On Sunday afternoon we took a long walk through Amsterdam.
This is something I've hated and avoided doing for a year or more. Everywhere we looked we were always face to face with another family out for the afternoon.
Another mother, another father, another bump, another child, another reminder.
That meant pretending we didn't see them just to get through it, and eventually, I stopped going there at those times completely.
For over a year I have skirted past the pregnancy section in bookshops, making sure to look anywhere but at the books, for fear anyone would notice me and instantly recognise I was a little broken. Like being labelled a deviant if you were caught anywhere near the porn section in a video shop.
Those things are embarrassing, and not entirely healthy.
Sunday, for the first time in so long, we were able to watch those families pass by, and talk about them. The size of the bumps, the ugly strollers, the cute kids, and how we certainly wouldn't dress them in those rags. It was like being released from prison.
Sunday, we stood at that section, thumbing through book after book, passing them back and forth between ourselves, comparing their merits, choosing what we wanted to take home.
Handing those two pregnancy books to the assistant to pay for and bag, was as liberating a moment as I've ever had.
'Yes, I'm perverted and here's my porn'.
I know that some people read this stuff here purely because they identified with it. What we were facing was what they were facing. A trouble shared is a trouble halved.
Now, it must seem like we have become an enemy of sorts. I described it myself once as finding out that someone else had discovered the secret, but wouldn't share it.
There's no secret. There's just persistence and luck.
I find it hard to articulate why I feel an amount of guilt about having that luck. No dictionary holds words strong enough that could explain how grateful I am that we have had it, nor how much the misery of the last couple of years has shaped how we are now, and how we'll go forward.
I know people will stop reading here now, I know it's too hard for some. I understand.
I hope they will see whatever gets written here not as gloating, but as an example of what really can be if you stay persistent and get that little bit of luck.
We are going to enjoy what lies ahead of us now, we are not going to dwell on what's gone before and let it spoil this for the three of us, but keep it as a reminder of how lucky we are.
I hope it's catching, and long lasting.
Wow....it just gets better with each passing day! "the three of us", I love the way you say that!!!
Get an EDD yet? We would love to send a baby gift when someone plans the virtual baby shower...we are so excited for you and your family!!!
Best wishes on this ride they call pregnancy....all the way from Ohio!
"Now, it must seem like we have become an enemy of sorts."
I understand why you think that but no one can deny that you have fought a long and hard battle to get where you are. I think most consider you to be an inspiration and a representation of what is possible, not an enemy of sorts.
Anyway, I remember that first walk out in the city when I was newly pregnant. I remember seeing babies and bumps and feeling so happy that I was finally expecting. It was pure bliss and I swear I felt almost high from the experience.
Here's to many more lovely Sunday walks for the three of you.
Well I hope that it is long lasting indeed!
I want the 'three' of you to enjoy!!!
Dear XBox, do not feel guilty, your share of the luck is *your* share of the luck!
Cases of success are very heartening and raise the aspiration level.
Also, I know what you are saying about persistence...there is a stupid proverb that says that failure is the final outcome when one stops trying. The point is one must be clear about what it is that we are seeking ultimately....not everybody gets to choose to remain on the path minus modifications....
I am so glad your persistence paid off!
When is ET due?
And I hope you have loads of fun in the coming month...these would be moments to savour!
You bought books? Oh, little Bruiser is gunna be so ashamed.
I know what you mean about the guilt. I have a few friends I have trouble telling when I am pregnant. It always lasts a while for us, too, and when it finally happens I know it must be disheartening for them.
I just try to remember that my guilt isn't going to help them. I suppose it helps you be more sensitive to them.
Glad to see you've started the daddyblogging, though! Will be reading just as much.
I will tell you a secret. We are on the other side too. I read your blog because you are a lovely writer and I can so identify with what you have been through. And also with what you are going through now. Some people may not be able to keep reading, but plenty will continue to read, no worries.
Great post - I totally relate here as when we FINALLY got pregnant last year after our own struggles, I was very nervous to tell you!
