Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Coming Out

One of my favorite business trips of the year is a trade show whereby all the retailers of outdoor gear come to buy next year’s products from the manufacturers – a veritable "Grown Ups Toys-R-Us." In my ten + years in the outdoor sports industry, I’ve made several lifelong friends most of whom come to this show. It’s like an annual high school reunion.

A few of the women in this circle knew of my struggles to start a family.

I kept this pregnancy under wraps from most of them. I just didn’t want to write those emails if it didn’t work out. This past trip, however, their genuine joy over my obvious belly was a wonderful thing to see.

Except for one woman. I met her last year. Over the phone. She wanted to hire me for a great job in Colorado. She wanted things to move fast, explaining that she just really needed a break from the pace she was keeping.

I knew from a colleague that this woman had struggled with miscarriages and a failed IVF. She is a few years older than me. We are similar in that we believed wholeheartedly that we could easily start families in our late-30’s only after netting the grad degree, the spouse, the house and paying it all off with a management-level position. (Suckers).

In one of our final conversations last fall, she had all but hired me and bought our plane tickets to Colorado when I put on the brakes.

"The truth is, I’m a stirrup queen," I admitted over the phone, "And I don’t think I can fairly commit the time and energy you need for this position right now because I’m struggling to start a family."

With that, we launched into an hour-long discussion about our fertility struggles.

She admitted that she had scheduled IVF #2 for the fall and wanted to reduce the stress and the level of hours she was keeping before embarking on round 2. She cautioned me not to wait to try IVF and even offered up a referral to her RE in the Denver-area.

It was the strangest and most satisfying interview I’ve ever had. It was also the first time I publicly put my personal life before my work. I declined the offer. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant with Missy.

Flash forward to January. I would see her face-to-face at an event where it would be too difficult to dodge each other. I hoped that she, too, would be pregnant.

I knew her cautious and detached "congratulations" all too well as she stared at me in disbelief. Had the shoe been on the other foot, I know I would have behaved somewhat similarly. I felt so bad. I wanted to give her a hug. And apologize for getting pregnant when she had not.

After a bit, she warmed up and then peppered me with questions. What had I done? Had I used acupuncture? Herbs? A traditional Chinese medicine diet?

When asked, I’ve always been open about my journey. But this conversation really forced me to think about and articulate why this time might have been different from the others. Aside from whatever mystical connection to the universe or God’s "Plan" or whatever, what had I done or not done to contribute to this pregnancy’s success?

In a nutshell:

Yoga. Each of my BFPs was preceded by a spate of dedicated yoga practice. Even after "experts" told me that Ashtanga was contributing to my lack of progesterone issues, I never got pregnant when I wasn’t practicing Ashtanga yoga regularly.

Progesterone Supplements. Even with Missy, who by all accounts is healthy, I had falling progesterone levels. My thoughts on low progesterone and pregnancy are so long-winded that I will save it for a separate post, but I firmly believe that the three suppositories a day saved this pregnancy.

Diet. I did follow a TCM yang-deficiency diet for several months before this pregnancy. And after I got pregnant and was weaned off progesterone, I nearly ate a pint of ice cream to make up for it all.

Chinese Herbs. I ditched using these 2 months before becoming pregnant this time. I think they were hampering my emotional state.

Acupuncture. I ditched this 2 months before becoming pregnant this time. However, I did resume acupuncture for recurrent pregnancy loss right when I found out I was pregnant and continued weekly treatments until the end of my first trimester.

Work stress. While I don’t advocate quitting one’s job if you truly love it, but it is pretty ironic that we achieved a successful pregnancy on the first cycle where I wasn’t imbibing in a daily dose of sadness and stress as my company prepared to move to another state.

Letting Go. Yeah right. Someone with the blog moniker "Ms. Planner" can never just let go. But I had resigned myself that this was our last month of trying before moving on to IVF or adoption. We would never have timed sex again, I promised us.

Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor. Fuck those OPKs and obsessing if I was one of those women who ovulated 12 hours or 48 hours post-positive stick. I brought out the big guns and discovered that instead of being a CD 13 & 14 girl, I’m a CD 14 & 15 girl. Now that I think about it, we always got pregnant if we timed things for the evening of CD14 instead of morning. I never was a morning person anyway.

That is my journey. But everyone’s journey is different and uniquely their own. I borrowed a little from my intuition, a little from Western medicine, a little from Eastern medicine, a little psychotherapy. And crafted my own little Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang of a fertility vehicle. Thank heavens it didn’t sink this time.

At the end of our conversation, the woman who wanted to hire me held out her hand and asked me to pass some baby vibes her way. I don’t believe in that baby dust hooey but I extended my pinky finger and gave her a pinky good luck shake. I wished her all the luck in the world on her journey. I hope she finds what will work best for her, physically, emotionally and spiritually soon.

I hope that for everyone.


JJ said...

Sounds like it was very cleansing for you--and for her! You keep inspiring me to give yoga a serious go-round: but I am not the most flexible type! It can only help, right? =)
I'd take a good luck pinky shake from you any day!

Lori said...

Wellllll....I'm sorry you're not in Colorado!!

Sounds like she handled herself with grace, as did you.

amy said...

There is something about this post that made me feel good. I think it is the fact that there is such a sisterhood between women on the journey to motherhood. I'm sure that you provided her with a glimpse of hope that day that sometimes things work out....and I think that hope is so is the only thing that keeps us going sometimes.

And although all our journeys are different, I hope they all end in the same place--MommyLand.


Meg said...

I am also sorry that you had the chance to live here and declined...boooooo!

Although I was in Portland last May with a real estate agent. Hubby backed out and I was very sad.

Wordgirl said...

I think about my decision not to take a teaching job in Crested Butte often...but you know, the heart knows what's best for us -- and that's what I loved about this post.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us...I'd love to hear your thoughts on low progesterone someday -- being a low progesterone kind of gal...

and as a side note I am devoted to Title Nine and Athleta both -- if there's another women's outdoor gear/sportswear company I should check out pleeeeeeease let me know!

AND I think I might just get me one of them ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitors...