my baby will decide

I’ve always been a girl with a plan. I like lists and schedules and thinking things through and knowing what will happen ahead of time. And even though we know it’s futile, I approached baby-making the same way.

I got married when I was 31. We moved to Los Angeles after the wedding, and shortly after, I turned 32. I insisted I find a job before we started trying to get pregnant, which I did a few months later. I stopped birth control, and waited 3 cycles to load up on prenatals and folic acid, and to make sure I would receive full maternity benefits from work. And then we started trying.

I was determined to become pregnant by 33. Which I did. But I lost the baby 6 weeks before my 33rd birthday.

I then became determined to have a baby before turning 34. I became pregnant again, with a due date 6 weeks before my 34th birthday.

But I lost that baby too.

I then thought, ok well at least I’ll be pregnant again before I turn 34.

I turn 34 in eleven days and that’s not happening. So now I keep thinking, as long as I’m pregnant by the end of 2014, as long as I have a baby before 35….

These are self-imposed arbitrary deadlines, and they cause me so much stress and heartache.

I had a meltdown in therapy last week. About how I’m dreading my 34th birthday. About how I never wanted to get this old before having kids. About how my fertile years are slipping away. About how sad I’ll be if I’m not pregnant by Christmas. About how much I’m trying to make this happen for us.

She looked at me and pretty directly and said, “Alexis, you have no control over when you will have a baby.”

How could she be so mean? How could she say something so hurtful?

And even though the tears that followed were an involuntary reaction to those words, I knew she was right.

I fantasize all the time about letting go. Could I just trash my ovulation sticks, my basal body thermometer, never pay attention to what cycle day it is, or when my period is due? Could I ever just not care about when this actually happens? I know my therapist is nudging me in that direction. She wants me to acknowledge that this is out of my control, and to let go a little. She wants me to stop putting all my hope and desperation into each current cycle, and have faith that eventually, it will happen.

But how do you climb out when you’re in so deep? Every little bit of this is so loaded. I would just be pretending to not know the cycle day, or that I wasn’t anxiously awaiting the verdict at the end of the two week wait. Because I’m too scared to let go. Too scared that if I don’t try to control it in some way, it will never happen.

“The greatest suffering I see from people,” she told me, “are those that cannot accept the reality of their situation.”

I know that despite however much heartache it causes me, I’ve accepted that we’re fighting this battle. I pushed and advocated for our care every step of the way, even when doctors have written me off or rolled their eyes. I’ve accepted that we’ve needed help and that we had medical issues that needed to be fixed. And after the second loss, even though I was told over and over to “just try again,” and I wanted so badly to do exactly that, I accepted that it wasn’t the solution.

But what I still have trouble accepting, now that we’re fixed and primed and ready, is that I still have no control over when this baby will come. That every plan, every bit of effort, obsession, and desire, makes no difference.

And so I tried to think of it another way.

My baby will decide.

My baby is waiting for that perfect time to emerge. Waiting for the right time for its journey from zygote to the little human in my arms.

My baby is forcing me to get strong, to learn about perseverance, and patience, and faith. My baby is forcing me to learn when to exert control and when to let go. When to be assertive and when to be passive. When to perfect the art of equanimity and when it’s ok to meltdown.

My baby is waiting so that the joy of his or her arrival will be that much more overwhelming. Waiting so after all these tough lessons, I will be that much better of a mom.

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47 thoughts on “my baby will decide

  1. Oh, I feel you on this one! My husband and I just had a big mid-afternoon discussion on this and how our family plans have gone completely to shit and how much longer can we keep doing this and living this way of waiting something so desperately and not being able to obtain in. And how I hear you on learning to let go and accept that we cannot change the timing of when we will get our child – I get that. And there is a big part of my that understands that and even accepts it. But, my hold back and my real fear is that we will never get the child we dream of and all of this, each loss, each day of hoping, each and everything will be for not.
    Well, I just realized I probably haven’t helped you any, I wish I could provide you with some miracle advice on how to let go and accept that the timing is outside of your control. What I can say is that I love your confidence that your baby is waiting, and I admire you for the storm you have weathered so gracefully and I truly hope you get your little baby ASAP!

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    • Thank you ❤ It just helps to know that others understand – how hard it is to let go, the fear of it never happening, how it controls your life. We can know in our minds that we can't control when the baby will come, but our heart doesn't care, it wants what it wants! Right now I am so focused on getting pregnant again (and being afraid of how long it might take), I barely have capacity for all the fear that will follow about whether it will stick. Thank you for all your empathy and for your sweet wishes!

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  2. I am also a girl with a plan and this journey has been really hard in that respect. But I have let go of little things, like temping and tracking. I have a cycle tracker on my phone but I use it sparingly, I try not to look at it every day. It’s not easy but it keeps me sane. I love the way you have changed your thoughts to your baby will decide, such a beautiful thought.

