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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Ignore...

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and the fine people at RESOLVE have challenged Bloggers to write a blog post with the theme of “Don’t Ignore Infertility”. More specifically, we were asked to start our post with, “Don’t Ignore…” and then fill in the blank as it relates to the disease of infertility and the journey to resolution.

Exactly three months ago, I gave birth to a baby boy that I achieved through my third IVF. My husband and I never received a diagnosis (other than, “It sucks to be you.”) and on our last in vitro, we only had one embryo to show for it. I’m proud to say that the one embryo is currently smiling and drooling on his “One Good Egg” onesie.

Those who follow my blog though know that the third in vitro cycle was the one where I had the least amount of hope, the least amount of finances and I dare say the least amount of sanity I had ever had before. When I think of “Don’t Ignore…”, it’s impossible for me to come up with just one thing as a flood of feelings, thoughts and emotions overwhelm me. There are so many aspects to infertility that not only we as a community ignore, but that the rest of the world does too. It all makes me think of my two current favorite quotes. The first not only accurately describes my feelings on my journey through infertility, one that spanned approximately three years, but it also would be my advice to those who are still in the thick of it. It’s, “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.” The second quote is from RuPaul and is, “My goal is to always come from a place of love ...but sometimes you just have to break it down for a mother*cker.” Amen sister!

The first quote reminds those struggling to get pregnant that although the process can be long, arduous, painful and so many other non-fun adjectives, once you become a mother, it is worth it. It won’t matter if it’s through insemination, in vitro, donor eggs, adoption, etc. If you want to be a mom, although it may not be the way you had hoped or planned, once you hold that child in your arms, it won’t matter. You will be a mom.

The second quote speaks to the rest of the world who asks couples, “When are you going to have kids already?” in front of their families at a relative’s baby shower or random guests at cocktail parties who give such genius unsolicited medical advice like, “Have you had tried having sex and leaving your socks on? That’s what got me pregnant!” Quite often, the “fertile community at large” doesn’t stop and say, “Hmmm. Here’s a couple that don’t have kids and they don’t talk about it. Maybe making comments, giving advice or asking personal questions can be insensitive, rude and hurtful?” 

And even worse, when the “fertile community at large” DOES know you have an issue and tries to comfort you by saying, “Just relax and it will happen…”, that’s when, as RuPaul implies, you need to break it down for them and say, “I realize you heard a story about your sister getting pregnant after she tried acupuncture but different things work for different people. Ultimately, we’re in good hands with our Reproductive Endocrinologist. Thanks anyway for the tip.

Keeping all of this in mind, here is my personal list of what I feel shouldn’t be ignored:

Don’t Ignore that Others Need to be Educated: Infertility is a real medical issue that can’t be pushed aside by some stupid piece of advice. If you confide in someone that you’re having fertility issues and they suggest an herb or that you weren’t meant to have kids, don’t accept that. I’m not saying start arguments with everyone but rather, take a deep breath and look at it as an opportunity to educate. For example, I can’t tell you how many people I had to explain the difference between ‘transferring’ an embryo and ‘implanting’ an embryo or what exactly is ICSI or that suggesting adoption to someone who may not yet be considering it isn't helpful. Because of mine and my husband's willingness to be open, my family and friends have learned so much that they weren't aware of. Just by sharing our story, we are advocates of educating others about infertility. I'm proud and happy to report that when these same family and friends encountered other people who are dealing with infertility (which believe it or not, they all did), they were way more sensitive and informed.

Don’t Ignore Each Other: There is an understanding that infertiles share even without actually having met one another. We know the feelings of disappointment, shame, frustration and heartbreak. You don’t have to feel alone as there are so many out there who understand, relate and can help you with what you’re going through. Whether it’s through a support group, Twitter, a blog or a chat room -- reach out, share and cheer each other on. I also urge you to not play the “Whose Pain is Worse Contest" with one another. It doesn’t matter and it doesn’t help. We all have different experiences, wins and losses but ultimately, we must stick together. After all, how can we expect the world to support us if we can’t support each other?

