Day 25: An Open Letter to New Infertiles

I get it -- life isn't fair.30 day blogging challenge details available at I Love You Potato.

Welcome to the club no one wants to belong to! Whether you’re infertile or, as a friend has called herself before, fertile-but-fucked, you are not alone in the childless community. DH and I were welcomed to a neonatal loss group with condolences for our membership in a club no one wants to belong to with the highest possible price tag.

Not all infertiles are bitter, not all fertiles are ignorant. A lot of infertiles have a great fertile friend who can sympathize and listen. That being said, sometimes we just want to ball our fists and bitch about the damn fertiles because life just isn’t fair and sometimes it’s cathartic to complain.

Not all infertiles are women! But men, we love you too. You are more than your sperm count and you’re not alone either.

Everyone comes to the community from a different place, on a different journey, with many different pit stops… and babies are not always the eventual destination.

Everyone copes differently. Find a coping method (or twenty) that work for you, and reach out for help if you reach a point where your fertility journey impacts your ability to function on a daily basis (click here for a sample 8-question depression inventory).

YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID.
credit: Séamus Gallagher

In spite of this you are not alone, especially if you reach out to the vast infertility community. There will always be people who can relate and empathize with what you are going through, and there will also be people who might not be able to understand where you’re coming from even if you’re both infertile or childless. Whatever YOU are feeling is valid whenever you feel it. We must be gentle with each other.

You will learn a lot about yourself, your spouse or other half, and your support systems. Some relationships fall apart, some are strengthened. You will come out wiser.  If you have a great partner, thank the stars because you are already luckier than many.

If you can find a way to forgive all the people who say the wrong thing, you are #winning, my friend. You win some, you lose some.

You will learn ALL THE ACRONYMS AND JARGON! You will be an expert. You can look down your nose at all the fools who don’t know your lingo. 😉

If you are lucky enough to get that fabled take-home baby, you may still feel different or unable to relate to mothers who have never known difficulty or loss, and that’s normal. It’s also normal if you want to put your infertility behind you forever and move on with your now-blissful life. It’s your life! You don’t owe anyone anything, and this includes the infertility community.

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Day 23: Superpower

30 day blogging challenge details available at I Love You Potato.

So… if you follow my blog, you’ll know I recently fell off the blog challenge wagon because of my recent miscarriage. I’m hopefully fully on the other side—pending ultrasound confirmation in about 1.5 weeks.

My superpower?

TTC forever -- still enjoy sex

No matter how big the storm…

No matter how big the storm, the sun always comes out again.
Thank you. ♥

I don’t cry much anymore.

Maybe because after we lost our boys all we did was cry all the time.  I cried when we found out our most recent pregnancy wasn’t viable, but I didn’t cry at all while I was actively miscarrying.

Today a coworker asked why I’m frontloading my work year.  I found out I was pregnant in August, so all I’ve done is work and organize myself to prepare for possible bed rest or preterm labor.  She’s not thick, so I suspect she thinks I’m pregnant, which isn’t far off, but her email is about three days too late… because suddenly my work year has opened up.  Especially considering it’ll likely take us awhile to conceive again.  I was complaining to coworker 2 about busybody coworker 1, and I said out loud something to the effect of, “I’m not pregnant right now,” and it hurt to admit it out loud.

I came home to the kindest card.  And I cried. Am crying.  For my boys, who I feel like I failed.  For the fertilized egg that failed to become a person. For suffering more loss–really, you RPL ladies are the strongest.  For not knowing how long it’ll take to conceive again.  For knowing that even if we conceive again our track record isn’t great.  Still angry at myself for being so naïve to think I had everything planned out… that I would have a child by age 31.  So grateful to know kind women who have passed through to the other side.

The months tick by.  3 cycles to conceive the blighted ovum (we thought we were SO lucky this time), 2 months carrying the blighted ovum.  I know my extended family are watching me, especially now.  I’m so tired of being secretive, but nor do I want anyone trying to discuss TTC with me unless they open with their own story of loss.

Childless-by-choice SIL is hosting a party in October and is inviting DH’s extended family.  They’re local, so it would be a grave faux pas if we skipped it.  Naturally there will be speculation on my fertility status whether or not I go, but at least they generally have the good grace to discuss me behind my back rather than interrogate me.  I HATE PARTIES. Particularly parties that center around getting shitfaced, which this party will be. I should qualify that I didn’t always hate parties, but going out to get drunk no longer holds the same appeal it did in my twenties.  Even if I’m not pregnant when the party comes around, I can’t have more than one drink or I risk becoming maudlin. What’s a poor babyless introvert to do? Go anyway, and grumble and gripe on Twitter of course.

Day 11: Organization & Documentation

Tomorrow’s the day.

Details of this 30 day blogging challenge details available at I Love You Potato.

I remember when I started menstruating, my mom told me track it by circling CD1 on a wall calendar.  Old school.  Pre-TTC and my first few cycles, I used a basic period tracker, but it was soon clear I needed an app to track my BBT.  Everyone has their favorite, but I started using Kindara for iPhone and never stopped.  The app is free and has improved a lot since I first started using it.  It has capabilities to track custom data points and little notes/journals for each day.  If you are set on an app determining when you ovulated, though, I’d still recommend Fertility Friend.  I think you can get full membership free for a month and have to pay thereafter.  I’m cheap though, and can easily pinpoint ovulation using LH strips and my BBT, so I only used FF for a few cycles.

Day 6: Pet Peeves

pumpkinToday we put away the summer decorations and unpacked our fall decorations. I experienced a pang of sadness, the kind I read about but thought I would be immune to: preparation for your first holidays when you should have had an infant (or infants, in my case) in your arms. My family should be complete right now, and instead my arms are empty. I remember the last time I saw my Halloween decorations I was weighing and measuring which ones were childproof, but for another year at least it doesn’t matter. What will it be like next time I set out my fall pumpkins?

Day 6: Infertility Pet Peeves

30 day blogging challenge details available at I Love You Potato.

I guess my biggest pet peeve is naïveté of others. People who believe BFPs → babies, or even that making it past the first trimester → baby. Or worse yet, those who reassure me that lightning won’t strike twice, when I’ve heard stories of those to whom it has happened. I was proud of myself for telling my dental hygienist about my loss, and she told me she had a friend who lost twins TWICE in her second or third trimester.

I hate people who are blissfully ignorant. I feel bad but there is a girl who, having suffered an ectopic previously, is now pregnant again and flooding my Facebook feed with belly photos and videos of her baby kicking… and she drives me bonkers. It’s like she’s forgotten what it feels like to be on the other side and she’s maddeningly blissful. I will never be blissful like that because I will always be waiting and holding my breath, wondering if I’ll deliver prematurely again. I imagine it’s even worse for someone who’s lost a baby to SIDS—to potentially go through a picture-perfect pregnancy and still worry you’ll lose your newborn.

Days 1 & 2: 7 Things, Rituals & Superstitions

Catching up!  This 30 day blogging challenge details available at I Love You Potato.

September 1:  7 Things

But I don’t want you to know me too well!  What about my precious anonymity?  Okay, let’s go for some general info.

  1. a ClearBlue f*** youI’m not technically infertile.  I have had numerous chemical pregnancies, but they all qualify as “preclinical losses” and therefore don’t really qualify as repetitive pregnancy loss.  When I took medical genetics in college, I was told 75% of the time when sperm and egg meet, a loss occurs, but no one ever finds out about it… unless they’re POAS addicts like me and test a day after implantation.
  2. That being said, I am no stranger to infertility. For every one of the blissfully naïve people I want to strangle, I know another in real life who does not have a baby due to PCOS or unexplained repetitive pregnancy loss.
  3. I am a child of infertility. I was conceived via IUI with donor sperm.
  4. I have a cat and two dogs. I feel like a house isn’t a home without pets.
  5. I like to lift heavy things.
  6. I thrive in clutter. This drives some people crazy.
  7. I am a dark chocolate connoisseur. It’s kind of a problem.

 

*fingers crossed*
Source: lindleyhewatt.wordpress.com

September 2:  Rituals & Superstitions

I believe that if I prepare for a certain bad situation, it won’t happen.  The one thing I was sure wouldn’t happen to me (besides conceiving twins in the first place) was horrifically early preterm labor.  The day I went into preterm labor, and even at the hospital waiting to be evaluated in triage in labor and delivery, I wholeheartedly believed I was fine and I’d go home.  Stupid.  I won’t make that mistake again.

In terms of rituals… I plan to go to a different site for my anatomy and growth scan(s).  I will likely have to go to the original ultrasound office for my first dating ultrasound, but thereafter I want to avoid that site.  I want to avoid the place that told me everything was fine a week before everything changed.

Kinda pregnant.

