Thank you once again for joining Eric and I and Conceive Hospital as we share our story with you, in the hopes of giving you your own voice for those dealing with infertility and all that that journey brings with it. As Eric said, sometimes simply knowing that we are not alone can be such a comfort in times of stress. The support of a community can feel like a needed warm hug.
When Eric and I began thinking of starting a family, we didn’t know of any one of our friends or family who had struggled with infertility. Most of my friends con
ceived their children as far as I knew, quite easily. Also no one in my family ever seemed to have a problem either. I had no reason to believe that we would find it difficult. Timing wise, I was married at 37 (Eric was 36 at the time), my beloved father died when I was 38, followed by much grief (and kitten therapy as mentioned in my previous post), and then I reformed a new musical group at 39 all while enjoying my career in the creative field. Around this time, I went on a once in a lifetime vacation to Africa (where we needed immunizations and shots just to go) with some close friends. My best friend who planned it said that she was planning to start a family right after the trip was over. Hmmmm, I wondered if we should start too. Eric and I talked about it briefly but at that time, he was not ready to start a family just yet. Frankly, I wasn’t ready to either. Being the lead singer of a new band didn’t seem the right time to announce a pregnancy. “Thanks for starting a band with me guys, but I’m pregnant, gotta go!” I thought about how much easier it was for men (including my father who was in bands his entire life) that they didn’t have to bear the children and could just go right along with their careers and hobbies and such and not have to deal with pregnancy, birth, nursing, etc. Truth be told, pregnancy scared me. How was THAT going to get out of THERE? What havoc would it wreak on my petite body? What if there were complications? Better leave those thoughts for another day. Eric wasn’t ready anyway.
It took my friend (who is only a few months older than me) about eight months to conceive I found out after the fact… longer than she would have liked. But hooray! They announced their pregnancy to us as we were all headed out to a concert together. I was so happy for them! They were finally starting a family, and I was going to be Auntie Cathy someday! I did feel just a bit of anxiety when they told us since their lives were about to completely change. It made me wonder if we would be able to conceive faster or not as fast? What if they had children and we did not? Would that affect our friendship as we strolled through life? The future was unclear. But I just took things day by day, and watched as her belly swelled and tried to imagine what that would be like if it were me. Eric and I did start to have many discussions about what it would be like to be aunt and uncle, and what it might look like to be parents. After their little one was born, and I held her for the first time, and looked at that cute baby face (I couldn’t yet tell if she looked like mom or dad, as it was too early… but what a cool thought though!), I decided I was finally ready to start a family of my own. It was time. Eric and I had many long discussions over the next few weeks about when I would go off the birth control pill (which I had been on for most of my adult life). I had read that one should be off of the pill for about six months before trying to conceive to help your cycle get regulated once again. So when we deemed the time was right in the coming weeks, I discontinued taking the pill, and started paying close attention to my health, my eating habits, my sleep patterns, etc. What an exciting time! Wow, we were about to become parents soon! It was just a matter of time, right?
I had been off of the pill just a few months when my other close friend announced that she was pregnant! I vividly remember this day. I was elated and happy for her! (and also a little shocked frankly). She said that she decided she was ready to be a mother, went off of the pill and was pregnant almost immediately, like literally within weeks! She’s several years younger than me incidentally. I was so excited for her and her husband. But I was starting to feel like I was missing the (baby) boat. The anxiety was starting to kick in. At this point, almost every one of my long-time girlfriends was a mother, or a mother-to-be. Well, Eric we better get cracking!
I don’t remember exactly what prompted it, but around this time, I woke up in the middle of the night in an absolute panic! I had always been a very sound sleeper. My friends used to joke that I looked like I was literally dead when I was sleeping because I slept so soundly. But this particular nite, I woke up with a start and could not get the following thought out of my head:
It might be too late! We waited too long. What if we had trouble conceiving? What if we were… I couldn’t even say in my head the word “infertile”, but you know… THAT? What if we never became parents? What if all of my friends were parents and we weren’t? Oh my God! What have we done! I was already starting to feel… shame was it?… and it was… icky.
I laid there in the dark staring up at the ceiling. I didn’t want to wake Eric, so I told him about it later during a calm moment. I explained that if we were going to do this, we had to get more serious about it. We had to start learning about getting pregnant and how to do it as expeditiously as possible. Time was ticking. Tick, tick, tick! Every month was precious during this journey we were embarking on… Wow, I didn’t know the half of it…
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. And I wish you the best on your journey.
Warm regards, Cathy
This post is also available in: Arabic