Thursday

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting...



Disclaimer:  I have toiled for months over blogging about Infertility and I finally decided to do it.  I am only too aware that not every story has a happy ending.  Please read this knowing that although this is my version with funny and sarcastic descriptions of my battle, there are many versions out there that are not funny and do not end well.  I hate  having to put a dislaimer for every possibly controversial topic that I write about, but I do not want anyone to think I am being insensitive to their battles.  If anything, my purpose here is to let other people know, there is support, there are friends waiting in the wings, there are many struggling with you.  I know that infertility is no laughing matter, but this is my story, and with every story that I write, I use humor to deflect from the pain of the circumstances. Read on if you agree to these terms.  Otherwise, skip this particular blog if you need to.  xo ~DG

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
Urology Department

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!
Before I finish my story, I do want to say some of the things that I really hated that people who hadn't been through it said to me.  I wanted to stab each and everyone of them in the eyeballs with my urine soaked negative pregnancy stick.  I am going to list these things and beg all of my readers to STOP doing this if you know someone going through this.

*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,
~DG

36 comments:

  1. This really REALLY hit home for me. Especially the stupid things people say. I've been wanting to write something like this for a long time, but I'm glad you did it and said it perfectly!

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    1. I'm sure you could write it too..we all have a story to tell. xo

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  2. wow..amazing huh?! I have a story I'll share with you one day too.

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  3. Thanks for the serious, yet funny story. While we didn't necessarily fit in the "infertile" category, it took us forever to get pregnant. We got pregnant the first time after 6 months of trying and lost the baby after 7 weeks. It then took us 15 months to get pregnant the second time (that one stuck!). I got so tired of the comments asking if we were "normal", asking if we were doing it right, telling us maybe we weren't meant to have kids, adoption, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, as if I didn't doubt myself enough, I needed to hear it from others. Thanks, assholes! But, we have our daughter and thanks to medical malpractice (a whole new fiasco) she's our one and only and I have finally come to peace with that and thank God I have her!

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    1. I'm so glad you found your peace! What an ordeal. It's amazing what women go through. I just don't understand there is so much pain and struggling. I wish life was fair. xo

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  4. Thanks for sharing! Apparently, I having been making douchebag comments and now I want to go bury my head in the sand. Miracles Rock!

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    1. LOL...look, we all make stupid comments..it's not out of malice, it's because we don't get it all the way. 20 seconds to think before you speak - that's all. xo

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  5. We had the same problem. We went on an all organic diet and ditched all the plastic in our kitchen to get our two.

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    1. Crazy isn't it? Makes you wonder what the heck we are ingesting! xo

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  6. I LOATHE the things people say. We had a miscarriage before having love bug, and the "advice" we got from everyone in the interim was unreal.

    I have a friend that is going through some fertility issues, and I am being supportive without spewing the advice bullshit. I'd like to think it's helping her for me just being there.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was fun and insightful, as always! XOXO

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  7. I LOVE this story!! That's so awesome!! I'm with you on the comments...UGH!! Our first two were with lots of fertility help, and our next 2 were surprises!! I was even on birth control with my 4th! So cool when things like this happen!!

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  8. I was lucky. I didn't to have to go through anything like this, but my sister did. She was 40 and tried invetro for a year. 3 pregnancies, 3 miscarriages within 8 weeks. 13 months later, they stopped the doctors visits. 3 months later it happened. She was pregnant naturally. I can't imagine what you had to go through, but I'm so very happy to hear about your miracles. And I'm happy for couples who get their very own miracles too. Thank you for sharing. This really made my day and reminded me that good things happen to good people.

