Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not me

Early in my graduate studies, which I guess would be 2003/2004, I learned that a classmate of mine was having trouble getting pregnant. I remember one day specifically, we were gathered outside the building during a break. She and the other smokers were taking drags of their cigarettes while the rest of us tried to stand upwind without being obvious.

She smiled brightly and her voice bubbled with excitement: "My doctor said it's just a matter of my eggs not being mature enough when I ovulate. I'm going to take Clomid to help them get there. Then we'll be all set!"

No pregnancy announcement came, no baby bump appeared.

A year and a half later, I was walking down the hall when I saw her leaving a classroom in tears, wrapped in the comforting arms of another woman. A moment later I saw a mutual friend leave the same room, and out of concern I whispered, "Is she okay?"

Our friend frowned. "She did one of those turkey baster things, and she just found out it didn't work."

I sat down in my own class and mulled this over. How unfortunate for her, she and her husband were both generous, compassionate people who would make exceptional parents. They deserved a whole football team of kids if they wanted them. I was sorry they were suffering.

Then followed the thought: I'm so glad I won't have to go through that. When we're ready, it'll happen right away.

Another year or so later, I was sitting in the waiting room at my OB/GYN's office. Although my first Clomid cycle had failed, my doc was entirely certain that those little pills would get me pregnant within three months, and I was all aboard that train. A woman walked through the door with a small child and a hugely pregnant belly.

She handed the receptionist a disposable plastic food container. "I had to use injections to get pregnant with my son, and I have the used needles in this container. I didn't want to throw them out in our garbage in case a child or someone else found them."

The receptionist looked a little disconcerted but took them with the promise to dispose of them properly. The woman pleasantly thanked her and sat down with her son.

I immediately empathized with her struggles, and I looked at her with respect and longing for her happy results.

Then I thought: I'm so glad I won't have to go through that. I'm terrified of needles and wouldn't be able to do it.

Yes, absolutely, most of my response was just plain naivete. Like most women, I had no reason to think I wouldn't get pregnant right away. I had prevented pregnancy for years with such unwavering determination, and I knew all we had to do was pull that goalie and BAM! SCORE!

Parenthood. Just like that.

But I could point to genetics as suggestive evidence of our abundant fertility, too. Between me, DH, and our four collective siblings, at least half of us were "accident" babies.

Clearly we are missing something.

Even now, after having gone through invasive and embarrassing tests, surgery, countless blood draws, pills, injections, IUIs, and lots of head-banging-on-the-wall-WHY-ISN'T-THIS-WORKING to conceive little Bean man...

When I read or hear about other infertile couples TTC their second/third/ninth child for 3 or 4 or more years...

I think: I'm so glad I won't have to go through that.

This time, although there is an aspect of that naivete remaining ("It worked with injectibles+IUI last time, we can go there immediately to get the same results!"), I believe that's much less what it is about.

This time, I am already half-drained before we've begun. I was almost ready to give up on Bean, right before we got our BFP. Many couples do it much, much longer than two years, but I didn't think I had it in me anymore. The treatments were too demanding, my life was on hold, I was hardly breathing as I waited to get pregnant.

I would hate to not give a fair try at producing a sibling for our son. I don't want to be a quitter: "Fine, Universe, you don't want me to get pregnant? I WON'T!"

But I am not starting from scratch here. I am picking up where I left off, bruised and beaten.

Victorious, yes.

But that doesn't mean I can fight forever.

(On a happy note, that classmate of mine did conceive a beautiful daughter on their last-ditch FET cycle, after several failed IVFs. They kept trying faithfully for years and years, and they finally received their precious gift.)


  1. Beautiful post, it's amazing how naive and innocent we all are until life kicks you into shape. Big ((Hugs)) Bean is a lucky fella to have such a wonderful mom.

  2. I am praying so hard for you guys. I'll be thinking about you on Thursday (right?)
    Al your Pal (for always!)

  3. It's funny for me I was the opposite. From age 22 I started to think that we'd have a problem. I remembered watching something where they said 1 in (at the time) 9 couples suffers infertility. And I looked down one half of the street then the other, counting the houses filled with kids and went uh-oh. But, I think way too many woman never give it a second thought to postpone what they do eventually know that they want for their late 30's and 40's. My friend had a great obgyn that she saw who from the time that she was 30 warned her that if she wanted kids she needed to make it a goal to have at least one by 35...counting backwards from there with when they should start trying given the potential problems that could be more easily overcome then waiting.

    I think that's a conversation many more gyno's should have with their patients. Not to put too much pressure but to give woman better expectations so they can know how to work out their priorities.

    I'm hoping that your previous experience simply means that you've worked out what doesn't work and what will get you there that much quicker! Lots of luck!

  4. First of all, I am very happy for that friend of yours who did realize her dream ultimately. Secondly, I can totally understand when you said 'oh, that won't be me'...coz I did the same grind.

    Thirdly, Alllllll the very best!

  5. "Not me" here too. My youngest sister was an oops when my mom was 40.5. Of course our issues started with MFI, but I thought a little ICSI would be all we would need.

    I am having an easier time (so far) with number 2 and I think it is because #1 almost didn't happen. I am more satisfied with only one child than I would have been if #1 had come more easily.

    I am sharing this because maybe you can relieve some of the fears and anxiety by counting all the ways that an only child would be better such as: Cheaper vacations, Little Bean gets more attention, etc.

    Of course, I may change my tune if our hopeful cycle in September fails and all our tries are behind us.

    Good luck to you.

  6. As soon as I hit 30, I began to worry. I think it's because my mom got a hysterectomy at that age so I equated 30 with a loss of fertility. I still never expected it to take as long as it did. I hope you and I are among the group of easy seconds. There are a lot of those, too, you know!

  7. Sorry you're feeling like this.

    I think I felt the same before the misscarriage. I thought that sine Champ had come into our lives so easily, there was no reason a sibling wouldn't too.

    I hope you have enough fight and courage to give the attempt at a sibling for Bean a red hot go.

  8. Every time we tentatively talk about a second, I have the same feelings. Others have problems, but surely this time will be easier for us, right....???? And then we quickly change the topic.

    But part of me feels like I really am in a better place to handle the fight this time around, because LL is already here. Won't know for sure until we're trying, though.

  9. Sadly until my January miscarriage, it hadn't really hit me how difficult it might be (still is) for us to conceive child #2. And now that my insurance no longer covers infertility treatments...I'm at a loss as to what our next step should be. I wish we all had answers... so much of the IF battle is the not knowing.


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