I didn’t do a very good job of documenting when things happened during my first pregnancy. There were many times during my second pregnancy when I wished I could look back and see how something had gone the first time so I could compare.
Today, 16 days after birth, I seem to have finally stopped bleeding. I was wondering if that was about how long it took after my first birth and then I thought I should write it down this time, then I’d have it documented somewhere, so I could know for the next time.
Except I was struck by the realization that there won’t be a next time. I will never be pregnant again.
I’m too close to my last pregnancy to register what that means just yet. It doesn’t make me sad or wistful or angry or upset. It just is right now, and that’s okay. There are moments where I try to remember what it was like to have a giant belly, to feel my baby kicking inside me, but already those corporeal sensations are fading. I can remember it with my head but not with my body. And I will never feel those things again.
Toward the end of my pregnancy, when I seemed to be losing my mucus plug in fits and starts every day for three weeks, I couldn’t help but compare what I saw on my toilet paper to cervical mucus, the texture and consistency of which I was acutely aware of every time I wiped for months and years on end. Even then, at the end of my pregnancy, I was aware of the fact that I’ll never have to look at the toilet paper again. I’ll never have to care what is coming out of my vajajay and what it might mean for my chances at getting pregnant. I won’t even have to care about when I get my period. That time in my life is behind me. I can officially move on.
So far, as I’ve contemplated leaving the family building portion of my life behind, I’ve only considered the daily minutia. I came across my BBT thermometer the other day and unceremoniously threw it in the trash. When I stored an extra tube of Pre-Seed I did so because it seemed a shame to throw it away and I can always use a little extra grease on my wheels anyway. Yesterday I deleted my temperature tracking app off my phone. Last week I moved a huge box of books on TTC, infertility, adoption, miscarriage and loss into Monito’s room, with plans to organize them for a giveaway post in this space. Every time I open the kitchen cupboard I move another supplement to the pile of bottles I have to go through, deciding which I’ll keep and which I’ll throw away. Slowly but surely I’m sifting through the remnants of that time in my life, categorizing them and preparing to let them go.
What will it be like, for the weeks and months to pass without waiting and wondering if my period will come? What will it be like to never have to worry about miscarriage or pregnancy loss ever again? What will daily life look like without all those tiny moments dedicated to tracking my fertility, or lack there of? Who will I be without all those little actions to give my life meaning? What will I do with all the time and space–mentally, emotionally and physically–that is made available now that I’m not dedicating so much of myself to building my family?
I can’t really imagine who it is I will be now that TTC and infertility don’t define me, don’t define my days, weeks, months and years. I can’t really wrap my head around a life in which I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll have a child. My fertility has been an ever present cause of stress and anxiety since I stopped having my period in my teens; for the first time in my life, I don’t have to worry about how it may affect my future. I’m done having children. My diminished ovarian reserve is not something that can affect my life anymore. Or at least, it can’t affect the shape of my family. It’s time for me to move on from this hugely important chapter. It’s time for me to figure out what living means now that I have all the things I was hoping for. My life was paused and someone pressed the play button; how will my story play out now that a huge part of it is no longer on hold?
I wonder how long I’ll notice the absence of all those little things that defined my days. Maybe, by the time I’ve fallen into a new routine–one that orbits my perfect family of four–they won’t even be missed. Or maybe their absence will strike me at random times, like when I happen to see a big glob of EWCM on my toilet paper and it sends a little thrill of opportunity through me. I’m sure eventually I’ll forget about all the little rituals that kept me sane, that made me feel like I was doing something productive, something proactive. I’ll forget what the horrible TCM herbs tasted like. I’ll let the names of all the supplements fade away and I’ll forget why I know what Vitex is and what it’s used for. I won’t be able to recite what CD I usually ovulated on and on what DPO I expected to get my period.
Maybe some day, I’ll have to go back and read old blog posts to remember how much of my life was dedicated to TTC. Maybe someday, I’ll take for granted this perfect family I thought I’d never have.