Posted in Personal

My Struggle with Infertility

My latest nephew, Bruce.  We went to see him an hour after he was born, and my heart just about exploded with love: it was amazing.
My latest nephew, Bruce. We went to see him an hour after he was born, and my heart just about exploded with love: it was amazing.

The title might suggest that I’m pregnant, but sadly I’m still not.  It’s not for lack of trying though.  This summer I quit my job with the intention of focusing on my health and starting a family.  My logic was that since I had gotten pregnant and miscarried both in July/August (years apart), that my body was more fertile in the summer.  If I tried hard enough, I could get pregnant in the summer, finish school by Christmas, and we’d be on our way to starting our family by…well, now.

The dreamboat and I had been trying to conceive for 2 years already, but we’d been living apart for one of them (makes getting pregnant rather difficult), and I hadn’t started tracking cycles or charting or anything.  I had been praying though, and I gave God (and myself) four months for me to get pregnant.  I set this goal because It had occured to me that I had been scared to get serious about getting pregnant because I was worried it might not work: so I hadn’t really approached the goal like I would have any other.  I talked to the dreamboat about it, and explained how I needed him to be involved in the behind-the-scenes conception effort with me, and he was happy to help.  We started by odering an ovulation test kit.  We had to order it because no drugstore near us carried it, which was weird start to the whole thing.  Everyone carries the sticks, no one carries the actual tester.  Like, no one.  Isn’t that weird?  Anyway, When it finally arrived, hubby poured over the instructions and we got excited about our shared goal.  I felt pretty hopeful starting out, like the difference between pregnant and not pregnant was just our effort.

I got checked out by the doctor and everything looked good, so we started trying to get pregnant in a more targeted way.  I looked up what works best and found out a whole bunch about how often you need to babydance (a term used on the internet for sex when you’re trying to conceive) every second day during the short window before and during ovulation.  I looked up so much during those summer months that I thought I was pregnant every month, and the two weeks between trying to conceive and finding out if it worked became torture.  I came across the website twoweekwait, and would pour over the conception stories all day, every day.  I felt pregnancy symptoms I’d never felt before (psychosomatic), and spent most days wondering if I was pregnant.

Nope, No one loves it.
Nope, No one loves it.

See, the thing about trying to get pregnant and not being successful is that while you’re suffering silently, people around you are succeeding, and often really easily.  I went to a baby shower, and it was lovely, but I spent the night longing for what the honouree had.  A little person that I can carry and feel grow, then welcome into the dreamboat’s and my home.  Someone to hold and watch grow up, to care for and love and introduce our favourite things to. A little person we can guide through life’s exciting, amazing, sad, happy and all other kinds of moments.  Watching other people get what we’ve been hoping and trying for is hard.  I’m happy when my friends get pregnant, don’t get me wrong.  But part of me aches when it happens.  A big part.

I really thought I was pregnant in July, and I still think I might have been in the very early stages when my hopes were dashed once again.  I happened to do a home staging job for some long-time clients of mine and the name of a local naturopath came up, with the suggestion that I check him out.  Since I know that I want no part in the fertility drug business, and have heard often that doctors will suggest that first, I decided to give him a try.  He immediately tested my thyroid and we had a big problem: the thyroid was there, but wasn’t bonding at all, rendering the hormone useless.  I went on meds right away, and my father-in-law recomended iodine as well.  That was back in September, and my dosage has just been doubled because I haven’t experienced a full recovery yet.  The other thing that happened was that I got severe asthma first in August, resulting in 4 trips to emergency and one overnight stay.  So right now, it seems like my auto-immune system is going crazy: and that is no good at all for a growing fetus.

The good part about all of this is that I haven’t been feeling myself for a few years now, and now I’m working on getting back to normal.  I have complained about weight gain on this blog, but I haven’t mentioned how tired I’ve been for the past few years, or how achy my body has become.  I really just thought it was all a part of getting older and I needed to get in better shape.  I do need to get in better shape, but being ridiculously tired and sore all the time, as well as not being able to breathe much of the time has sort of gotten in the way.  When I think that this has been going on the whole time I’ve been back in university, I’m kind of impressed with how well I’ve done.  I’m working on getting back to where I was healthwise when I turned 30, and now I have hope that it will actually happen.

My nephew Holden.  He's almost 3 now and still so precious.
My nephew Holden. He’s almost 3 now and still so precious.

Our baby plans have been put on hold until I get better, which to be honest feels like another failure.  From my first miscariage in my first marriage until now (about 8 years), it’s been a long, emotional journey: too long to tell in one blog post.  It’s hard not to feel like I’m being punished by God sometimes, or like I’ve been found unworthy for procreation.  I know these ideas are crazy, but they pervade my thoughts.  It’s tough to hear people gush about their babies or about being pregnant, and I smile and try to act excited when I just feel a knot in my throat and a pit in my stomach.  And it’s hard when people ask innocently “do you want kids?”, having no idea about the struggles I’ve been through with my body and in my marriage and in my friendships for years.  The worst thing is people who try to give me advice.  I know they’re well-meaning, but the idea that I haven’t quite figured out how to have sex, or simply need to relax, or that I “just need to get drunk” are ridiculous.  Believe me, the ones who can’t conceive know far more about conceiving than most people with kids: it’s insulting and unecesary to offer us simple advice.  What I’d prefer is just a handsqueeze, or an acknowledgement that infertility sucks, or even just nothing at all.  I know that everyone has their cross to bear, but lately I feel like I’ve been given about 17 to carry.  I try to be positive and most of the time I’m successful: because I really do love my life.  I couldn’t imagine being married to a better man, I love our families, I got to quit work and go back to school which is amazing…but we want a family.  We have so much to offer a little baby, and so so much to learn form him or her, that I really want to get started.  And I want us to have as much time as possible on earth with our kids, but it feels like our time is running out.  I suppose because it is.

I know that God doesn’t work in my time, but I wish he took suggestions more often.  I wish that my body worked like most other people’s, and I wish I had less to worry about.  I hope that, if nothing else, I can help others who are in this situation.  I know what it is to have an empty, quiet house for too long, and to get really tired of only having myself to focus on.  I know what it is to have no control over the thing I value the most.  And though I can’t produce a picture of what I’ve lost, it’s a loss nonetheless.  All I can do now is keep focusing on getting healthy, mentally as well as physically, and looking for the good that can be found in this.  Like everything else, there’s always something 🙂

I got this out of a fortune cookie about a year ago and have kept it, because I really hope it's true.
I got this out of a fortune cookie about a year ago and have kept it, because I really hope it’s true.