1 in 8 

Years ago I woke up in the middle of the night to excruciating pain. The pain continued to get worse and by morning time my brother had found me on the bathroom floor unable to move. Come to find out I had an ovarian cyst that had ruptured and messed me up like no other. I spent days in the hospital. The Dr. told me that the cyst had caused some damage inside and I may or may not struggle to pregnant, when that time came. Back then, I really didn’t mind and wasn’t saddened by the news. I never wanted children. 

Years passed and as you all know… I fell in love and wanted a baby. We knew that my husband shoots blanks (sorry to put your business on blast babe) and we knew that it may be difficult for me to get pregnant. My problems with my reproductive organs had continued up to this point. We knew it would be a process in every which way. Emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. It was something that we decided was worth going for. We started to line stuff up and work on turning that dream into a reality. Which meant looking for a lot of money. 

We chose to move to move to Los Angeles for work. For a job that would require a lot out of both of us. James would be a slave to the job and I would be alone in a new city. A gigantic, packed, loud, city. We knew the sacrifices that were going to come, but we felt ready. We had our vision board, our plan, etc. We were on a mission. Thankfully this journey took us to Los Angeles. We were able to find one of the top fertility treatment centers.

Our first round of IVF was exciting, scary, and painful all at once. I had spent the years prior rehabilitating my mind and body. I was in great shape. I was in a good place mentally. Well that all went to shit. Hormones overtook me and I was ballooning up and crying and happy and mad and in pain. Not to mention alone in a new city. Yep, hot mess express. I figured since I was young and in decent shape that it would be smooth sailing. I thought the procedures would be uneventful and it would be an easy case. That wasn’t the case for me. When it came time to retrieve the eggs from my ovaries, we found that they weren’t great quality. After all the pain, blood work, procedures, etc., we only had one embryo survive. A boy. A boy that my body would reject. That was painful. 

James and I were crushed. When you’re going through infertility problems, it seems like everyone around you is pregnant. You also tend to focus on the 13 year old that could have a child, but you can’t.  You see fake pregnancy announcements and want to punt the laptop or the person that posted it. You try to not to take to heart the pregnant women complaining about it.  You think about the babies you read about that have been abused or abandoned, but you can’t have a child. You get asked about having babies or told its time to have a baby as if a baby just gets dropped on your door step. A lot of self loathing starts to kick in. It’s horrible to feel like you’re not in control of your body. It’s horrible to know that your body isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. However, we weren’t done with this dream. We knew we had to try again. We believed in this. We couldn’t just walk away. We did what we had to do and decided to try again. It was brutal. My body hated me. My Dr put a new plan together and it worked. My eggs looked better and thankfully we had four embryos survive this round. My Dr. decided to transfer two embryos and we froze the other two. During the waiting period (time after transfer, until you go back to see if you’re pregnant), time goes by incredibly slow. I think since we had the memories of the first round, it made everything go by in slow motion. I was paranoid about every pain, twitch,wipe,drop of blood, etc. During this time, I’m still pumping myself full of hormones. We learned during the first round that not only does my body reject pregnancy, but it also doesn’t make the hormones to carry the pregnancy. So I took hormones all day long in all forms. Pills, shots, suppositories (sorry tmi). (I would continue to do this, until the pregnancy was viable.) It was horribly painful and made me so sick physically. The first round I waited for the pregnancy test at the clinic. The second round was different. Before it was time to go get tested, I was feeling different. I was super sick and just felt something else.  So you know my impatient self tested at home. There was a power outage and there I was peeing on a stick in the dark. I shined my phone flash light and waited for that line to pop up. It sure as heck popped up. Super super light, but it was there. Pregnant. 

My pregnancy would be anything, but easy. It was traumatizing. I would eventually run out of skin that didn’t have hot welts and bruises and I still had to give myself multiple shots throughout the day. I was so sick I couldn’t stand up or ride in a car. Lifting my head would make me want to be sick. Eventually we found out Bells’ twin didn’t make it, but we still had one strong heart beat. As we entered the second trimester, I reluctantly put together my pregnancy announcements and had them ready to go out. Later that same night  I started bleeding profusely. We were terrified. I thought for sure this was it. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Please, God. No. My little girl held on. When we heard her heart beat, I can’t even tell you what it felt like. Tears flowed. My cervix had torn. Leaving me to be on bed rest now. I didn’t care as long as my baby stayed put. Here was the ultrasound from that scare. She was like, “heyyyy, I’m still here!” 

I carried her for 41 weeks, before I made her get out. She’d probably still be in there, if I hadn’t made her come out. 

People constantly tell me I need to give her a sibling. People constantly tell me it’s time for another. People constantly ask when I’m having another. People tell me I’m waiting too long in between kids. Not knowing the amount of sacrifice, pain, and struggle that we have gone through to even have one. At first it would make me angry. Now I just realize that most people are completely oblivious to the fact that 1 in 8 people struggle with infertility. Not that it’s anyone’s business to comment on someone having children, but most people truly don’t think about infertility. 

My Dr isn’t too sure that my body could handle another pregnancy. I’m not sure my mental/emotional well being can handle it either. We are so beyond blessed to even have Bells. Truth of the matter is that I have more than I ever believed I could or would have. We have our miracle. My heart is so full. I can’t imagine taking from these moments or missing anything. 