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    1. Julie I love your sister's happy ending. Thanks for your kind words. xo

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  9. This is amazing timing...I am reading this after finding out today that my 2nd miscarriage last month was a molar pregnancy-this means I cannot even try to get pregnant for 6 months. I thought we could get right back to our infertility treatments and trying to get pregnant, so this news today was kind of devastating. We have already been trying for 18 mos, with 2 miscarriages. This is feeling like forever...but I appreciate the kind words of wisdom about having hope that my miracle will come too. : )

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    1. Jenny I am so sorry. My girlfriend also had a molar pregnancy, and after she waited her time, went on to have 2 beautiful children. I pray and hope the same for you. xo

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    2. Sorry to butt into this here...but @JennyD, I suffered 2 miscarriages as well. One was so mysterious that they never knew what really happened. Long story but they suspected a tubal at first, then a molar pregnancy. Such a crazy experience. I had the methotrexate, surgery, so much crap and they never really figured it out. I ended up having my daughter and it all worked out but I understand the frustration!!! I wish you the best of luck!

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  10. All of this is so true! I have learned to never ask questions about when people are planning on having children. People always did this to me after my first turned 2...and little did they know I was trying AND had a miscarriage. I am so open about it all now...because although I did go on to have 2 more beautiful girls, I had a miscarriage in between each one of my kids. The stupid shit that people say/ask astound me sometimes. You never know what people are going through! Thanks for sharing:)

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    1. I know! I've learned to be MUCH more sensitive about chit chat and small talk - you just never know! xo

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  11. Amazing the things people will say, huh?!? Been there, heard it and was often floored by the well-intentioned (perhaps) but sooo inappropriate comments. It was all so hard to even hear especially since I come from a family of women who are abnormally fertile. Seriously! As in...oops, we slipped in the kitchen, I fell on top of his penis and we're PREGNANT, again...woo frickin' hoo! THAT fertile, not exaggerating! Well, maybe a tad but when I was struggling with infertility with my hubs of 6 years and the fertile Myrtles of my family were dishing out the advice I was ready to commit murder!!! LOL!

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  12. I never had MUCH trouble getting pregnant (3 months the first time and about 15 the second), and even I absolutley can NOT STAND when someone says "just relax, it will happen after you quit thinking so hard about it..." Makes my head want to explode a little.

    (I'm new here but really like you, found you through throat punch Jenn! I comment alot - she's a self admitted comment whore :)

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  13. I have tears reading all of this. People are assholes, but we are all strong women. So we put up with it all and make our smartass comments. Because that is what we do.
    Going through something similar now with my love of my life. We'll get through it, one way or another.

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    1. Oh honey I hear you - we survive through sarcasm and humor. I wish you everything good in your journey..here's hoping for blue skies. xo

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  14. I am not experiencing infertility issues, but the emotions I felt when reading your story are similar to mine. I married a man, who, unbeknownst to me, had a vasectomy only 1 month after we had met. He had been planning it and it had nothing to do with me. I am 30 and desperately wanted to have a good sized family. By the time I found out, I was desperately hooked on this man and thought I could handle the emotions (that was really only because the hormones hadn't fully committed themselves to making me cry at the sight of every baby, my asshole pucker at the sight of tiny shoes and my heart wrench each and every time a friend called to tell me their good news). The few people who know my heart on this matter also make stupid comments....not out of spite, like has been mentioned, but just because there's really nothing to say and they want to fill the silence. I did have a son when I was 19 and am so thankful for that, but I always thougth 10 kids was a good number :) I had since revised that number downward, but still hoped to have several more. At this point, after 1 year of marriage, I feel devestated and don't know how to make it go away. I am just waiting for the emotional roller coaster to pull back to the gate and let me the fuck off. Bless my husband for his patience. I am so happy that your situation turned out the way it did. It's funny how life works. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  15. I was married, had 4 children then divorced. Fast forward to a few years later, I met the love of my life. Mind you, I was in my mid 30's when I met a man in his late 20's... we never MEANT to fall in love, but that is a great love story, not an infertility story.
    My husband has no children of his own. When my 4th child was born I closed the baby shop, sure, without a doubt in my mind that I was done, the next baby I would be diapering would call me nana, not mama!
    We finally had the "baby talk" sometime before we got married, and it turned out that he is infertile himself. His swimmers don't swim so fast either. Although, somewhere in my mind, I felt he NEEDED to have that experience of having his own child, and not just live vicariously through being a step father. Shortly after we were married I became obsessed with trying to figure out a way for us to have the money to see some fertility doctors and well, it just wasn't in the cards for us finacially.
    He made peace with this long ago, for me, it took me some time to mentally wrap my mind around the fact that he already is a great father! HE isn't living vicariously through being a step dad, he's the one going through the daily emotions with my children.
    Oh and by the way, my first grand baby was born March 22nd of this year, and the second one is on it's way in Novemeber and I couldn't be happier about it! Hubs on the other hand, he isn't so keen on being a 31 year old pappa!