I remember how I felt when my friends (who knew we were trying) were all getting pregnant - and even having their babies all during the time I was trying... getting pregnant... and continually miscarrying. I tried to put on a brave face, but in reality I was devastated inside.
So congrats on your exciting news. I'm overjoyed for you and ET. And I totally agree that you need to move forward and be thrilled for where you are and how far you've come along.
BTW - I can now tell you that my little due is a month old and we're almost ready to head back to India. Crazy few months we've had here!
You're going to make me cry again and I do hate messing up my makeup before I go to work!
I am LOVING this!!
I read your blog because of the way you write, and your human story. Not because I shared the same path.
We're here to walk this journey, all the way.
Can't wait to meet your little valentine.
You get porn from a video shop? You know you can get DVD(A)'s now?
And don't think you can get rid of me as a reader that easily. And I hope I catch what you have.
That is the pregnancy thing. Not whatever other boy-cooties you are harbouring.
I always knew it was not Spencer's fault ET couldn't get knocked up. It was your defective weapon. All it took was a superior firing mechanism.
I do wonder how I would have reacted to online pregnancies had I discovered the blogosphere during my own struggle to conceive, as opposed to afterwards. I certainly writhed in a fair amount of agony when my IRL friends all effortlessly pipped me to the mythical post, but I think it was essentially the 'effortless' element that caused my convulsions of misery. If I were still childless, I hope I would still be as utterly delighted for you as I am now, being the mother of a lovely little boy. But I hear your concerns. If I conceived my second child soon, I would doubtless worry that I was inflicting pain.
Personally, I do hope very much that you continue your blog into fatherhood. Babies are a rich vein of comical bloggy material and I would dearly love to read your eventual gruesome nappy experiences!
Survivor's guilt - I can so identify; to the extent that I can't walk into the dialysis room in Temple St hospital now, without feeling like a complete turn coat. Well managed, survivor's guilt can really help to remind us just how lucky we are. So I try to salute it, and then walk away.
May I suggest you forgo the usual offers in the pregnancy section and have a look at Kaz Cooke's pregnancy guide - Up the Duff. certainly a bit more realistic account of 40 odd weeks to come ... and so funny ET will need to start practising those kegels sooner rather than later....
Very precious days and moments, cherish all of them.
I lurked for a very long time and was delighted for a young couple like you and ET to fulfill this part of your dream. Enjoy this journey together and I for one will continue to read the next chapter.
Under completely different circumstances, I can identify with avoiding the happy families, noticing every child bearing aged woman has a bump or a happy baby etc. As a midwife, I even gave up my job to avoid happy families and people with bumps!
I too perservered and got lucky. I don't think people now think of you as 'the enemy' but just that Irish bugger who got lucky :)
I am looking forward to your tales of being an expectant father... not too mention when that little bundle of joy comes home and keeps you awake all night!
I can't wait to read this next chapter of your and ET's life. It's going to be magical!
You wont be losing me. I find it is stories with such great outcomes that helps us all to carry on. It gives us the hope that it will work for us one day as well. Congratulations to the three of you!!
Survivor's guilt - you know the pain and now you know the joy, it makes it seem even worse that you know what others are still going through. So many times when I look at my daughter and I think of the people I know who may never get to know that feeling, it kills me. But I used to feel like that about you and look at you now! All you can do is keep hoping that everyone makes it out of the mire eventually.
Survivor guilt. I had it bad when I was pregnant. I felt like appologising for my roundness to one lady who looked at me particularly sadly. It gets easier, but you never forget what it felt like to be the one not pregnant.
I'm 56 years old and came to this blog by accident and stayed because of the incredible human being you are and a truly gifted story teller...you had me at 'hello' and won't get rid of me until you stop writing or I check out....hopefully neither of which will happen soon!
Can't wait to continue reading your epic story!
Congratulations from a sometimes lurker - i was holding my breath for you
i so understand that guilt you are talking about...welcome to the 'other side'...as you said on one of my post...lets just move forward...
I've also felt the guilt over continuing my blog when there were people like you still reading it, but I always hoped that someday any readers that had been in my place would see that things change. That there is hope.
