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!
 

37 comments:

SLESE1014 said...

As frustrating as it may be at times..I would LOVE your job. I would love to be in the heart of helping others struggling in the beginning, the middle or the end of their journey. I've actually wondered about becoming a nurse in an RE's office. I love what I currently do as a NICU nurse, but to help individuals through the process has to be so rewarding....and entertaining with some of those questions.

And the fertile vs infertile tic #2-19 kids, yeah, bothers me to no end. I recently had someone say to me, " You once said you had less than a 1% chance of getting pregnant, and now you have a kid. I'm sure your next kid will be along shortly." REALLY?!?! Did you hear those odds I beat? Do you really think it's going to come easy? WTF!?! Some people just don't get it...

I've missed your posts, but your work is so important! I'm glad I at least joined twitter and can follow you there :)

Kasey said...

I love the title of this because OMG I feel you. AF is definitely a statement rather than a period these days...
It's interesting the "be happy with what you have" thought. I sometimes wonder though if that is something that is internalized or if it's something others really think about an infertiles choice to pursue further treatment?

Rebecca said...

Knowing your limits is always good. Taking time to appreciate what you have is even better.

Margaret said...

As a woman w pcos who did attempt a second child, I actually found it difficult to find support because many in the IF community did think me ungrateful. it's why I joined Twitter and luckily I found wonderful support there, but my bfn's were dismissed on my old support forum.
and then after my miscarriage at 12weeks, only one woman had the balls to tell me 'at least you already have one,' but I got the feeling others felt that way. my family was incomplete and I was made to feel guilty for trying again. I'm due in less then a month w our second, and we'll be trying for a third in a year or two. I'll be at risk for a late miscarriage again, but I refuse to feel guilty for completing my family. I love your post!

newtorontomom said...

I admire you. Seriously. What you are doing is absolutely awesome.

Emily said...

You are not alone in the way you feel. Although I`m technically not infertile as the first two times it took only progesterone to get pregnant, however we lost our first child after a difficult pregnancy at 23 weeks and our second pregnancy suffered the same complications. Fortunately our daughter survived. I know if we ever announce I`m pregnant again we`ll have family and friends wondering why we are even bothering trying again that we should count ourselves grateful for the one we have and move on...(hell, I think that sometime too) but we just don`t feel our family is complete and why should we have to settle? It may not be biologically in the cards for some of use, but that doesn`t mean we don`t have the right to be sad about it.

Tara dS said...

Your new job sounds wonderful! As for the other, oddly enough, I think it's just infertile people who don't even have one yet who have that attitude of "be grateful you have one." I know I (secretly) felt that way about people who were experiencing secondary IF. Now that I have my two kids (through adoptin) and I've turned 40 this year, the dream of somehow miraculously conceiving is finally, thankfully, starting to fade, but those years of infertility left a scar that sometimes still aches when it gets poked too hard or too often. it's only natural. I'm grateful, but I haven't forgotten all I've been through. Hope your first holiday season with MJ is fabulous!

Gil said...

I love this post. I relate to it in so many ways. We have our now three-year old daughter after 7+ years of trying and $38K spent. IVF gave us hope, and luck. And now, at 42 (and my Hubby is 44), we would love another. Luckily, my body cooperated, but when push came to shove, we decided not to move forward with treatments for #2. My increased age means more risk factors. The money is tighter, as we're still paying down the $38K bill, and what if it works, but then we have a special needs child? And we take time, energy and money away from the child we worked so long and hard to have first in order to care for another? And then to save enough money to care for that child, taking the opportunity away from #1 to visit with my family (who do not live near us)... The whole situation just made me cry. I have come to terms with only having one child. But as an infertile, I shouldn't HAVE to 'settle' for one, or 'be happy' with one. after all, no one says that to fertiles, do they? Thank you for this post. It resonated with me.

Jaclyn N Lil M said...

Huge HUGS!! I am going through this exact feeling right now!! My LO will be 1 soon and I am EVER SO GRATEFUL to have him in my life but I do want a daughter too... I am glad I am not the only infertile feeling this way! the whole guilty for wanting a 2nd and the whole jealousy towards fertiles.... XOXO

www.lilmsadventures.blogspot.com

Natalie said...

It is really hard to feel like you have to settle for what you have. Even when what you have is so much more than you thought possible before. I felt that way after my first daughter, but it took me 2.5 years before I was willing to try again, I was so afraid to dive into those shark infested waters again. But dive I did, and endure 2 more years of TTC and 2 more miscarriages before my 2nd DD was born. I feel so blessed and I have to say still a little frustrated becuase I always planned to have a family with three kids. I know that sounds like a lot and after 7 years of trying to get pregnant and 2 very stressful pregnancies, I have long conversations with myself about how I really do need to be grateful with what I have. I don't think I could do it again, that doesn't mean I still don't want that third child. I am also 39, and the clock is ticking. I guess I'm just saying I don't have any great advice, but I totally understand where you are coming from.

Jill said...

Very well said. My husband and I went through 2 1/2 years of infertility to have our second son. He will be one next month and we are having discussions about trying for a third, my husband would really like a daughter. My biggest struggle with it, is shouldn't we be happy with what we have. I am thrilled that we have two healthy sons, but if we had not struggled so long to have our second, and had two miscarriages during that process, I would be saying I absolutely want a third child. Thank you for being so honest and open with your life.

ADSchill said...

