PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Period Is More like a Statement

Oh, the blog posts I had in my mind to write the last month or so. It drives me crazy that I had a lovely little post in mind for Halloween, my birthday and Thanksgiving… but all of those occasions have come and gone. It would be silly to write about them now. It would be as if a celebrity news show reported today that Liberace was gay. Ummm, dude… that’s old news.
So, I’ll just share with you what is going on in my life right now. As many of you know, in July, I switched jobs. My new job is in the infertility world where I answer phone calls, receive emails and respond to general inquiries all across the United States related to matters of the uterus (as well as other reproductive parts). My primary goal is to help match people with reproductive endocrinologists in their area that might be able to help them. For example: let’s say you have PCOS, have insurance and live in New Jersey. I would find you a doctor or two that’s in your neighborhood that accepts your insurance and specializes in PCOS. I consider myself almost a matchmaker… an eHarmony of sorts… between person and doctor. When you make an ideal match, it’s incredibly rewarding.

Along the way though, I’ve been asked a series of general questions that reminds me how much people don’t know when it comes to trying to conceive. There was a study done in Australia that said that only 13 percent could correctly answer which days of their menstrual cycle they were fertile, even though 68 percent said they believed they had accurately timed sex in their attempts to conceive naturally. Of course, I expect the, “How do you use an ovulation prediction kit?” question but below are examples of questions I wouldn’t have even imagined anyone would ask:
“Is it possible to just put one sperm in me? I don’t want to have twins.”

“I don’t want to go to the doctors. If I put my sperm in a cup, can someone just look at it and tell me if it looks ok?”
“I’m having trouble getting pregnant. Do I need utility treatment?”

“I didn’t get my period this week. Do you know if I’m pregnant?”
“What’s the difference between Arti-ficial insemination and just ficial?”

And my favorite because it really was way out there…
“My female dog had sex. Could she be pregnant?”

I resisted the urge to ask if his dog used protection or not.

In addition to the unexpected questions I receive, I get a range of people asking about Gender Selection, Egg Freezing, teenagers who have actually been trying to get pregnant (I attempt to send them to their room but that doesn’t seem to work) and in some cases, super lovely people who just don’t even know how to start the process or if they need help. No matter the issue, the question, the concern and even the age, everyone is, for the most part, extremely nice and just want what anyone wants: to have a family.
It took me three years to get pregnant and it was my third IVF that brought me my now 10 month old son. Because of my job and hearing some incredible stories (it STILL amazes me what some women, men and couples have gone through), I know how lucky I am to have a child. There were times when I sincerely thought it would never happen that there is literally a moment every day when I look at him and think, “I can’t believe he’s mine.” Truly. I still worry I’m in that episode of DALLAS from many years ago when a character wakes up and it turns out it was all a dream.

The thing is, talking to all of these people; there are times when I’ve wished I could have a second child. Truth be told, I always thought I’d have a little girl. I have a huge Barbie collection, a dollhouse, a love of make-up and princess dresses (rest assured that I stopped wearing the princess dresses after the age of 8). I used to joke that unless my son ends up becoming a drag queen, we will not be sharing any of these experiences together.
The infertile in me always yells at myself though and says, “You have one. You didn’t even think you’d get that far. You should be grateful and shut the hell up.” I’ve felt that way for a long time – I’m lucky to have one.

And then a thought hit me a week or so ago that pissed me off.
No one ever tells a fertile person, “Be happy you have one.” Fertile people can turn to each other and say, “What do you think? Do you want maybe a third kid? Let’s start trying tonight.” And then they are typically pregnant within a few months.

I’m not saying I hate fertile people for this. Am I blindly jealous? Sure. But my point is why do they get to have as many kids as they want while infertiles should just be happy for what they get? Why can’t we be deeply appreciative for having what we have but still want to expand our families? Why do we lose that right?
The thing is that despite wanting a second child, despite working in the infertility industry and despite the dream of having a daughter, I don’t think it will ever happen. Forget for a moment that I don’t think we could afford treatment again, I don’t think we could even afford a second child!

Plus, quite honestly, I don’t know if I could go through another three years of infertility. The financial strain, the physical strain, the emotional strain were all consuming. I’m still working on feeling normal again. I’ve lost my “baby weight” but now I still have the “IVF weight” ahead of me.
I also don’t know if I’d want to put my marriage through that again either. Even when you have a healthy relationship and support and love each other, it’s difficult not to let “trying to conceive sex”, hormone injections and the rollercoaster ride of infertility get to you.

So even though I don’t think a second child is in the cards for me, I still reserve the right to be upset about it.
Right now, I have my period… and as the title of this blog says, it’s less a period more than it is a statement. Whenever Aunt Flo comes to town, I now try to reconcile that odds are that I will never again say that its cycle day 1, that I need to call a doctor, that I shouldn’t hope or wonder how this cycle will go. I’m 39 years old; I have bad eggs and limited finances. Unless it happens on its own through a series of miracles, it’s never going to happen. I need to accept that.

The good news is that I can take my experience and my sincere overwhelming empathy and use it to help those who seek my assistance. I certainly don’t have all the answers but if I can help in any small way to possibly be a part of someone else’s happy ending, then that will be my new reward.
For now, as always, I’m wishing all of YOU hope and humor. No matter what each of our situations are, we ALL could use both!