Y’all I have never felt more in tune with my body than I have this past year and a half that’s for sure…
By definition, infertility is the “inability to conceive children”, although dictionary.com suggests the meaning we all associate with infertility: “not fertile; unproductive; sterile; barren”.
Personally, this is the most accurate definition of all...
We officially started trying to have another kid 2 months after our wedding, but we didn’t make a big TA-DA about it despite there being so much pre-interest in when a child would come forth from my sacred womb. About 8-9 months in, we started to figure that something probably wasn’t right.
My husband claimed it was him because he drinks and smokes, so he went and got that checked and nope, not him. Then, it was my turn… I get to the OBGYN and explain what’s going on, and he now wants to start making charts and all that good stuff…
Well, amidst the charting and the data, the doc came to the determination that he wanted to do a laparoscopy which is basically where they stick a camera in your baby maker and check it all out. So, I get the procedure done, and we find out that a good chunk of my right side is covered in scar tissue like outside of the babymaker- we’re talking scar tissue EVERWHERE… poor guy got more than he bargained for with my procedure. In addition, he found that my tubes were severely blocked/crushed from all that the scar tissue. Apparently, that high internal pain tolerance I was so proud of and frequent bladder infections that have plagued me my whole life had come back to bite me in the ass. See, after the birth of my daughter I got a pretty bad infection, but it wasn’t caught for a good while because yea, high pain tolerance, and then I got another infection and same story, high pain tolerance, late catch, and so the story goes. Well, add this up over the course of 8 years, and we now have the reason that no baby is being made.
It would be my luck that the tubes weren’t COMPLETELY blocked/crushed… if they were, I could have skipped this whole next step, but alas, lady luck spread her fortunes elsewhere. So, my tubes are basically like when one really skinny lane is open on the highway, and everyone is trying to funnel through it from 4 lanes because the other 3 are blocked/closed, and let’s go ahead and throw a cone in the middle of that 1 open lane for good measure; that’s what I’m working with, and because they weren’t completely blocked/crushed, there was “still a chance of natural conception”, so we had to explore that first….
I then had to go through the first round of fertility treatment where they give you medicine that is basically like steroids for your baby maker, and you start pumping out eggs like a submachine gun (I’ve been playing a lot of Fortnite lately… it’s seriously addicting…) hoping one makes it through the perilous trek that is your 4 lane highway reduced to 1 lane, gets fertilized, and lands in the safety of the cervix within the allocated window for all that to happen (like a weekish)… To put it back in the highway terms, I have to pick up my friend and be in downtown by 8, it’s 7:45, and I’m still 10+ miles away from my friend. The whole treatment lasted 6 months in which I had to go see my doc twice a month, take medication, and adhere to a babymaking schedule… you want to talk romance at the beginning of a marriage, I got you.
Finally, that 6 months was up, and I was then referred to a fertility specialist who then had to go through his round of testing to officially diagnose that we needed intervention. This included 2 separate sonograms- one to check that I make eggs, and the other to make sure the uterus works- which are about $250-300 a pop. Then, he wanted a blood test to look at all the things- I submitted 10 vials of blood that day which I wasn’t even sure was legal… like, are you going to give some back!? We’re taking our chances and not having the genetic screening because we just don’t have $4000 to throw at that test, and the doc said the risk of genetic problems at our age is low, so yea, no thanks, I’ll love my baby regardless.
Finally, after 2 weeks of tests and waiting for our other doctors to send our records- even though I told the man I saw the pictures, and we gave him all the information they gave us, and I already know I need IVF- I finally got the call, this past week, that I do in fact have “tubal disease” thus am diagnosed with “infertility” and need IVF (in-vitro fertilization if that random combination of letters confuses you).
