Content note: Pregnancy mentioned
I didn’t set out to take a writing hiatus, but thanks to, well, life, that’s exactly what happened. Of course, once the hiatus starts, it becomes harder and harder to go back. Where do I even start?
It has, indeed, been a full couple of months. School has been busy, so perhaps it’s not so much a true writing hiatus as a blogging hiatus as I’ve written a fair amount towards that overarching project of BSN work. My daughter had a couple of minor surgeries that thankfully went well, but one of which required several all-day trips in a relatively short time period to see a specialist out of town. Arthur and I both blanched at the horrible election results. We’ve lived under Pence for the last four years and to say that we’re worried and chagrined would be a gross understatement. My husband’s work got busy and I changed my job position as well. As of December 31, I crossed 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant, making me – out of four pregnancies – the furthest along I’ve ever been. An anatomy scan at 18 weeks showed no abnormalities and that the baby is a little girl.
In many ways, we’re transitioning into a relatively good place family-wise. Out of the normal has been our default setting for so long – starting with infertility and progressing to miscarriage, job losses, a high-risk pregnancy, PPROM, preterm birth and my brother’s death – that it’s almost a novelty to sit back and just breathe for the first time in about four years.
Sometimes I almost forget that a lot of people in real life we come in contact with these days don’t know the story since we moved in the midst of it and then spent a year in quarantine to let E’s premature immune system develop. By the time we came out of hibernation, E looked a lot less premature (small, but not abnormally so), didn’t have her wires from the monitor any more, we weren’t in the midst of infertility treatment and then had a welcome, spontaneous pregnancy. Recently, we were at church, going over future plans for the congregation and I objected to one point that talked a lot about “families with children”. Which of course, seemed odd given that we are “family with children”.
“What you don’t see,” I explained, “is that we almost didn’t have children. We did several rounds of fertility treatments and then IVF and had miscarriages. My water broke at 21 weeks and by almost any calculation of odds, E wasn’t going to survive. By that time, we were financially tapped out, emotionally exhausted, and if E hadn’t lived, we wouldn’t have had the ability to keep trying or pursue adoption. We would have been a family of two.” It heartens me that in that group of people I was talking to, everyone was kind, respectful and interested in being inclusive of family structures outside of the nuclear.
Another moment occurred when we went down to witness my niece and nephew’s dedication ceremony. As all the parents and adorably dressed babies walked out onto the stage, the pastor briefly talked about the ceremony and then gestured to a white rose placed in the front. He explained that this was in honor of those who had lost children, struggled with infertility, and for whom this was not a joyous or easy occasion. While communities – religious or otherwise – still have a long way to go towards true, full inclusion and integration of those who struggle with infertility, do not have children, or do not have the families they longed for, such a gesture was a welcome sign that perhaps someday those changes may come with work and determination.
At these moments, I found myself almost in tears both times. Certain aspects of infertility are slipping into the past for me and yet, others are still so much present in my life. It informs so much of how I view family, parenting, and life in general.