10.07.2009

The Infertile Myrtle Club

As I entered the waiting room I was nervous. After signing in I quickly found a seat and a magazine. A moment or two passed and I discreetly glanced around the room, which was partially full.

Hmmm...there seemed to be others like me. Plenty. Some younger, some older, all with an air of expectant hope encircling them.

The waiting room at the Center of Reproductive Medicine became a very familiar place over the next one and a half to two years. I occasionally heard congratulations and saw joyous smiles as women left the office, I also saw fresh disappointment on other faces. Sometimes we'd swap stories, except these stories usually contained lingo like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, unexplained and secondary infertility and the timing of HCG shots. Being there, I felt a sense of community, of shared purpose. It was comforting to know I was not the only one.

The office had a strict no children policy as a comfort to their clients. Anyone that was visibly prego entered through another door. It might sound strange, but it was actually a relief to have one place without a clear visual reminder of what I did not have. I felt protected.

When you begin assisted fertility treatments you typically follow a type of sliding scale of treatment, especially if you have unexplained infertility, varying from a conservative approach (oral meds), progressing to more aggressive approaches (oral and/or injectable meds with IUI (inter-uterine insemination--now I'll get google hits on that I guess) and then the Big Mac Daddy IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). With each one you become a little more tied to the calendar, the clock and to the clinic. It's hard to keep perspective as you move from phase to phase. On one hand you feel failure and on another you see a glimmer of hope with the next attempt. It's that glimmer that keeps you going. Even though you are hepped up on so many hormones you ought to wear a disclaimer on your t-shirt warning at any moment you might rip someone's head off (probably your beloved's noggin) or use their shirt to mop up your tears all in the span of 30 seconds, you keep going. Even though your legs, hips, stomach are black and blue from hormone shots, you keep going. Even though you are bloated and carrying extra pounds from hormones and depression, you keep going. Even though you are afraid to add up just how much all of this is costing, with nothing to show for it, you keep going. Even though you feel like you are planning your life (No, we can't go see that movie, we have to be home for my shot) around the clinic and the detailed treatment calendar and the blood draws and the procedures, you keep going.

The question is though, if you have not gotten pregnant after all of that, how do you know when to stop?

I'll talk about that soon.

9 comments:

  1. I can't wait to hear more! Thank you for sharing this with us. How any cycles of IVF did you do?

    I have had 4 failed IUIs this year, three of them with clomid. We will be doing the Big Mac Daddy (I like that term!) in January. I have saved up the $15k, we just need a few more thousand so I am waiting for my medical flex plan to start over January 1.

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  2. I am so glad you are sharing this, Holly. xoxoox

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  3. Ouch! You are so eloquent. This is captivating to me. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  4. As one waiting and hoping to adopt domestically I am loving this story and how candid you are about it! Thanks for sharing....

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  5. That waiting room must have been super charged with emotions and hormones, it's a really good thing they had a separate entrance for those visibly pregnant.

    I remember sitting in the waiting room of my OB/GYN knowing I was miscarrying and being surrounded by hugely pregnant women and newborns, it was not pleasant.

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  6. Natasha: We did one full IVF cycle. The first time was with fresh embryos and was successful (but then I had a miscarriage), the second was with frozen.

    I'll post about that soon.

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  7. You are so honest with all of us on your blog. Thank you so much for your candor. Through your blog you've opened yourself up and shared such secret and personal things about yourself. I love reading you!

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  8. Thanks Daesha! I'm always happy to talk about these things in person too or answer questions, but it doesn't often come up. :)

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  9. I remember moving here and starting the adoption process. When we realized that Canada would not let us adopt, being US citizens living in their country, we were devasted. We had done several cycles of clomid before our move and before our adoption. Three surgeries and after our move 4 IUI's and another surgery. I did not want to put myself through another bout of testing, but felt that I had to try at least one IVF. I knew after the how many gillian shots that I would never do this again. I can't imagine going through it a 2nd or 3rd time.

    What upsets me the most about infertility, is the downhill support for international adoption. I so wish that we could adopt again internationally - but the cost is so high and the procedure so long.

    I really appreciate your honesty and find that talking about it was always good.

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