The medical details of everything we've done would bore you, so I'll summarize: this book that everyone suggested with all the body temperature charts, Clomid, A.I., mandated weight gain with protein shakes, IVF - four fresh cycles interspersed with many frozen cycles, 3 miscarriages, 2 D&Cs, and tens of thousands of dollars. This upcoming cycle will be our 5th. We sometimes realize that we could have had several cars and foreign vacations under our belts at this point.
Infertility was hard at first. I went through several stages, and the angry part was by far the worst, but I think it's normal. Emotions were high combined with Clomid and other medications as I got used to how I felt on them. The first year we started IVF was the most difficult. Two of my best friends and two of my sister-in-laws all got pregnant within a month or two of each other. I read their blogs and Facebook posts and would either get mad or cry. Even though it had nothing to do with me, each pregnancy announcement was like a personal attack. I felt like I was somehow falling behind everyone and felt very much alone.
People complaining about their pregnancies or their children invoked bitter mutterings of "at least you can have one. I would give anything for just one child." I hated mommy blogs and wanted to punch multiple women I had never met.
Infertility sucks because, like some other situations in life, you can work really hard and try to do everything right and there can be zero pay-off. Money also can't solve the problem. I wasn't used to this. I would work hard and put in extra hours at my job or at school and then reap the results. I tried to apply that to our treatments. I was very good at taking all my pills and injections, racing to my appointments for blood draws and ultrasounds during my lunch hour at school and missing fun activities, photography classes, and vacations to go to my surgeries and appointments. I didn't flinch at needles. I took my meds like a pro. I exercised and ate right. But nothing worked. We'd also planned out our lives in what I thought was the textbook "responsible way" so that we'd be prepared for children. I picked a solid major that could bring income immediately, we didn't go abroad for work or pursue extra degrees, we put down roots in an affordable area, we bought a modest house, and we saved a lot. I had the plan down perfectly:
- Work for 2-3 years and save.
- Have child #1 and stay at home.
- Have more kids but space out the rest by at least 3 years.
I was naive. Obviously these types of plans don't work out exactly for anyone. For some reason I just thought they would because I was doing what was right.
John and I had some long talks after that. John is really good at reasoning with people, even people in highly agitated states. First of all, he quickly helped point out that the "let it all out" method doesn't work, at least not for me. Yelling and getting mad only makes things worse. Reasoning things out calmly and letting go of negative thoughts requires more mental discipline but has better, lasting results. One thing we decided together that has helped immensely through the years is that we would celebrate everyone else's successes. Along with that I had to acknowledge that our infertility and our lives didn't need to be compared to others. Infertility wasn't a punishment from God, a sign I would be a bad mother, a sign of a bad marriage, or that we had to learn specific "lessons" that others didn't. It just was. After this baby showers weren't hard anymore, we tried to be at all the baby blessings we could, and we rejoiced when our friends and family rejoiced as they brought more children into the world.