In March we began dating. Despite my best efforts to remain single and NEVER date a father for fear of becoming attached to their children, I had found myself in a relationship, with a single father of two. It did not take long before the people at work find out. This was in part due to March being the month of the Military Intelligence Ball. In addition to the surprise of dating a single father the speed at which our relationship progressed was surprising.
I decided that even though years of fertility treatments had failed. Even though it was clear I was unable to carry a child, I should still probably go back on birth control. You know do the whole adulting thing. Not to mention I was really tired of the cramps. I prefer to be on birth control if for no reason other than to avoid the extreme pain experienced every month. Unfortunately, since moving to Georgia I just hadn’t had the time to go to the doctor. I decided with the new relationship starting it seemed like a good time to get off my butt and make it happen. Not to mention I use a form of birth control that could be taken for three months straight. This limited the number of periods and the number of withdrawal headaches each month that I had become used to.
I set the appointment and a few days later entered my primary care doctor’s office. Since I am in the military physicians often change so this was my first time meeting them. I entered the small room and found a portly older man, with a grey ponytail, wearing crocs. An interesting look for a doctor, but I thought nothing of it. Then he opened his mouth.
It didn’t take long in the conversation before I was regretting my assigned doctor. First he tried to sell me on an IUD. Fine for some but I personally prefer less permanent solutions. I prefer be able to go off a medication quickly if it doesn’t work out for me. After my initial no thank you I would prefer the pill. He tried to press the matter a few more times. By this point I figured he had to be getting a kick back of some kind for each IUD and was only two away from a new Huffy bike. Whatever the reason for the sales pitch he soon realized was not budging on the matter. I didn’t exactly require birth control to prevent pregnancy, my infertility was doing a fine job of that. I just wanted the cramps and headaches to stop, or at least become manageable. The doctor continued.
“Are you currently pregnant?” He asked with a bit of a smirk that I just wanted to punch off him.
“No.” I responded flatly and clearly unamused by his condescending tone.
The question put a knot in my stomach. A knot that tightened with each of the normal follow up questions.
HIM: Have you ever been pregnant?
HIM: How many pregnancies?
HIM: How many children?
Each answer I found it harder to swallow. I just wanted my birth control prescription and to get out of there. It’s bad enough doctors never seem to review your record beforehand. It is worst that someone that wants a child more than anything in the world also needed birth control just to manage pain. A bit of a cruel joke from the universe. I would have loved to have not been there. To have not needed the prescription. The doctor then asked with an even more condescending tone.
“How do you know you aren’t pregnant?” he questioned. As though all of a sudden I was knocked up. My infertility had just cleared up magically.
I could feel the warmth as blood moved to my head. The warm wet tears forming in my eyes. This fucking asshole, I thought to myself. I began to feel more and more uncomfortable as the line of questioning continued. Finally, he had the nurse give me the required pregnancy test to ensure I was not in fact magically pregnant and prescribed my birth control. I quickly got the hell out of the office with the hope of NEVER having to return to him again for any reason. I just couldn’t deal with the condescending ass hat one more time unless it involved loss of life, limb or eyesight. Even then I may wait a day or two. At least I now had birth control and could focus on other things.
The relationship continued to progress quickly. I spent most of weekends and nights at his house. My lease was ending soon and we decided to save some money and move it together. It just did not make sense to continue paying for two homes. In June we began to move my stuff into his home and a storage unit. As though things were not busy enough June marked his daughters fourth birthday. So in the middle of moving we were planning a fourth birthday party, complete with pony rides, because daughters get what they want from fathers. Needless to say it was a busy time.
Between party planning breaks we tried to prepare the house for adding another adult stuff. Doing this required consolidating several items and getting rid of unnecessary items. The stress of it all was taking a bit of a toll on me. I suspected that once again I was having an issue with my thyroid. During fertility treatments my doctor had me on Synthroid for a slight hypothyroid issues. My numbers at the time were not so low that I was considered to have a hypothyroid issue by most doctors but just barely. The numbers were far too high for most Reproductive Endocrinologist. For fertility purposes they like the number to be below 2.5.
I thought the numbers may have increased over the years. In addition to exhaustion and my hair thinning I also felt strong and sharp stomach pains anytime I drank a carbonated drink. For this reason I thought an ulcer may also be a culprit. No matter what the issue was there was no way I was going to go back to that asshole I had previously seen. I also had too many other things to take care of so the hair and stomach would have to wait. Not to mention things were going to smoothly by this point. I had a bit of a fear that I’d be diagnosed with cancer or something else serious. I had no time for that.
My now boyfriend had moved to the area two years prior. When the military movers moved his things so too came his ex-wife stuff. Unopened boxes of her stuff filled the garage. When they split the two were in D.C. and she moved to Florida to live an RV with a new guy. Due to her limited space she had no desire to retrieve any of the boxes. Mixed in with her boxes were boxes of his that were unopened, and tons of items from when his daughter first arrived at the house as a baby. A box of cloth diapers, her baby swing and bouncer were now used for dolls. The toys and outgrown items all cluttered her room and living room. We had to down size. We didn’t have much time to sort through it all and quickly began to go through the boxes and remove toys and baby items the now four year old had out grown.
By the middle of July we finally managed to get most of the garage cleaned out. We removed the baby items and toys she no longer played with, and moved my extra furniture to storage. We managed to complete all of this a week prior to his trip with the children to Texas to visit family. This was an annual summer trip that served to let the kids see their cousins and to attend his nieces birthday party. With the house empty for a week and the move complete it seemed a good time to change my primary care physician and see someone about my issues. Hopefully it was just something simple and not a significant issue.
