Monday, December 10, 2012

10 things I hate about infertility

1. Feeling broken (the not-quite-half-a-woman style of broken).
2. Fertility medications that make you a raving lunatic, burying the real you under layers of artificial hormones, crying jags, tantrums, paranoia and black moods.
3. The fact that trying to conceive is no longer something between you and your spouse. The fact that your uterus becomes public property that everyone seems to have a stake in. The longer your innards sit empty, the more people wonder, the more people ask, and the more they think they have a right to know every single little thing that's going on. Even when it's no one's business but you and your Beloved's.
4. Telephone calls from the clinic telling you to have sex.
5. Repeated poking and prodding in areas that, ideally, shouldn't be subjected to poking and prodding more than once a year for 39 seconds at your annual physical.
6. Did I mention the drugs?
7. The devastation of each failed cycle.
8. The ticking of the clock.
9. The hopeful looks and the pitying looks (particularly when under the influence of #2)
10. The guilt, the jealousy, the uncertainty, the sorrow, the anger, the confusion, the frustration and the mental gymnastics necessary to muster up the strength to carry on after each failed cycle.

This self-indulgent little whine-fest, albeit admittedly gross and unpleasant, is a necessary evil. It just is. Sometimes you just have to let it out lest it consume you from the inside out.

For the most part I quietly deal with the intense displeasure I have for this whole process because it's just what needs to be done and whining about it won't change a thing, but for the record I hate this with an all-consuming passion. I hate the intrusion into our lives, I hate the way it all makes me feel, I hate the way I act and react when I'm in the throws of drug-inducted hell and I hate the lost innocence.

Oh I hate that so much.

I miss the days when I didn't have to discuss the intricacies of every cycle with nurses, doctors, ultrasound techs and phlebotomists. I miss the days when that was the farthest thing from my reality.

I miss when it was just my husband and I who knew what was going on. I miss being able to have the intimacy of that shared secret. I miss waiting and wondering and having only HIM know why.

I realize if I'd stop talking about it here I could probably get back some of that privacy, but it just feels too late for some reason. Even if I shut up right now there would still be questioning looks and prying questions from people I know mean well.

And you know what? There would be questions even if I'd never talked about it at all here. After two years, there would be a LOT of questions, curious looks, whispers and speculation.

I. Just. Want. A. Baby. For God's SAKE, why is this so hard???

Monday, November 5, 2012


I've been wanting to write about this very thing for a while; about how hard Facebook has the potential to be if you are on the outside looking in. The ultrasounds and baby photos subbing as profile pictures, the "offers" to sell naughty children, cute birthday/Halloween/Christmas/Thanksgiving stories, announcements about potty training successes, first teeth, and new pregnancies...

Facebook is rife with childcentric information.

And there's absolutely no reason why it shouldn't be. None whatsoever.

But because it is, it can be a dangerous place for someone trying to navigate the bloody waters of infertility and loss. And it can be torture for someone for whom all those lovely baby things will never be a reality.

The interesting thing is that we generally stay very quiet about all this. So much so that it likely never occurs to anyone but us that it might be painful. The landmines are invisible unless you see them as such. We are blown to smithereens every day by things others look at with wonder and joy.

That's just the way it is.

It's the way it has to be, in fact, because the world can't (and shouldn't) stop merely because we are sad. There is no reason our sorrow should trump another's joy.

We, as a group, generally concentrate our efforts on making sure other people don't feel uncomfortable. The last thing we tend to do is point out our own discomfort. We might be broken, humiliated, and desperate - but we are usually silent.

And I'm not sure what I think about this phenomenon anymore, this strange code of silence.

I don't want to be the person who rains on everyone's parade, reminding people with my sad looks and pitiful sighs that I envy what they have. I don't want to be the needy girl from whom people flee in horror. And I certainly don't want to end up being a one-trick pony who can't talk about anything but the life she wishes she'd been able to have.