This is a wonderful post. And I agree on all counts. I am close to delivering my rainbow baby and am about 99% sure it will be my only for all the same reasons you gave. But I still feel sad that my son won't have a sibling or that I won't have a daughter (not that it's guaranteed anyway). I think we should be able to be upset at the lot we were given despite our good fortune at achieving one lovely child.
I am so happy for the work you are doing and would love to be involved in a job like this. You are making a difference and that is amazing.
MissConception

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Eny said...

You have every right to feel like wanting a second one and being disappointed when it doesn't happen. I do wish and hope that it will happen naturally, and for free!!!!! soon

Semi Infertile Naomi said...

"why do they get to have as many kids as they want while infertiles should just be happy for what they get?" AMEN to that! Well said.

Geochick said...

Some of those questions are hysterical...and kind of sad. I feel the same way about my period. Every month it's a statement that at 38 I probably never will get pregnant.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. It took my husband and I 8 years to get pregnant the first time. From 28 year old newlyweds to being pregnant at Advanced Maternal Age. We were so happy to have her, but still didn't feel complete. For some reason our infertility left and suddenly I was the most fertile women on the planet...only my eggs were garbage at this point. We got pregnant SIX times and miscarried SIX times after my daughter. I was the most bitter women in the world. What a cruel joke. And there is absolute rejection in the infertility community because we already had one. When I found out I was pregnant again my 9th pregnancy, I just cried. I had no hope. I never believed we get him home. For some reason he stuck and was born 2 years ago when I was 42. I still can't believe it. So miracles happen, but I realize I'm one of the lucky ones. But we went through shear hell to get here. Best of luck. You never know. I lost all hope long before my little man got here, but it does feel good to feel complete. Best of luck to you.

Stephanie said...

How wonderful that you're using your experience to help others! :) That's awesome!

mommy someday said...

Happy ICLW! I can totally relate to the anger "be happy you just have one" can bring on. My husband has two kids from his first marriage. One was planned, the other a big surprise (pre-marriage). He often tells me we should stop at one (if we even get the one) and just be happy with the one. WTF? Anyway, great post. :)

Jessica Schmitz said...

Visiting for ICLW and glad I found your blog. You're a great writer. I know what you mean about IF being so hard on your relationship. It nearly tore mine apart. I just hope we stay as strong during our first upcoming IVF.

Amber said...

Very well written. I love this post. Your job must be very rewarding and hard all at the same time. It's good that you are able to relate to those struggling with infertility. You know what they are going through. Your list of questions you get asked are hilarious.

Rebecca said...

Hi from ICLW! Wow what an interesting job you have.

erika said...

Thanks for sharing the list of questions - that gave me a good laugh!
I can relate to you on many aspects of this post.
Hope and humor are the true essentials of getting through the thick of IF.
Your blog is great inspiration for many of us in this community. Thanks for writing!
ICLW #51

Erin said...

Hello from a fellow ICLWer. I think it's amazing that you are able to help others in your job (and the questions you posted are pretty darn funny!). I think it's great that you can keep your sense of humor when it's easy to become exasperated at other people's ignorance when it comes to TTC. And I'm sorry that you most likely won't have another child. It is truly not fair. Like you said, for fertile people nobody tells them to just be happy with what they have. ((hugs)). -Erin loveismultiplied.blogspot.com

FrozenOJ said...

Happy ICLW! It definitely amazes me how ignorant most people are about reproduction.

Marie Bulatao said...

Marie here from ICLW.Very well written and made me smile. You have an amazing (at times hilarious and frustrating) job :)

dspence said...

So much of what you've written here resonates with me. The desire for another child vs. the reality of getting there... I'm glad you've found such a great job!

Azara said...

Some of those questions are just crazy. One of my sister's friends got pregnant at 18 after having sex every single day with her boyfriend for two months. Apparently they thought she couldn't get pregnant if she didn't have an orgasm. Hello! How do you get to age 18 going through the public school system and still not grasp the basics of how babies are made?

When I lost my twins I wondered if it would be the beginning of secondary infertility. I was spending a lot of time on the Fertility Friend website at the time and remembered thinking how I had no right to be sad if that was the case, because look at all the women I talked to every day who would give anything to have at least one child.

I was fortunate to have a rainbow baby, but I haven't forgotten those feelings. Thank you for writing this!

Kristin said...

Those questions are just crazy. Glad you shared this with us all.

ICLW #6 Dragondreamer's Lair

Monique Renae said...

What a beautiful post!

When we decided to adopt a 2nd child, I actually had people say to me "isn't one enough?" It irked me down to my bones but I managed to smile and nod my way through the sea of ignorance.

Chrissie said...

I just blogged about a similar thought, being so envious of the ease of truly fertiles to choose when and how many babies to have. If your family doesn't feel complete then no one can tell you you shouldn't want another baby. Wishing you all the best!

Rebecca said...

Hoping things are better today. ICLW.

Megan said...

I sort of understand the sentiment when people tell me that I should be thankful - after all, I do try to count my blessings - it just seems like so many of those "there, there" statements towards infertile people are just mean with a veil of sweetness over the top. Gah.

Does it make you upset that people know so little about themselves when they call you? I think it would frustrate me.

Teresa Findley said...

Happy ICLW from #57. Such a great blog post!

sharah said...

ICLW #55 - Making the decision to try again is hard. I've reached a place of acceptance right now, and I know that I'll just be opening myself back up to all the pain and bitterness and angst when we go back to TTC. I know I'll regret it if we don't though.

Lori said...

Your new job sounds fabulous. I just also wrote about our decision to forgo a second child and donate our embryos...no pink dresses but lots of acceptance...here from ICLW
Lori

jennandtommy said...

lol Love this post! Happy ICLW! -Jenn

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