lose this child. The terror that would hit me at night when I couldn’t feel him inside of me and couldn’t remember the last time I had. The agony of having absolutely no control over destiny. The panic of possible miscarriage which led, in time, to the panic of possible stillbirth which led, in time, to the panic of possible choking on the umbilical cord during birth. The incessant buzzing at the back of my brain that kept telling me, “What if you’re no good at this after all? What if this thing you’ve wanted for over a decade slips out of your hands, while you’re bathing him and goes crashing to the floor and it was all for nothing and the rest of your life is ruined beyond all measure? What if you don’t really want this? What if you get fat and your husband leaves you for some hot younger chick because you’re frumpy and have a baby attached to your boobs all the time? What if you… poop on the table?” (Yes. That was one of my number one fears. I’ve never passed gas in front of my husband because he used to tell me that an ex of his did all the time and it was disgusting, so I’ve hidden that particular bodily function for 14 years.)

The emotional repercussions of pregnancy far outweighed the physical ones for me. As the days and weeks went by, as the fears and tears and plans and showers and appointments passed, as the moment grew closer and closer I learned to surrender what I’d never thought possible. I gave up control because I realized I had never had any control to begin with.

And, after all of this, on September 23, 2015, I went into labor… for 28 ½ hours.

Just wait until you hear THAT story.

Stay tuned for Stephanie’s next installment of her pregnancy journey. Be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss it.


StephanieSalisbury_HSStephanie J. Salisbury is a writer, editor, minister, wife and mother in Middlebury, IN. She is the founder of A Journey of Reinvention, an inspirational blog for everyone whether or not they are spiritually inclined. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she roots incessantly for the Wolverines. Go Blue! Find her on Facebook, Twitter @OnOurJourney and Instagram: Adventures.Of.Baby.Stephen.

Have you followed me on Pinterest yet? Also, be sure to find me on Instagram at meaganchurch.

{Photo credit: ©puhhha – & Hanah Tepe Photography, respectively.}

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