Today was my third ob appointment and marked 13 weeks and 3 days of baby's journey towards birth.
I haven't gained weight and in fact lost 2 lbs but doctor isn't too worried about it, especially with morning sickness and my normally finicky eating habits. But she expects me to start gaining now that we're on track towards the 2nd trimester.
Thinking back, these appointments are so bittersweet. A year ago, I highly doubted that I would ever have the chance to see my baby kicking and moving about on the ultrasound.
I know lots of people who get pregnant "by accident," on the first try, or shortly after "not preventing." I wish I was one of those lucky people, but the truth is my pregnancy was almost the pregnancy that never was. And I'll never stop being grateful for my little miracle child.
It started the 2nd month after I got married 3 years ago.
I was at a new OB/GYN and after what I thought was a routine examination, he asked me why I hadn't mentioned that I had a retroverted uterus. "A retroverted what?" I asked, puzzled and getting worried.
"A retroverted uterus, a tipped uterus. Oh it's not a big deal it just means your uterus tips backward instead of straight up and down like normal. But it's not a cause for concern and wouldn't likely affect fertility. But I'd recommend an ultrasound downstairs to confirm."
I drank a gallon of water and held in my pee for what felt like hours in that waiting room. Once inside, the stupid u/s tech was fumbling with the transvaginal probe and insensitively blurted out that she couldn't even find my uterus. I was almost in tears and after a 15 minute ordeal, she finally found it. By that point, I was almost in tears.
I called my mom immediately and I was crying hysterically on the street. She comforted me the best a mother of four can comfort another woman who might never know what that would feel like, and she told me that I should listen to the doctor who told me that it's not impossible to have children. And truth was, we weren't ready for kids yet.
We hadn't even really had the family discussion yet, I was just married a month. And so for the next 2 years, we put it on the back burner and lived our life, though my mind was never too far from that sad day at the OB.
A little into the 2nd year of marriage, we were warming up to the idea of kids and I could really start to tell that husband was ready. He was there and it seemed like everyone around us caught baby fever. It spread like wildfire. I definitely wanted in on the action.
We stopped preventing pregnancy, though not actively trying or planning. We took the approach, if it happened we would be happy but if it didn't happen right away it was okay too. Months went by and nothing. I once read something about infertility, about how infertility never poses a problem until you start trying and you find out that you can't.
I remember how my mother in law once told me, "you don't choose to have a child, your child chooses you." For some reason, my child wasn't choosing me and I was devastated.
I started to see a new OB; she's the best one I had so far. I told her my history as much as I knew about. She wasn't worried about the retroverted uterus, telling me that it's just a natural anomaly in human anatomy that happens. Just like some people are left handed and much of the world is right. But she did tell me that what worried her was that she thought I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
She confirmed it with the ultrasound, she showed me all these cysts that had developed on my ovaries and went down a checklist of signs and symptoms. By this point, I was an RN, I was familiar with PCOS and I knew if the retroverted uterus didn't doom me, this PCOS was almost like a nail to my coffin.
It's basically a hormonal imbalance that affects the balance of the testosterone and estrogen in a woman's body. The testosterone levels cause cysts to develop on the ovaries, the cysts cause irregular menstrual cycles. Women can and do get pregnant while having PCOS, some naturally some with some type of fertility treatment. But it would never be as easy as one two three.
Not only did I have the monumental task of trying to track my fertile period with a battery of pee sticks and basal temps, the little soldiers also would have a hell of a time trying to find its way to my irregularly tipped uterus.
All in all, almost a year went by. It was THE longest year of my life. I really didn't have too much people to turn to to talk about it. I felt inadequate. My parents who were there for me put me on all these Chinese diets and even made me go see an acupuncturist. At that point, I was willing to try anything. That's how bad I wanted it.
This is when I needed to lean on the man in my life the most. See, pregnancy doesn't just revolve around the woman. The man plays a huge role also. He was my support. Telling a woman she can't bear children, is like owning a Ferrari and can't afford to put in gas. On the outside you have everything a woman should have, but yet you can't get anywhere.
I would have a dozen of conversations with husband over the course of the year. I asked him if he was disappointed in me. Would he still love me if I could never give him children? He was always optimistic and he told me he wouldn't really start worrying until we have exhausted all options and even then he still loved me for me and not for what I can and can't give him.
But many nights I thought to myself, if we did exhaust all options and it just wasn't meant to be. I didn't think we could last as a childless couple. Not for the rest of our lives. It's not my fault that I couldn't have children, but I can live with that since it's my life my body I would have no choice but to accept myself for all my flaws.
But I could never let myself deprive a perfectly good man of having a great chance at a great family life. But this whole experience showed me once again that who I have is someone who is loving, generous and supportive. He gave me hope when I had not an ounce of hope left.
Today, me, husband and my wonderful doctor sat in the dimly lit room watching our baby in action. The heart pumping wildly and strongly. The legs moving and squirming about. This was a moment I almost would never have known. You see why I say I'm lucky in life. I'm lucky for a chance to know what it feels like to be pregnant and hopefully a chance at knowing what true motherhood feels like and that more than I can ever ask for.