In my early months of trying to conceive, I’d get discouraged and maybe a little down from time to time. However, after trying to get pregnant for two years and after having two failed IVF’s (my own version of the “terrible two’s”), I can’t help but think, “Wow. This REALLY is bordering on a total disaster, huh?” And when you have no reason for the lack of success, no diagnosis and no explanation, the road ahead isn’t just a little bumpy. It’s long, poorly lit, laden with pot holes and utterly endless.
I did see my doctor for the infamous “What The F*ck Appointment” and the only explanation he could give with regards to our recent IVF is that we just had bad luck. If they had ten couples at the clinic that day, one of the couples would have to get screwed statistically and it would seem that couple is us. I guess we took one for the infertile team that day. You’re welcome nine lucky couples. Now, can you loan us $5000?
Frankly, it always seems like we’re the doomed ones. My husband and I seem to be exceptional… but in an unlucky way. We had an unusually horrible rain storm on our wedding day (despite the fact that it hadn’t rained on our wedding date for the previous 30 years), our first doctor missed a uterine polyp that was practically giving him the finger in all of my sonograms, our insurance company broke up with us, our house got hit by lightning last year and we can’t get pregnant despite the fact that both of us are healthy. I know that things could always be worse and in the grand scheme of things, nothing TOO horrible has happened. I am grateful for that. Besides, if you ask my husband who is way more of an optimist than I, he points out that our wedding day was the greatest day of his life, that the uterine polyp had his own fan club (Yay Jackson Polyp!), and we would have never discovered the wonderful world of Blu-Ray or High Definition television if it weren't for the lightning frying our antiquated electronics. However, I still can’t help but feel like we’re the equivalent of a negative miracle.
Despite the many setbacks and despite my suspicion that we are cursed, I am committed to forge ahead with some level of enthusiasm. One thing making it a smidge difficult for me is I sense that some of my friends are beginning to get bored with our efforts or they feel we should simply move on. As a fan of the shows 48 HOURS and DATELINE, I’ve seen many an interview with a mother, father or couple whose child has been missing for years and people tell them, “Look, it’s been 10 years. You’re not going to find them so you should get on with your lives.” The parents of these missing children never take too kindly to this suggestion and rightfully so. They want to know where their child is. They need their child back… or at the very least, some answers as to what happened to him or her. And that’s how I feel whenever someone says, “Maybe having kids just isn’t in the cards for you.” It’s like they are telling me to stop looking for my missing child.
Is that overdramatic? Well, probably yes, but I’m still a bit hormonal (thanks progesterone!) and that’s how it feels. It especially stings when friends who have children tell me that perhaps I should consider doing other things with my life. That’s pretty easy for them to say, isn’t it? It reminds me of the scene in THE AVIATOR where Katherine Hepburn’s mother says to Howard Hughes, “We don’t care about money here Mr. Hughes.” And he responds with, “That’s because you have it.”
Of course I know that people are always well-intentioned. I also don’t mean to imply that if you have children, you never have anything helpful to say or that you can’t be supportive. I have quite a few people in my life who are parents and who have never experienced fertility issues that have been beyond loving and comforting. It’s just when anyone tells me, whether they themselves are parents or not, that maybe it’s time to give up, that I can’t help but want to tap dance on their windpipe.
The other night, I was out to dinner at a family restaurant. I was looking around the room and studying all the people with kids or babies thinking about all the things I may never know. What it’s like to see a positive pregnancy test. The pride you feel when you tell people you’re expecting. The joy of feeling your baby kick for the first time. Having a baby shower. Getting a nursery ready. Giving birth. Sending out baby announcements. The first year of being a mom. Their first word. When they go off to kindergarten. And so on and so on. Even though I was sitting at a table inside the restaurant, I might as well have been outside on the street looking in through the window at all the families. That’s how separate I felt from the experience. It was a happy family restaurant filled with happy fertile families. Pathetic, unlucky infertiles aren’t allowed. Hmmmm. Come to think of it... I wonder if they should have an infertile section at restaurants? That's not a bad idea.
The one comfort in all this is thanks to my mystery fertility issues, I may also never get to know what it's like to have your 14 year old daughter come home with a new piercing and a 20 year old boyfriend… so that’s something.
All in all, I’m not ready to give up. More importantly, as bad as our luck has been, we have never been told that’s its impossible. As I said in my last blog entry, until someone says that we can never have children or until I’m dead, I’m going to do my best to have a family one way or another.
At this moment, the plan is to go ahead with IVF #3. The doctor says we could start again as early as next month but we’re thinking we may wait another month or so to get all our infertile ducks in a row. I’m back on Weight Watchers, we’re putting as much money as we can into our savings account and we’re looking into getting yet another opinion (just to be safe). I don’t know if this is going to go on another two years, if we’ll have another two IVF’s or if we will ever have the happy ending we imagined but we’re moving ahead with hope and humor.
Hope and humor...