I lie on my back and stare at the florescent lights overhead. I'm wearing a hospital gown, naked from the waste down. Small talk. Latex gloves do their job, then depart. The nurse whispers good luck, and shuts the door leaving me to wait. And wait. And wait. It was all that waiting, and all the hormones that nearly drove me to insanity. Two weeks. Then the cramps would come, and inevitably the blood and tears.
It took nine months of hormones, ultrasounds, shots, and "IUI" (inter-uterine insemination) to conceive my second son, Evan. Zachary was also a "fertility" baby, but it only took four months of clomid to create him.
Now I am a mother of three biological children that I carried to term. I cannot say with a straight face that I truly understand infertility. I have only had a bitter taste. I have experienced the envy of discovering yet another friend was expecting, I have wandered the isles of Babies R Us searching for shower gifts wondering when it would finally be our turn. I have felt rage at the site of a scowling teen, belly bursting with life in my OBYN's waiting room. Not fair. Not fair. But of course, I don't REALLY know.
I have met plenty of women over the years who have truly had to deal with infertility. They have spent tens of thousands of dollars on treatments that never worked. They endured miscarriages and hopelessness. This was not my path. I have been lucky.
My third baby came naturally and, thus was a much different experience. I didn't take pills. I didn't monitor my ovulation. There was no probing, no sterile visit with a nurse. It just happened. A gift. A gift so many never receive. If my "brush" with infertility taught me anything, it is not to take that experience for granted.
While I was pregnant with Julian I had an acquaintance email me in response to some Facebook whining that I was doing regarding morning sickness. She told me that I was lucky to be pregnant and that I should never complain about it. She told me there were women who would give their right arm to be in my shoes. I recognized this to be true, but was also angry that I was suppose to deny myself an opportunity to publicly express my excitement, worry, fear and discomfort to spare the feelings of others. I needed the support of my friends and family through my pregnancy, just as I did through my infertility.
So many people are quiet about infertility. It's a secret. It's shameful. You don't talk about it, and thus, you don't get much needed support from the world around. I'll tell anyone my story. I'll tell them because I want them to know that they can tell me theirs as well, and that even though I am a mother of three crazy boys, some part of me understands the struggle. I will never forget those months of trying and waiting. The roller coaster of emotions. Those months will always be a part of who I am as a woman and as a mother. It was not a happy experience, but I can honestly say I do believe it made me more empathetic, more understanding and eternally grateful for my little birds.