We were incredibly lucky in everything we faced with infertility. I know, it might be hard to believe with infertility, but I do truly think we were lucky. From the short time we were trying to conceive before someone noted we needed help, to the fact we were even granted a round of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), right through to it working, and despite having only that one single blastocyst, we got our baby. Some couples aren’t so lucky, and I thank my lucky stars every single day for our little boy. That, however, was our chance and we won’t have another.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for after having our son, was the continued grief. I think many people presume that the feelings that surround infertility, magically go away when you have a child. But, let me tell you, they don’t.
For me, it all started with how we got our baby. I was surrounded by new mothers who had faced the joyful surprise of pregnancy through natural means, but I didn’t have that. Instead, I went through a process where every step was planned down to the day — sometimes the hour. I went through injection after injection, intrusive scan after intrusive scan, and that hit me hard when I finally got pregnant. We didn’t succeed in creating our baby by ourselves, just the two of us. There was a whole team of doctors and scientists involved. We even had to leave our embryos behind in a hospital lab for five days. I won’t ever get the chance to nervously think “could I be pregnant?” and trot off to the shops to buy a pregnancy test with that fearful excitement in tow. It was all taken out of our hands.
I fully expected that, after having a child, any thoughts of more children would disappear. I quickly realized that it was just a natural urge you can in no way control. Something I should have realized sooner after two years of trying to conceive. After a somewhat traumatic pregnancy and labor, the thought of having another child honestly scared me. But there also was another reason thoughts of having another child eventually were pushed to the back of my head. I had wanted our son for so long and we went through so much to get him, I never wanted anything to get in the way of that love. These thoughts promptly morphed into a simple yearning to go back in time and relive his newborn days again.
I longed to go back to those winter nights where we were wrapped in a blanket, curled up together all night because he didn’t want to be anywhere else but with me. To nuzzle my nose into his neck as he slept on my shoulder and smell that milky newborn baby smell. I desperately wanted to hold that little body of his again, with the daze of having a tiny person depending on you 24 hours a day, lack of sleep, recovering from labor and the whirlwind of visitors. That time passes without you even noticing it, and before you know it, it’s gone. I would still give anything to just have a moment of that back again.
As our son grew, I slowly started to realize that the things we experienced together, I might never experience again. While other parents are packing away all of the outgrown baby clothes for the next baby, we were selling those things. Being practical, really, but it became hard when we had to part with things that held memories. Moments together we never would experience again — his first words, first actions. As a breastfeeding mother, I’m still holding on to these fleeting moments of just us. When we stop, that’s it. That one last thing that makes him still my baby, when we stop, he’ll be my little boy. All grown up.
Infertility doesn’t leave you when you have a child. I’m certain there will be many more trying moments.
It really is the grief that keeps on giving.
You can follow more of my journey over at www.emlwy.com.
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