It's been a long fight. For you, for me, for others. This isn't the end of the journey, it's a new chapter.
You so deserve this - it is sooo your turn. Enjoy every minute of it. I hope the hopefuls will keep reading, keep hoping - as one day their turn too will come!
If I might recommend a book or two - 'your pregnancy week by week' - it was such a fun book for seeing how big the baby was each week, what was growing, developing, etc...
the other MUST HAVE for ET - A girlfriends guide to pregnancy - or everything your doctor won't tell you! It was SUCH a good book! In fact, can I send ET mine?
I completely understand what you are saying. I have read your blog for awhile now, but was hesitant to comment for that exact reason. I really wanted to offer some encouragement, but was afraid I'd sound like a gloater...or worse yet, one of those 'relax and it'll happen' people (I hated them).
If I were still trying to get pregnant, I'd probably be a little envious, but still very happy for you.
I hope you enjoy every second...and that you continue to share your story with us.
You are too sensitive, perhaps. And you serve as an example that it CAN happen. All that persistence can pay off. And you are such a lovely writer. We want to hear how this journey sounds through your words.
You have nothing to feel guilty about, you have wanted and hoped and prayed (and paid!) for this miracle!
But I can identify with avoiding the baby sections in stores, declining invites to baby showers,etc., I did that for years.
It's now your turn, so enjoy it all
I've been reading for a while now not because I've identified with your situation-- in fact, I have felt guilt while reading because I had the opposite issue, and now have 3 children. I've simply kept reading because you write in a compelling and thoughtful manner. I've cried for you and your wife, and I've squealed in delight for you as well. Feel no guilt-- this is your path and you are sharing your experiences with anyone who wishes to hear them, and cry or celebrate with you.
I'll be sticking around! :)
I remember announcing my "easy" conceptions this year and being so scared that you would be pissed off at me. But, you weren't. (Or at least if you were, you weren't scared off by it).
But, I did struggle with the sight of pregnancy related things after my miscarriage; got jealous of friends who were blissfully carrying on with their pregnancies even though mine suddenly ended. My jealousy continued when I began bleeding with this last pregnancy as I still felt left out of their club. They were saying "When" and I was saying "If."
So, I can see why some people could be pained by your success, only because it reminds them of what they don't have or what they've lost...not because they didn't want you to be successful.
Your baby gives me hope. Like the world has been made more fair again.
I love that you guys got to enjoy your day out in the city and joyfully bounded up to the checkout counter to buy those books. In case you haven't yet, we have some really great books here called "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" (or something like that) and it shows the baby's development from week to week and I always enjoyed picking it up at the week marks and reading about what will happen with the baby in the next 7 days. I can get the author for you if you are interested.
I'm not reading into this right. I'm too excited. You really are pregnant, right? Right?!
I plowed through the "walking through Amsterdam" bit. I'm like literally jumping up and down for you.
That's such great news to read after having been absent from your blog for quite a bit. Wow! This is something to be really thankful for. Praise be!
I think you're in for a BIG surprise, if you think that writing about pregnancy can be interpreted as gloating. From the hormonal mood swings (of which I believe you've had a taste) to - well, I won't even tell you what horrors await you (and mostly ET) at the end, there's not a whole lot to gloat about! It will probably be more like ...um... Chinese water torture? OK, maybe not that bad - more like the roller coaster that everyone speaks of. Enjoy the ride - it will probably be scary at times.
You are such a good bloke xbox. Even when you've been through so much to get here you're thinking of the pother people still on the journey. Hugs to you, and like you say, here's hoping the luck rubs off on them too.
Much to your dismay, you won't lose me. But you already knew that.
You and ET give me hope. We barren folk need to know there's a reason we climb aboard the rollercoaster every month even when it's the very last thing we want to do.
Just remember, you don't have billions of people reading here hoping for failure. We wouldn't come back, checking daily for updates, just to be sure your efforts were unsuccessful. We're here to see you end up covered in baby poo and spit, exhausted and delirious.
I've never have problems with fertility (unless abundance is a problem), and I feel the guilt. How come I get two perfect girls at first try when others struggle for years?