Why am I obsessed with TTC so soon after my loss?  This is tongue-in-cheek, because I only feel obsessed during the two week wait.  That’s also partially why I am anxious for AF and the mental resetting it brings.

To the point: the grief over the loss of our twins is twofold.  We lost the babies we had come to know, already with distinct personalities and each uniquely resembling us.  There is nothing we can do to recover this loss.  We also grieve our expectations of becoming a complete family, of being parents.  We have birth certificates officially declaring us “parents” but we have nothing to parent.  I am a mother with empty arms.  I feel like I am overflowing with love with a shortage of beings to shower it on, if that makes sense.  THIS we can theoretically fix.  We try again.  It will never bring our twins back, but it will help us fulfill our desire to parent.  So we, both more instrumental than intuitive grievers, are doing what we can.  Which brings me to the reason for this post.

I’m kinda pregnant.  Don’t get excited or jealous though, this is a transient pregnancy, and the second of its kind before I will even reach my twins’ original due date.  It’s also the reason I rolled my eyes at the advice to wait to try to conceive (TTC).  I can’t waste time waiting!  I ovulate every month and sperm meets egg—but that’s where it stops.

I remember my very first TTC cycle.  I’d never felt that way before.  I was convinced I was pregnant, only to be shocked at how unusually strong and painful my (late) menstrual cramps were that month.  What I now surmise was a chemical pregnancy.

Fast forward to my twin cycle.  I had an aberrant, incomplete LH surge after which my BBT never rose.  A week later, another LH surge combined with the latest and most painful Mittelschmerz I ever had.  Somehow I knew I was ovulating two eggs even though I knew of no family history of multiple ovulation, and I told DH maybe this would be THE cycle.  Ovulating two eggs had to increase our chances of ONE actually sticking, right?

At 2 DPO, something felt different than my chemical pregnancies.  At 3 DPO, I knew (KNEW) it was a boy.  Little did we know… it was two boys.  Somehow even though I knew I ovulated two eggs, I never expected both to actually stick, especially with months of chemical pregnancies under my belt, the shock was mindblowing.  All this intuition failed me when I went into preterm labor, of course, but that’s another story.

My first postpartum cycle was strange in its own way, experiencing what I knew was a chemical pregnancy but surprised by the first luteal phase defect in my life.  AF visited me on 9 DPO.  I shrugged it off; I couldn’t expect to get pregnant immediately after my uterine lining was shot from losing two placentas.  I hoped my body would soon remember how to be pregnant.  That more-fertile-after-a-loss bullshit.

Today I’m 7 DPO.  I’m collecting data using my favorite Internet cheapies.  I read in a (legitimate, not pseudo-science) research article that hCG levels are already at 5 mIU/mL around the time of implantation.  Not all Wondfos are able to read that low—they advertise 25 mIU/mL sensitivity—but usually if I pee on 4 strips, I can get one that’ll catch the low threshold, though it doesn’t photograph well at that level so don’t bother uploading to one of those pee stick voting sites.

ClearBlue fuck you memeCombined with my BBT pattern, I can already tell this pregnancy isn’t viable.  I’ve been here before.  I’m not distracted by the trees (+HPTs), I can see this forest (ultimately a chemical).  I should be more upset.  I am inwardly disappointed and worried, I suppose, but more than that I just wish I could get on with it already.  Now I have to wait a full week for the bloody bitch to show up so I can reset and move on.  I hate this progesterone lethargy.

Why am I bitching?  I can’t call myself infertile because I conceive nearly every month.  Like so many others though, I am not where I thought I’d be.  To get a conceptus to STICK is hard enough, and then to carry to term?  Most women celebrate being out of the woods when the first trimester ends.  That’s when things will just be getting scary for me.  IF I can get an embryo to actually stay inside me again… the twin cycle was a complete fluke, and I can’t help but wonder if it was partially due to the double LH surges.  Maybe my lining needs more time to actually hold onto an embryo?  Fat chance I’ll get help with that, if that is even the problem.  I see an ob/gyn.  We already discussed I’m not a candidate for their knee-jerk, first line fertility therapy: drugs like Clomid.  I’d wind up with triplets or something.  My ob/gyn would be hesitant to refer me to a reproductive endocrinologist though, because again, I’m labeled fertile.  And I’m not saying I need to see an RE either, but I overthink and tend to project my fears way into the future.  Kicking myself for not trying when I was younger, feeling like I’m being punished for waiting until we had a house and a mortgage, a child-friendly career.  “There is never a convenient time to have children,” people would always tell us.  Better late than never, I hope.