March for Babies

Thursday, January 13, 2005

When Did You Start To Feel Infertile?

I became infertile long before I even dreamed of having children. In my 18 year old mind my future would run something like this:
1) Go to college
2) Get engaged to T in our sophomore year
3) Get married to T after graduation
4) Live in an apartment for a couple years
5) Buy a house
6) Have a couple kids...and a dog
7) Live happily ever after

This all came to a crashing halt in one day. It was a Friday in June of 1993. I awoke from the anesthesia and I felt SO sleepy. I could barely keep my eyes open. My mother was sitting beside me reading her book. She had already spoken to the doctor who confirmed it was Endo that had been causing me all the pain and wonky periods. She cleaned me all up and thought I should feel much better post surgery. (I didn't feel better but that is another post.) As I lay there in recovery I heard the woman across the hall/room-full-of-beds-divided-by-curtains talking to her nurse.
She said "Hopefully the next time I am in the hospital it will be to have a baby!"
Right then and there I knew I may never have children. I didn't need anyone to tell me the statistics regarding Stage I Endo and pregnancies were actually pretty favorable. I didn't need anyone to tell me that I could always adopt. I knew it, laying there, still foggy headed from the surgery. This would be my lot in life.
The next fall I went away to college where most freshmen were going completely crazy being away from home for the first time. I however, was looking ahead to the future. My friends and I would venture to the mall and walking through Sears I remember going past the baby clothes on our way to some other department and I just stopped in my tracks and looked at those cute little outfits on those little hangers and I almost cried. I was too young and not even engaged much less married. I felt loss. I didn't remember how badly I felt until a couple weeks ago when I went back and read my journal from that time. I wrote about how heartbroken I felt when I saw a baby or a pregnant woman. I wrote about how I may never get the chance to experience that and it hurt so bad to know it. I asked my GYN during my yearly exam if she could test my fertility (I had NO idea what that entailed at the time). I had every other possible symptom of Endo except infertility which had yet to be proven. I told her if I was going to be infertile I would rather deal with it then rather than be heartbroken later after trying and failing. She refused to discuss it until I wanted children.
That was all 12 years ago. (No, we didn't get engaged sophomore year, it was 3 LONG years after graduation when we finally got married and you know how the kid situation is going...) It was in the fall of 2002 that I really started feeling the pressure to have a baby. I knew my Endo had gone unchecked since my second lap in 1996 and though I had been on birth control pills she had left some Endo in there for fear of damaging the organs the implants were on. I thought for sure my abdomen would have been full of it. I quit my birth control pills in September of that year hoping the daily pain I was having would stop. It did. I felt light years better. I still wanted to have a baby as soon as possible so that I could go in for my "gutting" as T calls it. (I want to have two kids, or one and adopt another depending how it goes, and then have a complete hysterectomy. This has been our plan for so long I can't remember exactly when we came up with it.) I brought up the subject with T and he flatly refused at that point. We had too much debt and he was finally able to enjoy life the way he wanted. We were able to pick up and drive across the state to go see a concert if we wanted. We could go up to Traverse City at a moments notice. We didn't have any responsibilities tying us down. He wasn't ready. His new favorite move was "pulling out" which induced many nights of my burying my face in the pillow to cry after he fell asleep.
I can't tell you how many nights I cried as I told him that we could be running out of time. I cried as he told me that was a risk he was willing to take. After two years of the same argument over and over again I finally told him that if he could look me in the eye right then and tell me that he didn't care at all about having a biological child I would drop the subject and we could wait another few years, like when were 35, and then start adoption procedures. (I was banking on previous comments about wanting to try for bio kids before moving on to adoption. I honestly don't know what I would have done if he said "Fine, let's just adopt in 5 years.") Adoption is something that we have always talked about. I told him I may not be able to provide bio kids but that I would totally want to adopt. He agreed that we would definitely go that route if we couldn't produce our own children. (Please note the word PRODUCE in that sentence, I do not wish to be seen as an asshat here.) When I put it to him that way I think it triggered something. I think he realized that I wasn't just wasting my breath over the last two years trying to convince him that time was of the essence.
He dragged his feet another month or so but then I filled the Rx for the Clomid and got the ball rolling. He was then along for the ride and seemed to switch gears pretty quickly considering all we had been through up to that point. He immediately became concerned with my nutrition. Was I eating enough veggies? Getting enough calcium? Cutting back on sugar? Doing away with caffeine? I was surprised and touched at this side of him.
I am now on my fifth cycle of Clomid. I am ovulating on 50mg so there is no need for a higher dose. I am also on Metformin and taking Estradiol and Progesterone supps post ovulation. I think next month might be a good time for T to go in and have his first SA. I have yet to discuss this with him as I am not sure exactly how he will react and is there ever a good time to say "Honey, I think it is time for you to cozy up with the cup so we can see just how much of a man you are"? (No I do not believe that male factor infertility makes men any less manly just as an infertile woman is no less womanly, but we all know how men think of themselves and their, well, by products.) I am sure he will go and with only a bit of grumbling about hassle, embarrassment, etc. What I am more concerned about is the discussion about moving on to a RE. I want to go see the Fertility Gods in April. Both of the FGs are male. T has always had an issue with me seeing a male doctor for female issues. Our GP was always male and that was fine but female parts are different. This is going to take some convincing, especially since our insurance won't cover it. I think I will start off with "It's just for a consultation so they can tell me what my chances are". Then based on their recommendations we can go from there.
If there is one characteristic that sticks out with my husband it is stubbornness. Just ask anyone in his family. They all think I deserve some sort of an award for putting up with him so long. I just hope that he uses that stubbornness for good instead of evil. I hope that it will drive him to try IUI or convince him that I should get regular acupuncture.
What am I trying to say? I'm not sure. I have felt infertile for so long I no longer have the imagination to see myself any other way (yet true INFERTILES who have tried 2+ years, suffered miscarriages and who have tried reproductive technology that I know I am not willing to go through would not think of me this way). I guess it boils down to:
1)I want a baby
2)I love my husband more than life itself and
3)I honestly do not see myself giving birth...ever.


