Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is it like?

I can only imagine what it's like to have a normal pregnancy, a normal ultrasound, a normal doctors visit. I wonder what its like to see those two little lines on a HPT and not instantly have your heart stop and your eyes well up with tears because you know its only a matter of time before those two little lines go away. What is it like to just see those two lines and be happy, or at least indifferent? I wonder what it's like to not want to rush to the ER or call your doctor immediately upon feeling a twinge that shouldn't be in your side, or an ache in your back that wasn't there the day before, or worst of all; bleeding? What is it like to make a doctor's appointment for a routine pregnancy check up? You know, one where you're not going in to find out your pregnancy isn't viable, or one that isn't a follow up to a miscarriage. What is it like to see an OB who isn't telling you they don't know why you can't get pregnant, they don't know why you can't keep your pregnancies, they don't know why the medications don't work? What is it like to not even know what a RE is? What is it like to have your first ultrasound where the baby is healthy and you can see it and the tiny little heartbeat? What is it like to get past the danger zone and actually be comfortable sharing your pregnancy news? What is it like to feel that precious life growing inside of you? What is it like to watch your belly grow and have people ask you the most annoying questions over and over again; how far along are you, do you know what you're having, do you have names picked out, when are you due, can I touch your belly?

Infertility steals the ability to know the answers to these questions (and so many more) firsthand. Infertility leaves you with an emptiness and a hopelessness and a desperation that is unexplainable. Infertility makes time fly by. In the beginning, you don't even know that's the battle you're fighting. And then one day you realize five years has flown by, (really longer, you just weren't "trying"), and here you are writing a blog torturing yourself with questions that you will probably never have answers to.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Infertility Sucks!

First and foremost, let me say infertility sucks. It sucks for me, it sucks for my husband, it sucks for our family and friends.

Second, let me clarify something. Infertility is not a mind over matter situation. Infertility is a medical condition that affects millions of people. People who suffer from infertility, usually suffer in silence and in isolation because there is such a stigma, and so much misunderstanding of what it is. No, you can't tell by looking at me, or anyone else who is afflicted by this medical condition, there is something wrong. That doesn't mean what is wrong isn't serious or doesn't exist.

Infertility sucks for me because I have a very difficult time getting pregnant. I don't know exactly why. I have unexplained infertility. My uterus is fine, my fallopian tubes are fine, my ovaries are fine. My weight doesn't keep me from getting pregnant, my stress doesn't keep me from getting pregnant, my trying to hard doesn't keep me from getting pregnant. And when I do finally get pregnant, I miscarry, usually early in the pregnancy. Usually, by the time I find out I am pregnant, I am already miscarrying. Infertility sucks for me because it makes me feel crazy. It makes me feel alone. It makes me feel sad. It makes me angry. It makes me jealous. It makes me moody. It makes me feel worthless and less than, at times. It makes me feel out of control and hopeless. Infertility sucks for me because every babyshower invite, every ultrasound picture, every pregnancy announcement just rubs salt in the wound a little more. Infertility sucks for me because even though what I have is a medical condition, it is not covered by insurance. Infertility sucks for me for all kinds of reasons.

Infertility sucks for my husband, because while there is nothing wrong with him, he knows there is something wrong with me and he can't fix it. Infertility sucks for my husband because at times I am not happy, and that makes him unhappy. It sucks for him because I think at times, my infertility has made him feel like he comes 2nd to my ability to get and stay pregnant. And that's not fair to him. Infertility sucks for my husband because it is a stressful situation that takes up our time and our money. Infertility sucks for my husband because he sees our family and our friends having children so easily, but it's so difficult for us.

My infertility sucks for our family and our friends because they want to be supportive, but they don't always know how. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because they feel like they don't know the right things to say, or if they should say anything. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends, because at times it has kept us isolated from them. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because most of them don't understand what we are going through or what we have gone through. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because they don't always feel like they can share their good news (pregnancy announcements, etc) with us (me specifically). Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because even though they shouldn't, some of them feel guilty. And mostly it sucks for them because they love us, and care about us, and want us to be parents as badly as we want it.

Now, let me say that as much as infertility sucks, and as much as it has had a negative impact on our life and on our dreams, it has also done something positive, at least for me.

Infertility has made me stronger. It has taught me so much about who I am and who I can be. I never thought 3 or 4 or 5 years ago I would be at the point I am. I never thought I would be able to make it through one miscarriage, let alone 5. I never thought I would have joined support groups, or counseling. I never thought I would become an advocate for a cause that is so important to me and for people who need a voice. My counselor told me that I have made so much progress and that she is impressed with how I don't run and hide from my infertility any more. Believe me, I still have hard days, and I allow myself that, but I make it through.

Infertility has made our marriage stronger. We have been together 14 years and married 7, and this has been a true test of commitment, of love, of values; and we have passed all of those tests. I appreciate my husband and my marriage even more now. I know we have more hurdles ahead of us but we can do it together. My husband has grown leaps and bounds through this. He has amazed me and I am proud of him.