My solution has been to remember how fortunate we are to be parents, and to remind people when it comes up (and it comes up A LOT with twins) that strangers' fertility is not a subject to ask about at the store.
If I get my timing right (and some bastard publisher ever decides to give me a decent publishing deal-six months of being hawked round by agent and no luck yet) my humour book on the first year of parenting might just be in the shops in time for you and ET.
Will try my best.
Just enjoy, my friend. It might be painful for some, understandably, but let's hope they all have the same luck (brought about by persistence and hard owrk and agony) as you and ET, and may this pregnancy be blessed.
I am just so happy for you and I am going to enjoy the rest of the process unfolding. You and ET deserve this, you have been been through so much to get to today. Enjoy the ride. I can not wait to hear about the rest of the journey.
Stop reading, my ass.
Don't let survivor's guilt overshadow this joyous time! I'll be staying for the duration because I'm dying to see if parenthood still frustrates you after all this trying. I've gotta believe that after the sixteenth time your kid has ridden up your heel with his/her trike that you'll be pissed, too! If not, I will officially be a failure.
Congrats on your release from jail! I personally will keep on following- even if not just for your witty prose. :)
I am excited when I see one of my blogger friends real their goal, or have their turn at luck- I rejoice in that. I want to be a friend in the bad times AND the good (which sometimes can be a different kind of bad!).
I can't wait to see what is to come!!!
Personally, I can't wait to hear your take on pregnancy and parenthood. I think it's going to be hilarious :)
Your sensitivity is so touching. I love that you are thinking of others at a time when you just want to shout from the rooftops "I'm going to be a dad!!"
Enjoy the walks, enjoy the books, enjoy every single second. Your first pregnancy/birth/baby only happens once.
And Momo Fali said it best and so eloquently, "Stop reading, my ass."
Wait, how d' you know it's just the 3 of you?!?!
So do I, XboX. This is the best time. Smiling like an eejit with your wife as if sharing a private joke that you hope lasts for eternity.
It's fantastic. And nine more months of it to go :-)
So glad you came to find me so I could share your excitement.
Now even more waiting......but for the nicest of results!
@Momma - We are looking at valentines day according to the online calculators!
@Hilary (Maya Papaya) - It's good to know it wasn't just me!
@WiseGuy - Mid February all going well.
@Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo - that makes no sense to me.
@Mwa - Thanks ;-)
@nishkanu - Thank you, that's lovely.
@Jill - Safe trip back!
@Penelope - hehe, sucker ;-)
@jodieodie - Thank you.
@tiff - hahaha.
@womb for improvement - I'm an 80's child, it's test tube babies and video shops all the way for me.
@Anja - Mightn't knock someone up with it, but I could beat you to death with it.
@hairyfarmerfamily - love the way you say 'comical'. None of this was meant to be funny ;-)
@AnnB - yes, a definite parallel.
@Amanda - We bought one of her books, 'the rough guide', it is funny and kind of relaxing to read.
@Grannymar - Thanks, I'm surprised to hear that, and I love how you call us a 'young' couple. Doesn't always feel like that ;-)
@M+B - Good times ;-)
@Making Babies - I do hope so!
@Nic - That is my exact hope. There's no secret formula. I hope you get to come on here and make your own announcement soon.
@Feebee - Absolutely spot on.
I know we are actually miles away from being 'there' but it also feels a millions miles away from where we were.
@Veronica - A pity, but inevitable.
@hotmamamia - You're nuts. Thanks.
@Jen - Thanks!
@Chhandita - Thank you.
@IrishNYC - yes, that's exactly it.
I hope people can take the good from it.
@darcie - Noted, noted and noted!
@wildhare - Thank you, very considerate.
@Ms. Moon - I think it would be impossible to not have reservations having been through te last couple of years and knowing that others still are.
@Rachel - Will certainly try.
@morninglight mama - Thanks :-)
@AnnD - yeah, pass on the name if you can find it easily.
@Dondi Tiples - :-)
@areyoukiddingme - after all this, it's welcome.
@WhatAboutNovember - Behave.
@Jo Beaufoix - Hopefully.
