Ethan's Age

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Driving My CRV of Infertility

 I got such an amazing response to the post where I talk about my most recent experience, where we miscarried. I was moved by the love.  Apparently you were moved too, as the post brought more than 1,000 individual hits.  I suppose some of the most moving responses were from women who had gone through the same thing, and felt a sense of understanding.  What surprised me most was the dozen or so emails I got from men, who couldn't fully understand what might be going through the heads of their significant other during their battle through infertility.

I've been somewhat intimidated by the amount of comments, emails, phone calls and cards that came during that period of time immediately after that post went live.  What could I blog about? What could I write that could possible have the same emotional impact with so many readers, female and male alike? 

I started this blog as a way of leaving some sort of record for our future child.  What it was like to be waiting for them, what it was like to feel a little alien-like blob kicking my liver around like a soccer ball... But, my journal slowly evolved into this forum where my inner most thoughts (and body parts) were exposed for the world to see.  I've not sensored my feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly.  At times, writing here has made me emotionally raw.  Trying to have a child isn't all cotton candy and balloon animals.  It's sometimes those scary carnies with small hands that smell like cabbage.

Jesus, that was a horrifying metaphor.  Here's a picture of some puppies to help you move on.
I think that when it comes to infertility, the females bear (feel) most of the responsibility towards making a child happen.  I mean, other than the act itself, most things in our quest to have a child, happened to me.  How hard can it be?  Let's look at my last two years, and my husbands, shall we?

My Last Two Years, At A Glance:
1. OB/GYN visits- including an experience where a OB just dismissed me, inspiring a complaint to the Oregon Medical Board.
2. HSG from Hell- where the tech obviously hadn't performed one of these tests in a LONG time, and caused a spasm in one of my tubes which was in my top 3 most painful things I've ever gone through. (Behind a spinal tap, if that gives you some perspective.)
3.  Countless RE visits- where I find out awkward situations just can't be made better (I'm looking at you; Internal Ultrasound!) The positive here is that my RE rocks.  I really like her.
4. Clomid- I don't really have to elaborate past hot flashes in snowstorms and huge mood swings
5.  A surgical procedure where we find out that in fact, the person from item 2 totally messed up the HSG, and I don't actually have a blocked tube, like he diagnosed.  I get some endometriosis burned off, and am given a clean bill of health.
6.  The highs of those positive pregnancy tests.  You know the ones that you don't actually have to squint to see (or imagine). Is that a second line?
7.  The lows of that time when I had to face a miscarriage.
8.  The cocktail of medications I had to take to actually end my own pregnancy (even though it was already done.)
9.  Testing.  I'm ALWAYS testing for something.  Ovulation, Pregnancy, Ebola.  All of it, I'm testing.  I think there are about 10 days when I don't have to test.  (Don't even bring up the crazy experiences I've had BUYING those tests.)
10.  Charting-  I chart EVERYTHING.  The countless hours I've spent analyzing my "symptoms and signs."  I could probably have invented another dimension of reality in the amount of effort I've put into charting.
11.  Everyone seems to think that any girl 20-30 years old should be knocked up, and should respond happily to nosy questions.  The next time someone asks me about whether I'm knocked up... I'll ask them the status of their private parts. "You know, I've not been successful thus far with conception, but let's talk about you. How are your testicles doing?"

The boys?
1. SA (the Semen Analysis.)  Given, awkward to an extent... but let's face it, they get to be alone doing it... rather than having their legs up in the air.
2.  Scheduled romantic encounters.  I'm going to leave it at that.
3.  Putting up with a wife who is on Clomid and mood swings like monkeys through the trees. "Who cares if it's 25 degrees outside with a blizzard in full force, let's keep the windows open in the bedroom for you, my crazy hormonal wife!"

And.... that's it.   In addition, we bear the emotional burden of responsibility for when another cycle passes without a zygote to celebrate over.

While talking with my friend, she was saying that after 2 years, her husband was going to finally get a SA done.  "I'm tired of feeling broken." She said.This struck me, and really made me sad. But, the truth is.. she just verbalized what all of us women think from time to time (or on a regular basis.)... that it is our fault. All of it.

Michelle Duggar and Her Procreation Machine

It's true, and I'm not sure why... but women tend to take it personally when they can't conceive as naturally as the Duggars. Making a human should be as easy as making easy mac, right?  (Why can't she just give me one of those babies? I mean, would she really miss just one kid?) 

Who would have thought that all those years of being SO careful, taking those Birth Control pills regularly... would come back to bite you in the ass? (No pun intended.) Apparently, not taking those obnoxious pills would apparently have been just as effective of a method of birth control.

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, gear on up, it's ovulation time!
 The ultimate failure moment occurs around 14 DPO when we are assured again by mother nature that we yet again failed.  As if a pep talk to our uterus would have made it function better.

I picture a Cool-Runnings-Like Speech happening.  "We might be from an infertile land with no snow, but we are going to cross that finish line, even if we have to carry our fallopian tubes once the whole reproductive system breaks down in the middle of the bobsled course!"

Did you mom ever tell you the story about the dot on your forehead that appears when you are lying?  I don't recall my mother saying this to me (possibly because of her uncanny ability to see right through any of my lies when I was little) but while working with kids, I've heard this story frequently. (Usually from kids who always seem to be scratching an itch on their forehead at the time they are talking to me... "clever" kids.)  I wish there was an infertility dot that would appear when women are around each other and feeling alone.

It's a silent struggle, and I feel privileged that I can share in that struggle with you, and that through our sharing... we are able to feel for just a moment that we aren't alone.  We could throw up that knowing wave, and give you just a fleeting moment of being a part of something larger than our individual infertility struggles.

 I have to admit that when my husband's SA came back with less than perfect scores... I felt... well, relieved.  Suddenly the inability to procreate like the girls from Sister Wives wasn't solely on my shoulders. (Could they not just give me one of their kids?  I mean, would they really miss one?)  You want to exclaim to the husband: "It's not just my fault!  Your boys can't swim!"  But you don't.  (*Mostly because you are a better human being than that.)

Much like when you buy a car, you suddenly see a gazillion people driving that car around too and feel some sort of comradeship. "Oh hey there!  You drive a car just like me?  Let's be BFF's!" (And by friends I mean, let's throw up a little wave and give a knowing smile.  Maybe even a lame comment like "Hey, nice car!")  Sadly, infertility struggles are not visible like those thousands of Honda CRV's I now see driving about town. Everyone around us is currently pregnant and complaining about it, no doubt.  "Accidents" and "Oopses" happen all the time, an inordinately disproportionate amount.  EVERYONE IS PREGNANT. Including your 75 year old grandmother.


I realize that I will never meet most of you.  So maybe this blog will be our little wave.  So, hey there fellow infertile! I'm driving a CRV of Infertility too!

"Nice Car Ovaries!"

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