When I started Georgiana Journey, I planned for it to be centered around travel because that IS a large part of who I am. But if I think back to why I really started this blog, the intent was to explain why I am who I am and how I got to where I am today. And the reality of it is that there is so much more to me than just traveling. While the global pandemic crushed so many of our plans this year, like finally taking our dream trip to Morocco in May, it also made me realize that there were other things that I wanted to talk about on Georgiana Journey. Possibly things that I felt compelled to talk about, but was not sure if this was the right space to do so. But let’s face it… Unexplained Infertility has been a massive part of my reality. Behind so many happy smiling pictures of us traveling abroad, there are many in which you would never know that I was pregnant and at times struggling with fear and anxiety of whether my pregnancy would be full term and I would actually be able to bring a baby home. My hope is that by discussing this, that I help someone else along the way…someone who has felt silenced, or ashamed, or scared, or hurt. These next blog posts may not be for everyone and I understand that, but if they are for you, please know that I see you and I hear you.
Let me start this by saying that I am not a doctor. The subjects I will touch on are based on my own personal experiences and my own professionally based diagnoses. Please consult a doctor if you feel like you may relate to or have questions about anything that I address during this series.
As a woman in my 30s or even in my 20s, I was often asked “when do you plan on having babies?” As young girls, it is embedded in our minds that building a family is what we are destined to do. We play with dolls and house with our siblings and our friends without thinking twice. We often beg each other to take turns in playing the coveted role of “The Mom.” I mean there are so many characteristics about my mom that I was proud to mimic while playing house. The love, the affection, the power, the strength. But what happens when you hit 20 and 30 and that coveted role of mom doesn’t come easily, naturally or maybe it’s not a role that you envision for yourself any longer? How do you explain these things to people when the social norm is have babies and have them soon? Followed by unsolicited advice on why you should or why you aren’t managing to have a baby. Well, let me share our story…
Two days after my 26th birthday I was married. As many of you know this part of our story, in 2014 we moved halfway across the world, by ourselves, not knowing a soul, just over a month after being married. We were eager to start our lives together, explore together, and to truly get to know each other as husband and wife. We agreed that for the first year of our marriage at minimum, it would be just the two of us. This was our time to be selfish, travel, and live life. But that still didn’t take away from the shock when I was asked in a job interview about whether I planned on getting pregnant in the next year. That certainly wasn’t a question that you could ask a woman back in the States. Although I knew that my plan was not to, I almost started to question myself when I responded, “No.” I mean after all I was 26 and by my age my mother had already had three children. Was I behind the curve or would this put me in jeopardy of not getting the job? I knew in my heart of hearts I was not yet ready to be a mother and for the better part of a year I held onto that.
Fast forward just before our one year anniversary, we decide that we might be ready to start a family. So we did away with contraceptives and lo and behold within a month I was pregnant. I remember not knowing yet, but I later realized that the agonizing headaches and cramping I felt while we spent the weekend in Rome were probably early signs of pregnancy. Eid al Fitr fell shortly thereafter and we were off to the Maldives for a week. I remember feeling really uncomfortable in some ways and with supercharged force my ichthyophobia kicked in when I got knee deep in the ocean from our deck and what seemed like every fish in the world started swarming around me, I nearly tossed my cookies and told Ryan the ocean was not a place for me. Could that have been a sign based on the old wives’ tale about fish and pregnancy? But what Ryan will tell you about above anything else, was that he spent all of this money on a dream vacation just for me to spend most of it sleeping. My body was doing what it had to do to prepare me, but also it poured daily and who doesn’t like a good rainy afternoon nap?
Upon returning to Doha, I realized that I was late and took a pregnancy test and sure enough it came back positive. The joy we felt at that time was unreal. We were on Cloud Nine and although it was still early we shared the news with our families and a few of our closest friends because they were half a world away and we needed the support. I remember buying a postcard in Dubai with a camel on it because I have an unusual obsession with camels and on the other side a sweet note about our baby who would be coming the following year. We took a picture of it and hoped that one day we would be able to post it as our pregnancy announcement.
We quickly set up doctor’s appointments to confirm what an at home test had already told us because nothing could solidify the news like having a doctor confirm it. We hadn’t expected it to happen this quickly. Although my first appointment was overwhelmingly chaotic with a few mishaps, we were blown away when we finally heard the little thumps of a heartbeat. To me it sounded slow, but the nurse made no commentary. We were simply told to come back the next day to meet with the doctor. Little did we know that our world would come crashing down just mere hours later…