Saturday, January 7, 2012

Constantly reminded

So many of our friends are struggling with infertility and recently a friend posted on facebook about how the clock is ticking.  Of our friends we only know one couple that did not have trouble conceiving within a year. Everyone else is struggling.

One of the problems is, no one talks about infertility. We only told our parents and my best friend, we know the pain of trying to conceive and having nothing happen. That struggle does not need monthly reminders from friends, we get that in the form of blood.

I didn't really think about life with baby once we got pregnant; I think it's some sort of protective measure for my heart. My heart grieves for our friends that have lost children, such pain and sorrow after the feeling of jubilation. I made plans for how to deal with my dysthymia, how to combat potential post-natal depression; but nothing concrete. Of course prior to even trying we talked about what we wanted to give our children, how many we wanted to have and how we wanted to adopt or do foster care.

Once you enter the minefield of fertility treatment though you have to slow down and consider your options, there are only so many rounds of drugs you can take so timed intercourse and IUI are somewhat limited. You can find someone to carry your baby for you or use someone's eggs or sperm. You can spend money for IVF or adoption. This all weighs heavily. At some point in our journey to parenthood, while lying in our bed at night, I up and announced to my husband that if we couldn't have biological children I didn't want children at all. That was a hard realization to come to.

We were very lucky to get pregnant the first time we did IUI. Three blood tests later I was realizing that this was actually happening. I remember our first ultrasound at six weeks, I wished the nurse would've printed a picture of tiny Guster. I was afraid that that might be the only picture we would get, especially given what happened next. I complained about some pain and after a blood draw we found that my hormone levels were very low, the nurse ordered medication and a more detailed ultrasound. The next day we sat in the waiting room of the imaging department waiting for my name to be called, the tech came and told Jason he couldn't come in with me. She had a lot of trouble finding the baby and getting good images, but she finally gave me some peace when she said that she found the heart and that it was beating. Later the nurse called to say everything looked fine with Guster.

When sharing the news of our pregnancy we called some people because I wanted them to be able to process the news privately. I remember being at church when the pastor announced yet another woman was pregnant and I couldn't contain my tears. The feelings of unfairness and inadequacy. I wanted to spare people the pain of having to hide their emotions.

So, moral of the story and your take away:

  • Fertility starts to decline at age 30 and once you hit 35 you only need to wait six months instead of twelve to seek out infertility treatment.

  • Talk with a specialist.

  • Consider your options and realize your plans are going to have to change, you may no longer be able to have the four or more children you planned on.

  • Don't be afraid to ask your doctor what Plan B is, at the insemination I asked a whole bunch of questions about what we would be trying next.

  • Don't be afraid to share your story, lots of people are struggling and sometimes it's nice to read the success stories (especially if they share a diagnosis), let's you know someone is experiencing this too - you are not alone.

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