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Mom Adventures: 'What Do Two Blue Lines Mean?'

Adventures in motherhood from a West Hempstead parent's point of view.

Intrigued and petrified.

That’s how I felt when I was first approached with the idea of writing about what I refer to as my adventures in motherhood. I’ve never been one to claim that I have all the answers or all the ends wrapped up neatly in my life, so the thought of talking about my experiences did cause me a bit of terror. 

After that subsided, I did a lot of thinking. In the few short years (5 and a half to be exact) I’ve been someone’s mother, I’ve had some great experiences, some unbelievable adventures and wondrous moments of clarity that I hope can shed some light on others traveling down the same path…..or at the very least remind you that your not alone in the journey.

I’ve decided to call this “What The Parenting Magazine Don't Tell You," because I think that everyone, me included, can benefit from relating to real-life experience. I’ve done a good deal of research: books, magazines, eavesdropping, whatever I could to help me get a handle on this new life-altering role of parenting. Yet none of it prepared me for the things I go up against on a daily basis. I think I can speak for most parents when at the end of the day, we are just happy we got everyone through with no broken bones or calls to poison control. 

My first “real-life” lesson was about infertility. My husband and I swam through that ocean of uncertainty for 18 months. After those very long months filled with trips to specialists, temper tantrums (on my part), scary-sounding medication and a very impersonal fertility treatment, I walked away with an education, a new respect for the whole process and a pregnancy. Not hard at all (insert sarcasm here).  

I remember one time in particular that I think defines what couples struggling through the infertility process experience. We had been married for about five years and were at a baby shower, one of those nightmares for men that are called “Jack and Jill” showers. I dragged my husband along as the invitation instructed. We were seated with a couple we didn’t know and their adorable toddler. The well-meaning husband was on his seventh comment about how good we were with kids and how he couldn’t understand what we were “waiting” for when the inevitable snap came from deep within my brain. 

Prior to this man’s comment, my husband and I deftly avoided the topic by just smiling, nodding and playing with the blabber-mouth’s kid. After all, I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but that seventh comment did it. Talk about the straw and the camel. I took a deep breath and I felt my husband involuntarily tense up, as if he sensed what this poor man was up against. I looked at him, again, someone I just met, and said “you know something? We would love nothing more than to have a baby, but we don’t seem to be as lucky as you and your wife. So instead of badgering us, how about you just keep enjoying the free babysitting?”  This was said with a smile of course, my hoping to deflect some of the acid that was dripping off my tongue. 

That was the lowest point in the whole process. The high point came when we met with the doctor again and after my treatment (a very technical and impersonal sounding thing called an IUI), he was so positive about the outcome that it rubbed off on my husband and I. We left the office a little lighter on our feet and four weeks later, we got the best news of all. We were pregnant. Finally. Miraculously. 

But in true ‘Andrea fashion’ I didn’t believe the test at first. I let the familiar disappointment wash over me. I took the test at 5:30 a.m., before my husband left for work. I checked it and it had two lines. I turned to him and said “it’s negative.” 

He said, “Wait, Andrea, doesn’t two lines mean positive?” I was so annoyed with him! I knew what I was doing, right? Didn’t I take like 20 of these tests already? I said, “Um, no! Two lines means negative.” And then I crawled back in bed.

My poor husband, so confused by my reaction and his, thinking he was right, but not daring to tell me I was wrong, just stood there. Then the realization of what I’d just said hit me. More like punched me. I jumped out of bed and said, “Wait, what? What do two lines mean? Where’s the box, where’s the box???” And sure enough, two lines were what we’d been waiting and waiting to see. My confused brain just couldn’t recognize it. 

That wouldn’t be the first time I’d be utterly and hopelessly confused. I had no idea what was in store for us nine months later. Next time, I’ll share my experience with our first child coming into the world with a short layover in the neo-natal intensive care unit. They don’t talk about that in the parenting magazines either!

