Friday, August 13, 2010

A little Infertility Therapy

I’m going to start this out with a letter every woman struggling with infertility wants to send…

Dear Fertility God, Regular God, Mother Nature, or To Whom It May Concern (including Oprah),
I understand that you’re busy. You have large responsibilities and a lot of things going on right now. I understand if you’re working on the oil spill, curing diseases and figuring who will take over for Oprah Winfrey after she leaves the network. I get it. You’re busy. But listen. There are a lot of us out there who really want to be mothers and we know we would make very good parents. We have gotten a taste of infertility (and it tastes awful) but we are ready to move forward to a pregnancy and a baby. We know that infertility has made us stronger and more sensitive, and we promise that we will cherish our babies every single day and give hope to others struggling with infertility.
But seriously, Fertility God/Mother Nature, infertility is making us weird. We spend too many hours staring at the toilet paper, charting our basal temperature, googling our fake pregnancy symptoms and crying at baby showers. We use words like “ovulation” and “cervical mucus” like they are apart of normal conversation. Infertility is truly making us weird and we aren’t weird people. Just pointing out that it doesn’t serve society well when people are weird.
Mother Nature, from one mother to another, you know a lot about fertilization and we could really use that knowledge right about now. Next time, you fertilize something, consider throwing a little soil our way. Thank you for your consideration.
Yours Truly,
Amanda Lloyd

Whew! That feels better. I’ve been wanting to write that letter for a long time.
You know, the infertile woman is not like everyone else. There are lots of things that make her different from a woman who can pop out kid after kid without even trying. The infertile woman is probably the only person in the world that can go into a bathroom and return in tears or leave doing a happy pee pee dance.
To normal fertile people, the bathroom is a place where you do your business and leave neither happy nor sad. To an infertile person, the toilet experience can either make you or break you. You may walk into that bathroom stall happy and singing and come out with swollen eyes and a runny nose. You either (a) got your period (leading to extreme unhappiness and an emotional breakdown OR a little happiness if you hadn’t seen your flow since 1999 and joyful she has returned; or (b) saw traces of blood a week prior to your period and feel semi-excited/confused that it might be implantation bleeding; or (c) you have wiped clear which brings a private grin to your face.
Take my advice…never have a co-worker or friend wait for you at the sink. You may go into the stall as her perky pal Patty but you are leaving as hysterical and hyperventilating Helen. And who really wants to explain to a co-worker why you just left the toilet in tears? “Wow. That was really a big one. It really hurt to get out.” You might explain as you blow your nose with toilet paper. Because with one trip to the bathroom you can go from no drinking, all healthy food, and no coffee to a bottle of wine, french fries dipped in alcohol, and half a pot of Joe.
And don’t even get me started on Facebook. Hey Facebook Friend, although I’ve enjoyed the thousands of pictures of your growing belly, your ultrasound photos and your babies first poopie diapers, for the love of God, PLEASE STOP!!!!!!
I may politely comment on my fertile friend’s daily status updates and maternity photos, but here are some things I would rather say instead…

FB Friend, I may have commented that your belly looks great but I really meant you look like a fatty!

FB Friend, your 3D ultrasound is just plain scary!

FB Friend, stop posting photos of your babies. They aren’t that cute. At least you won’t have to worry about future boyfriends!

FB Friend, you are right. Your ankles do look fat!

FB Friend, I don’t need daily updates about your pregnancy!

FB Friend, it’s unfortunate that your baby looks so much like your husband.

FB Friend, my frozen embryos are cuter than your fetus.

FB Friend, I’ll listen to you talk about your mucus plug if you’ll listen to me discuss my cervical mucus.