Infertility has shown me, even more so, what an amazing and supportive group of family and friends we have. Just being there to listen, to cry with me, to tell me I will be a mother one day, to have faith and hope at times I didn't, to listen to me screaming on the phone. They have read my blog and commented on my crazy Facebook posts. They have hugged me, taken me out, given me recommendations and advice. Sometimes there were people who I never would have expected that offered support and encouragement. I don't think I can thank them enough for letting me know I'm (we're) not alone. These are the people that, if  or when we do become parents, will be in our child's life. And I couldn't ask for a better group of people.

And finally, if or when we become parents, we will appreciate that gift even more then if we would never have gone through any of this.

Why do you want to be a mom?

Why do you want to be a mom? I've been asked this question several times over the last 5 or 6 years by several different people. I can give you the standard answer; I have always wanted to be a mom. That's true, I have always wanted to be a mom. In my heart and in my mind, not only do I want to be a mom, but I am meant to be a mom. There are so many reasons I want to be a mom, and I will try to share them all with you.

There was a time, many years ago, I thought just because I wanted to be a mom, I would. Before Dan and I got married we had the "kids" conversation. We agreed that we both wanted kids, and that was that. We just assumed it would happen when it was supposed to, but it wouldn't take that long, right? So, in the first year or two when it didn't happen, we weren't overly concerned. We were enjoying our married life. And then, in January of 2009, I found out I was pregnant. I had never felt that kind of excitement and that kind of joy. We did it; we created a life together and it was our turn to be parents. All of these thoughts raced through my mind. When and how would I tell Dan? Should we tell our family and friends right away? When would I see the doctor? Shortly after we found out about the pregnancy, I miscarried. I was devastated, but the doctor assured me this unfortunately happened to a lot of women and that I shouldn't be overly concerned. So, we worked through it. And more then ever, I wanted to be a mom and have a child with my husband because it had been taken away from us. Why us? We deserved to be parents, right? We would be good parents, wouldn't we? Those are haunting questions.

Over the next several years, we experienced more miscarriages (5 total). We saw 6 doctors (including 2 Reproductive Endocrinologists and a Hematologist) to try to get answers about my recurrent miscarriages and infertility. I started to see a counselor to help me understand my emotions and deal with my grief (she has helped a lot). I guess I'm telling you all of this because I think it is important to have the history as well as the reasons why. Something that we thought was going to be so easy, something that we thought was going to happen naturally, was turning into the hardest, most trying times of our marriage and definitely a personal battle for me. But even through the losses and the dr's appointments and the treatments and the heartache and the difficult times, I never lost my desire to be a mom. I just wanted it more. So, why do I want to be a mom?

I want to be a mom because I want to raise a child with my husband (who will be an amazing dad, even if he doesn't think so sometimes). I want to pass on our values and our legacy. I want to be a mom because I want to carry on, and also create family traditions. I want to create memories and stories that involve our children. I want to be a mom because I want to experience firsts with my child. Their first smile, their first laugh, their first tooth, their first step, their first birthday, their first day of school, etc. I want to be a mom because I want to relate to my friends and my relatives who have children. Sometimes I get tired of being treated like I don't know what I am doing with kids just because I don't have any of my own. I want to be a mom because I want to give our parents, grandchildren; our siblings, nieces or nephews; our nieces and nephews, cousins. I want to be a mom because I want to include my children in the family picture. I want to be a mom because I want to do the things with my child that my role-models, my mom and my grandma, did with me.

Mostly, I want to be a mom because I have so much love to give a child. As Aunt Sara, I love my nieces and nephews, and my friends' children more than anything. Being Aunt Sara has brought me so much happiness. But my nieces and nephews, and my friends children are not my children. I don't care for them every day. I don't put them to sleep. I don't make their ouchies go away, or dry their tears. I want to be able to do those things for my own child.

I have told these things to people before and its funny the different reactions I have been met with. Some people have really listened and understood and those people have tried to offer support and encouragement, which I appreciate from the bottom of my heart. Some people have questioned me further about why I would want to give up my kidfree, carefree life just to have the burden of children. Some people have said to me that having kids isn't all good and easy like I may think; like I can't possible understand how difficult it can be to be a parent. Some people have said really hurtful things like my marriage should be enough to fulfill me and make me happy. Well, let me tell you, my marriage is happy and fulfilling, but being a wife and a mom are two different things. It might be difficult for people who don't want children, or for people who resent having children to understand my reasons. It might even be difficult for people never struggled to have their children understand why I want it so much. And that's ok. Everyone has their own beliefs, their own reasons why or why not. All I can do is share my story.

Share your story with me if you want, if you're ready, and if you're comfortable. Whether or not you're a parent, whether or not you want to be a parent, whether or whether not you can be a parent. Everyone has a story and a journey of their own.

Thanks for reading.