They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes pictures are fragmentary. Sometimes pictures are sketchy, and sometimes pictures are incomplete. They are incapable of conveying the whole story. And in those cases, words hold weight. Words are important, and words matter. And a a man from Cincinnati, Ohio is now proving, sometimes words are imperative.
(All 3,336 of them.)
Last week, Dan Majesky shared a picture of he and wife Leah’s ultrasound on Facebook. And while ultrasound pics and pregnancy announcements usually garner a lot of attention on the social media site, Dan’s image quickly went viral because of what he wrote.
Because along with the photo, Dan shared a detailed, unfiltered account of couple’s pregnancy story — not just the beautiful parts, but the hard parts, too. He shared their many struggles with infertility, the effects of their previous miscarriage, and the many hurdles they had to come along the way. But Dan starts their story with the most innocuous question possible — “do you have a minute?” — before delving into the crux of his post: their road to conception.
“We’re in our 30s,” he continues. “Things are probably a little bit dusty, and a little bit rusty. So, three years ago, we started using apps and calendars to track this and that. Ovulation test sticks. Old wives’ tales of positions and timing. We got some late periods. And some periods that never came!”
“But we didn’t get pregnant.”
So Dan and Leah turned to medicine and hormone therapy. They also tried IUI (intrauterine insemination), and as Dan explained, this was very hard on both of them; but it was especially hard on Leah.
“My job was to try and not say anything dumb, because she also needed to be calm,” he continues. “I tried to avoid triggering phrases like ‘Hey,’ or ‘Good morning,’ or ‘I love you,’ but I kept fucking up, and opening my mouth, or allowing Leah to see TV programs, or commercials, to read books, and interact with the world in any way.”
Eventually, Dan and Leah got pregnant; and to say they were overjoyed would be an understatement.
“You go in for a blood test, two weeks later, and they tell you that you’re pregnant,” he writes. “And you cry. Big fat tears of relief. [And] some weeks later, you go in for an ultrasound, and there it is. I mean, yeah, it’s a tadpole with a giant head. There’s its brain, and there’s its heart fluttering away, and it’s so real.”
So the couple began to relax. Everything seemed “normal,” and as Dan explains, he and Leah began to plan their child’s future. They began to imagine their life as parents.
But sadly, when the couple went in for what he describes as the “final scan before being released to our obstetrician,” they heard the news every parent-to-be dreads. “I’m so sorry,” the technician told them. “I can’t find the heartbeat.”
And just like that, Dan and Leah were “not pregnant.”
Just like that, the Majesky’s were trying to explain to their friends and family “that someone who will never be born, who they had never heard of and will never meet, but who meant the world to you, is gone.”
But the couple kept trying. They kept pushing forward with the hormones and injections and “deposits” of sperm. And on their last round of IUI, the couple was pregnant once more. They were pregnant not only with a child, but with a healthy baby girl:
“Everything went well,” Dan reports. “Arms and legs and moving around. We’re very excited, but I’ll be holding my breath for 26ish weeks.”
“And it’s a girl. Not that gender matters! But we’re going to have a little girl! And I am stoked. We are stoked.”
“We are pregnant.”
And after reading their story — which is the story of so many others, struggling with infertility or having difficulty conceiving — I cried. Because their story is real. Their story is honest. Their story is painful. But their story is also beautiful.
Their story is one of hope.