It’s not a competition

A friend posted an article that was heartbreaking – Love, Marriage, motherhood and other uncomfortable seder talk

An article about how an unfeeling woman, married with children, basically taunted her during the seder about her being unmarried and childless. Underneath the article were two or three of her friends commenting about it, and how they have had similar experiences.

How terrible. In fact, it sounds awful. To be alone when you don’t want to be sounds really miserable.

And yet, there’s the part of me that says, “At least you can talk about! It’s not taboo!”

For every awkward conversation like that, there’s the guy on our trip who asked how long we’d been married, and then, at the end of the meal, gave us a blessing that we would be pregnant by the end of the year. It breaks my heart to think about it, mostly because he was so awesome about it. He figured it out, he gave the blessing to us in a way that was private, and he was compassionate.

No one wants that kind of compassion – it’s only somewhat easier than the total heartlessness of others.

I just have to keep remembering – my struggle is not “better” than theirs. It’s just different. We live in a community that values marriage and children, and that makes some people less careful than they should be – those who have gotten both things without trying. I’m sure that same woman would look at us and start trying to give advice rather than a sympathetic hand and a blessing.

Maybe the only difference is that their struggle is more open – their status is known. Ours is just inferred, suspected, whispered. Neither is nice.

Here again

My appointment went well. Our trip was crazy and then I got a sinus infection immediately following. I feel like I’m still digging out.

In any case, he thinks it’s mild PCOS more than anything else. He wants to do some more testing, and then we start with clomid, trigger shot and timed intercourse. Right now, everything’s on hold because his initial ultrasound also found a HUGE cyst on my left ovary. Yay.

Unfortunately, it looks like the CD3 labs might be delayed due to the holiday of Passover – I can’t get to the doctor on two days next week, and assuming my cycle isn’t totally crazy, I’m sure it’ll be on those days.

I haven’t been able to temp at all because of the sinus thing. Only in the last few days have I had my mouth closed when I wake up, so I think I ovulated, but I have no real idea when. We also didn’t get to do the deed as much as usual. So there’s that.

The desire for a baby is so strong tonight. UGGGGGGH. I hate this process more than a lot of things I have hated in my life.

 

Underplaying

Do you ever find yourself totally underplaying your fertility situation?

This happened today to me and I was so uncomfortable with it, but the more I think about it, it was probably the right thing to do.

Situation: my coworker and I, who I don’t know well (she’s in another department that I don’t work with much), happen to leave work at the same time and are going in the same direction, which means the same subway. I know she has two boys (5 and 3) and they sound really sweet. I bet she’s a good mom.

She and I strike up a conversation about the fact that the office is moving and that it’s probably going to be around the same time that she’s moving (they HAVE to abandon the city for the suburbs unless they can find a huge money pot – and at a certain point, most people just want space). So our family comes up, and she asks how long we’ve been married. The thing is, at this point, it’s six and a half years, and it starts to feel like no one is going to believe that we haven’t thought about kids at this point. So I said, six years, pointed out that we’d been young and DH is still in school, and we kind of moved on.

It’s just crazy, because it was like giving an answer from two years ago. That was the truth then – I was on birth control for that exact reason. So it was like the truth, but an old truth, not the current truth. I didn’t want to confide in her, I didn’t want to bring anything like that into the conversation. But I’m still a little uncomfortable about how that conversation went.

This stuff is so hard, and so personal, that I feel like I end up censoring myself a lot. This was maybe the first time that it’s come up in a while, so maybe I’m just out of practice. Either way, what a weird experience – in a little over a week, we’re going to the big fancy doctor to get this fertility thing on the road, and here I am, downplaying what it all means to me.

Nine things.

Stuff I knew before TTC

1. No one is guaranteed a baby when they want it. And yet, some people are able to plan like that. This makes it ridiculously difficult for them to understand those who can’t plan.

2. I really, really wanted to be among those who could plan for a baby and have it work totally correctly.

3. If you can, waiting to start trying is not the wrong decision. Having a baby is a big deal.

Stuff I realized when we started

1. Sex ed in this country is 99.9% about how not to get pregnant. For a huge percentage of the population, that makes total sense. For the rest of us, it means that not only do we not get the info we need, but it leaves the majority population totally stumped about what’s going on with us.

2. There’s actually a lot that I can know about my body by paying attention. I can figure out if and when I’m ovulating, if my basal body temperature is high or low, if it’s erratic. I can find out what my luteal phase looks like, and predict which day I’m going to get my period.

3. However, pregnancy symptoms and PMS symptoms can be the same. Like seriously. Heartburn, fatigue, being emotional? Yeah, that can all be PMS OR pregnancy symptoms. Really? Who decided that. I mean, it makes sense – your body can’t really tell the difference either until it realizes that nothing burrowed into your uterus, and the luteal corpus dies and you get your period. But still. Totally useless for those of us TTCing. Especially since no chart can ever tell you if you’re really pregnant.

