January is a month that is rife with meaning and emotion for me. This time of year holds some big memories in my life, some good and some bad.
Today is January 20. Two years ago on this day I saw two lines on a pregnancy test. I hadn't gotten a positive test in three years. It was my seventh time to see that result, yet the first six times had all resulted in devastating miscarriages. You already know the rest of the story -- that pregnancy test was the first sign to us that our baby was finally on its way (although we certainly didn't know how things would turn out on that day). It was a day of excitement and nerves, frantic-sounding phone calls and prayers, and a trip to the doctor's office for blood work. It was the beginning of nine long months of waiting for our healthy baby to arrive at last.
Tomorrow is January 21. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time in May of 2002, I was given the due date of January 21, 2003. I was pretty excited then, and extremely naive. My sister's second baby was due just one month before and I couldn't wait to raise our babies together. I never expected miscarriage to happen to me, but it did just two months later in July. And I certainly never imagined, after that traumatic experience and my first-ever trip to the ER, that I would have to endure that heartache five more times over the next five years. It was the beginning of eight long years of waiting for a baby.
January 22, 2007 was the date of my last miscarriage. I'd found out toward the end of the year in 2006 that I was pregnant for the sixth time. After several weeks of blood tests and many ultrasounds, it was declared to be a blighted ovum. Although we could see a yolk sac and my hcg and progesterone levels were good, we never could see a baby growing. I was having my sixth miscarriage, and I had a D&C scheduled for January 22. It was three days before my 30th birthday. It was the toughest birthday I've ever had, and it was the beginning of three long years of waiting for another pregnancy.
January 25 is my birthday. I'm turning 35 this year. Although I know there's nothing magical about waking up on that day that will change my fertility, it's a birthday I haven't exactly been excited about. Those of us who have gotten wrapped up in this infertility world against our wishes know what the statistics say about being over 35: increased risk of miscarriage, egg quantity and quality decrease, etc., etc.
Obviously I had a big problem with miscarriage when I was in my 20s. I had my first miscarriage at age 25. And of course I know lots of women over the age of 35 who have healthy pregnancies. I really don't put too much stock in statistics, but still in all it's a day I haven't exactly anticipated with lots of joy. When you're dealing with infertility, each birthday and each passing year gets harder and harder. You feel more pressure with the realization that time is not on your side. So, while I'm planning to enjoy my birthday this year with my husband and daughter, I know that all these things will be there in the back of my mind.
But... tomorrow is a new day. This is a new year, and tomorrow is the 21st, which means that my precious girl is turning 16 months old. I'm celebrating that miracle, as it's something I had seriously begun to doubt would ever come to be. The past 16 months have been remarkable and have helped me to heal, despite all the setbacks and all the days and years when my calendar was marked with heartbreak.
This month often reminds me of everything that I've lost. And I know I'll never forget those times, but I'm ready to make some new memories this January.