THE SHORT OF IT:
Wife and business supporter to chef/restaurant owner husband, daughter, sister, friend, niece and “crazy aunt” as dubbed by beloved nine year old nephew. Madly in love with the children we can’t have.
Child free not by choice infertility survivor, IVF veteran, body work junkie holding holistic medicine at arm’s length. Openly and actively grieving the loss of our children and proud of it. Histadelic and pyroluric mental illness survivor, proud of that too.
Flutist for 33 years, voracious writer for 2.5. Somewhat irreverent yoga practitioner, foodie, wine and cheese lover, reverer of comedy, especially satire. Gifted at relating to children. Homemaker, fixer upper home owner and renovator, interior design amateur, enthusiastic novice gardener.
Massachusetts native, Rush fan, Red Sox fan, James Bond addict. Quintessential Gen-Xer.
Kind, impatient, quirky, hot and cold, blunt, sarcastic, passionate, sensitive, persistent, flawed. Fair AND unrepentantly snarky. Very sucky speller. Excessive eye roller. Mocker of self and anything else deserving of mocking, “It is what it is” subscriber, questioner of everything.
THE HEARTBREAK OF IT:
No pregnancies whatsoever
Time TTC: 3.8 years
Me: 43 years old, endometriosis stage 3 (not diagnosed until age 40)
Husband: 39 years old, no fertility problems
1/11 – 1/12: IUI’s – 5 failed, all done with injectables
7/12 – Hysteroscopy/Laparoscopy to remove stage 3 endometriosis. Almost no damage to my ovaries.
1/13 and 3/13 – IVF’s, 2 failed
4/13 – husband and me diagnosed with HLA gene compatibility issues. The unfortunate combination of both of our HLA allele genes causes my body to not recognize our embryos as genetically different, thus my body cannot create an immune tolerance to them.
6/13 and 9/13 – IVF #s 3 and 4 with neupogen added to protocol to circumvent HLA issues. Both failed.
1/31/14 – Our last fertility treatment, an FET, failed.
Was treated for highly elevated NK cell activity with an intralipid infusion for all five IVF’s
Money spent to date – $77,000
Total embryos transferred: 24 day twos. (17 grade a’s)
ASSLOADS of holistic measures that, although somewhat interesting and beneficial to my overall health, were totally pointless in procuring a pregnancy: Acupuncture, maya abdominal fertility massage, reiki, energetic allergy treatments, endless stupid supplements I don’t care to list, correction of a vitamin D deficiency which was actually not stupid, weight gain, alkaline diet (upon which I promptly lost half of the weight I gained), and a nutrient dense “fertility” diet. During my Ayurvedic consultation (which was before we found out that we couldn’t conceive on our own) the practitioners suggested 21 days of abstinence prior to trying to conceive. Um……fuck that!!
THE LONG OF IT:
As a student of yoga I’ve been taught that the most powerful and potent thing we’ve got is the present moment. When you’re dealing with infertility, your life becomes so much about this great thing that might happen in the future. This great thing that will have to come from more struggle and hard work than the average person has to endure to get a family. And then it doesn’t, if the infertility goes on long enough. And this great thing that might happen is supposed to somehow completely negate all of the pain, hard work, and devastating life effects of the present. I reached a certain point in my infertility where I realized this is an insane way to live, basing my present outlook and mood on a future possibility. A future possibility that we now know will not happen. So I applied my yoga training and started to look at, acknowledge, and commit to living in the now of infertility. It has been surprisingly horribly sucky, but personally I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My writing mainly exists for my own therapy, which has become paramount in importance since the ongoing life crisis of infertility continues to be excessively minimized by society. In doing so it ends up providing an uncensored view of what my life is like living with infertility. My writings contain my honest thoughts and feelings as I experienced them in my tough moments. I make little effort to be nice, balanced, easy, appeasing or appealing. Infertility is none of these things so why should stories about it be? I also make little effort to acknowledge the light side of baby making. First, I have through no fault of my own, not received the privilege of getting to experience any of this. Second and more importantly, the light, bright, and notably EASY side of baby making is always front and center in our society, media, and world. It achieves exclusivity, blatantly leaving out the 12% of our child bearing age population who have trouble having children and thus fails to tell the whole story. My interest is in showing truths that exist when you are living with NOT receiving the best and easiest case scenario, a healthy pregnancy. Truths that I’m afraid are told too little and silenced all too often.
I’m well aware that there are many valid viewpoints on baby making out there other than mine. What I noticed when I really started dealing with the ramifications of infertility, and started talking about the feelings and challenges that came up, were the responses I would get. Dismissiveness abounded. “Don’t say that”, “You shouldn’t feel that way”, “They were only trying to help”, and so forth and so on. Through subtle yet persistent inference you start to receive the idea that because you aren’t completely happy about the aspects of pain and unfairness that are hitting your life, your emotions and opinions don’t count. That they are lesser or wrong somehow. Well quite frankly I beg to differ. I do not write this blog to say that I’m right. I do write it to say that the challenges and pain of infertility are just as real and valid as the joys on someone who receives their family easily. They are equally deserving of their place in life along with the happy part of baby making everyone WANTS to hear.
Although the argument has been made (mostly by people who HAVEN’T experienced it) that infertility is not the worst problem in the world, many people who have lived it would disagree. I would at the very least say it’s a hell of a lot higher up on the list than society realizes. It has affected and challenged every aspect of my life in ways I never could have imagined. This blog is about those daily moments where I struggle with the changes, challenges, tough emotions, awkward social situations and loss infertility inevitably brings. It’s a very difficult lens to be forced to look through and admittedly not even close to the life I would have chosen for myself had I been given any say. But it is MY lens. My view from the infertile world. Welcome to it.