But sometimes I do crave a certain level of acknowledgment - a little something that lets me know you would smother my pain with a pillow if you had one big enough, or strangle cruel fate with your bare hands for denying me my joy. I am desperately struggling to co-exist in this fertile world, and that pain I feel is real. This life is hard - harder than I ever dreamed - and I'm not always okay. I probably look it most of the time - maybe all the time - but I am stuck together with tape, staples and prayers. And chocolate and wine.

I'm not looking for pity. I can't stress that enough. I think what we all want so much is simply for people to remember that we're here too.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Infertility in the media

I just found an online article in the New York Times titled, "The Gift of Life and it's Price". It's discussing IVF and the costs, risks, etc associated. The media does a fantastic  job at casting a terrible light on infertility and the treatments of it. We rarely see the struggle a couple actually went through to become a family, or the medical condition causing the problem. You hear about the costs, the babies who have problems, the octo-mom, overzealous doctors... 

You miss the part about the couple who is completely financially and emotionally prepared to welcome a child and finds out that they can't without help and maybe not even with. These aren't single, teenage moms who are on welfare. These are your friends, neighbors, and co-workers who would love a child with all their heart and have the resources to care for them.

Some of the ignorant comments from readers following the article:
  • "People want miracles, and they want someone else (you and I) to pay for them."
  • "Society as a whole CAN NOT AFFORD to indulge these people. If they can’t have children, get over it or adopt."
  • "These people are very selfish just because they want a child genetically related to themselves."
  • "Do we really think it's a good idea to use technology to allow people to *perpetuate* these substandard genes?"
I don't even know where to begin. Let's start with the fact that no one else is paying for what we're going through. We've paid about $18,000 out of pocket this year alone. My insurance covers VERY little. And yet as a society, we pay for extraordinary costs associated with diabetes complications, obesity and smoking. I have always taken great care of myself, eat healthy, exercise, etc. and was unfortunately born with a disease that I could not prevent and which causes my infertility. So, don't worry about paying my bills.... you aren't.

Until you walk in my shoes, don't you dare tell me what you think I should do or how we should build our family. When you are fortunate enough to bear children without any effort, it is probably pretty easy to say, "just adopt". I have always planned to at some point. But that doesn't take away my yearning to feel a baby grow inside of me and to have a baby that we created. Furthermore, don't act like adoption is a "cheap" alternative. It is NOT!!! It is an incredibly lengthy and emotional process and it costs more than IVF in many cases.

We have enough hurt, sadness and anger without people judging us. The day that someone tells you that you may never have children and you walk away knowing that it "just wasn't meant to be", then you can judge me. Until then, try to remember that we are just people who want our own family too. And we're going through hell and back to get there.

Friday, February 10, 2012

To my Momma,

This February 11th makes four years since we lost you to kidney cancer, and not a day goes by that I don't think about the last time I saw you. You had just come home from your first week of treatment at Baptist and we were in North Carolina for the funeral of Jamie's cousin. I remember you hurting so bad because of the tumors that I couldn't even really hug you. I remember standing in your kitchen with Courtney trying to find something that you could eat. I remember thinking as I hugged you goodbye that this would probably be the last time I would see you. I didn't want to leave you.  If I had the chance I would have turned the car around and stayed forever, told you things that I should have before it was too late.  I hope you knew how much I loved you then and still love you now. I never told you what a great impact you had on my life, but I didn’t fully come to this realization until after you were gone. I hope somehow you know how you are helping me to become the person I want to be. You were my hero, and you meant the world to me, you still do..

I would give anything to physically have you back, even though I know you are with me everyday, I still miss you. I miss our daily talks. I miss hearing the sound of your voice. I miss sharing my life with you. But I'm not the only one that misses you, we all do. Jacob is quick to tell his story about his Grammy Trish and playing in the snow at your house. We look at your pictures and Greyson will say that's my Grammy Trish in Heaven.  Leanna and Courben never got the chance to know you, but they will through us. 

