So, when are you gonna have a baby?

Seven months ago, I embarked on the most ambitious journey I have ever been on. I have found myself on exhilarating highs and scary lows since then, inspiring me to put every life-altering moment on record. For the novelty and posterity of my first pregnancy… in hopes to inspire other women or couple, who like me, have been waiting forever to hold a tiny miracle in their arms soon. This personal blog is a first of many, which will be supplemented every week – Rio

 

I’ve always liked babies – their chubby faces, little hands and feet. I love their smell, the sound they make when they’re amused, and the faces they make moments before they cry. I remember looking forward to every weekend I could visit my two cousins – then aged 1 and 2 – so I can play with them all day. After summers of babysitting them during my pre-teen years, I knew I wanted to have my own. And that I’d be a natural in raising them.

Having a child, to start a loving family of my own, is the ultimate goal. All the major decisions I made in the last decade were all calculated to attain this. It was the reason I overworked myself in my 20s. It was the reason why I kept on chasing one better-paying job after another. So that I’d be ready someday.

have a baby
Me, holding my 7-day old nephew, Jaco, for the first time in 2011.

I was 29 when I finally got married. I was two months shy of turning 30 when I moved to KL and be with my husband. And as I scrambled to start my life from scratch in a new country, I heard my biological clock ticking, pounding, breathing down my neck. “You know, getting pregnant in your 30s poses a higher risk for you and your baby,” this I was always told. A lot.

Advancing age is one thing that made that “someday” felt like it may never come for me. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is another. When I was 25, I discovered I had this condition of having higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones, making it harder for me to get pregnant. In spite taking pills for years, I knew getting pregnant could get tricky.

It also didn’t help that Salman wasn’t ready to be a father just yet. And while he needed time to be, I also needed some to adjust to our new life, to get along with his relatives, to find new friends, and to establish my career in KL before anything else. All at the same time, after all. I became so used to living in my own terms and in the environment I was familiar with for so long that sharing a roof with the man I love in a foreign place with unfamiliar culture felt quite overwhelming. I don’t need unnecessary pressure. Besides, what’s wrong with spending some quality time with my husband, just the two of us, for a little while?

married couple, have a baby
My husband and I pose for a photo at a friend’s wedding in Manila in April 2018. We’re married for almost three years here.

But, all these never discouraged me from believing that I could nurture another life one day. This faith charged me forward – from one short employment contract to another. (I’ve finished four in the last three years, by the way.) It helped me develop a sense of humor in handling those annoyingly dreadful questions: “So, when are you going to have a baby?” or “Don’t you want to start a family soon?” As if they never crossed our minds at least once. As if we never talked about it. As if we didn’t have the brains to plan it.

Previous Blog: A journey to a new faith, love, commitment and belief

A relative once told me: “Do you remember my niece who just got married three months ago? They now have a baby along the way!” She even forced a chuckle to make the newly-opened topic sound uncontrived before, saying: “They got ahead of you already.” It was a statement I knew I had to come back with a smart retort. And all I could muster to stop insensitive commentaries like that was: “Good thing life is a marathon, not a race. And having a baby is a blessing from God.”

It’s true. Conceiving a child is a miracle, not some insurance plan that matures over time. It just doesn’t happen like a rite of passage for every married couple. Some wait for a decade or more. Heck, others have it out of wedlock.

have a baby
Celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday with the rest of my husband’s family in 2016.

She never asked me about my thoughts on pregnancy ever again. But I have to admit: three years of waiting is an awful long time. And all I could do was the accept that it still wasn’t the right time and try to live my life the best I could. Whatever happens, happens right? I accepted a less stressful job that would leave me with more free time in my hands. We moved in to a humble condo near my office before my husband was able to invest in a unit of our own. We had fun furnishing our new home with love and laughter over time.

While it is the happiest we have ever been, I knew something had to be done about my unyielding uterus. So, I told my husband that we need to set a timeline. We agreed to start trying seriously with the help of a fertility doctor. And if it that ended up in a fruitless expedition, then it only meant one thing: We need to save up for IVF treatments. I needed to have that baby before I turn 35. And I only had 3 years left.

Next Blog: Finally, two lines on a stick!

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