Infertility is real and it’s common. I can promise that you know someone struggling with infertility. It’s shameful. It’s hurtful. It’s hard. It’s heart breaking. It’s not understandable. It’s not fair. It’s secretive. It’s judged. It’s not taken into consideration. It could be the person next to you at work, your brother or sister, your cousin, your best friend. You never know who. We are 1 in 8. 

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Half of me 

My parents split up when I was around 3 years old. There were 3 of us and my mom was pregnant with my brother, when we left our sperm donor. That was it. He never wrote, called, showed up to court, never gave my mom a cent, etc. Nothing. 4 children that were half his and he couldn’t mail a damn birthday card. Jerk. 

When I was 17 years old, I was on meth and a mess. I moved away to my aunt and uncles to get some help. I started to see a counselor. Her name was, “Judy.” She was lovely.  I remember our first session she asked me what my first memory was. I remembered being in a crib. I remembered playing and trying to get a tooth brush (I think) off the bed next to the crib. I remember my father yelling and smacking my hand. I remember him leaving and never seeing him again. I never knew how that one moment would define so much of who I am. I didn’t want people to leave me. I didn’t say no to anyone. I didn’t fight. I was  fearful. I was a pleaser. I would let someone take my soul and not say anything. The list could go on and on. 

It’s funny how our heads work. I have a wonderful mom. She’s been there from the begining. Loving, playful, and full of  fight for us. Why couldn’t my first memory be of playing with my mom? What was it about this one memory that made it stick and be first? Why?  I’ve often wondered why I was left with this memory instead of him just not existing to me. I’ll never know. Just like I’ll never know most answers to questions I have about him. 

I honestly don’t know if a child will ever get over being abandoned by a parent. I don’t know that there’s anything that will ever fill that void or answer so many questions that being abandoned brings. We had a good family that helped raised us and loved us. A power house mom that somehow not only survived, but thrived with all 4 of us. We were never without. I mean, we grew up with a lot less than most. We struggled to make ends meet, but we were never without. We always had clothes, shelter, food, etc. We could have everything, but we still didn’t have a father. Well we did have a father. We’ve always had a father. He may have been a horrible father, but he was ours. 

He ended up getting into a horrible car wreck and survived years later. He was paralyzed, and could barely talk, but he was alive. We received a letter some time after the accident. My mom told us there was a letter for us to read, when we felt ready. A little bit of time passed and I didn’t read it. One day I was high on God knows what and went looking for that damn letter. Big mistake. I read it and put it back like I had never seen it. Boy, I was livid. Before I was sad, hurt, confused, maybe even a little angry, but now? I was shaking in anger. I kept that a secret and just held on to it alone. Never told anyone I read it. He ended up dying. 

My mom asked us if we wanted to go to his funeral. She left the choice to us. My brothers and I decided to go. So we made the trip to Mexico with my mom. I remember my heart racing as we stood in front of the church. I remember being scared. I wasn’t scared of what I would see or the people. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to control myself. I was scared I would go kick the casket over. I was scared I would start screaming in anger and not be able to stop. I saw people crying and mourning this man that I had mourned my entire life. I was so confused. Could a man that abandons 4 children be lovable? Could that man be someone that made people happy? There across the aisle sat a girl with her mother. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably. The girl looked like me. That girl was his daughter. He was a dad? She knew him? Why? Why her? How could she love this man? I was so angry and so jealous. I knew he was a piece of crap, but I was still jealous. Why was she ok to love, but not me? We made it through the funeral. I didn’t kick the casket. I didn’t scream.  Instead, I walked up to his daughter and I told her I was sorry for her loss. I gave her a hug and told her I was so so sorry she lost her dad. 

I read that letter again eventually. Years later. I read the letter sober and as a mother. You know, I like to believe that I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked hard to try and get over my shit. Reading the letter again, I still have anger and confusion. It no longer consumes me, but it’s there. In the letter he had said that we weren’t his kids. We were my mom’s kids. She raised and cared for us. The thing is that’s not how this works. When you have a child, that is your child. No matter what, he was my father. I was his child. He had that role whether he wanted it or not. I am a mother and I am responsible for the type of parent I am to my daughter. If I were to leave her, she suddenly wouldn’t stop being my daughter. He was a coward and in the letter I felt he was still trying to avoid responsibility. My aunt asked him what he wanted to say to us. He said, “I’m sorry.” My aunt had asked him if he loved us and she said, “He yelled at me as he was pounding his chest, “aquí los llevo!” (“I have them here”). Reading these things in the letter I felt as if I was being lied to. I wondered if a person that can abandon four children and never look back can even feel remorse. He was sorry? For what? Years and years and years and yearrrrss went by. Where he could’ve talked, written, etc. Now he was dying and he said, “I’m sorry.”  It just wasn’t enough for me, but it’s all I received and have. 

I never asked any questions I had. I never screamed and let it out. I never attacked him, while I sobbed as I had envisioned so many times. I realized I had everything I was going to get from him. Long lashes, issues, and my brothers. 

He had substance abuse issues (alcohol and drugs).  He was a liar. He was abusive. He was selfish. He hurt my mom. He hurt my brothers. He hurt me. He hurt everyone. It would be really easy for me to be just like him. I can’t tell you how terrifying that is. I have everything inside of me to follow lead. I have to fight like hell so that side of me doesn’t win. Today I write this as a 32 year old that is still angry and hurt. My father died and we never made peace. I was never given the chance to love my father.  I feel like that will probably be with me forever. Just like he’s always been with me forever. Whether he wanted it or not. He was there.