Don’t Ignore What You’ve Accomplished: There are many who have struggled with infertility and went on to have healthy babies that wouldn’t mind putting it behind them. Although I totally understand this, I don’t feel that way. Infertility was a huge, major part of my life for quite some time. It put my marriage, my body, my checking account and my sense of humor through hell. Yes, I have a baby now but I can never turn my back on those who are still in the trenches nor could I forget what I went through. It doesn’t take away the joy I feel over my son… if anything, it reminds me how much perseverance and patience can pay off. I take great pride in sharing with anyone and everyone that I had a very difficult time getting pregnant but it did happen and I’m so very grateful. To be clear though, even if you’re still working towards starting a family, that doesn’t mean you haven’t accomplished a whole freaking lot. You should be extremely proud of the process you are putting yourself through… which leads me to my next, “Don’t Ignore…”

Don’t Ignore the Strength You Have: No matter where you’re at in the trying to get knocked up rollercoaster, I promise you – you’re stronger than you think. I’ve met so many beyond amazing women who have been through situations and scenarios that I didn’t even know that were possible and they somehow made it through. Find a theme song, indulge in a guilty pleasure, get your nails done, schedule a therapy session and have a romantic dinner out where you DON’T discuss your cervical mucus. Fight the good fight as we all have it within us. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; women who have infertility issues ARE the Masters of the Uterus. We are superheros who willingly subject ourselves to physical torture, who endure tests and conversations that are truly unpleasant and who keep going in the hopes of fulfilling our dreams of motherhood. We not only all deserve rewards, we all deserve babies.

Don't Ignore the LOGO Channel: I realize this is a slightly silly point but one I feel compelled to make... especially to those who are currently going through a cycle. Each time I did one of my inseminations or an in vitro, the LOGO channel was my best friend during my two week wait. Being that it is considered the "gay channel", there are, for whatever reason, no commercials about pregnancy tests or what's the best diaper. There are no sitcoms or plot lines where someone gets knocked up by being sneezed on or any reality shows about people with 500 kids. There are commericals mainly for plant food and excercise equipment, plus, you can watch one of my favorite shows, RuPaul's Drag Race, where everyone is beautiful with the help of some make-up and duct tape. It is a fun escape that will not only distract you from your follicle count, but it will make you want to run out, buy false eyelashes and dance to some disco.

Don’t Ignore Hope: Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man.” Although this isn’t a light hearted fun quote (I sense Nietzsche was not fun at parties), it was one I thought of often when trying to get pregnant. It’s so hard to hope as we all know that infertility makes no promises. Things don’t always work out. Not everyone gets the happy ending they deserve. However, given our options, it’s better to have hope then to have none at all. I also believe with all of my heart that although things may not be the way we had expected, it doesn’t make it any less rewarding. There may be a conclusion to your journey that isn’t at all what you imagined but that will surpass your wildest dreams. Perhaps in the end, we shouldn’t hope for what we want. We should hope for the best possible outcome… whatever that is.

Lastly, Don’t Ignore the Gift of Humor: Again, regular readers of my blog know how often I employed making jokes to cope. IVF for me stood for “I’m Very Fertile” or “I’m Very Funny” depending on what day it was. When they found I had a uterine polyp, I named him Jackson Polyp and gave him his own Twitter account. Once, I was at a restaurant and the waitress asked me how I wanted my eggs and I told her, “Fertilized and implanted, thank you.” It’s not easy but to make light of the situation is the only way to go. Never ignore an opportunity for a good joke. Your sanity will thank you for it.

During National Infertility Awareness Week, I plan on not only sharing my journey with others through Twitter, Facebook (on both my real life account and my infertility account) and here on my blog, but I’m also working on something I’m very proud of called the “Infertility Sponsorship Program” (check back next week for the details). I will also spend this week trying to find clothes that fit, locate a cream that gets rid of cellulite and preparing to go back to work after maternity leave. NOTE TO SELF: Remember not to burp my fellow co-workers after they eat lunch.

To my regular blog readers, I’m so sorry for being out of touch this last month or so. One of the good things about having to go back to work is I’ll have more time to blog on my lunch hour!

For now, here are two links about National Infertility Awareness Week and Resolve:

29 comments:

SLESE1014 said...

As always, you nailed it! I've been brainstorming my NIAW post for over a month now and, well I think I'm just going to copy and paste yours :)

Glad to hear the little man is doing well too!

Thanks again for saying what I'm thinking!

Gemini Momma said...

It has been awhile since you've posted, but this one was well worth the wait. Well said, and bravo!

Her Royal Fabulousness said...

This is a beautiful post.

Kristin said...

Hello from ICLW! This post if fantastic. I especially appreciate the RuPaul quotes. What is the journey of infertility without RuPaul? Nothing, that's what. Thanks for sharing.

Emily said...

Hello, thanks for this. So much resonated with me on a rough day. Love it.
-Emily@the-epmty-uterus.blogspot.com

Cristy said...

As usual, an awesome post! One of the things I continue to admire about you is that, even though you've been able to become pregnancy and bring home MJ, not once have you forgotten what it's like to be on this path. Thank you, Jay. Thank you for not forgetting about the rest of us.

xoxo

Kate said...

Well worth the wait Jay! Thanks so much for this post.

Not sure if you saw, but I mentioned one of your posts from a while back on my last post over at Infertileinafertileland.