Jen P said...


I just wanted to post and say that I cried while reading this, because so much of your story is reflected in my own. Given an endo-diagnosis young, (although my lap in 2003 showed massive growths of non-endo kind -- so i guess it's Almost-Endo?), the pelvic pain, the pill, the loss of knowing parenthood would be simple, would be forthright, would be easy.

I'm sorry it's been this road for you, I wish it weren't and you could have a re-do and a clean slate with zero fertility problems.

I was sexually abused as a child and seeing a male doctor RE was very, very scary for me. It actually put us off seeing one for quite a while and it's something I regret. My RE was incredibly professional, gentle, kind and understanding. I told him at the beginning I was nervous seeing a male doctor and could we take things slowly and he completely respected that. If you want to see an RE, see the RE, male or not. I think RE's are the best doctors on the planet and they are wonderful. Just be very forthright with what you want, how you want it done and if you feel pressured, just tell him NO MORE.

As for the SA, I went a bit backhanded getting Matt's done. I saw my GP and told her that Matt was very reluctant to have one done, so she wrote the order, sent it to the lab and wrote a note saying she felt it was best done NOW rather than later and please have semen into lab by 10am Monday. He had nothing to do but do it because it was already paid for and set up. Our insurance didn't cover it but it was about $25 or something and I was just so desperate to have it done, so I'm hoping yours won't be charged out the a$$ either.

I think feeling infertile is a soul thing, versus a look at my long list of procedures and the amount of money i've shat down the drain. You knew from a very young age that things were compromised, and you've been infertile since you started your period when the growths started. If anything, your courage and brillance are inspiration for those of us pushing forward through this muck.

I wish you luck with whatever you choose to undertake, whatever path you venture down and hope that some very wonderful things begin to appear, and all the crap and muck of the past goes away for good.

Best wishes.

ThreeBees said...

Wow. Beautiful post.

Thinking of you and wishing you all the best in whatever you decide.