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When get­ting preg­nant hap­pens to ev­ery­one but you, what’s the best way to go for­ward?

Elle (Canada) - - Contents - By Danielle Dev­ereaux

The baby wait­ing game.

some women say they’ve al­ways wanted to have a baby. I used to be ter­ri­fied by the prospect and, later, felt pretty neu­tral about it. If it hap­pened, it hap­pened; if not, well, I’m not sure what I thought would hap­pen if it didn’t. Prob­a­bly I thought it would be no big deal. And it wasn’t, un­til it didn’t hap­pen and still isn’t hap­pen­ing, and now hav­ing a baby has be­come a very big deal.

If you tell your doc­tor you’re try­ing to get preg­nant and it’s not work­ing, she’ll ask how long you’ve been try­ing and, if it’s long enough and, like me, you live in New­found­land, re­fer you to the prov­ince’s only fer­til­ity clinic. They will or­der many tests. Some­times th­ese tests re­veal a prob­lem; in our case, so far, they have not. I took this to be a sign that we didn’t need med­i­cal help; we just needed to try bet­ter. I didn’t want to need h

med­i­cal help, so this was a con­ve­nient in­ter­pre­ta­tion. I de­cided to take a year off from med­i­cal clin­ics. I bought books on in­creas­ing fer­til­ity and charted my cy­cle; I con­sulted a natur­opath and an acupunc­tur­ist and gave up gluten, caf­feine and dairy; I did yoga; I tried not to think about it, be­cause this is what peo­ple tell you: Stop think­ing about it. But the thing about try­ing to have a baby and not hav­ing one is that they’re ev­ery­where—sit­ting in gro­cery-store carts, strolling down side­walks, pop­ping up on Face­book—so it’s dif­fi­cult not to think about it.

Near the end of my year-long clinic break, I be­came ob­sessed with a story about a dead Bri­tish baby. I dis­cov­ered him in The Guardian on­line. At first, the de­tails were scant: A baby had been found dead in a home in York­shire, his mother taken in for ques­tion­ing. In time, more in­for­ma­tion was re­leased: It was the mum­mi­fied body of a child who’d been dead for almost two years that had been found in a cot in his mother’s room, “un­der a pile of shoes, clothes and bed­ding.” And although the child was four years old, he died dressed in clothes in­tended for a baby aged six to nine months. Later, when the mother, Amanda Hut­ton, was found guilty of man­slaugh­ter, it was re­vealed that she and her es­tranged part­ner had seven other chil­dren: two over 18 and “five chil­dren aged be­tween five and 11… [found] mal­nour­ished, with head lice and fun­gal in­fec­tions that had left them with miss­ing toe­nails.” It was a grue­some case, and I couldn’t stop read­ing about it. Hut­ton had had eight preg­nan­cies, eight ba­bies.

Around the same time that The Guardian was re­port­ing on the case of Hut­ton and her mum­mi­fied son, a Cal­gary woman, Mered­ith Borowiec, was fac­ing charges for leav­ing three new­borns in the garbage. One was res­cued from a dump­ster, and she pleaded guilty to ag­gra­vated as­sault. The other two, born in the pre­vi­ous two years, were never found. She was found guilty of two counts of in­fan­ti­cide. While in cus­tody, Borowiec had a fourth baby; it was taken away im­me­di­ately.

The only de­tails I know about the lives of Hut­ton and Borowiec are those re­ported in on­line­me­dia sto­ries. Th­ese sto­ries are con­found­ing and tragic; none sug­gest that ei­ther woman spent $ 60 a month on whole- food pre­na­tal vi­ta­mins in an at­tempt to get preg­nant.

For a while, I wor­ried that my ob­ses­sion with dead-baby news sto­ries was un­healthy, and maybe it was, but it also made re­turn­ing to the fer­til­ity clinic eas­ier. I’d re­sisted go­ing, in part, be­cause I was afraid to tempt fate—if I were meant to get preg­nant, it would, and should, just hap­pen; who was I to in­ter­vene with drugs and doc­tors? Hut­ton and Borowiec are ob­vi­ously quite fer­tile, but th­ese women were no more meant to get preg­nant and have chil­dren than I’m meant not to.

I re­turned to the fer­til­ity clinic about eight months ago. The nurses have been kind. The doc­tors have been help­ful. I’m still not preg­nant. In terms of treat­ment op­tions, the next step is in vitro fer­til­iza­tion (IVF). IVF isn’t avail­able in New­found­land, so I have started the process of get­ting re­ferred to a clinic on the main­land. There will be more tests, more drugs and more in­jec­tions. We should ex­pect to spend be­tween $10,000 and $12,000.

I don’t like talk­ing about my baby-mak­ing trou­bles, but try­ing to get preg­nant with the help of a fer­til­ity clinic takes up a lot of time and headspace, so some­times I do. Ev­ery­one seems to know some­one who has gone through some­thing sim­i­lar. I get told a lot of fer­til­ity-treat­ment suc­cess sto­ries. Th­ese sto­ries used to make me feel bet­ter, but the longer this goes on, the more I think about the other sto­ries—the peo­ple for whom there was and will be no preg­nancy, no baby—be­cause those sto­ries ex­ist too. Where the suc­cess sto­ries can bring hope, the oth­ers bring sad­ness and, some days, despair. What I try to do now is not think too much about other peo­ple’s sto­ries; they’re in­ter­est­ing, of course, and im­por­tant, but they’re not mine. I don’t know how mine will turn out yet; I’m still in it. n

I tried not to think

about get­ting preg­nant, be­cause this is what peo­ple

tell you: Stop think­ing about it.

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