Caught in the great in between

In terms of fertility, I am caught in the great inbetween. Its a hard place to be, quite frankly. A present life firmly rooted in one world, yet a past life spent mired in another.

I won't rehash our entire history again, although maybe I should. Fact is after a year of non-conception, my husband and I sought out medical intervention as it were. We did tests - tests that strip you of all sorts of humility and faith in your own body. We did fertility drugs. To this day I swear that Clomid is the worst thing ever invented by man. I've never felt sicker or more emotionally disraught then while I was on that horrid little pill. Yet we got no where.

Six cycles of hell, er Clomid, later we paid a visit to our friendly neighborhood Reproductive Endochronlogist. More tests. More poking. More talking. More treatments - this time In Vitro. Shots are almost as bad as Clomid. Ok, shots mean self-inflicted needles (in theory, I never could do it myself) so shots are worse. Our IVF attempt was a miserable failure. Of 11 eggs we had 8 embryos. Of the 8, by the day of transfer we had 3 left. One of those was dying. Two weeks later, just in time for my blood work, I began to bleed. No viable pregnancy. I always consider that failed cycle a miscarriage. Not that I talk of it often, but there you go.

Neither I nor my husband had the emotional or physical fortitude to go through that again. Yeah, one cycle is probably not enough to be sure, but it was all we could afford out of our various banks - the emotional one, the physical one and the good old monetary one. We gave it a try and it didn't work. We set about to live our lives as a couple - a spoiled rotten couple. We committed ourselves to healthy eating and to exercise. We took great trips (the previously mentioned trip to Tahiti for example.) We bought ourselves great presents.

And then nearly a year and a half later I missed a period. And then I missed another...

And then I dared to do what I swore I would never do to myself again. I took a home pregnancy test. And it was positive. I didn't believe it so I took another. And another, and another and another. Five in all. All five said positive. I was pregnant. On my own. No Clomid. No tests. No RE. No IVF. Just me and hubby the good old fashioned way.

7 months later (remember I tested so very late!) my son was born. We decided to try again and we prepared ourselves for failure. But alas, failure decided we had spent enough dancing with one another and so he moved on to another poor soul. We conceived our second child - a daughter due in Sept - on the 2nd month of not even really trying.

So now I'm one of the regular folks that get pregnant the good old fashioned way - and yet I carry around with me the heartache of our infertility journey. I ache when I hear stories of couples struggling for a child and I want to hug them tight and say "I know. I know. I know. I've been there. The pain is awful." Yet I know if I do that the question comes - so your child is from a treatment? Ummm, well no. And suddenly its a slap in the face not a comfort.

There are times I hate to tell my story. I hate to share it because I remember hearing all the tales of women that magically conceived after completing adoption. I remember being told to just take a vacation and stop stressing about it, because after all I just needed to relax and boom, it'd happen. People mean well when they say that crap, but it hurts. It negates what you're feeling. That you've failed; that your body has betrayed you. It says that every time you feel broken and inadequate you're merely being melodramatic because after all all you really need to do is loose a little weight and stop stressing. In some cases that may be true - I suppose in mine it was, but in too many others its not. Too many others have real problems they face. Too many other couples have legitimate medical roadblocks and all the vacations and massages in the world won't fill their arms with a baby.

I hate to tell my story because I don't want it to be something others use to inflict on the infertile. I know they do because they tell me, their eyes glowing and their voices full of excitement "Oh, I have to tell Jane this, they've been trying for years and are on their 5th cycle of in vitro now. But hey, look at you, maybe if she goes to Weight Watchers and joins a gym!" Poor Jane, I think, and I smile weakly. Sometimes I even say "Please don't tell them. You don't understand. It'll hurt too much. Its not right." Oh, my, aren't you just a silly thing says the hand they flop at me. Of course it won't hurt, she'll hopeful. And my foot once planted in the 'other' world itches to plant itself up their butt.

Its a weird place this great in between. Knowing the pain and knowing the joy. Its hard to feel like I belong in either. I don't fit in the world where people get pregnant just thinking about it and never really have a notion that their fertility is a gift, not a given. I don't even quite fit in the world where people try for a while and finally get there on their own. I did that and more. I had Clomid Migranes and injection site bruises. I had the experience of watching my dreams crumble before my eyes -- as short lived as their demise turned out to be. Yet, I don't fit in with those that hug their children close today and thank God for a medical world that can work miracles. The medical world didn't get me to where I am today.

I'm my own unique breed, I suppose. I just sit back and listen quietly to either world share their stories. I feel a pang of guilt when I hear struggles. I still feel a pang of jealousy when I hear of pregnancy with ease. I guess I'll always be stuck in the middle.


Mandy said...

Sandy, you are unique and that is a great thing. Bless you for seeing all sides of a complicated issue and considering all feelings.

expatmama said...

Great post, Sandy-- have you thought about sending it somewhere? I bet a lot of people would be able to identify with what you say...