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  3. I am also a girl with a plan.. It has not worked out according to plan. I did stop the self-imposed dates about 6 months ago though. There was just so much pressure. But I know without a doubt, these trials are making us better people and will make us better parents. Sending hugs. Beautiful post 🙂

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    • It is definitely time for me to give up the self-imposed dates, they really put on a layer of added stress and pressure. It’s so hard when you feel like you fertility is going down everyday, but I’m doing everything I can and there is nothing more I can do about it! Hugs back at you ❤

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  4. I’ve realized that one of my biggest internal struggles throughout all of this is that I feel like I am wishing my life away, and at the same time, wishing time would stand still. Like always wanting the 2ww to just fly by and not even truly living in the moment because I want it to be next week already so I can know if this is the month it all worked. Or wishing that I could skip straight to when I become pregnant and not have to go through all of this. Then on the other hand, I also have the same thoughts as you about wanting to be pregnant by a certain age. I just turned 30 this year and that was huge for me because my whole life I always wanted to have kids by now. So in that sense I find myself wishing time would stop and I fear my upcoming birthdays! It’s a definite struggle for sure and I have to remind myself often to enjoy my life and live in the now. I don’t want to look back and regret anything or feel like I wasted ANY second of my life.

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    • I have the same issue with waiting to time to speed up and stop at the same time. I don’t want to get any older, I want to stay present, but at the same time I want to be through with all of this already! But like you, I don’t want any regrets or to feel like I wished my life away, just to get to the end of the 2ww. And I also get tired of people telling me, “oh you still have plenty of time” when I tell them my age…if you’ve wanted something by a certain again and you don’t have it, it’s hard to get older!

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  5. Huge hugs because Oh man can I relate. I set so many deadlines for myself after losing my son and each one that passed was like a small loss all over again. I was sure I’d be pregnant the first month because everyone says you’re super-fertile then. Then I was sure I’d be pregnant my second month, then by my due date, then by thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, my angelversary… Well you get the drift. I’ve finally given up on the deadlines but it’s still hard to accept that I have zero control over any of this. Thanks for writing this post.

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    • I know what you mean about each passing deadline being like a small loss all over again. I know the best thing I can do for myself is to let those deadlines go, but it’s so hard when you get your heart set on each one. But letting go of them is so freeing, because I really can’t do anything about turning 34, or when Christmas comes, of New Years, etc. Big hugs to you ❤

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  6. I don’t think we have to entirely let go to get the benefit your therapist is speaking of. I’m going to know when I ovulate. I’m going to know when the tww is happening. But I think some acceptance that as much as we want to, we can’t control this, would be of benefit for both of us!

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    • I am working on the acceptance, but I am finding it so, so hard! I think a part of me doesn’t really believe that I don’t have some control, and that is where I go off course, even though I know in my head that I don’t. But you’re right, maybe I don’t have to entirely let go to get the benefits I need. 🙂

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  7. Girl! I am feeling this post! Self-imposed deadlines, turning 34, all of it! You are right it is tough to let that shit go but it’s even tougher to not beat yourself up if you don’t let things go perfectly (I’m constantly working on this). And you are already a great mom. Thanks for the post.

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    • Aw, thank you. It’s true, the last thing we need is to beat ourselves up on top of everything we’re going through, but still we do it! And missing “deadlines” just gives us more ammo to feel bad. It’s time to at least let all of that go 🙂

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  8. I had a similar meltdown with my therapist, although it was concerning my 35th birthday which is next March. My therapist gave me some handouts on ‘radical acceptance’. I still have them, haven’t really done much with them, maybe I’ll read them when I’m ready… This process is so hard and the more people tell me to just be happy and think positive, the harder it becomes to carry on. I feel like people are telling me the way I feel is not okay. Please know I’m thinking of you.

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    • I know, the more people tell me to be positive, the more bad I feel at how difficult I find it to be positive! The stakes are so high, and anyone would struggle with that given we are up against our worst fear. And birthdays are so hard now, with how intertwined they are with fertility, especially 35. I think realizing that starting next week I will have no more birthdays between me and 35 is what is freaking me out/upsetting me so much. So I really feel you. You are in my thoughts, and my fingers are really crossed for you! ❤

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  9. I totally get this. I was 32 when we first started trying, and like you, we got pregnant right away, but then delivered at 27 1/2 weeks and lost our son due to severe prematurity, then we had to wait a year to even try again because of the type of c-section I had, and then we kept having losses, and the failed IVF… well you know it all. Somehow with all of that, I became 37! And this little guy’s due date is one day before my 38th birthday! It really is so hard to let go and not think about it, but it really is out of our control. Praying your miracle baby comes soon and you don’t have to wait as long as I did! Sending you so many positive thoughts hon!

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  10. To switch to a different angle gives one a new perspective. It is so helpful! I like to control things and planning my future but I cannot never plan when I can have a baby. I have to accept that painfully. Letting the baby decide is really a relief. I like your post!

