Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Year of Living Pregnantly

It’s over. I am happy and kind of stunned, but it’s over. The dietary restrictions and fitness considerations placed upon me while trying to get pregnant for four years were meant to improve our chances. I had “unexplained” infertility, and through all eight treatments I paid attention to my body. I took injection after injection, iced the bruises, and tried to keep my heart from breaking each time we received ‘the phone call’ telling us once again, “The procedure did not work”. I was able to control everything about me, but I yearned for something so out of my control.

Being pregnant was such a shock after not being pregnant for so long, combined with the stunning news that it was triplets. It put us in a surreal fog. Thus began a whole new regimen of eating, exercising and of course, rest. I gained 52 pounds and was hospitalized for a month with preterm labor at five months. I followed all the doctor’s rules. Though I felt lonely away from my family, I was comforted to be cozy with the babies inside me.

Despite my efforts, I felt that my body betrayed my babies when they arrived last January, 11 weeks premature, each weighing under three pounds. They stayed in the NICU three months (in two different hospitals) with a laundry list of difficulties and a tough road in front of them. I had cared for myself well and was bewildered that anything could be wrong with them. We fervently hoped they would live and be healthy, and though I did not produce a great supply, I felt that providing what breast milk I could was the last thing my body could do for them.

I continued to eat well, tried to sleep and get what exercise I could. I breastfed for seven months and faithfully pumped until last week. And now it’s over. I haven’t had a drink in I don’t know how long. Caffeine? What’s that? And it dawned on me – I can do whatever I want to my body. I can diet. I can exercise. I can eat whatever I want. I can get Botox, I can get a boob job. I feel liberated in the strangest way. Nothing I do to my body now will affect my fertility chances.

As we approach their one year birthday, we are elated at their progress. I finally feel relief and a lot less stress about whether or not they will make it. The lighter side of life is returning to us as we all gel with each other. I even recently rediscovered that long lost friend caffeine (oh how I missed you!), and have now lost nine pounds. It has been a year of joy, sorrow, sleeplessness, focus, excitement and surprises. But what it is no longer is a year of waiting.

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