Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Check yourself before...

I originally wrote this back in March of 2013 and posted it on Facebook. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone out in internetland comes to this blog and isn't part of my Facebook friends:

March 26, 2013

Before I get to what I really want to say, really need to say, this is not a plea for sympathy, pity, reassurances, etc. As well intentioned as these things may be, it doesn't change the feelings I have to work through.

For three years, Shawn and I have been trying to have a baby. A very sensative and painful journey that ended today. This process led to the discovery of my pretty intense endometriosis. A diagnosis that shocked my ob/gyn as well as me. I didn't have symptoms that would make either of us think of this. Until my very painful cyst that acted up last summer. It was not a cyst, but a rather large sac of blood, an endometrinoma.

Along with this, my left ovary was pretty screwed up from the endometriosis. My ob/gyn said that it wasn't impossible, but highly unlikely that I could get pregnant without intervention. So, she recommended IVF and that's what we did. We made an appointment with a specialist and were on our way. Injections and transvaginal ultrasounds and trial transfers. Blood draws, patches, gels. Bills and bills.

Our last shot at me getting pregnant was March 15th. I didn't develop enough eggs to give us the greatest odds. Of the ones they did retrieve only 4 were showing any signs of strength. They were fertilized and watched. By the day of the transfer, only 3 were good enough quality for transfer. That left none to freeze for future attempt. This really was our last shot.

March 20th, I start to have some spotting. Shawn calls the doctor. Since it wasn't heavy bleeding, it wasn't out-of-the-ordinary. Okay, sigh of relief. Then, March 22nd, I wake up to blood. No pain, no cramps, but blood. Call the office and leave a message. Get a call back from the nurse who had been working with us throughout. Having gotten to know her, I could tell by her voice that things weren't good. But, we had to wait. Unless the blood was so heavy that I was going through multiple pads in an hour, there wasn't anything they could do or tell me at that point. I had to wait for the 26th, when it was time to do the pregnancy test. There would be nothing to detect until at least that day.

This was all going on over my birthday weekend. I wouldn't let Shawn and Conner acknowledge my birthday. There was nothing happy about it. The blood continued, I knew it was my period.

So, this morning, the blood draw for the pregnancy test was done. Then, more waiting. Finally the phone call I knew would come. It didn't work, I wasn't pregnant.

Each month, for the next few years, I will get a monthly bill for all of this. Another monthly reminder that I cannot get pregnant.

Well intentioned people will say things about adoption or other options. I would recommend against these comments if you encounter others in this situation. I know those things are said because people don't know what to say and/or don't understand that it isn't just about having someone to raise, someone to parent.

Some may see it as selfish, but for me, it was about other things. It was about loving Shawn so much that I wanted to create someone with him. I wanted us to do this amazing thing. But, I also physically wanted to carry a baby, grow a baby, do what a woman should be able to do. I wanted to know that the big thing that makes me a woman worked correctly. An "I am woman" kind of awesomeness. Some may find it ridiculous that infertility can make someone feel less of a woman...but, it can. I will not feel the life develop inside me, the kicking, the hiccups, the change in my body that marked the growth.

Here is what I want you to take away from this. You NEVER know what is going on inside another's life. The next time you want to ask a couple when they will have kids, jokingly or not, please don't. You don't know the pain that could trigger in them; you don't know their reasons. Whether they do not have children by choice or by some medical explanation, it is very personal and it's best to not say anything. I just want to save you and them the awkwardness of that moment. The moment of feeling on the spot. That moment of people trying to hold back tears because of what seems like a normal and innocent question. Just as you should avoid asking a woman if she is pregnant, you should skip asking when she's going to be, too.

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