When you're single, your friends and family ask you the same thing at every family gathering. "When are you going to settle down?" "Why haven't you found a husband (wife) yet?" When you finally leave spinsterhood by some miracle according to these same people, they start asking when the wedding is. At the wedding, before you can eat your first piece of cake or enjoy your first dance as a married couple, the comments start....
*"Don't wait too long to start having kids!" (Why, so I can never leave the house again in peace, like you & yours? And stop asking me questions and go get your child who just stuck his finger in my cake!)
*"When are you going to start adding to the family?" (This is inappropriate and annoying! Do you really want or need an exact answer to this question, nosypants?)
*"Can't wait to hear the good news!" (What? I just spent all this money on a wedding, isn't that enough for you people???)
The simple truth of the matter is, many of us were fooled into thinking that all of this was truly up to us to decide. For me, anyways, infertility was never a word in my vocabulary. I never thought it could happen to me. I never even thought it would happen to any of my friends either. I had no idea how wrong I was.
I had Eldest with my first husband. It was an immediate pregnancy and I clearly nodded my head at myself like I was a brilliant baby making machine. If I could've high fived myself for being a fertility overachiever, I would've. I was 26. (Too young if you ask me now...but probably just the right age for all obstetrical stars to be aligned). I like to think of 26 as a fearless age. Maybe even for me, an age of ignorance and stupidity. I don't know that I actually appreciated the fact that I got pregnant immediately or not. I'm thinking I just assumed this is how it would go.
Years later, (I divorced when Eldest was 9 months old, and got remarried to my Prince Charming when he was 4) it was time to start our family together. My arrogance was so off the charts about getting pregnant immediately that I even tried to plan it around the perfect month to give birth. We started trying. The first month, I got a negative on the pg test. (Yes, I was one of those who took it before my period started, the minute I thought I could possibly have the hormone detected by an $18 test). Imagine my utter shock when it was negative. I thought, well that's funny, I wasn't expecting that! 12 more negatives later, I was devastated and ready to admit we had a serious problem.
During those 13 months, I started becoming very aware of friends having the same problems. It was apparent that this problem was everywhere. Was it our age, early thirties, that was to blame? Was it our environment? Our foods? What the hell is going on? Since I am an open book, I would just come out and tell friends that we were unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant and you wouldn't believe how many people opened right back up with a story of their own. Well, we never told anyone what we were going through but here's what happened, (or is happening) to us. Suddenly, not only was I not alone, I was surrounded by people who were going through the same thing to a lesser or more degree as we were.
After negative test number 13 we were ready to admit we needed help. We had the standard run of humiliating tests done to our private parts, and then the letter came one sunny May afternoon:
From:Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital
Dear Responsible Parents who would bring a respectable member of society into this world,
Unfortunately, there are two types of swimmers. There's the Michael Phelps of the world, and there's the Swimming for Dummies type. Let's just say yours did not qualify for the Olympic Trials and call it a day. Your swimmers will need picked up at the starting gate and shuttled to the finish line.
Please contact our Infertility Clinic to set up a consultation to sign up for the Shuttle Bus. (Actually the exact words they wrote were...Your chances of getting pregnant naturally are less than 2%, our recommendation is that you proceed with Invitro Fertilization).
Sincerely and Apologetically,
The Coach of the US Swim Team
I remember feeling completely and totally devastated. And Hubs? Forget it. Here's a beautiful 6'2" perfectly put together male in his prime reading that he didn't qualify for the beginners dog paddle swim class. How do you digest news like that?
We were stunned. We sat and we talked and we scratched our heads. We did what most would do after receiving news like that. We made nachos and drank beer. Then we did the worst second step. We googled infertility. We googled IVF. We googled everything relating to it. Soon we were reading on the Dartmouth packet of information that I had to sign a waiver saying I understood that my ovary could possibly explode and other crazy disclaimers.
The best thing to do, we decided, was to do nothing but cool off for a bit. He was able to. I was not. I did the next best thing. I power dialed. I called every friend of mine that had been through it. Every person I knew I could talk to about it. And I did. I talked about infertility to everyone who had been through it, and I'm so glad I did.
|Talking it over with friends led to the answer I was looking for!|
*Stop trying so hard. The second you stop worrying about it, the sooner you'll get pregnant. Trust me. (How about you fuck off, mmmkay!?)