@RRP - Thank you, really.
@Sadia - The fact you were aware is more than enough I think. It's all we can ask for really.
@Misssy M - Dedicated to me of course? or free copies at least.
@Kori - ;-)
@Elaine at Matters of the Heart) - Thank you.
@Momo Fali - Proof of the importance of good punctuation....
@Lyssa Ireland Thomas - hehehe. Can just picture it.
@Lorza - Thanks ;-)
@Jenni - she says with an evil grin.
@Bonnie B. - oh don't encourage her!
@Anonymous - I'll track you down and shave your eyebrows.
@Mick - I know you absolutely get what I mean about being able to go out happy.
But Jesus, just 8 more please, I know I like to drag things out but take it handy!
@Tismee2 - Yes yes yes!
xbox & ET, I couldnt be more trilled for you both. Your story is inspiring & I feel so priviliged to know such private details about you both. You are indeed brave infertility soldiers.
I hear ya today though. And although I am happy for your situation, I am sad for my own. I feel like you have given me permission to say this now...but I may not tune in as often. I will keep an eye from time to time as you are a great & witty writer but i must protect myself from the joy that others experience at this time because I havent been so lucky. We are doing our 4th & penultimate IUI tomorrow morning so the next 2 weeks will be tense. I will be back if its good so that I can share the rollercoaster that is pregnancy.
Really hope to be back in 2 wks. Please dont be offended by me. Enjoy the next 8 months & please gloat away. You both deserve it.
Congratulations! I am not a regular reader, but I do read at many places that list you in the blogroll. I wish you the best of luck and health. Oh boy does that sound incredibly sappy coming from me. I am truly happy for you.
@meabh - Thank you.
I understand 100% what you mean. If I'm honest I would be doing the same as you if the roles wee reversed, and probably being less up front about it to boot.
I wish you the absolute best of luck tomorrow, and I hope the 2 weeks takes it easy on ye, most of all I hope you can come back here in 2 weeks with the best news of all.
If you want a chat about anything, please feel free to drop me an email, might help?
@WeaselMomma - Thanks a million
@WhatAboutNovember - So?
Mine is an older version, donated by my sister-in-law, but I know I've seen newer versions available.
"Your Pregnancy Week By Week" by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler.
I read this this morning and should have commented straight away, now everyone else has already said it.
You deserve this. You've fought long and hard. And my god I'm going to laugh at your parenting exploits!
Are you sure you didn't tweak the online calculators to give your story a bit of a romantic twist?
I am going to be the loyal reader I have always been until you write your final post.
Leave your guilt behind Xbox, you have suffered enough over the past couple of years. Time for you to enjoy the ride.
It was a long journey for you. You should not feel guilty at all.
I'd say, please keep blogging about it all, and I am ecstatically happy for you and ET, and wishing you the very very best. I hope every day just gets lovelier for you.
I wouldn't, for a second, want you to spend time dwelling on your struggle to get here and the sorrow it cost you. I very much want to hear all about your happiness.
I think the pregnant and parenting ex-infertile become 'enemies' (only, I don't think I'd say enemies. More... accidental sniper fire) only when they become careless or dismissive of both their own struggle and the ongoing struggles of the rest of us, pretend it never was that hard, start spouting the 'relax!' line and so on. Some of the best support I have had comes from parents who have been through it all and won through.
Why on earth would anyone stop reading? If anything it'd be a driver, seeing how ecstatic you are, no?
......and it starts........
I LOVED this part. suddenly everything in your whole world is different, more meaningful.
Sometimes I have difficulty pushing Publish on posts about my husband, because I have so many friends inline who are struggling in their relationships. Sometimes I don't want to talk about my kids because other friends online can't have them. Sometimes I omit great big things from my blog because I know someone else out there is searching for that great big thing and hasn't found it yet.
But at the end of the day, it's my blog, and I need it. And you need yours, too, I think. Don't stop what you're doing, dude. I know I'm not going anywhere.
This is the best news!! Congrats!! You are so going to be the dad that reads every single pregnancy book available to mankind. Enjoy!
