If I had to use one word to describe pregnancy after infertility, it would be "intense". I mean, wonderful, yes. Filled with joy and relief, but also anxiety and uncertainty, and sadness for those left behind. Perhaps woe, at a perceived drift from the tremendous community who helped me there, and a little touch of guilt, too. And wistfulness, that this might never happen again. And confusion, over how to build a new identity. And humility and thankfulness, with anger and bitterness and unresolved grief. Trepidation. Self-doubt. Love. Exhaustion. Happiness.

Intense. It was all pretty intense.

I don't have that this time around, and there is the slightest sense of missing something. It's not that I wanted to go through all that again, or even that I would have chosen to, if it had come to it. It's certainly not that I envy those whose second time around is more difficult than ours. I have always admitted that infertility had its gifts as well as its costs, even whilst concluding that the price was way, way too steep, and I suppose I am in the process of appreciating one of those (disproportionately small) gifts in a new light.

It's like Diggers, on ANZAC Day, standing around and reminiscing about the war long ago, and concluding that, although it was hell and they'd hate to go through it again, at the same time, good lord, people knew they were alive in those days, didn't they?

That's what it was - it was a sort of knowing that I was alive. It was knowing my baby was alive, not tomorrow, not at forty weeks or next year, but right now, at least, as the ultrasound transducer hovered on my belly, or as he kicked me from the inside. It was accepting that right now was all we really had, and choosing for it to be enough. It was profound. It was splendid.

I don't have that this time. It's a shame.

What I do have instead, I realised as I brushed my teeth in front of the bathroom mirror last night and glimpsed the start of a proper-looking bump under my top, is a genuine like for pregnancy. Last time, it was hard to disentangle the pleasure of being pregnant from the joy of not having to do another cycle of IVF (at least not yet) plus the gratitude I felt for having got so lucky (at least so far). Those feelings exist again, of course, but they are less, well - intense. My feelings towards pregnancy per se are relatively uncrowded this time, and as a result, much clearer. I like it. I just really enjoy it. I love what oestrogen does to my mood (if not my focus or intelligence) and the tell-tale curve of my belly. In fact, I love all the extra curves, from my thighs to my cheeks. I love the softness and glow of my skin, and the boost to my sex drive and... did I mention oestrogen does good things to my mood? Good things, people. Great things. Lovely things. It's... nice.

And I'm glad I had the chance to realise that now, because this time really might be the last.


serenity said...

I find myself looking ahead to wondering how I'll feel if I manage to get pregnant again. I think I was so NERVOUS the whole time I was pregnant with O that I never really found a chance to enjoy it.

But then I wonder - will I feel like I'm missing something too?

I'm interested to find out, that's all. Won't know until (if?) it happens.

Thanks for posting this.

SassyMama said...

That sounds so wonderful! I am glad to hear you are just enjoying the whole experience:)

Rachel Inbar said...

Do you think it could be the estrogen doing good things, perhaps? ;-)

So glad you're getting a chance to enjoy it. I think I felt that way after my high-risk IVF (FET) twin pregnancy, when I was pregnant with Abigail.

Lut C. said...

How ... erm ... interesting. Honestly.

I can picture the intense variety well enough, but simply nice? I'm drawing a blank right now.

I'm glad you're feeling and doing good.

Vee said...

I love that you are getting to enjoy it this time round. That is the way it should be. Keep enjoying.

Heather said...

I'm glad you can enjoy it. You deserve this happiness!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the estrogen had any of those effects on me.

I am glad you are enjoying things this go around.

Miss Ruby said...

You can't control the future, so once you give yourself up to the philosophy of what ever happens will happen regardless, you find yourself being able to revel in the now.

Right now you're pregnant, enjoy that - which you are doing.

You may also be finding that you're enjoying this one more because you've been here before and come out with a living breathing baby, so you know it IS a reality.

I wish you nothing but luck for the rest of your pregnancy!


Chickenpig said...

I felt this way when pregnant with my daughter. My twin pregnancy was full of fear and anxiety, I was always living in the moment. With my daughter I didn't have the anxiety. However, she was an IVF pregnancy too, so I'm not sure how much of your enjoyment is just due to it being a natural conception as it the relief of having been here before and come out the other side smiling.

No Minimom said...

That's just plain awesome. :-)

Ellen K. said...

I really enjoyed my twins-via-IVF pregnancy. I don't remember being especially nervous, because everything went so smoothly. I felt good humored, even jocular. And everyone was so complimentary about how well I was "carrying" twins, and how cute maternity clothes are now... yeah, it was a lot of fun. I'm glad you're having a good time now! Holla! (That's the actual word verification.)

Betty M said...

I know exactlyhow you feel as I have had the same feelings too despite the generally difficult pregnancies. Certain features if being pregnant I really enjoyed - being rampantly up for it being a key one! Enjoy!

Sarah said...


and you are still the best of the best at putting all this into words!

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