*My sister's best friend's roommate from college couldn't get pregnant either, so she started the paperwork to adopt from China and then the day she got called to go get the baby, she took a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant! So the best thing to do, is to just start the application for adoption process, and watch how fast you get pregnant. (Look, this is a great story, it is. And I've heard this story in different variations and I do love this story, but this is not advice that infertile women want to hear.)
*Everyone ovulates differently! Just wait until your discharge gets really thick and mucousy then jump your husband's bones and don't forget to stand on your head for at least 10 minutes afterwards! (Did you just talk to me about my discharge here at the grocery store? And please, get out of my bedroom and STAY OUT!)
*But you already have ONE so be happy. (Thank you for pointing that out..now I am going to throttle you across the room).
*Maybe it's Mother Nature's way of protecting you from having a baby that's not compatible for you and Hubs' chemical makeup. (I really did get this suggestion. Who says this to someone?) My answer was simply, "that's probably the worst thing anyone has said to me during this whole journey."
*Wow, that's a crazy problem to have - my husband just looks at me and BOOM! I'm pregnant again! (How does this help me?)
I did receive one very very solid and helpful piece of advice from one of my very best friends who had been through something eerily similar. She told me to go to the Natural Food store, get a list of supplements for Hubs, and a few for me, and encourage an environment that is reproductively friendly. There are certain herbs that help swimmers swim faster. We will call them steroids and performance enhancers for Olympic style swimming. Also, remembering to ease up on the chlorine in the pool helps too. (By changing the mucous thickness/thinness I can't remember which now because I have pregnancy amnesia, it helps get to the egg easier).
|Nothing wrong with having less than ideal swimming skills.|
One trip to the Natural food store and $75 later, Hubs and I were ready to swallow the fertile cocktail and get back to business. I am hesitant to post it here, because I am not an Herbalist, Doctor, nothing - I am just someone who did it, and friends with several others who did it too. Here it is, with the disclaimer that you should do your research too, and make sure this is right for you.
I took: 800 mg Red Raspberry Leaf/day (you can drink tea too).
1 Baby Aspirin a day (I only did this for 6 weeks, so I have no idea how long you can do that)
1 Women's Multi Vitamin a day
Hubs took: 2 Macca 1000mg/day
2 L-arginine 1000 mg/day
2 Ginseng (1000mg/day)
1 Saw Palmetto (580/mg day)
We did this religiously for 8 weeks and boom, there it was. A bright pink positive on the old stick. Modern day miracle? Perhaps. Did Hubby's swimmers test positive for performance enhancers at the Olympics? Abso-fucking-lutely.
I had Middler in April of 2007. What a joy. We were just happy to have had that miracle. I had been breastfeeding for 3 months, and then, I started to wean him off quite a bit, at this point still not having my post pregnancy period. A month later when I was completely dried up, Hubs and I decided to have a much deserved beer and pizza celebration for not only surviving the first four months of our beautiful sleepless lifestyle with two children, but also for not having a drop of alcohol in what seemed like years since we had been leading a clean lifestyle to help with fertility. He said he would stay home with the kids, while I got the beer, pizza, and a movie. I went to the strip mall where I could do all 3. I ordered the pizza, stopped at Blockbuster to get a movie and was going to swing back around to the store for beer. As I looked around, I decided on the movie Knocked Up. I waited in line to check out and my head just about exploded from the lightbulb that went off. Knocked up...hahah that's funny! How crazy would it be if, on the day I was going to drink my first beer, I was knocked up...that would be ironic! But no...I'm infertile remember? I can't get pregnant without herbs, remember? I have a Doctor's note, remember! I chuckled and reassured myself that I had been breastfeeding right? I talked myself into buying a pregnancy test at the store when I stopped for beer. The checkout lady judged me full on like I was the worst person in the world, and I laughed in her face at the giddy thought of me being pregnant again.
When I got home, Hubs saw the pizza, the movie, the beer and wait, what? A pregnancy test. He was like what the HELL is that??? I ran to the bathroom before he had a chance to crack open my long awaited cold beer. And just as fast as the urine hit that stick, that's how furiously bright pink the positive showed up. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Unexpected baby number three was on its way. Miracles do happen if you just believe.
My hope for you, if you are going through this now, is that your miracle comes too. Remember, miracles come in all different ways, just keep believing. You are NOT crazy, you are NOT alone, you are NOT the first or the last. I hope you know, there are thousands of people here to help you, just ask.
Thank you for letting me share my story. Feel free to share yours, whatever your story is, you will not be judged, you will be loved.
As always, I am humbly yours,