Stuff I know now, as we’re rounding 20 cycles out

1. How much harder it would get to watch other people be pregnant. And also, how hard it is being different depending on who it is. There’s always jealousy – doesn’t matter what the story is – because they have something that I desperately want. But there’s a difference. It’s easier for that jealousy to be mixed with happiness when it’s someone I know struggled. It’s impossible when I know the baby wasn’t so planned, or the person can’t shut up about it. It has a lot to do with how much I like the individual as well.

2. I keep hope each cycle, but I’ve started planning like it’s not going to work. Early on, I’d think sometimes about “Oh, what if I’m pregnant when X happens?” And sometimes, I’d set my heart on it. And it hurt more than it was worth. So I’ve stopped saying it. Sometimes, it pulls me back in, but I’m better about it. I don’t hang a star on it. It’s just there. Milestones hurt, but there’s nothing to do for that. Going on our annual family vacation, my birthday, our anniversary. Praying that by this time next year, things will be different.

3. The grief and the uncertainty, and that they feed into each other. I feel grief about our family that we wanted. I saw a note I wrote about our ideal family, years and years ago, and I just laughed. All the dates I wrote for starting our family have already passed. So, we sit in the uncertainty, and I grieve for that timeline, and feel that I’m missing something. Not to mention, the Big Fear. The one that says I will always feel like this – that there will never be a baby for me. I can feel the lie in it, but it’s really difficult in the moment to separate it from my daily truth. Still waiting, sad and uncertain.

 

ETA: Expecting AF tomorrow. Think of me if it does turn out to be CD1 again.

Infertility = Disability?

RESOLVE posted this article on their facebook: Is Infertility Fertile Ground for Disability Discrimination Claims? 

Given that I can’t comment on facebook (hi, totally not private at all!), I wanted to talk about it here where it is private.

First, I appreciate the sentiment. As I mentioned previously, I haven’t needed to deal with employers and infertility yet, but I’m worried we’re going to get there soon. In a way, it’s nice to have something in my pocket – if they aren’t accommodating, there’s actually precedent for getting help, if I need it. Not that I imagine that they wouldn’t be accommodating, but because understanding that I have backup is nice.

It definitely makes me feel that there are at least some parts of the establishment that take the ridiculous world of infertility seriously.

But, there is a part of me that is a little squicked out at the idea of being “disabled” – who really wants that as a thing? But at the same time, I keep feeling like I want to explain to everyone how hard this is, how life changing, and how permanently life changing it is. So I guess it makes sense – this is one kind of recognition. Still.

What do you guys think?

The Second Worst

I was actually going to call this the worst time of the month, but that’s not true. The worst, always is CD1. When it is FOR SURE that you’re not pregnant and it’s just miserable. Trying to put yourself together so you can try to try again.

No, I’m thinking about the 2WW. I’m trying to be reasonable. In fact, I wrote somewhere else that I’m expecting AF on Wednesday.

Which I am.

But that never stops me from making fantastical plans.

A friend and I are planning a joint Disney trip in May for our birthdays. I love Disney and so does she, and she’s turning 30. We don’t live near each other anymore, so meeting up somewhere we both love seemed obvious. Today I was reading the guide book I bought (The Unofficial Guide – the holy grail of getting the most out of your trip), even though I honestly could probably plan the entire trip without it without trouble, and imagining how this trip would be different if I’m pregnant.

That although we are currently planning for me to not be pregnant, my friend knows we’re trying and there is a huge part of me that will be glad to miss all kinds of rides if I am pregnant.

That this cycle would put me being due right before our 7th wedding anniversary. And a month before my husband turns 32. That it would be super inconvenient from a work standpoint is fine – I’ve always expected that whenever I would be due would be among the least convenient times. So there’s that.

There’s the part of me that has hope. And the part of me that knows that this hope is probably futile and will make CD1 worse.

But I can’t help it.

Seeing Things

I’ve always thought of myself as intuitive. Or at least, trying to be.

Sometimes, it’s been hideously wrong – but that’s usually when I’ve been trying to intuit someone’s understanding of me rather than just asking like a human.

Most of the time though – I try to notice things.

Infertility brings a level of noticing things that is hard to shut off.

The couple that we had lunch with on Saturday – with a five year old and an extra bedroom in Manhattan.

The single mom by choice with two kids under four.

The friends who just gave birth to boy/girl twins.

The couple that’s five years older than us, got married two weeks before us, and doesn’t have kids.

Obviously, some people are really open, but sometimes I think I see more than I should. The same way that I imagine that people I meet might put two and two together when they figure out that we’ve been married for six and a half years and don’t have kids. Somehow, to me, four or five years still seemed in the realm of the plausibly waiting, but not six and a half. Maybe because I know we’ve been trying for the last two years – but still. Or they decide we just don’t want kids. Which is also plausible, but not applicable in our situation.

The thing is, I don’t say anything to these people. One, I might be reading too much into it. And two, because it means opening myself and it means asking questions that no one wants to ask. It’s the safest, but I wonder sometimes about whether it would open up more alleys for conversation. Still, I don’t see it changing, at least not until we have this more figured out. It’s funny that it seems like the time that everyone “comes out” is after there is already a baby. After it’s already a little bit more moot. But I understand. I don’t want to open up now. So, I just see things.

Do others find themselves wondering about people they meet? Trying to figure out if they are fellow travelers?

