Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? (I hear it’s a very good place to start). After my first date with my now-husband, I knew that something important was starting. It wasn’t long until we went from talking every day and seeing each other a couple of times a week to seeing each other just about every day. Things moved pretty fast, but in a totally natural way that felt just right for us. I was 35 at the time, and I had no more time for suffering the fools and the man-children I had wasted way too much time on in my late twenties and early thirties. Fortunately, J was the antithesis of the emotionally unavailable skid marks of my past. I had finally met someone intelligent, kind, funny, and refreshingly open. We could talk about anything and everything, including — steel yourselves, ladies — our feelings. From the very start, there was zero game-playing or second guessing. This man straight-up told me what he was thinking and feeling all the time. And it didn’t scare me one little bit. It was about fucking time that I found a real live grown-up who not only was crazy awesome, but who got just how crazy awesome I am.
The more time we spent together, the more I became that 7th grade version of myself, literally writing his name in my notebook and doodling little hearts. I would have rolled my eyes at this type of behavior, but I was just too damned heart-eyes emojified by this point. But I also had some real concerns. I knew that J had briefly been married once before and that (obviously) it did not work out. What if he was turned off by the idea of ever getting married again? So of course, when one night, a couple of months into our relationship, J said to me “I think I’m falling in love with you. No, I know I am… I am in love – I love you,” I paused. J later told me that this pause felt like an hour, but it was only a few seconds so that I could get my thoughts together. My response? “We need to talk about a few things.” So romantic, right?
I told him that clearly we were at a point where we were both really invested in this relationship, and I wanted to make sure that we wanted the same things out of life. This was the most difficult and scary conversation I’ve ever had with another human being. I took a deep breath and I asked him if marriage and children were important to him and if he saw any of that in his future. And then I waited for his answer and almost threw up in my mouth because, fuck – what if he said no? Could I walk away? That was the whole point of me asking, right? Like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, my biological clock was ticking away and this was the do-or-die moment of truth. His very honest response was that with the right person, yes – he could see himself getting married and having kids.
Filled with relief, heartburn, and pride in myself for having a very responsible conversation, I finally felt safe enough to blurt out “I LOVE YOU, TOO!!!!”
We were married 18 months (and one week) after the day we met, and we started trying to have a baby immediately after that.
Our honeymoon was two weeks long – first a week in Scotland, drinking ALL THE WHISKY, and then a week eating our way through Paris and enjoying our first Christmas as husband and wife in the City of Lights. I was so over-eager and optimistic about the whole baby-making thing that I actually bought a pregnancy test toward the end of our stay in Paris because it had been two weeks from our wedding, and it was possible to get an early positive.
Little did I know what was ahead. Months of peeing on a stick that would tell us when I was ovulating, scheduling sex for optimal fertility, and waiting two weeks for another disappointing negative pregnancy test became the new normal. That’s a lot for a new marriage. After four months of crying every time I got my period, we went to see my gynecologist, who also happens to be a fertility expert. We spent the next month or so doing all the requisite tests and discovered that I had a low egg reserve, being 37 at this point. I also should mention that I suffer from endometriosis, which can cause infertility issues (not in all cases) and can at the very least make things more complicated. There were some issues with J’s tests as well that combined with my stuff meant that we were looking at a very rough uphill battle. The last test I had done was the worst. It involved me lying on a steel table (seriously, there wasn’t a bed or even a gurney available?) in a hospital, while a male doctor I had never met stuck a catheter inside me and shot some dye into my lady business to see if there was any sort of blockage in my fallopian tubes. On the form my doctor had filled out to order this procedure, the cause was listed as “infertility.” She gave us another month to try on our own, because we needed to wait out another cycle anyway before we started making plans for treatment, like IUI or IVF, but we understood that it would be nearly impossible for us to get pregnant on our own.
We set up an appointment for the next month to make a plan to go forward with IVF treatment, and we went back home to our routine of waiting for my “prime” days and giving it the old college try.
The Sunday four days before our appointment was scheduled, J was out running errands and I was bored at home. We had so many of those cheap, tiny pregnancy test wands that come with the ovulation kits in our bathroom. One hundred percent sure that it would be negative, I took one of those into the bathroom with me and did my business, more out of habit than hope. I left it on the counter and went back to folding laundry. Five minutes or so later, I remembered and went into the bathroom to throw it away. And that’s when I saw two lines on the stick. I literally did a sitcom double-take. And then I grabbed one of our expensive, digital pregnancy tests and peed again, convinced there was some sort of mistake in the cheapo wand I left out for too long. I stared at that stupid stick for three minutes while it blinked…until finally the word “PREGNANT” popped up, almost screaming at me.
J was still out and I had this HUGE news and I could barely keep it together. I called him to VERY CASUALLY ask him when he thought he’d be home and he didn’t answer. I took a shower because I didn’t know what else to do with my body. I wrapped the digital pregnancy test in tissue paper and put it in a gift bag. I brushed my teeth. I waited. Finally, J came home with bags of groceries to put away and some thrift-store treasures he found. He’s really good at thrift-shopping. I helped him put away the groceries in a manic state and completely lost my mind when he said that he wanted to try on some of his new clothes for me. I dragged him upstairs and practically threw the gift bag at him. He was like, “When did you go shopping?”
JUST OPEN IT ALREADY!
And he did. And we hugged and cried and then went out for pizza.
4 thoughts on “How I Became A Mother, Part One: Backstory”
Love it. What a story….keep writing. It amazing how many of us have some sort of issue when trying to have a baby…after over a year of trying and a miscarriage (very early on)I thought I was destined to have just one…then Lily came! Hope you’re doing well! Lots of love!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Malena! As I have said before, I know that my story is not a common one, and I want to be clear on the fact that I know how incredibly lucky I am. To hear that I would not be able to conceive naturally was devastating, but somehow, I got a one in a million miracle. I know that in the grand scheme of things I could never compare my story to those of the many women i know who have been suffering from infertility for years, and who will have to undergo painful, invasive, and sometimes heartbreaking hurdles to have their miracle.
I can only speak to my own experience and hope that it resonates with someone else, so thank you for sharing your story with me!
Love love love!!!!!