So happy to have you back and to hear how you and MJ are getting on.

Alicia said...

Thank you for this post. I especially like "Don't ignore hope" ... in times of waiting, trying and losing, it can be hard to remember that there is hope at the end of the tunnel for each of us.

Elizabeth said...

Great post! I'm so glad I found your blog for ICLW! I love your sense of humor, which my husband and I have found very essential during this time! (Of course only when WE might light of our situation, not when ignorant family members & friends joke about it!) I'm looking forward to reading more of your writing!
ICLW #1

mrkhmusings said...

So true, a brilliant post. It's so easy to just bury our heads like an ostrich sometimes when you're going through this IF stuff. I have come to the point in my life where, after ten years of trying to ignore the fact I have an absent uterus Hubs and I are embarking on gestational surrogacy, and I need to stop ignoring IF, both my problems and other peoples. I find that, whilst not 100% ready to eductate people on MRKH in real life yet, starting a blog is helping build my courage and face up to my diagnosis.
huge congrats on the lil 'un!!

The Steadfast Warrior said...

Love this post! So many wonderful thoughts to add to my very thoughtful mood lately. I think the one that resonated today was the reminder to not forget what we've accomplished. Thank you. :)

Here from ICLW...

J.o.s.e.y said...

Great post Jay! Good to hear from you. :)

Alex said...

FABULOUS post! Love this!!!

Meg Coldwells said...

Oh Jay, you did it again, PERFECT post, and I have been wondering how you and MJ are doing. Thanks for the great perspective and BTW Jackson Polyp took up residency in MY uterus...having outpatient surgery tomorrow..*UGH* but as you know, there was no way I was getting pregnant with or without the polyp at this point, but he is still being evicted tomorrow. LOL
Good luck with going back to work, I know that isn't easy! Been there, done that. Just keep your sense of humor and get a video cam so you can check in on him from your office. Hee hee xoxox Meg

Laura said...

Hello from ICLW! Wonderful post! I'm putting the finishing touches on my NIAW post too. Thank you for your wisdom and inspiration!

The Cornfed Feminist said...

Ooh, no baby stuff on Logo! I wonder if my subconscious somehow realized that and that's what led to my almost obsession of drag queens. It was love before Drag Race. Now it's almost straightjacket-worthy. Go Sharon!

modernmedicinemiracle said...

Ooh, now I wonder if I have LOGO. I could use a channel without commercials about pregnancy, viagra, and families with 1000s of children. Here via ICLW

K-Tuds said...

reading blog just gave me a renewed sense of hope. Of course your story is so inspiring but then i read your baby was born on January 27th, my birthday but also the day we had to cancel IVF 1.0. I'm so happy to hear a baby was born to such wonderful parents who also survived infertility. Best of luck to you and your sweet little one. -Katie

St Elsewhere said...

Beautiful post.

I especially hear you on not ignoring one's accomplishments.

Lot of food for thought.


#24

Amy said...

This is the kind of post that makes you want to march for something! :)

Thanks for sharing.

The Blakes said...

You said everything perfectly. I recently found out I'm pregnant after 20 months of wishing, hoping, begging, crying every single one of those months. I just dont get how other IF bloggers that I follow are quick to forget the pain of infertility. I usually unfollow bloggers like that but I have always enjoyed your blog because you have never forgotten and you always make me cry and laugh all at the same time. Thank you.

Jayton said...

hi just here from iclw, this was a very interesting post and ill be following ur blog...i especially liked dont ignor what you've accomplished, and don't ignore each other.

jjiraffe said...

Echoing another commenter: if we have to deal with infertility, there could AT
LEAST be some Ru Paul involved. Also welcome: Ryan Gosling. And some humor. Thanks for bringing that.

Amiryan said...

Great Post, very well said. I do love your blog. Have nominated you for a 'One Lovely Blog award' if you accept the award you have to post a link to the person who gave it to you, post 7 random things about yourself and post links to 15 blogs that have inspired you or you enjoy reading, also you can post the 'One Lovely Blog Award' pic to your page. You'll find details on my page http://babiesplease.blogspot.com/2012/04/one-lovely-blog-award.html .xx.

mrkhmusings said...

By the way I have given you a blog award! come check it out on my blog. :)

mrkhmusings said...

By the way I have given you a blog award! come check it out on my blog. :)

thestorkdiaries said...

Love this post! Stopping by from ICLW!

MoonNStarMommy said...

That was wonderful!! Perusing your blog via ICLW (#86)

Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples said...

Great post. But more importantly, I'm in love with your profile pic. Every time I see it, a smile forms on my lips. And we could all use a few extra reasons to smile. So, thanks for that. ;)

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