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  16. I cant have kids. i get tired of people asking if theres something wrong with me? I have gotten to the point especially after my mom was teasing me asking when we were going to have little Orsbuns, and I matter of factly told her i cant, yes i have talked to my doctor.she paused for a second. then asked. do you still feel like a female? Wtf was that? yep got breast. inny, not an outie. she has sense tried to talk me into adopting all all that crap. for me, im happy with my fur baby. i want another fur baby though. mine is all grown up.(i raised her sense she was a kitten) Congrats on your three!

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  17. I have heard all of those reactions, and wanted to throttle every person! I know I'm blessed with having one child, but we wanted another one, damn it!

    You are right that all infertility stories end a different way. We're dealing with our decision to not try for anymore. I'm certainly done justifying our decision to family, friends, even perfect strangers who get too nosy.

    Thank you for your story!

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  18. Thanks for the story- I really resonated with the part about people saying that you already have one, so should be happy. I had one ectopic, beat the odds and had a healthy baby boy later on, then spent the next 7 years trying to get pregnant/stay pregnant. (countless miscarriages and 1 more ectopic pregnancy) All anyone could ever say was to be happy cause I did have one and just give up! Finally had to have a hysterectomy and ended up with a surprise adoption(long story). Very happy and at peace with my 2 boys now, but it was an exhausting journey.(and still very few people get the pain I went through!)Thanks for showing me that I wasn't alone in wanting more than one, and that someone else understands the pain I went through.

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  19. We tried EVERYTHING (and I do mean EVERYTHING) for 8 years, then were finally blessed by adopting our 2 daughters. Well, about a year later, you guessed it - I got pregnant (after 2 miscarriages SINCE the adoption - never one before!) My pet peeve is another version of the "relax" advice..."that always happens - you adopt and then you get pregnant!". To the point that one of my close friends who had adopted wouldn't get a needed hysterectomy because "you give me hope!".
    People say stupid things. Period. They just don't think first.
    One last pet peeve to share - my children WERE adopted, not ARE adopted, just like your children WERE born - it's a one-time event that shouldn't label them the rest of their lives. And they're all my REAL children!

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  20. Loved reading your story! I love your happy ending. Thanks for sharing :)

    Fortunately, my husband and I haven't had any problems getting pregnant (we currently have 4!) and unfortunately, we have both been that A-hole that has said some variation of "we just have to say the word 'pregnant' and we're expecting another one!"

    The older I get and the more I notice how my family gets bigger while friends familes stay the same or never grow at all, I do try to be more sensitve and understand that fertility doesn't come naturally for everyone. From now on, instead of a witty line or a 'helpful' bit of advise that I have no business giving, I'll just give them an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on if needed and pray with them for the happy ending they deserve.

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  21. Yeah, I am glad I read this because I realized I have been THAT person to say "just stop trying for a while and it will happen in time!" Not as positive as I thought =/ I am going to try very hard to never say that again ;)

    On the flip side (I have two kids that currently i can barely afford because the *fantastic* economy screwed us royally with our jobs...) yet my Mother-in-Law is PUSHING kids on me as if she is trying to get prego vicariously through me! I called her one day to tell her my 2 yr old pooped in the potty for the first time, but as soon as I said "i have awesome news about--" she stopped me dead and shouted "OMG! you're pregnant again aren't you!!" UGH...isn't 2 enough? I love my kids, but seriously I'm not a factory.

    I guess no matter who you talk to there is SOMEONE out there who isn't happy with your child situation =p I am very happy it all worked out for you =] I know there will be many women encouraged by your words!

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