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  11. I so totally understand how you feel. It’s hard for us girls with plans to think that the baby will decide. I used to think, it’s my body, I’ve got this under my control. Everyone tells me to let go, like you I just didn’t know how to. But the month that I got pregnant (even though I lost it at 7 weeks), I finally learned how to let go. To me, it’s not about inaction, I was totally in control of the whole process as I was on ovulation induction. But its about surrendering myself to accept whatever happens will happen and there is absolutely nothing I can do to affect the outcome. I shouted to the universe and said “Take me!” I lied on the floor and just let the floor carry me instead. I love your post. It’s a reminder to us that we’re not a failure, but our baby will decide for us instead.

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    • I really do struggle too with the idea of letting go and what that actually means so I really like the distinction that you make – that letting go is not about inaction, but rather about surrendering ourselves to whatever outcome may be ahead of us. I think when we feel prepared to do that we know we are actually ready to try again after miscarriage. Thanks for your great insight and sharing your experience.

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  12. I love your honesty. I think all of us that are TTC after losses probably feel a bit obsessive. I was so crushed last month that it didn’t happen that I decided to let go and God has really helped me do that. I feel sooo much better! This is going to happen for you and you are going to be such a wonderful mother, because as you said your losses and your journey will make motherhood even sweeter! Hang in there ❤

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  13. Girl I hear you. I did throw out my OPK, stopped using my OVU app, but in my mind I still knew. So it didn’t feel very different. I don’t know how we can “let go” Sometimes I think it’s even hard for therapists to understand. Even with all their knowledge and experience, unless they have been our shoes, it’s hard to understand. I really like your concept that your baby will decide. It’s a idea that brings comfort, at least to me. Somehow, we’ll get through this! Prayers for you! (Btw, I compromised with myself, not using an OPK, but using my OVU app)

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    • I have tried cycles where I didn’t track everything so closely, and I usually just ended up so frustrated with having such a lack of information to obsess over! But maybe a compromise like what you did is worth a try 🙂 You’re right, unless you’ve been in our shoes it’s so hard to understand, and some advice sounds great in theory, but is so, so hard to execute on!

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  14. Your therapist sounds amazing! I’m like you, a planner. I planned and I plotted and I schemed. And I thought I’d be giving birth at 34. I’m now 37. And it’s like…. How did that happen? And every month I do it, I tweak the plan… It’s exhausting.

    I love the idea of letting your baby decide. That’s sheer brilliance and simplicity. I really hope the approach helps and takes the edge off the wait.

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    • It’s amazing how during this process we’re constantly waiting and feeling time is going by so slowly, but then years go by in a blink and we’re suddenly so much older than we expected to be. I’m hoping this perspective works too, at least so I can stay a little calmer and more composed during this process 🙂

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  15. A lovely post. It is incredibly difficult to will yourself to stop trying to take control of your life, especially when it feels so out-of-control. But well done you, I wish you the best of luck with it. Send some of those lovely positive vibes our way!

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  16. “These are self-imposed arbitrary deadlines, and they cause me so much stress and heartache.”

    Much agreed, Alexis. I know how hard it is to let go.
    But then I remind myself:
    open hands, aren’t necessarily empty ones.

    Thinking of you,
    Dani

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  17. I like the idea that the baby will decide 🙂 I have put a lot of pressure and time tables on myself in the last three years as well and I’m not even much of a type a/planner. You just always imagine that it will finally happen at just the perfect time, and then the perfect time passes way too quickly every single year. But someday, our rainbows will come, in their perfect time. XOXO

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  18. FWIW, our stories have a lot of parallels, except my husband has no issues it was ALL me. I was married 2012, I had 2 miscarriages in 2013; I doctor-shopped until I found those who would listen, test, and treat me (now taking Synthroid for hypothyroid); I decided to try fertility drugs and IUI (kind of out of desperation, not because we necessarily needed it)… now here I am a year (and 6 IUI’s) later, aged 34 at conception and (God willing) I’ll be 35 years old at delivery. I thought I could control when I’d have a baby–I sure as hell tried, cajoling my doctors into various protocols. But in the end, it was nonsensical–it happened on an un-medicated IUI with just one egg and only 9 million sperm–whereas I had previously released up to 4 eggs with 100’s of thousands of sperm (RE expected triplets or more) and got a BFN. I don’t regret all the fighting (with doctors and insurance and labs) and researching and stressing I did to get here, but in the end nothing turned out as I expected. However, I’m quite sure everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to. And I’m positive you’ll find the same to be true. Good luck my friend! XOXO

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    • We really do share a lot in common! And you’re helping to calm me and make me realize that even if I don’t try and control everything, it could still all work out. My whole thing after my last miscarriage was that I would not try again until I’d seen every doctor, gotten every test, etc, etc, and now it’s a year later and I wonder if that really was the best approach or whether I should have just taken more leaps of faith. I obviously can’t go back in time, but I can try to lessen my grip on it all going forward, given that I’ve now done all I can do. I’m so happy for you, and hope to be soon following in your footsteps! 🙂

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