Monday, July 16, 2012


My struggle to get pregnant changed me. It made me a kinder person, armed with a new understanding that you can never fully know what burdens a person may be carrying. And now, with my daughter here, I know that I am different as a mother than I would have been - slower to get frustrated with the lack of sleep or to lament the loss of freedom and quicker to appreciate the tiny details - because I can remember the endless nights of lying in bed wondering if I would ever get to hear a baby crying down the hall. Those months taught me that these phases in life, both the happy parts and the hard parts, are only seasons.

As hard as that season of my life was, I managed to stay in (mostly) good spirits, trucking right along, taking the disappointment in stride. And then there was July. Last July was the lowest point of those seventeen months. I briefly mentioned it here. Below is how I really felt.

August 2, 2011
"Last month was the month I started the newest miracle medicine, so I felt automatically hopeful at the beginning of the cycle. I'd read so much about the importance of being in the best state, both physically and mentally. As my "get yourself pregnant" book says, healthy bodies get pregnant. And relaxation was an important part of that. So I relaxed and took care of myself like it was my job. I took a week off of work with Hugh for a little staycation. I slept ten hours a night. I ate well and drank water and took all my vitamins. I learned yoga stretches and did them daily. I took long walks with Fletcher. I came up with a plan to start deep-breathing exercises every time I felt a surge of anxiety about this cycle, and I did. I deep-breathed my way right through the month. My body has never been so well-oxygenated. I kept telling Hugh and myself that I wasn't going to get too excited, but really, that ship sailed pretty much immediately.

And then, 48 hours after ovulation I started the hormone supplements, which I was supposed to take for twelve days and then take a pregnancy test. Never having taken them before, I didn't really know what to expect or how they would make me feel. Well, now I can tell you how they make you feel. They make you feel pregnant. I was emotional and exhausted and nauseated all the time. I made myself read the list of side effects over and over and over again, trying to remind my brain that all of this could be caused by the medicine. But I was just so hopeful.

I went down the rabbit hole of looking up due dates and timelines. And then, what felt like one thousand years later, it was test day.

I woke up on July 14th in a foul mood, as if I knew somehow deep down that it wasn't the month. I dipped my test, turned it over on the counter, and waited. Three minutes later, I flipped it over, already fearing what I would see. One line. One single line. Again.

And, this month, unlike every other month where I have felt a little blue but then moved on, I lost it. The fear and grief and anxiety and repeated disappointment and worrying and waiting and hoping of the last sixteen months overwhelmed me. I called Hugh at the hospital, which I have done exactly zero times. I cried so hard on the phone, that I started hyperventilating and he suggested he leave his rotation to come home at 11 o'clock in the morning. I cried all day long. I cried while I worked. I cried while I talked to my Mom. I cried while I cancelled my lunch date. I cried when I got back in bed at 1pm with a stack of magazines for distraction. I cried while I tried to cheer myself up by vacuuming. I couldn't believe that it hadn't worked. I literally did everything right. My mind was in the right place. My body was in the right place. My cycle was textbook perfect. And it still didn't work.

I would love to tell you I woke up the next day and felt fine and dandy and positive. But that would be a lie. It took me a full week to recover. My heart felt tender and bruised. I, partially thanks to the crazy surge of hormones, cried for no reason at least twice a day for a full week.

Hugh was, as always, the perfect husband. Letting me cry it out or vent or be mad when I needed to, but somehow knowing when I needed to be loaded up in the car and taken on a drive and told funny stories.

The only thing that made me snap out of it was Hugh telling me again and again, with total assurance, that we would get there. That this wasn't the month, but one month it was going to be. It was going to be our month. I was going to turn that test over and see two pink lines. I was going to get to cry happy tears instead of disappointed ones. We were going to get there. 

I realized in July, more than ever, the importance of choosing wisely. Of choosing someone well-suited for you. Of choosing someone who wants the same things you want. Of choosing someone who really sees you and knows you and loves you deep down from that place that makes them tell you the same thing over and over and over again, until they just will you to believe it's true.

Some people daydream about the nursery or the clothes or the names. I lost myself in thoughts of the joy I knew we would feel when I finally got to tell Hugh we had gotten there.

One by one, every single person I know who has talked about having a child has gotten pregnant. Except me. And the only thing I can do is to keep on going and trying and waiting.

There is no way to go but through it."

I want to hug that heartbroken girl, to tell her to hold on for just a little bit longer, because everything is about to change. To tell her that Hugh is right. To tell her that thirteen days after she writes that, there will finally be two lines instead of one. And next July, instead of mornings filled with hormone supplements and temperature monitoring and negative tests, her mornings will be spent having coffee in bed with her perfect baby. To tell her that the wait is worth it:

So very worth it. 

Time changes everything. 


  1. ah that was beautiful! Made me cry... thank you for sharing!

  2. Hi - you don't know me, but I'm friends with Mandy...I check your blog not often enough, but I wanted to tell you how beautiful and touching this post is. Your honesty and perspective is inspiring and refreshing. God bless you, your wonderful husband and beautiful baby girl.