If I had the chance to tell you I would say Thank You;
Thank you for always loving me in spite of myself. No mistake was ever so bad that you did not absorb it under the umbrella of a Mother's love. Thank you for all the years of laughter, and fun. Life was not always easy for you, but you made it the best you could for us kids. Thank you for the numerous sacrifices you made. We never did without a need, and that was a testament to your drive. Thank you for bringing me into this world and protecting me both from the world and myself. Thank you for my generous spirit. I learned that from you. Thank you for putting your kids first above all others. Thank you for my belief in God, and knowing Jesus as the salvation of my life.Thank you for accepting me as a flawed human being, and loving me anyway.
Most of all, I thank you for the role model you were for me. I hope to be half the person you were in your lifetime.
Your time as my mother, as a sister, as a daughter, and as a friend will never be forgotten. And although I am not ready to leave this Earth, I am looking forward to being reunited with you again one day.
I will love you always.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Complaining Parents

I don't know if it's spring fever (not that it's ever really winter in Florida) or what is going on but all I have heard from people lately are complaints about their kids. It makes me so upset!!! Do you know how lucky you are to have a child or children to complain about???? Do you know how I lay awake at night longing to be woken up by the sound of a crying baby?? Do you know how much it would make me smile to see crayon all over my perfect walls?? Do you know how bad I want to Windex off little finger prints from my windows?? So why all you parents out there complain about each crazy thing your child does..... Remember me the one that aches to have those tasks that you all get to do each and every day. Remember how lucky you are to have a child to hold in your arms. Remember when your child acts up and is complaining about what to wear, what to eat, and when they have to go to bed that I would trade you places in a heart beat.

Know that your children are blessings from God and that you are the blessed ones to have them in your life. Because I know you wouldn't want to trade all those little annoyances for my empty arms. So enjoy each day. Enjoy each mess. Enjoy those beautiful children that I so desperately want.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Infertility is so much more than.....

Infertility is so much more than not having a baby in your arms.

That’s why you can’t hand your crying baby to the infertile woman and say things like, “Here, this will make you feel better. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to put up with this?”

The woman experiencing infertility doesn’t want your baby. Certainly, your baby is squishy and lovely (even when crying) and smells so nice, but that’s not it. That’s not even a consolation.

Nor is saying to your infertile neighbor, “You should just adopt. If you adopt I swear you’d get pregnant. It’s happened to like, three of my friends/relatives/coworkers.”

Because, that’s not it either. It’s not about achieving some ends to a means. It’s not about belittling adoption so you can achieve a pregnancy.

And adoption is not a scientific cure for infertility—and it’s not an emotional cure either.

Infertility is an all encompassing state of being. It has the force to completely take over the core of a woman’s belief about who she is and what she is capable of. It’s not about having a biological baby or an adopted baby or a foster baby, it’s about feeling whole even if no baby ever comes at all.

It’s about overcoming those days when you are called to repentance (by well-meaning family members) for “lacking the faith to conceive” or for being selfish because “what is taking you so long to have a baby?”

It’s being able to love your body even though it’s not functioning in a fertile way. It’s about ignoring the statements like, “just get drunk and you’ll get pregnant,” or “just stop trying and it will happen” or “maybe you should take a vacation”

My own battle with infertility has ripped me apart. In these heavy years I have felt every emotion given to mankind to feel. Jealously like a furious ocean. Anger, rage and self-directed disappointment. It isn’t just the inability to conceive, it is the inability to believe in myself.

There is a lot of misunderstanding everywhere I go.

My weakness is not seeing who I really am, with or without a baby. I can only see myself as a person who wants to be a mother. I am incomplete.

I feel when or if we ever do conceive to full term, I will never get over the entire experience completely. But I remember saying to myself during those extremely lonely days, “I want hope more than I want a baby.” I didn’t mean hope that someday we’ll conceive, I meant hope that someday it wouldn’t be so painful to be me.

The light at the end of the tunnel comes when the light inside of yourself illuminates who you really are, and what you’re really capable of.

That’s when infertility becomes less about having a baby in your arms and more about gratitude for having experienced it.