Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My fertility struggle...

I sent my "secret" to a friend a few months ago.
I was feeling frustrated and sad.
I wasn't feeling honest at the time.
He wrote back with kind words but if he did see past the surface he never said.
I mean why would he see what I really meant?
It's not like I've been honest about what has been happening in my life with too many people.
Only a very small group knew the truth.

So what's the truth?

The truth is I'm 30, Husband and I have been married for 8 years and we've been trying to have kids for over 3 years now.
There I said it.
Now all I want to do is delete this draft and pretend it never happened.
To return to my snarky persona and act like having kids is the worst thing imaginable.
I can't though.
It's killing me inside.

I'm not writing this blog because I want people to feel sorry for me. Or even that I'm looking for advice. I'm writing this because not being honest and open is killing me. People don't understand why I bristle so much when the subject of kids come up. The truth is, the topic is so painful and raw that sarcasm is the only way for me to hold it together. I get angry and defensive when asked because it hurts so bad.

Let me back up.

Before I met Husband I never wanted kids. I still didn't want kids even after we met. Even getting married didn't really change that. To be fair I was young. I had just turned 20 when we met, we married shortly because I turned 22 and in all fairness I wasn't ready to be a mother. I still really enjoyed my freedom and being irresponsible.
It wasn't until one of my dearest friends started trying to get pregnant that I felt that faint twinge of longing, I was 26. A few months because I turned 27 we threw caution to the wind and stop using birth control. We were convinced it would be easy. I mean after all, we were young. Every month I would start to panic... terrified of both being and not being pregnant. When my period would show I would temporarily be relieved before the sorrow would settle in.
Then the months started to drag on and the further we got from using birth control the sicker I got. I would be sidelined with cramps that left me draped around a toilet for a day. Convinced something was wrong I went to the doctor. I confessed that I was off birth control and concerned that the pain was a symptom of infertility. The doctor informed me that until I was willing to be serious about getting pregnant (i.e. using ovulation kits) then I should just go back on birth control since it kept the cramps under control. If not I would just have to take an insane amount of ibuprofen to try and keep myself functional. Despite my asking for tests and wanting more knowledge on the subject I was brushed aside. If only I had been more educated at the time.

So we continued down the path for another year or so. Eventually I started charting my fertility via temperature. Frustrated I went to another doctor with the express problem of infertility. I was tired of hiding and being timid about my desire for kids. Sitting in the room and being drilled about every detail of my sex life was uncomfortable. The woman made me feel awful when she insisted that we just weren't being intimate enough. Still this time my dear friend had armed me with some knowledge so I pressed for labwork to be done. I figured that should be easy, I mean if I was low on a certain hormone that should be easy enough to fix. The labwork came back normal despite my very abnormal temperature charting. The nurse called days later to say they would just script me out Clomid. I was not ok with that and asked how that would help me if my tubes happened to be blocked. (knowledge is power) I finally forced their hand into ordering me a dye test. The test came and went and surprisingly one of my tubes was blocked. A week or more after the test her nurse called and said they would just refer me to the fertility clinic.

During the course of me struggling to get answers Husband had some testing done as well. He was perfectly normal.

Sitting in the office for the fertility clinic last year I felt overwhelmed and anxious. After a brief chat with the doctor she said it sounded like I suffered from endometriosis and we should do a vaginal ultrasound. By the end of the visit we had scheduled surgery to fix the blocked tube and laser off any endometriosis. The surgery came and went, they fixed the tube that was blocked and lasered off the offending tissue. On our follow up visit she suggested A.I. if I still wasn't pregnant in a few months. Husband was leaving for Iraq the following month for a short deployment and that's when they suggested I do a few months of chemically induced menopause to prevent the endometriosis from returning while he was gone. That's when I hit my wall. I wasn't comfortable with the consequences of menopause nor would we be able to pay for A.I. since it isn't covered by insurance.

And that's where we left it. A year has come and gone and I still haven't been able to get pregnant. Apathy has set back in. As the months have passed the cramps have returned and now I'm terrified to go back. Afraid to be told I'm out of options that I'm comfortable with.

Meanwhile I watch those around me get pregnant and I try to be happy for them. The truth is though that their joy makes me bitter and realizing my bitterness only makes it worse. I find myself wondering what makes them so special. What I'm doing wrong. I try to feel thankful that I have a loving/amazing Husband. Try to feel thankful that I have options and the freedom to do things. It just doesn't seem like enough. It feels like something is missing. No matter how much I complain when my dear friend's son acts out and see how tired she is at the end of the day. It's what I want.

We took a cruise for my 30th birthday. We had dinner with strangers. One was a newlywed couple eager to make babies. Then there was the other couple. On the last night the woman revealed that they had been trying to conceive for 3 years with no luck and they took the cruise to get away from the frustration. I nearly burst into tears. I wanted to reach out and hold the woman's hand, tell her I understand exactly what she meant. But I couldn't. Instead I looked at Husband with tears in my eyes and lowered my head hoping nobody noticed. I evaded the baby questions from the newlyweds. That's when I realized I had to stop hiding because I missed a chance to connect.

Fertility is a sensitive subject. People think that my uterus is fair game. They think it's their right to ask about its status and pry and tell me I'm not getting any younger. I've even had people go so far as to assume there's something wrong with my marriage and that's why we don't have kids. I don't think people who've never experienced this time of pain can understand why their comments can be so cutting.

In the meantime I try to not feel so broken. So worthless. So defective. The truth is though... I feel bitter & broken. I try to reshape my dreams into ones that don't involve kids but it feels so hollow.

So there you have it. My wounds are exposed. Maybe now they can heal.

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