Facebook Friend, I love you but I am a sensitive and vulnerable woman who needs a little bit of extra support and hugs right now. And I also know that one day, I might post My belly and kid pictures too, just with a little more sensitivity…
You know what else is fun for a woman struggling with infertility? Playing the “Let’s count the pregnant women” game. Betcha can’t count just one! There’s one… There’s one… There’s one… Oh wait. She’s just fat. Thank goodness.
Every time I leave the house, it feels like every single pregnant woman on earth decides to walk past me. Every place I turn, someone’s pregnant, sporting a baby bump, pushing a stroller or even worse, pushing a stroller with a baby inside AND holding onto a toddler’s hand. How come she gets two babies when I can’t even get one?! It’s a super fun game to play because you can either play it at a baby shower or every single time you leave your house! Walking down the street – there’s a bump. Going to the grocery story – there’s a fertile in the pickle aisle. At the gym – hey look, it’s pregnancy fit hour. Neat!
I sometimes wish I could just carry a sign that read ‘I’m feeling lonely. Any other infertile’s in the crowd? If so, wave your ovulation sticks.’ But if you want to know if there are any other infertile’s out there, just look at her eyes. She will be glaring at a pregnant belly.

Damn. It’s a full time job being this bitter and jealous all of the time.

Since life is giving me lots of reasons to cry about infertility, I figured it was only fair I gave myself some reasons to laugh! Sometimes, we just have to say what's in our hearts. And while I truly don't dislike seeing people rejoice in their pregnancies, I do feel lonely when I am not able to do the same. The whole facebook thing is not how I really feel...I really do love seeing people's families and babies. But at the same time, each time someone announces their pregnancy or posts pictures of their newborns, it just reminds me that I don't have any of it.

Writing this has made me feel better than I have in a long time…

Ups and Downs...

Last weekend Brent and I went to Omaha, and while there, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor. Unfortunately, the past 6 months of fertility medicine has not resulted in the miracle we hoped for. Rather than waste my time, my doctor referred me to start seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist, or a fertility specialist. It's not the news I was hoping for, but it was the news I was expecting. I haven't made the appointment yet. My insurance does not cover infertility, plus, I think, even after almost 2 years of trying, I'm not 100% ready to admit defeat. I know there is still hope for us. One of my friends just found out she was pregnant after trying for 3 years, after stopping her fertility medicine. I'm not sure what my new doctor, whoever he or she is, will have in store for me. Some more testing, and maybe some more medication. Or, maybe they will tell me there is no way this is happening on our own, and we'll be forced to try alternative methods to make our dreams come true. Or maybe my dream will never come true...I think part of the reason I haven't called yet to make the appointment is because I am afraid of ultimately hearing that in the end, I will never be a mother.
I just keep reminding myself that while this road is bumpy, hilly, full of curves and detours, it's not a dead-end yet.
On the other hand, I've been trying to think of some reasons why I can be thankful I am not pregnant. I've had to dig down deep, but I think I've come up with some good ones...

1. Brent and I can have our "alone" time together everyday.

2. I can sleep in as late as I want on days I don't have to work.

3. I can drink as much coffee and pop as I want.

5. There are no Cheerios in my couch.

6. I can walk around my house naked if I want to.

7. We can go on vacation anytime our jobs allow.

8. Nothing wakes me up numerous times a night.

9. I can shop for myself.

10. Brent and I can eat out any night of the week.

11. I'm not sick every morning.

12. My ankles are never swollen.

13. I can eat food and it tastes good.

14. I don't have to use any kind of birth control.

15. I can take long, uninterrupted naps.

16. My house stays (relatively) clean when I clean it (you know, if I actually did clean it!)

18. There aren't small children crawling around forcing me to clean more often.

19. I can take cold medicine and Ibuprofen when I'm sick.

20. I never look down and suddenly realize that I have boogers, poo, breakfast, finger paint, drool, play-doh, or any other child-created substance on my clothes I've been wearing around all day.

I guess I don't have to know why God put me on this path. I just have to listen and learn. And when I think about how much this infertility feels like an uphill struggle, I just need to stop, take a deep breath, and think of how BEAUTIFUL the view will be when I get to the top