honeymoon in Greece

After years of responsibly avoiding pregnancy, my husband and I found ourselves touring Greece during our honeymoon in May 2010 with exactly the opposite hope. Now we were ready to conceive. As we waited at various ports for a ship to carry us to yet another breathtaking destination, we often passed the time sipping something cool and refreshing as we pondered baby names. Although I know that conception is rarely immediate, I somehow expected us to conceive during that magical Mediterranean tour. To my disbelief and disappointment, the signs that we had not succeeded racked my belly with a familiar ache as our trip drew to a close. Really? How could this be? We timed everything perfectly!

And so launched our 3 year journey from honeymoon to conception. At first we feared nothing amiss– they say you should give it a good 6 months, maybe even 12. So we proceeded on our way, charting basal body temperatures and buying ovulation predictor kits. We altered our diets, added supplements, dabbled in acupuncture and Mayan abdominal massage… And nothing happened. We started to suspect something was wrong. Then began the round of medical appointments. Specialists looked at exactly the same data and came to opposite conclusions. Not very reassuring! No one could tell us why it wasn’t happening, but many were happy to offer an array of medical interventions that would boost our odds.

Two doctors, two surgeries (one his & one hers), and five IUIs (intrauterine inseminations) later – with increasing drugs from none to a lot – and nothing. Nada. Not a single conception. Not a brief, chemical pregnancy. Simply nothing happened. Well, maybe not nothing exactly. A lot of money was spent and a lot of tears shed. And still we never had a clear diagnosis. No real explanation of why we weren’t getting pregnant. On paper, everything should have worked. But it didn’t. After 3 years of trying, we needed a break. It was too stressful, too disappointing, too much. We were told by a reproductive endocrinologist that it was worth giving IUI one more try before moving on to the big guns: IVF. Although I know many wonderful children conceived through this miracle of science, I wasn’t ready to walk down that road. And so we paused. We stepped off the roller coaster of hopes bolstered and dashed.

That was April of this year. We decided to take a break and re-visit our options in the fall.

To our delight and amazement, we conceived in early July. After all that intervention, it happened the old fashioned way. We rapidly flew from stunned to ecstatically grateful as a blood test confirmed the urine test… and the reality of what had really, finally, impossibly happened began to sink in. Were we more relaxed? Definitely not in general – both of us were exceedingly busy professionally. Sleeping little, traveling plenty, drinking coffee and wine as we wished (or didn’t – my husband isn’t much of a drinker). No time to think too hard about our longing for a child. Somehow the stars aligned, a delicious sparking rosé might have helped… and voila. From nothing to someone in one amazing, biological union that created this new little person whose heart we’ve already heard beating inside me.

I suppose it’s a common story. Couples try and try and go to great lengths… and then suddenly, as if from nowhere, they conceive! Of course we were told many times to “relax and let it happen.” Easy advice to give. Impossible to take… until out of pure emotional exhaustion you simply have to stop striving.

Still reeling a bit, in a very good way, at the surprise and blessing of it all, our pregnancy definitely helps put things in perspective. It is with profound appreciation for the wonder and privilege of carrying a child, of nurturing a life and of building a family, that we step forward together into this new adventure.

By Leah Keller, Creator of The Dia Method. Learn more about Leah at leahkeller.com.