Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Infertility

This post might make my brothers-in-law and dad uncomfortable. Sorry, guys: Turn back now.


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.

HOPE:

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.

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Hope is the only reason I let someone put needles in my skin every week. It's also the reason I roll over and put a thermometer in my mouth every morning. Hope is the only reason I have sunk hundreds of dollars into sticks that I pee on and then throw away. 

GUILT:

Whew.
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. 

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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. 

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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:

Ada 6 days
Ada at 6 days old. 

So, Infertility, you can kiss my ass. Do you have anything to add? Sing out loud!







13 Lovies:

Serendipitie said...

I <3 you

Patrice said...

I am so sorry to hear of your struggles. I know from reading other peoples experiences how hard it is. I will be thinking of you and praying for a new adorable little person to join your family!
Visiting from PYHO

Mari said...

I have said this a million times, but it's worth repeating. I lovebyour writing and I <3 you.

Lisa said...

I didn't really struggle with getting pregnant -- we tried for six months, I did have a miscarriage, but got pregnant again the next month.

I have many friends who have struggled and my heart breaks for them. It's always the ones who deserve to be mothers so badly that get the shaft. you are always in my thoughts.

finallyMom@blogspot.com said...

big hugs, momma. my struggle was kinda long once we started (6 months for BFP, d&c a month later, 8 months after that another BFP resulting in Lovie), but i honestly never had the strength to endure fertility treatments. i couldn't bear the thought of hearing "you'll never have a child" even though i don't think i would've actually heard that (in hindsight). anyway, i really do hope your dreams come true again.

Kathi said...

Monica, big hugs and lots of positive thoughts...

pmarie33 said...

Good luck this cycle Monica!
((hugs))

Shell said...

Wishing you lots of luck this time around!

Judy said...

Love you

melissa said...

Bless your heart...my heart breaks, and your right...I don't know what to say? YOU could not have written a better piece (of your heart) showcasing what women struggle with regarding infertility and the emotions involved. Very moving indeed. (Now let's get those tadpoles moving on up and in, maturing into what is tiny, perfect, and in your arms!)

Doing It My Way said...

I hear ya!! Infertility, climbing the hill each cycle just to fall off the cliff at the end, dildocam, all of it. Bottome line - it sucks big balls!!

After preterm labor for 20 weeks with my son, a missed miscarriage and a chemical pregnancy we are at the beginning of another hill this month. Hopeing and Praying for us both!!

Aunt Barb said...

I wish I were near you to make you a hot chocolate, give you a hug, and stroke your hair.

And, I hope you are a really super fucking lucky woman!!

I Love You!

Ty's Girl said...

I so want this for you. I have to admit that I have guilt too. It was so easy for us and I have too many friends who have had a hard time. I know you will get that baby! Hope to talk soon! Love you!