 

Both. I Want Both.

I’ve been thinking about this nonstop since last night. It doesn’t help that I’m home sick today (YUCK) so I don’t have as much of a distraction as I usually do.

Sometimes I feel like I just think that everyone who gets pregnant before me doesn’t deserve it. Like, I SHOULD be first. Particularly since about 90% of the people got married after us, and more and more lately, started trying after us. So, that sucks a lot. But I don’t think it’s the most honest representation of what I think. Mostly, it’s that I don’t understand why it can’t be both. Why do you get it and I don’t? It’s worse when someone isn’t happy about being pregnant, but lets be honest, 95% of the time, at least in my world, people are happy to be pregnant. So, I wonder – why do they get the happiness? Why couldn’t I get it as well? There aren’t a limited number of babies out there (I keep having to remind myself of this…infertility does strange things to your brain), so it doesn’t matter if someone else is pregnant, in terms of MY chances of getting pregnant. But still. Why not both?

In the interest of disclosure, my policy seems to be much less favorable towards the small (but growing) number of my facebook friends who had newborns right around the time we started trying and are now well on their way to their second children. That’s a little much for anyone in our situation to be magnanimous about. Obviously, I know, again, that it doesn’t really make a difference in my situation, but we’re talking emotions – they aren’t logical. I just keep feeling like I’m a small child, and it’s MY turn and I KEEP GETTING SKIPPED. The unfairness of it all! The desire to have a tantrum that really doesn’t go away, because the thing hasn’t been rectified. Sigh

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Cycle News: I’m hoping I’m going to ovulate soon. It’d be nice – mostly on time. Ugh. Body, work. It’s CD18 of Cycle 20. BLECH.

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You’ll notice (if you care) that many of the blogs I had on my sidebar have been removed. Either people got pregnant and stopped posting or just stopped posting without getting pregnant. So, I cleaned house. And now to look for some more people to follow along with – I’m open to suggestions 🙂

 

 

 

 

Meltdown

DH and I are overscheduled. We’re so overscheduled that we have started implementing meetings to talk about stuff together, because otherwise, stuff never gets talked about.

On the docket today was infertility stuff. We’re still trying to get the insurance stuff for my new job set up – the HR department leaves A LOT to be desired – but it just brought up a lot of crap that I hate.

It’s hard. He feels it in a very different way than I do. I have rearranged my life in a way that he has not, I have changed the way I eat in a way that he has not, etc, etc. All of those things that make this a really different experience for him than for me. And although I’m in therapy, honestly, I could probably only talk to her about this and that would take up all our session time and then some. And there are other things I need to talk to her about.

I’m not feeling very hopeful this cycle. And honestly, given the way my cycles are falling out and when I become eligible for health insurance through work, it’s not going to be until yet another cycle after this one (at least 6 weeks) before we are able to see a doctor. It’s so old – I feel as though we’re treading water, and I just want to be moving already before we start to drown. A good friend of mine is due in March and I am going to have such a hard time if we’re not even begun to be pregnant by then. And I don’t think we will.

I hate being stuck in the quicksand at the beginning while everyone else gets to run the race. The race might be hard, but at least you’re moving. Meanwhile, all of us “fertility challenged” are hanging out in the quicksand trying to figure out how the hell to get out. Ugh. What a metaphor, but it’s my favorite one that I’ve found so far.

Public v. Private Tragedy

While the US (and, I suspect, large parts of the rest of the world) is still reeling from the tragedy in Boston, I have several friends who are dealing with what I call “private tragedies.” They’re not personal tragedies, in that, a personal tragedy is generally something that a lot of people know about. I’m talking about things that people don’t talk about – or if they do, it’s on forums like this – impersonal, unconnected with their everyday life.

The thing about a national tragedy (and the sadness is piling up this week – Chicago is flooding and the explosion in Texas seems like a nightmare) is that, on an individual level, it does one of to things. First, it can give you perspective. In general, our day-to-day troubles aren’t that important, and it’s good to find perspective. Things that can seem really overwhelming get brought down to size when thinking about life and death. That can be really helpful. But, on the other hand, in the infertility world especially, it can serve to delegitimize what is already often secret pain.

“I mean, all it is was a failed cycle. Not that big of a deal, right? We can at least do a FET…”

“Based on what we found today, our only option might be IVF, and that’s before we’ve even started any other treatment…”

But here’s the thing – just because there was this big tragedy doesn’t make the pain you’re feeling in your own life less worthy. It’s a different experience to find out those things out on a day when there’s so much else going on, but it doesn’t make the repercussions on your own life less. You hear it occasionally “Oh, but nothing else matters right now except [insert tragedy here].” But life doesn’t work like that – you can’t turn off your own life when something happens.

I don’t mean to lessen the pain of Boston – people died, and others lives were changed forever. The institution of the Boston Marathon was changed forever as well. But, there is always space for the kind of life-changing pain that comes with infertility, and neither one diminishes the other.

Pain is pain, no matter the cause. Find your support. And reach out, as best you can – my comments are always open, of course, and so are lots of others out there. Even when you feel the most alone – to quote Mr. Rogers “there are always helpers.”