Tag Archives: pregnancy

(Still) Not Pregnant

Still Not Pregnant

Every month I find my toilet paper stained pink. I have no need to wait for it, let alone hope it will finally not come. It arrives with timing so precise I wonder that the same body seems incapable of so much else. For the past year we have received emails and phone calls and texts from our rotating cast of caseworkers telling us there is this situation and then nothing until the possibilities have dwindled into nonexistence. The birth families do not want to look at an adoptive family with a biological child.

Most days I forget we are waiting. I have Ben and Leila and Wrigley and the store and yoga and all of the other things that fill in the cracks of my time. How could I even fit the sweet, long days of newborn life into these days? I sometimes wonder this to myself, more as a consolation than a question. I keep my parameters to help me continue to forget. You cannot want what you do not see. Like longing for a unicorn. It’s just foolish. My imagination is dulled by these habituated unconscious protections.

Then one Sunday I have a conversation with a friend and we discuss our only children and her definitiveness of their family situation is intoxicating after years of unknown. And after class a friend and student marvels at my daughter and declares how much she loves only children. She shares about her status as one and her unwavering decision to continue the pattern.

I start to wonder if this is a whisper I should listen to, to wonder if it could possibly be an accident. When I think about it, my heart cannot grasp at accepting our family’s completeness. At what point do I acknowledge that and quietly shutter up these windows we have kept open for over three years?

But I have wondered if that is what the birth families are seeing in us. Something already finished.

Leila’s heart is still open. When I share news of her classmate’s adopted brother or gather her baby things for the upcoming birth of her cousin’s little sister or as I prepare a meal to take to friends that just welcomed a son through adoption, her face lights up and she asks, “When will we get our baby?” And my heart breaks. Because she is saying the words I’m not brave enough to ask. And I tell her that we just don’t know. And maybe we will get a baby and maybe we won’t.

And then a friend with tenderness and empathy gently shares about being an only child. And how nice it is. And I tell her about these whispers. And I wonder again at what we are doing.

I question how long is too long to wait, because I am still not pregnant, and our crib is still littered with all the discarded things from our home. And I wonder if the universe is whispering. Because they tell us to wait, that it will happen in God’s timing. I don’t quite grasp how a human can dilute and diminish God into timing and certainty of things to come.

And so I sit with the discomfort and grief and emptiness in a house that is full.

PS I’ve written before about my reactions to our secondary infertility here and here and our adoption experience here.

(Not) Not Pregnant

This is not the point in which I type out that I am pregnant. This is the point in which I no longer feel not pregnant even though I am not pregnant.

If I were to pinpoint a time when this shift began, I would tell you at some point after 2 pm on Tuesday, June 17th. We met with a fertility specialist that, long story short, told us to have sex on such-and-such days, buy the ovulation kit with a smiley face and head down to the lab to test my AMH levels. Afterward Ben and I went to Elevation burger, and as I ate my cheese-free, lettuce-wrapped, grass-fed burger I told him I could not do it anymore. I just could not keep trying. And so I quit acupuncture and quit taking my basal body temperature every morning and quit tracking my cervical mucus and gave Ben two months of peeing on a stick to see if we could get the smiley face nod followed by a plus sign a couple weeks later. And over the course of those two months we got the nod once and a plus sign never and I quit taking my supplements and I started keeping the parts of my diet shift that made me feel better and let go of the rest.

I think some of it is time and choosing to grieve and I think some of it is yoga and reconnecting to my body in a way that is appreciative and nonjudgmental and healing and I think a lot of it is God, though that is part of a mystery beyond my vocabulary and comprehension.

I feel peace. I was tired of fighting my body. That is what it felt like, like our bodies were saying no, and I was trying to peacefully protest my womb into submission. And so even something as benign and noninvasive as Clomid seems like a step down a rabbit hole I have no intention of entering. It is a wonderful option, just not for us, not right now.

I still have acute moments of feeling not pregnant, but they are fleeting and grow farther and farther apart. I feel it at the beginning of yoga class when the instructor asks if anyone is pregnant and for a moment it’s as if there’s a giant spotlight on my barren uterus. I feel a brief fluttering sometimes when I run across an image of maternity clothes. And I feel it when we hear about another pregnancy.

I worried I would feel jealous. I haven’t. As Ben so eloquently articulated it, I feel left out. Like I didn’t get picked for a kickball team or there is no room for me at the lunchroom table or I am the only person standing against the cafeteria wall that hasn’t been asked to dance. It is this incredible vulnerability of my youth – fresh and raw and open and resilient, both lonely and hopeful at once.

I would love to attribute my lack of jealously to some beautiful reflection of my character. It is much more simple. I would love to be pregnant. I do not need to be pregnant. Pregnancy, labor and birth are one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, but they are not the only amazing experiences.

I am careful not to qualify or undermine my infertility with “just” or “at least” in order to sit in gratitude. I have learned that gratitude and grief can coexist and after time the chasm between the two narrows and sometimes overlaps. When I think about pregnancy, I am both grateful and grieved not to be experiencing it.

Less Alcohol/Caffeine/Dairy/Flour/Sugar is More Fun (well, at least it’s not significantly less fun)

A few weeks or so ago, my acupuncturist gave me a packet about ways to boost my fertility through nutrition. I sat on it and eventually decided that the fee was worth some confirmation and clarification about my diet. There is a lot of stuff about diet and nutrition on the Internet, a lot of it written by people who might have just read other stuff on the Internet. I figured someone with some actual training, not to mention the recommendation of my acupuncturist and chiropractor would be more helpful.

Because I can be a little…overachieving about such things, I took a few naptimes to generate a meal plan. I  started it one week and two days before my appointment because I wanted something concrete to go over during our meeting to make sure I had a grip on how to do this absolutely perfectly. Then we had our meeting, which was kind of like meeting with a food doula, and she did an incredible job filling in the gaps and providing some much appreciated clarification and explanation. She gave me permission to let go of the obsession to do this absolutely perfectly. And now I’m basically eating how we usually eat, on our best days. No alcohol, caffeine, dairy, flour or sugar, a lot more veggies, fruit, beans, nuts, whole grains and “super foods” of all kinds in easy to swallow capsules.

I thought it was miserably restrictive and the antithesis of all things fun and good in life, but over the course of that meeting there was some reset, and now I’m two weeks + three days in, and I’m in the same food-place I was when I moved to Kigali. I know there are a hundred and one things I could miss if I took the time to think about them, but why waste the energy? I would miss out on what I do have, which includes brownies that I don’t mind my daughter eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner.

In case you’re curious, here are some recipes that are keeping things pretty tasty on this side.

–       Smoothies

–       Sav’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes, which I actually prefer with fresh blueberries

–       Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chip Streusel Topping 

–       Kale Brownies (rated a 5 by my husband) or Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (rated an 8 by my husband)

–       Sunshine Cookies

–       (Crust-less) No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

And I always appreciate another good recommendation!