Not sure what he’s been up to the past 2 years of my life, but yea, I told him all this for free… I really didn’t NEED to shell out almost $1000 in 2 weeks for him to tell me the same thing…
Why irony sucks sometimes
It’s funny to me (trying to stay positive!) that I’ve been diagnosed with infertility even with an 8-year-old bouncing around this earth… oh I know secondary infertility happens, but I’m not exactly “infertile” as the 2nd definition above states; no, I’m actually very fertile… my mom jokes that you just sneeze in our direction and boom baby- she got her tubes tied after my little brother because yea, he was a surprise. And I told the fertility doc all that, but, of course, he had to run his tests. When he got his results, he had such a pleased look on his face at how fertile my numbers were; like, 1.5-2 on the scale was really good, and your girl got a 1.8 kind of good. And that was with no medication… during this whole procedure they’re going to again pump me full of hormone medication, so I can only imagine how many eggs they’re going to fertilize. I wish I could donate the unused ones to pay for the cost of this procedure… but, alas, not an option…
So, here is my BIGGEST concern with all of this (aside from cost) and why irony can be a real bitch sometimes:
This doctor tells me they implant 3 fertilized eggs and “hope” one sticks… like did you not just read off those exquisite numbers from my chart, and did you not just look at my uterus and say ‘perfect conditions’? And you want to put 3 in there!?… we should really think about this. Sure, I don’t want to pay to have this procedure again if we just do 1 egg, and it doesn’t take, but I’m not entirely thrilled about the thought of raising more than 1 child in a certain age range at a time. So, now, we are playing a LITERAL game of Russian Roulette…
The irony comes in here:
I was not prepared nor looking to have a child when I conceived my daughter, just irresponsible, and boom I got pregnant 6 months after my doctor froze my cervix to rid it of pre-cancerous cells. And now that my husband and I are desperately wanting to add to our family, we can’t… not without medical intervention. Like, we’re ready, and prepared but, nope.
What’s even ‘funnier’ (not really funny, but, hey, positives, right?)- now that we have to have IVF, the risk of twins and triplets is all of the sudden VERY FREAKING REAL. We said we wanted 1 baby, well hello 2 babies- that’s literally all I see happening. See, me being a member of my hyper-fertile family means that I would not be surprised if our attempt at 1 baby didn’t land us with more than we bargained for, and this is something that plagues my dreams constantly… Again, I will love my baby(ies), but I definitely would prefer only having 1 to love…
I have to laugh or find ways to laugh at it because this whole thing is just too depressing for me to not try- it’s my coping mechanism… that, and sarcasm.
Why you have to grasp for the positives
So, here we are today.
I no longer want to curl up in a ball and cry, and I’m generally alright with this conversation; although, I prefer not to have it. I’ve come to terms with all of this, and now that it’s summer, I FINALLY have a reprieve from the CONSTANT QUESTIONS; it is SO refreshing.
As I told my doctor, I have managed to keep my sanity because it’s about looking positively even though this really freaking sucks.
- Now, I get to plan my baby and have the opportunity to get short-term disability insurance in place for maternity leave and not lose my entire paycheck for 12 weeks- something I didn’t have for my 1st. Funny thing- my husband gets PAID paternity leave… like 8 weeks or something… what. the. f#$%.
- I’ve been treating my body (a little) better and working my way to a healthier diet and lifestyle. It’s a work in progress… Twix is still my best friend…
- I’ve connected much deeper with some of my friends and others who are struggling with a similar problem. It’s slightly more bearable when you have someone to complain WITH.
- I learned the true colors of the people in my life… especially my direct supervisor who would let me leave early or come late to get treatments without taking a hit to my personal days and told me that if it got to this, I could continue to miss those times without being penalized ( #MyBossIsBetterThanYourBoss … kidding… I’m sure your boss is lovely, unless they’re not, then I’m not kidding, mine is better…).
- I learned compassion when it came to this situation and how to ask the right questions rather than just questions to satisfy my own curiosity.
- I learned more about insurance, infertility, and the whole dang process than I ever thought I would. Despite frustrating me to no end, it pushed my husband and me to begin finding creative ways to afford this whole thing. #TeacherPayWontCutIt
- Speaking of my husband, we’re closer now than we were when we were first married. Sure the first months of treatment pushed me deep into a dark corner, and the whole communication thing was quite poor, but we had a breakthrough, and we’re much more open and honest about all of this which has taken a lot of stress off my mind. He realized I was suffering in silence and forbid me to do so; I didn’t like it, but it was what I needed.