I submitted my request and halfway through the week I received an email that I my PMC was changed. FINALLY I thought to myself. Thursday night 18 July my thoughts were elsewhere. A year to the day prior was the due date given to me for my FET baby and last embryo. The one lost on Thanksgiving. The thought had been on my mind for last few months. Each milestone date that passed I thought of the male embryo and my last chance of motherhood. The holidays that would have been his first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. The first holidays I and my ex husband had missed out on. This would have been my first Mother’s Day, his first Father’s Day and today may have been his first birthday. Each of these days came and passed with reflection and tears. The wonder of who he would have been on that day. What milestone he may have reached. Who he would look like. I was glad I had the house to myself to take it all in.
That night I told my boyfriend about the change in doctors and that after a few months of stomach pain with certain drinks I was finally going to schedule an appointment and find out what was wrong. Hopefully given the amount of time that had passed I wasn’t going to find out it was something serious. He was glad to hear that I was finally going to see someone. He had urged me for months now to see someone about it. We wrapped up our phone conversation around 10:00 at night. I was ready for bed and wanted to take advantage of one of my last few nights alone. He would be returning home that weekend and in military fashion would leave for six weeks only a few days later. Leaving me alone with his daughter for the start of Pre K.
After hanging the phone I decided that to avoid any condescending remarks form a shithead doctor about being pregnant I would take a pregnancy test and bring it with me. While I knew they would still make me take one there at least this way I could get passed the BS line of questioning and have my issue taken seriously from the start. I truly wish this was not a thing medical professionals did. Simply dismiss any issue a women has as being related to pregnancy. I still had plenty of tests left from my days of trying to conceive so I dug out a clear blue easy test. I opted to use that one because hell it isn’t like I needed it and the cheap ones that may have faded by the morning. I took the test and prepared to go to bed.
That’s when I noticed something odd. Before I had even finished peeing two lines had appeared. It had been awhile since I had taken a test so I figured it must be one that has a test line and control line. There was no plus symbol so I thought this must be one that required a plus sign for it to be positive. Still I decided to look it up. My breath caught in my throat as the images for a positive test of this kind showed only two lines as a positive. My hands started to shake.
Now after five years of fertility treatment, timed intercourse, medicated timed intercourse, six intrauterine inseminations (IUI), a fresh IVF cycle, and a FET with PGS testing so there was no f!@#ing way I was pregnant while being on the pill for two and a half months straight by this point. It was an old test and blue ink tests are known to give false results from time to time. I rushed out of the house and drove to the closest store opened at 11:00 at night. I immediately called my best friend. No answer, f!@k !
Half way to the store my boyfriend sent a photo of the kids at the birthday party. Not thinking and a bit frantic I sent the response:
Can’t talk right now kind of busy. And I attached the pregnancy test.
I pulled into the store and rushed to the aisle I had once known so well. Of course while walking into the store I get hit on by some random asshole. Just what I was in the mood for that tonight. Immediately I grabbed a two test pack of digital test that clearly said pregnant or not pregnant. Screw the guesswork I wanted straight forward answers and no decoder ring needed. I also grabbed a different brand with a plus or minus symbol because what the actual f!@k was going on. Of course I passed two of my soldiers in the store and could only hope they didn’t see me frantically rushing though pregnancy test aisles at almost midnight. Nothing says composed Army Officer like soldiers spreading the rumor that Chiefs pregnant and freaking out. I grabbed a bottle of water to make sure I could pee as soon as I got home, and rushed to the self-checkout.
Thank the universe itself for self-checkout. The last thing I needed was a cashier evaluating the panicked purchase and giving the old, “good luck” with a smug look as I left. In appropriate response yes, one I have received before while purchasing bulk pregnancy test also yes. Mind your damn business cashiers.
I tried my best friend again. Still no answer. I love her dearly but she is the worst about responding to things quickly.
My boyfriend responded to the text with a what does that mean? Response. Not exactly sure yet, I sent back. I rushed back to the house drinking the water as fast as I could. The 10 min drive felt like an hour. As I pulled into the neighborhood I began ripping open the tests and unbuttoning my jeans. I rushed to the bathroom and started peeing on sticks like it was putting out a fire and had no water. Each test one after another flashed pregnant, pregnant and a pink + sign. What the f!@#? I snapped a photo of all three tests and sent the message to my friend and boyfriend. Finally she called me back.
“What the F!@#?” She said as I answered the phone.
“Yeah I know.” I responded shaky and out of breath.
“Is this a joke?” She asked shocked. She knew the importance of the day.
“On what would have been my son’s first birthday? How dark a sense of humor do you think I have?” I asked a bit shocked and somewhat impressed that she thought I had it in me. We spoke for a few moments both equally shocked.
My boyfriend called while I was still on the phone with her. The shock was still washing over me in waves. By the sound in her voice she was having the same reaction. She had been there through everything. My life before the military. I was there with when her children, my god children, were born and lived with them for most of the first year of their lives. She had watched as I struggled to become a mother. She was there for the miscarriages, treatments and divorce and now she was there as I stared at four positive pregnancy tests after taking months of birth control straight.
We hung up and I returned the call from my boyfriend. Lucky for us we were both adults, with good jobs and stable environments so a pregnancy wasn’t going to break either of us. Given the fact how the hell could we do anything but laugh at the situation. Years spent married trying to have a child. Unable to conceive unassisted and unable to carry to term. Years spent doing everything by the book, finish school, receive my degree, start a career, get married, buy a house only to spend thousands of dollars, years of tears and pain and eventually divorce. To finally start dating again and within only a few months of dating and while on birth control I get pregnant.
The only thing to do was laugh with universe. As someone that always had a plan, a checklist and an order of doing things WTF else could I do but let go.