Andrea Shinsato is A West Hempstead mom with a 2-year-old and one child enrolled in Chestnut Street School.

Christine Gangone April 23, 2011 at 08:29 PM
I loved reading this! I cannot wait for the next one! Your an amazing mom and even better "sister"! Your truely priceless!
Dana April 23, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Ang! This is truly an amazing story. You r so talented and a wonderful mom. CongratulAtions!
Kim Darling April 23, 2011 at 09:32 PM
Andrea!!!! I loved it!!!! I'm so happy and excited for you! You did a great job! Keep writing and I can't wait to keep reading!
Janet Scaturro April 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM
Mom and Dad, This is a terrific article. Keep up the great work, I always knew you could do it. This is just the begginning. Can't wait for the next one.
Lillian Shinsato Ditta April 23, 2011 at 10:25 PM
You have an amazing way of putting my feelings and reactions into words. Though I did not go through exactly what you did, I completely understand the pain, confusion and sheer exhaustion of the pregnancy process. You are a rare find in the literary world. Keep up the amazing work!
Michele Hall April 23, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Fantastic article!! Can't wait for the next one either.
Maryjane April 23, 2011 at 11:58 PM
Oh my god you are so amazing. We are so proud of you, we look forward to your next piece. You really are so special. Great job and look forward too reading more.Keep up your work we are so proud of you.. love youalways
Danielle April 24, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Amazing! Your so talented and your words are warm, truthful and sarcastic! Its everything all rolled into one. I look forward to the next article.
eugenia April 24, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Andrea, congratulations! What a wonderful opportunity for you. Looking forward to reading more.
Maureen Locicero April 24, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Andrea, You have an amazing talent and I am so glad you are able to share it with us! I just know this is the beginning and as you continue your new journey it will be spiralling upward! Can't wait until next week. Love you, Maureen
Harold Shinsato April 24, 2011 at 04:23 AM
Awesome article. It was very funny, touching, personal. Congratulations and I look forward to future installments!
Christine Costagliola April 24, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Your spin off on a horrendous and heart-wrenching journey is amazing. To create laughter from your pain to help others is warming to the heart. You are a special person and an amazing mother. Those kids are so blessed to have you.
Kristen April 24, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Job well done! It's so great how you are able to take your difficult (and at times painful) experiences and turn them into something positive by sharing them with others! Your words will reach so many people, and I'm certain it will give them the help they search for! The Patch is lucky to have you for a writer! Can't wait to read more!!!
Bonnie Shinsato April 24, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Emma and Logan are lucky to have such wonderful parents. I am so proud that you can express yourself so clearly in the article. Love you, TuTu Bonnie
Joan Ruopoli April 25, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Wow Andrea I knew you had it in you and I am so glad that you received a chance to tell your story. The words are wisdom to alot of people and I am sure it will help. You will never know what this article might do for just one person. I am so looking forward to reading more. You are amazing writer and I am glad you are usually your skills. Love you
Jennifer Downey April 25, 2011 at 12:37 PM
Ang this is wonderful! You have such great voice in your writing, I can't wait for your next issue. Miss you tons!
Eileen Wunsch April 25, 2011 at 02:33 PM
I enjoyed the honesty and cander of your article. I'm sureyour article will leave a positive mark on young coules who may be experiencing the frustration of infertility. Keep writing and informing your readers that parenting is a daily commitment and they are not alone.
Virginia costagliola April 25, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Well Andrea I thought I knew most of what you went threw but we always learn more . I enjoyed reading this and as with everyone else looking forward to the next.
Kathy Shinsato April 30, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Wow, I had no idea what you went through, Andrea. It was a heart-felt article. I'm sure a lot of people will want to hear more about your experiences.
Melanie May 18, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Andrea, I finally got to read this, what an amazing story, it is great to hear what you went through and now you're a wonderful mom to two beautiful kids, Congrats!!! Can't wait for the next story!!

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