I look forward to reading now more than ever. I hope to be reading your blog for a long long time filled with stories and antics of a life with child(ren).
I couldn't be happier for you guys!
February babies rule!! Especially if they are girl babies as just about all my best girlfriends were born in the month of February as is my daughter. Good month!
@AnnD - Noted, thank you.
@bsouth - 27 day cycles, may 11 last cycle day 1. You check!
@Sarah - Stalker.
@James (SeattleDad) - will try!
@iVegasFamily - I know, but still....
@nutsinmay - You are right about some of the best support, who better really than someone who's done it.
Thank you, that was very kind.
@B - I know what you mean, but it's not quite that easy. Would you read the blog of someone spending a fortune if you had no money?
@Tanya - It is, complete turnaround.
@Mr Lady - I DID need it. Absolutely, up until 10 days ago.
Now, I'm not so sure.
@Irish Mammy - heh, can try!
@Kathryn - ET is also a February birthday.
I of course will continue reading here because I'm happy for you and can't wait to see what this leg of the journey turns out like for you!
I hope that everyone has it in them to be happy for you because if anyone deserves a child, it's you guys.
Following on from Fiona Phillips pregnancy and now you guys, I'm finding it is making me more hopeful and quite inspired actually. You're right not to look back, I've spent too long saying 'what if' and it doesn't help anything - I can also remember buying that first pregnancy book - enjoy reading them :-)
If I was a stalker, I wouldnt comment. Fool.
It depends how they're spending it and what I'd like to spend with it I suppose.
i won't stop reading, you're painting a clear picture of what i have to look forward to!
I won't say it is earned or anything because I am still at a loss as to why/how *I* was given the gift of pregnancies and children when others in my position weren't.
But it's a gift. A much longed for and practiced for *wink* gift.
One that I know you and ET will treasure.
You're a blessing and an inspiration to many.
Not an enemy but a beacon of hope, I think.
Congrats man! Enjoy it...every minute of it. :D
Also, you bought books? I did not know you could read? :D
No one even remotely familiar with your long struggle could fault you for enjoying this time, or sharing your joy.
You both deserve the best of all this, and now you've finally got it.
I hope others in a similar position can take comfort in your example, the way you intended.
@Miss Awesome - I know they are all happy, but I know, having been there, how much it reminds you of what you don't have yet.
@Lorna - Wow, that is good to hear. I'm glad.
@Sarah - Maybe you're just a really shit one?
@B - hmmmmm....
@Sarah - best of luck!
@Widdle Shamrock - We will, absolutely.
@Rachel - very dramatic ;-)
@Jared - I would threaten you with bodily harm for that, but you're undoubtedly bigger than me.
@LiteralDan - I hope they can, thank you.
Amen for February!
I get it. People leaning on each other with a common problem and then suddenly one of the leaners doesn't need to lean anymore and it can throw the other leaners off balance and they might need to look for somewhere else to lean.
But you know what, you deserve every single ounce of happiness that you are feeling right now and not one speck of guilt.
When we finally got preganant after four years of TTC, we too felt like we had joined the club. We could look at other expecting women without jealousy, or pain, or anger. We could buy the books and the baby clothes. We had had two miscarriages, but this time we allowed ourselves to be happy.
Newly pregnant, and very happy, I began to look at all these future parents and wonder if they, like we, had had such an uphill battle toward the baby goal. You really can't tell from the outside what the parents have been through. I found myself much more gentle and compassionate to all parents - because their journey just could have been as hard as ours.
TTC is not something everyone talks about. It's shameful and hidden and those that suffer often suffer in silence. The fact that so many people are drawn to your post means something important. The desire to parent, the desire to be a parent, is so fundamental for many people that it is painful. And, we can all relate.
So beautifully written. I, for one, can't wait to see what this leg of the journey brings you.
The miracle of conception is nothing short of miraculous but the birth of that child you have struggled to conceive and prayed so long for is far beyond your wildest dreams.
@WiseGuy - Absolutely!
@Blues - yeah, that about sums it up.
@Mrs. LIAYF - Excellent comment.
@Alyssa - Thank you.
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