I have a kid so I'm not technically 'infertile' but one could say that I am fertility-challenged. I have a pituitary tumor that secretes prolactin, shutting down my reproductive system. Plus, I'm old (39 on Sunday ~ Hurrah!). I came to the online community, including blogging, through my efforts to have a baby. I met some women that should be mothers. Amazing, loving women with so much to offer that it only makes me shake my head harder when I see women smoking near their newborn or yelling at their kids in the soda aisle of Safeway to "shut the fuck up" and following it up with a smack on the shoulder just to show she means it. Yes, in some situations the offense is so egregious that I judge openly and harshly even though I often fall short of the mother I want to be.
What I've learned is that infertility is just one unjust way that dreams are slowly dismantled so that a deep sense of hopelessness can settle in to its new home. There is a lot of discussion and debate "out there" about infertility and more specifically how women handle it. It's complex. I can't touch on it all. I can't explain it all. And I don't, by any means, intend to speak for all infertiles everywhere. But I do want to mention a few things from my heart.
Oh, the eternal-ness of it. It's beautiful and pathetic. I remember writing once about how it takes so very little to shake it, to challenge it but it takes a tremendous something to extinguish it for good. Cycle after cycle you hop on the roller coaster with great anticipation that this might be The One! You climb the hill and expect that slow crawl to be rewarded by exhilaration and screams of excitement when you finally race down the hill. Then your temperature drops, you get your period or, if you were really hopeful, you peed on a stick early and got a negative pregnancy test. Crushed, you get back in line to do it all over again because 28 days from now your dream might come true.
First of all, when you do get pregnant and have a healthy baby you get to feel like shit about all the women who supported you but still aren't pregnant. Survivor's guilt blows. Nobody imposes it on you so it's theoretically all under your control, which only makes it worse when you realize that a teensy bit of your happiness is sapped by it.
For a Catholic it might be a little worse even. I've bargained with God. Things like, "dear God, if you will give Christina/Dip/Maria Luisa a baby I will happily sit out this cycle." I don't know if it works but I want it to and frankly, sometimes it's all I have left to offer even if it is totally silent.
Finally, who's the infertile partner? In my case, it's all me. So I'm the jerk who feels like she wasted her chance at doing this like normal people do and screwed it up for her husband too. "Babe, could you ejaculate in this cup again? Yeah, sorry my ovaries only spit out the ghost of a poof of dust that used to be a viable egg." But if the other person is the 'problem' well, then you risk resentment. Is he doing everything to keep the swimmers healthy? When you see his laptop on his lap you cringe a little bit. Maybe you get pissed off and pout if he skipped his 1 ounce of wheatgrass juice that day.
PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY:
So they offer unsolicited advice like "Relax" and tell you stories about how their neighbors cousin conceived on her own when she tried fill-in-the-blank.
When thousands of dollars have been spent on a failed implantation - or worse a positive test result that ends in miscarriage then people really don't know what to say. It's tough. So when it doubt just don't say anything. Make her hot chocolate, stroke her hair when she cries and give her a hug.
Last weekend I tossed and turned through sleepless nights that were highlighted by Clomid hot flashes. Today I had a date with the 'Dildo cam' again.
|Transvaginal ultrasound. Super-duper fun times. It's OK to be a little bit jealous that I spent my lunch hour rushing off to do this.|
I have a 21 mm follice on my left ovary and a 9 mm uterine lining to show for my insomnia. My reward for now is that tonight I get to inject myself with the Ovidrel I paid too much for because nobody at my insurance mentioned in any of our recent conversations that injectable medications require separate pre-authorization through a separate branch of HealthNet.
Then in a couple of days I get to put progesterone supplements in my you-know-what (or maybe you don't). Maybe, just maybe if I'm really super fucking lucky I might get to hold someone like tiny, perfect her again: