Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I saw this on someone else's infertility blog, and it grabbed me because it's so true.


I want to share my feelings about infertility with you, because I want you to understand my struggle. I know that understanding infertility is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don't understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear that my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.
You may describe me this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. These aren't very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, rushed and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad, loss of control and hopeless, and unsettled. 

My infertility makes me feel confused. I always assumed I was fertile. I've spent years avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic that I can't conceive. I hope this will be a brief difficulty with a simple solution. Surely if I try harder, try longer, try better and smarter, I will have a baby. 

My infertility makes me feel rushed and impatient. I learned of my infertility only after I'd been trying to become pregnant for some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind schedule. I waited to become a parent and now I must wait again. I wait for medical appointments, wait for tests, wait for treatments, wait for other treatments, wait for my period not to come, wait for my partner not to be out of town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I have only twelve opportunities each year. How old will I be when I finish having my family?

My infertility makes me feel afraid. Infertility is full of unknowns, and I'm frightened because I need some definite answers. How long will this last? What if I'm never a parent? What humiliation must I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do drugs I take to help me, make me feel worse? Why can't my body do the things that my mind wants it to do? Why do I hurt so much? I'm afraid of my feelings, afraid of my undependable body and afraid of my future. 

My infertility makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of babies are everywhere. I must be the only one enduring this invisible curse. I stay away from others, because everything makes me hurt. No one knows how horrible is my pain. Even though I'm usually a clear thinker, I find myself being lured by superstitions and promises. I think I'm losing perspective. I feel so alone and I wonder if I'll survive this. 

My infertility makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility is a medical problem and should be treated as one. Infertility destroys my self-esteem and I feel like a failure. Why am I being punished? What did I do to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby? Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my partner want to remain with me? Is this the end of my family lineage? Will my family be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose self-confidence and to feel ashamed. 

My infertility makes me feel angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I'm angry at my body because it has betrayed me even though I've always taken care of it. I'm angry at my partner because we can't seem to feel the same about infertility at the same time. I want and need an advocate to help me. I'm angry at my family because they've always sheltered and protected me from terrible pain. My younger sibling is pregnant; my mother wants a family reunion to show off her grandchildren and my grandparents want to pass down family heirlooms. I'm angry at my medical caregivers, because it seems that they control my future. They inflict discomfort and sometimes pain on me, pry into my privacy, sometimes patronise me, and sometimes forget who I am. How can I impress on them how important parenting is to me? I'm angry at my expenses; infertility treatment is expensive. My financial resources may determine my family size. My insurance company isn't always cooperative, and I must make so many sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can't miss any more work, or I'll lose my job. I can't go to a specialist, because it means more travel time, more missed work, and greater expenses. Finally, I'm angry at everyone else. Everyone has opinions about my inability to become a parent. Everyone has easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much. 

My infertility makes me feel sad and hopeless. Infertility feels like I've lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness. I feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my energy. I've never cried so much nor so easily. I'm sad that my infertility places my partnership under so much strain. I'm sad that my infertility requires me to be so self-centred. I'm sad that I've ignored many friendships because this struggle hurts so much and demands so much energy. Friends with children prefer the company of other families with children. I'm surrounded by babies, pregnant women, playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories, kids' movies, birthday parties and much more. I feel so sad and hopeless.

My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and my long-term future seems impossible. I can't decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursuing a hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business trips and houseguests. The more I struggle with my infertility, the less control I have. This struggle has no timetable; the treatments have no guarantees. The only sure things are that I need to be near my partner at fertile times and near my doctor/clinic at treatment times. Should I pursue adoption? Should I take expensive drugs? Should I pursue more specialised and costly medical intervention? It feels unsettling to have no clear, easy answers or guarantees. 

Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I'm learning some helpful ways to cope; I'm now convinced I'm not crazy, and I believe I'll survive. I'm learning to listen to my body and to be assertive, not aggressive, about my needs. I'm realising that good medical care and good emotional care are not necessarily found in the same place. I'm trying to be more than an infertile person gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life. 
You can help me. I know you care about me and I know my infertility affects our relationship. My sadness causes you sadness; what hurts me, hurts you, too. I believe we can help each other through this sadness. Individually we both seem quite powerless, but together we can be stronger. Maybe some of these hints will help us to better understand infertility. 

I need you to be a listener. Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions. Let me know you are available for me. It's difficult for me to expose my private thoughts if you are rushed or have a deadline for the end of our conversation. Please don't tell me of all the worse things that have happened to others or how easily someone else's infertility was solved. Every case is individual. Please don't just give advice; instead, guide me with your questions. Assure me that you respect my confidences, and then be certain that you deserve my trust. While listening try to maintain an open mind. 

I need you to be supportive. Understand that my decisions aren't made casually, I've agonised over them. Remind me that you respect these decisions even if you disagree with them, because you know they are made carefully. Don't ask me, "Are you sure?" Repeatedly remind me that you love me no matter what. I need to hear it so badly. Let me know you understand that this is very hard work. Help me realise that I may need additional support from professional caregivers and appropriate organisations. Perhaps you can suggest resources. You might also need support for yourself, and I fear I'm unable to provide it for you; please don't expect me to do so. Help me to keep sight of my goal. 

I need you to be comfortable with me, and then I also will feel more comfortable. Talking about infertility sometimes feels awkward. Are you worried you might say the wrong thing? Share those feelings with me. Ask me if I want to talk. Sometimes I will want to, and sometimes I won't, but it will remind me that you care.

I need you to be sensitive. Although I may joke about infertility to help myself cope, it doesn't seem as funny when others joke about it. Please don't tease me with remarks like, "You don't seem to know how to do it." Don't trivialise my struggle by saying, "I'd be glad to give you one of my kids." It's no comfort to hear empty reassurances like, "You'll be a parent by this time next year." Don't minimise my feelings with, "You shouldn't be so unhappy." For now, don't push me into uncomfortable situations like baby showers or family reunions. I already feel sad and guilty; please don't also make me feel guilty for disappointing you.

I need you to be honest with me. Let me know that you may need time to adjust to some of my decisions. I also needed adjustment time. If there are things you don't understand, say so. Please be gentle when you guide me to be realistic about things I can't change such as my age, some medical conditions, financial resources, and employment obligations. Don't hide information about others' pregnancies from me. Although such news makes me feel very sad, it feels worse when you leave me out. 

I need you to be informed. Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating to me if they aren't based on fact. Be well informed so you can educate others when they make remarks based on myths. Don't let anyone tell you that my infertility will be cured if I relax and adopt. Don't tell me this is God's will. Don't ask me to justify my need to parent. Don't criticise my course of action or my choice of physician even though I may do that myself. Reassure yourself that I am also searching for plenty of information, which helps me make more knowledgeable decisions about my options. 

I need you to be patient. Remember that working through infertility is a process. It takes time. There are no guarantees, no package deals, no complete kits, no one right answer, and no "quickie" choices. My needs change; my choices change. Yesterday I demanded privacy, but today I need you for strength. You have many feelings about infertility, and I do too. Please allow me to have anger, joy, sadness, and hope. Don't minimise or evaluate my feelings. Just allow me to have them, and give me time. 

I need you to be strengthening by boosting my self-esteem. My sense of worthlessness hampers my ability to take charge. My personal privacy has repeatedly been invaded. I've been subjected to postcoital exams, semen collection in waiting room bathrooms, and tests in rooms next to labour rooms. Enjoyable experiences with you such as a lunch date, a shopping trip, or a visit to a museum help me feel normal. 

Encourage me to maintain my sense of humour; guide me to find joys. Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a medical appointment without crying. Remind me that I am more than an infertile person. Help me by sharing your strength. 

Eventually I will be beyond the struggle of infertility. I know my infertility will never completely go away because it will change my life. I won't be able to return to the person I was before infertility, but I also will no longer be controlled by this struggle. I will leave the struggle behind me, and from that I will have improved my skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision-making and self-assessment. I feel grateful that you are trying to ease my journey through this infertility struggle by giving me your understanding. 


The author, Jody Earle, frequently felt the need for a brochure like this one during her own eleven-year infertility struggle. She experienced three pregnancy losses, one in each trimester and eventually, the premature births of her two sons. She continues to be a peer counsellor for those working through infertility.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I lost control today in church.  To make matters worse, I was the liturgist, so I had to look like I had it together long enough to get to the last hymn.  I couldn't make it through the last hymn, and I followed one of the choir members through the little escape door behind the lectern so I wasn't as obvious.  The sermon had been from a person from the conference instead of our pastor, and she had spoken about hope as our church proceeds through a merger.  I just completely did not have the ability to think about hope without falling apart, when I'm having so much trouble having hope for our situation. 

As I was leaving the sanctuary, the visiting pastor asked if I was ok.  I mumbled that we were dealing with infertility.  She asked if I wanted to talk, saying that she had dealt with the same thing, and I initially said I would be ok, thinking that I was supposed to go home and meet my cousin to talk APO stuff.  (DH, meanwhile, was projecting thoughts of, "Don't be stupid and turn away help when you need it, especially not from someone who's been there!!!") 

So, the pastor sat down with the two of us and talked about how we (especially I) have been feeling.  She was lucky in that 18 years ago, stuff like this was actually covered by insurance, but she needed IVF to conceive her twins.  She said that she could see how much grief I'm experiencing.  I've never used that word to describe it before, but it fits better than I would have guessed.  The pastor also compared it to having a loved one MIA because you don't know whether to give up or keep hoping.  She said she'll pray for us.

When we got home, DH and I were talking more, and we eventually decided that maybe we should see a fertility clinic once we can get the money together rather than waiting longer and potentially wasting more time.  Course, who knows how long getting the money together will take, after the bills from getting us both checked out in the first place.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Has anyone ever felt compelled to keep picking at a scab or pimple even thought it hurts?  That was how I felt at the Maryland game today.  There were 2 women side by side with infants in the same row of the section next to ours.  I couldn't stop looking over there.  It wasn't a complete stab it the heart each time, which I suppose is a good thing.  But I couldn't stop looking at what I want and may never be able to have.

I feel like so much of my life is on hold.  I can't tailgate with my friends at this point because it hurts too much to spend the time with a one-year-old, a one-month-old, and a friend due in November.  I let go of a position I loved within APO, thinking that I would need a position where I'm not traveling by now.  Instead, I have a project that I am working on through mid-November that I enjoy, but I'm at loose ends after that.  I don't know what I'll be doing, I don't know what will be available that fits my abilities and interests, and I feel like I'm being punished for trying to do the responsible thing for myself, my family, and my students, given that I expected I'd be able to do what 85% of couples are able to do in a year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How do I decide what to do or say and what not to do or say in terms of events and taking care of myself?  My decisions on what I can handle, how many babies and pregnant women I can stand to be around, don't just affect me, they affect friends that rely on me if they want to be able to do fun things.  How do I tell them they have to suffer because I'm too fragile?  How do I tell friends that I've had for years that I don't know if I can keep from crying if I see them?  How do I tell newer acquaintances/friends that it hurts to see them?  How do I tell someone that their greatest happiness is a knife in the heart for me?

I feel like I'm supposed to just move past this and find a way to be "fine," but I don't know how.  I don't know if there is a way for me to be "fine" without a baby in my body or in my arms.  I can't become a shut-in, but everywhere I go it slaps me in the face, and I have yet to find a way to not feel slapped by it.  I don't want to be a burden on the people that care about me, and I feel like I am at this point.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One step forward, one step...I don't know...sideways?

I texted DH and my best guy friend tonight, proud of myself because, when I was at Wal-Mart, I saw the same magazine cover that had upset me on Sunday and managed to not get teary-eyed.  I said in the text, "Go, me."  It was an effort, and I also had to make an effort to look away from the magazines any time I passed them, but I didn't tear up.

When I got home and checked Facebook, I saw that pictures had been posted from a former coworker's baby shower.  I wanted to be able to look, because I miss the friends that were there, but I just couldn't.  I suppose it's a good thing that I didn't try to make myself look anyway, but it was easier to take care of myself in that situation because it didn't take away from anyone else.  Plus, the pictures will still be there when I reach the point where I can look.

I'm trying, here.  (I know, I know, I'm very trying to the people around me.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In my continuing quest to survive, I took a couple steps tonight to try to care for my mental health.  I went to the psychiatrist to get my Zoloft raised, and I had an intake with a faith-based counselor.  Most of the intake was, of course, giving her background about what's been going on.  We did talk some about coping strategies that I've already tried and about my difficulty with taking care of myself instead of others.

Part of my difficulty with this stems from how much need there is in the world.  Yes, that's the social worker in me coming out, and yes, I know that I can't help everyone in the world.  But I do believe that I should make up for the fact that I can't help everyone in the world by helping everyone I can.  After all, imagine if everyone did that!

Part of the difficulty also comes from the fact that I often enjoy doing things for others, whether it's because the activity is something I enjoy doing or because the people involved are people I enjoy spending time with.  It seems like recreation to me to be doing things for others, at least some of the time.  However, I'm ending up in a situation where I'm doing so many things for others that there's at least one activity that I want to make time for, but I've been having trouble carving the time out.

I don't really know where this post is going, aside from to say that I'm trying to find ways to take care of myself.  I'm having to be creative, though, because most of the traditional coping skills aren't doing jack.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ah, the joys of trying to pay attention to tv or anything entertainment-related while dealing with infertility.  I don't care at ALL about those Kardashian sisters, but I was at 7-11 today with my best guy friend, and I caught a glimpse of a magazine cover with whichever one's preggo again on it.  So, yeah, I was wiping away tears while J and I were walking to breakfast.  He was telling me about a couple of friends of his who had adopted babies from Vietnam and China.  DH and I had talked about adoption before, as DH was wanting to find a way to make things better for me and us sooner rather than later.  One thing we didn't talk about, though, was whether we'd want a domestic or foreign adoption if it comes to that.  J was telling me it's too early to think about that.  Thoughts from the great beyond of blog-land?

I was watching the season premiere of One Tree Hill tonight, and it was interesting in relation to this because of how Brooke is trying to be happy for Haley as she announces her second pregnancy, as well as how Julian tries to help Brooke though this stressor. DH was watching the show with me, and he was sweet about putting his arm around me or holding my hand as the baby issue kept coming up.  On the show, Julian was trying to distract Brooke with sex, saying, "Let's keep trying to have a baby."  I don't know how that would make me feel if I was in Brooke's shoes of having been told that there was no hope for her to conceive, but I give Julian's character writers credit for having him be sensitive to her needs and emotions related to Haley's pregnancy.  One thing I appreciate about DH is him recognizing when the infertility issue is bothering me more and him noticing situations that are likely to stress me out and putting his hand on my arm or something like that.  He and I both have physical touch as one of our primary love languages, and so him just making a move to touch me helps me to feel comforted and loved even if it doesn't do anything to fix the problem.

Speaking of fixing the problem, we tried something new on Thursday.  I'm not going to go into exactly what on here, because I still haven't decided what level of TMI to put in this blog.  If people want to know, comment and I'll tell you privately.  Next month at this time we won't be going out of town for the weekend, which will make it easier to try that something new at exactly the right time.  This month we had to try it a couple of days ahead of time and hope, since we were both doing things in different places this weekend.

And so it goes.  I have an appointment to meet with a counselor tomorrow to talk about my feelings about all this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ah, the complex relationship between infertility and insurance.  I had my open enrollment meeting today for insurance at work.  I've been on my husband's insurance plan for the past couple of years, since he has a PPO and I like the choice that PPOs offer.  Unfortunately for us, at the start of this year, his company went from a really good PPO with a smaller insurance company that still had a good network to a mediocre PPO from United this year.  I don't actually remember whether the old plan covered infertility, since I didn't have reason to look before.  At the time when the insurance switched over, we had only been trying for 5 months, and we still thought we would conceive any time now.

The first clue that this would be an issue came after DH got an EOB from his insurance company rejecting his first visit to get checked out.  Oddly enough, they accepted the second visit for him, but rejected the first.  IIRC, his semenalysis was covered, but his ultrasound wasn't.  I don't believe we've received any bills from the actual doctor's office from my visit and ultrasound.  However, we did get a bill for $635 in lab charges from my first visit.  We're working with his company's insurance broker to see if any of these charges can be covered after all.  For one thing, part of the lab charges for me are $246 for STD tests, since certain STDs can affect fertility.  Can't that also be preventative care and screening, though?  Screenings and preventative care are covered...

I looked at the insurance coverage that my company is offering starting next month.  Unlike with DH's insurance, IVF is covered under this plan.  No other infertility treatment is, however.  Our plan had been to try IUI first in terms of interventions by an actual fertility specialist.  I've raised the question with DH of whether it would be worth trying IVF earlier in the game if it's covered and IUI isn't.  I didn't expect an answer, and we haven't discussed it further, since we're not close to crossing that bridge yet.  I had just figured I'd throw the question out on the table so it could rattle around in our heads.  I wonder why a company would cover expensive stuff like IVF and not IUI, which is exponentially cheaper.

My company likes to do a high-deductible HMO and then give employees an HRA card for the deductible, paid by the employer.  They find that less expensive for them than paying for a policy with a regular deductible.  Starting next month, that would be with United.  With my company's insurance having more infertility coverage than DH's, but only of an intervention we may not need, it raises the question of whether it's worth switching from a PPO to an HMO in order to get that additional coverage.  One benefit of this HMO is that as long as a specialist is in-network, referrals for specialists actually aren't necessary.  It's not even that I want to be able to go out of network, especially since United has a nationwide network, so I'd be ok even if I was out of town.  It's more that I've tended to find PPOs to have larger networks than HMOs, as well as fewer hoops to jump through.

Another thing that makes this interesting is that this division of United that my company is using also has a savings program where their customers qualify for discounts on things that their insurance doesn't cover, like gym memberships, nutrition counseling, and infertility treatments.  The discounts range from 5-50%, but I can't look at what companies participate or what the discounts are for individual things until I'm a customer.

Oh, yeah, and my employer wants the enrollment forms back tomorrow, when the meeting was today.  DH just got home and is comparing his coverage (my current coverage) with what my employer is offering.  He's frustrated, saying it's really confusing and seems like they put a lot of fine print in so they don't have to cover anything while they sound like they do.  I started reading the chapter on Affording Infertility in the Infertility Survival Guide, but didn't get to finish it before DH got home.  He's currently reading the section of the chapter on dealing with health insurance.

Final decision: my company's health insurance is free, and we can't cancel my insurance with DH's company at this time, so unless I find a reason not to when I talk with the person I turn the form into tomorrow, I'll add it as secondary coverage.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I bought a book a couple of weeks ago called The Infertility Survival Handbook: Everything You Never Thought You'd Need to Know, by Elizabeth Swire Falker.  Tonight was the first time I opened it.  I love reading, but I tend to use it most as an escape, a form of relaxation.  If I learn anything in the process, cool, but there's a reason I'm usually reading fiction and not non-fiction, and that's because it's fun.

Anyway, I was going to just read the book like I do most of them, even non-fiction, just straight through.  As I was paging through the table of contents to get to the first page, though, one of the later chapters caught my eye: Telling Friends and Family.  The chapter has sections on "Who to tell and what to say," "How to cope with insensitive comments," and "How to cope with social and work obligations."  I turned to that chapter and read it immediately.

The question of who to tell and what to say is especially key as I start this blog.  When I created this blog, I decided to use my first name and a common screen name of mine.  This decision wasn't that big a deal to me because I decided that if anyone randomly came across it and realized it was me, I didn't care.  Today, I created a fan page on Facebook for this blog and linked it in to the NetworkedBlogs application.  That has more risks involved because of the number of people I have friended on Facebook that are acquaintances more than they are friends.  As I set up the NetworkedBlogs app, I listed myself as the author of this blog and needed to verify that fact by asking friends to say that I am who I say I am.  One of my friends who has a blog and had suggested the app to me called me to ask if I wanted to list myself as the author of the blog, given that people I don't know well would then be able to see that.  I decided that it was fine, because I don't care if people I know are looking for information about infertility, come across this blog, and realize it's me.  And I figure that anyone who doesn't care about my infertility isn't too likely to click on the link if they do see it.  The biggest thing that I wanted was to make sure that it would not post to the feed of everyone I know whenever I post, so I have it set to only post to the feeds of people who liked the page for the blog.

I'm going to devote a whole separate post (or many more than one) at some point to insensitive comments.  The other part of that chapter that's really key to me right now is the section on social and work obligations.  I haven't had baby showers to go to since we started trying, especially since the one or two at work were on days when I was at another location, but I'm sure I'll have 2 or 3 in the upcoming months to decide whether I can handle.  My most imminent obstacle is tailgating.  The group that I tailgate with includes a one-year-old, a one-month-old, and a pretty close friend due in November that conceived without trying.  Yesterday I skipped tailgating in the end, arriving just in time for the game, even knowing that the pregnant friend wasn't going to be there and thinking that the one-month-old wouldn't be there...I decided that even just dealing with the one-year-old would be too much for me this weekend.  Good thing I did, since the one-month-old was there too.  I hope I don't have to skip tailgating all season.  It's something I enjoy, and having to skip something I enjoy because I'm not strong enough feels like having to punish myself for being weak.  At least I have 2 weeks before I have to make that decision again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So what the heck does infertility mean, anyway, and how does that relate to why I started this blog now instead of two months ago? 

The simple answer, at least according to babycenter.com, is that any couple that tries actively for a year without success qualifies for a diagnosis of infertility.  The answer is rarely if ever that simple for individuals and couples, however.  For one thing, most people don't know at the time when they pass a year of trying whether there is anything medically wrong with them or not, since many doctors don't want to see a person to do testing before they've been trying for a year.  For another, a couple is affected by infertility (most of the time, anyway), but about 60% of the time, a problem is identified with one partner and the other partner has to find a way to deal with the face that "we" are infertile, but "I" am not.  (The other 40% of the time, both partners have problems affecting fertility or no problems are identified with either partner, but they still are not conceiving.)

The biggest complicating factor, however, is the emotional impact that people put on the word "infertility."  Many people are reluctant to use that word to describe their situation because of what it means to them.  Just speaking from my own perspective, infertility means not being able to do what my heart yearns most for, not being able to become a parent in the normal way.  It means my world not being the way it's supposed to be.  I've dealt with my world not being the way it's supposed to be in one way or another for most of my life, but somehow, this one is too much.  Maybe it's because of how long this could affect my life.  With other things that weren't supposed to be that way, there was a limit to how long it would affect my daily life.  Not with this. 

The other thing that makes dealing with infertility so crushing is being surrounded by people who obviously can have what I can't.  With other problems that I've had, I couldn't look around me to see who had depression and who didn't or who got along with their parents and who didn't.  With infertility, though, I'm constantly surrounded by people who can and do have kids.  Every time I turn around, I'm hearing about someone else I know that is pregnant, and when I'm not hearing that, I'm hearing people talk about their kids.  I'll go into my love/hate relationship with Facebook later, because that's probably a whole post of its own.

At any rate, with the word "infertility" meaning so many negative things to people, individuals and couples choose different times and milestones to determine at what point they describe themselves as "infertile."  Even though DH and I have been told that we shouldn't have any issues interfering with our ability to have children, we've failed to do so 14 times.  It's been more than a year, and we're at the point of artificial options and looking at what it would take to adopt.  To me, that's infertility, whether there's anything that should be making us infertile or not.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The idea for this iteration of Ninth Circle (not that I did much of anything with it before) came from reading this article that my friend Kristin sent to me: http://www.self.com/health/2010/08/breaking-the-silence-on-infertility

 When I read it back in July of this year, I thought about blogging about my own experiences and refusing to contribute to the culture of silence that surrounds problems with infertility.  At that point, however, I was starting something new, acupuncture to aid in fertility, and I thought it would be pretty silly to start a blog about infertility and then conceive in the very next month.  Besides, I didn't know whether what I was experiencing was really an infertility problem.  At that point, my husband and I had been trying to conceive for 12 cycles, not technically a full year, which is 13 cycles of 28 days.  For the sake of his privacy (in case I end up with people I don't know reading this), I'm going to go with the convention I have seen on forums and call him DH, for Dear Husband.  After all, while I am trying to break the silence for myself, we are still two separate people, and I won't speak for him.

Anyway, at this point, I've reached the milestone of labeling what DH and I are dealing with as "infertility."   We've been told that there's nothing that should be causing a problem.  In other words, there are two issues that could be causing a problem but supposedly are not.  While I do know two couples who have taken 18 months to conceive with nothing wrong with either of them, I also know that statistically, we should have conceived by now if there's not a problem.  A couple with nothing wrong with them has a 25% chance of conceiving on any given cycle when they are trying at the right time.  I may not have been that good at math in general, but I was good at statistics, and I can calculate that there is only a 1.8% chance of not being pregnant by now if there really is nothing wrong.  For you statistics people, we're outside of two standard deviations, and if this goes on for 5 more months, we'll be outside of three standard deviations.  We're pretty damned close to disproving the Null hypothesis here, people!

OK, now that I've come as close to geeking out on math as I'm generally ever going to, I'll be a social worker again and talk about feelings.  I'm depressed.  I'm angry.  I'm frustrated.  I'm hopeless most of the time.  I swing back and forth between wanting to cry when I see a baby and wanting to slap every bitch that has it easy when it comes to getting pregnant.  Yes, I know that a lot of people who have babies had to work hard to get them.  And yes, I know that many people who have babies had difficult pregnancies or deliveries.  But right now, I'd give almost anything for even a hard pregnancy full of complications (as long as the baby was healthy in the end) just so I could be pregnant at all.

And the worst kick in the stomach has been the past week.  I spent 5 days in a row at the end of my cycle queasy and exhausted, with my BBT readings not dropping in preparation for the end of the cycle.  Reason to have a smidge of hope, right?  Nope, cause there's never a reason for hope down here in the Ninth Circle, boys and girls.  Realized Saturday night that the reason I was queasy and exhausted and my temp wasn't dropping was because I was running a slight fever.  Oh, joy!  And then DH and I get back from our weekend trip, and DH is opening the mail last night and finds a bill for $635 for bloodwork that said there's nothing wrong with me but that insurance doesn't want to cover.  And of course we can't find out what insurance is supposed to cover in terms of testing for infertility problems because we can't even get a copy of what the insurance covers from DH's HR department at work!  I don't know why I even bothered to get checked out...at this rate, we won't be able to afford to go to the fertility clinic or to adopt if our next efforts don't work out.  Oh, yeah, and I was in enough pain from the results of having failed again that I was having trouble moving today.

So yeah.  Have a good night, boys and girls, while I go take some more Tylenol to try to keep my fever down and my pain at a minimum.