Why people suck sometimes:
So, we got married in 2016, and almost immediately after that the questions started, “When are you going to have more kids?”, “When are you going to expand the family”, “How many more kids do you want?”. At first, it was like whatever, “We’ll have kids by the time our daughter is 10, and we only want 1 more”, and people were pretty content to leave it at that.
As time progressed, though, the hordes were insatiable and continued to persist…
Even when I told people we were having ‘difficulties’, they still persisted, or they would cutely say, “Just waiting for you to pop another out!”, or “Where’s my baby? I need a baby!”. I don’t think anyone realized that any of this was just plain rude even when I stared at them clearly communicating: “Please get the f&$# out of my face”. Even asking “When are you going to have kids?” is equally rude- I know plenty of couples who don’t want children, yet they have to deal with BS questions like these anyways. And, I was the same way, I asked those stupid questions too until this all happened, and I get it now. I understand why this is literally the most irritating conversation to have with someone who really isn’t apart of the situation. I get that a lot of people don’t even know a couple is going through infertility, but it doesn’t matter because a couple’s decision on having children just isn’t your business (there is, however, one exception to this, in my book at least, which I will explain a little later).
See, people get so blinded by their curiosity, need for information, and desire to be a part of the conversations of others, however they can, that they have started completely missing basic social cues (is this what social media has done to us?). These were my coworkers, friends, acquaintances, and sometimes extended family asking these questions/making these comments; I wasn’t going to be rude and blatantly tell them to “F@$% off” even though I definitely wanted to… HUNDREDS OF TIMES. I became reserved and standoffish, and I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere; I seriously just didn’t want people talking to me because all it seemed they wanted to talk about was my non-existent kid that I guarantee I wanted more than they did, or how they just couldn’t understand how I could have a child and then just not be able to anymore (“Well, that just doesn’t make any sense”). So, I just continued to stare at them like they were the bane of my existence and took it day by day living for each weekend and extended vacation because, at my house, I didn’t have to be bothered with any of that.
Here’s an excellent rule of thumb for you to follow when it comes to asking couples about their prospects of spawn:
Unless you are personally going to pay for that baby’s needs (remember that exception I mentioned!?), you don’t get to ask those questions/make those comments.
I can’t tell you how many times those questions, covered in my guilt and shame, and sprinkled with hormone medication damn near brought me to my breaking point.
Keep reading, I’ll give you a healthy alternative.
Where do we go from here
If you are struggling with infertility, I want you to know that you have to find the positives- bet you thought I’d say, “you’re not alone”. Wrong. That’s cliché, and you’d be dumb to think you’re the only one with this problem. Seriously though, you have to look at life and be thankful for what you do have, and that modern medicine is so far advanced that you can still get what you want albeit at a cost. If that’s not the path your family can even take (let’s say maybe you have to adopt), then there are so many kids waiting to find their forever home, and they will bring and give just as much love as your own biological child. No matter what it is you’re exploring or having to do to overcome this infertility demon, try to find something, ANYTHING, that brightens your day and hold on to that to get you through those really bad days.
If you’re that person who asks those annoying persistent questions, here is that healthy alternative I promised.
You get to hear all this so that maybe it can get out there that the business with couples and their future spawn, or lack thereof, is just not your business. So that MAYBE the next time you come across a newlywed couple or one without kids, you’ll ask,
“What are/Have you thought about your plans for your family in the future?”
Instead of being so concerned about when a child you won’t be taking care of or losing any sleep over may or may not grace you with their existence. I promise- with that question you will probably get your answer with regards to kids, but you also might not; either way, you will be fine without fully knowing whether or not a couple plans on having kids or not, and you do the added bonus of not possibly adding to the suffering of a family suffering with infertility.
This whole situation is not fun for anyone.
Don’t be that person that makes it worse.
Unless you’re offering to pay for it all.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will gladly take your money and answer any questions you have.
Contact me for details …