Ingrid's Birth Story, Part 1
|Maternity photos by Zuzanna Audette|
Many people have asked how my labor and delivery went. Was it long? Did I take any medications? Were there any complications? Was I able to breastfeed right away? But before I get into all of that, I'd like to talk about this business of becoming pregnant. Although I now love reading peoples' birth stories on blogs, I feel like there aren't enough mentions about the obstacles that are often in the way of having a baby.
Ingrid didn't come easily to me and Kirk. While we were struggling to get pregnant, it felt like a small blow to my heart each time I found out that someone I knew was expecting. Of course I was always happy for them, but it was also a reminder of our own sad situation. It seemed to me like everyone else in the world could get pregnant at the drop of a hat. It didn't seem fair that there were little teenagers running around getting knocked up all over the place, and here we were, a responsible couple in a loving relationship, trying month after month with no luck.
While Kirk and I were going through this, it was so hard for me to talk about it with anyone -- even with my family and closest friends. It felt too private -- and that somehow by keeping it to myself I had more control over it. I really only felt comfortable talking about it with other women who had gone through similar things. It gave me strength and hope to know that I wasn't the only one sitting on the toilet month after month waiting for the pink lines to appear. And that's why I decided to share this part of our family's story with you. To reach out to those who have gone through similar struggles, and to help raise some awareness among those who haven't.
When Kirk and I started trying about 3 1/2 years ago (June 2007), we were 27 years old, and had been married for a few years. I thought getting pregnant would be easy. My mom had never had any trouble, so why should I? For the first 6 months or so, we just went off the pill and thought it would just "happen". No such luck.
So then my mom recommended that I get the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I put it off for a couple of months because it was my mom who recommended it to me (maybe you know how that goes). But it ended up being full of really good information. We started getting really technical in our efforts (tracking periods, temperature, etc...). That was in the spring of 2008. We passed the year mark that summer, and people said I should go to the doctor. But I didn't...maybe because I was afraid of what I might find out.
In any case, we kept trying and ended up getting pregnant around Thanksgiving 2008. But I started bleeding heavily on New Year's Day as we were traveling from Utah back to Ohio. We had a layover in Las Vegas, and as I sat in the airport and watched all the people passing by, I just thought: "None of them know that I'm in the middle of losing my baby". That night, I began having labor pains. They came and went for a few hours. When they finally subsided, I knew that our baby was gone. I happened to have scheduled my yearly exam for the following day. When I went in, I told the OB what had happened and she did an interior ultrasound. She said that I had indeed suffered a miscarriage, but that everything looked fine and healthy. The miscarriage was probably just a fluke. I held it together as I spoke with her, but when I checked out with the receptionist a few minutes later, I broke down. She came around the counter and hugged me until I got control of myself.
Kirk and I were heartbroken but also encouraged to know that it was possible for us to get pregnant. We waited a couple of months and decided to start trying again. But we came up against another obstacle. Kirk was graduating from Ohio State, and we were moving back to Utah. We had to switch insurance companies. And they told us that in order for a pregnancy to be covered, we would have to wait. Even though we weren't physically trying, it felt like we were. The waiting wasn't any easier. But several months later, the insurance kicked in, and we began again.
Another year had gone by. I still didn't go to the doctor. Not even for a yearly exam. I should have.... but once again I was afraid of what I might find out and didn't want to be labeled as "infertile". Especially since we are self-employed. I was afraid our insurance would be taken away and then our future family would be worse off. I hated feeling so vulnerable to insurance company policies. So I started reading up on adoption. I felt drawn to it. (I still do, actually. Maybe one day we'll add another member to our family in that way.) We kept trying.
Finally, in February of last year, the second pink line appeared on the pregnancy test. It was over 2 and a half years from the time we originally started trying. I think it might have helped that I was less stressed out after Kirk joined me with SSP and we moved back to Utah. It probably also helped that Kirk and I were exercising more and eating better. Who knows?
But even though I was already pregnant -- and overjoyed -- it still didn't feel real. It felt like we were still "trying". Because I had had a miscarriage at around 7 weeks the first time, I was scared it would happen again. I didn't even realize how frightened I was until my first appointment (at 7 wks) with my midwife. She did an ultrasound and showed me Ingrid's heartbeat. She told me that if you can see the heart beating at less than 8 weeks, you have a less than 1% chance of losing the baby. Once again, all my pent up emotions came rushing out and I burst into tears.... this time with relief.
I know that everyone who struggles to have a baby has a different experience. I know that mine and Kirk's issues weren't nearly as intense as many others'. We were lucky that we didn't have to go on any medications, and that we ended up with a healthy little girl. But I also know that sometimes it just helps to hear someone's story who didn't get pregnant on the first shot.