Saturday, June 18, 2011

Getting the band back together

I'm tired from cleaning the house and chasing Zoe through the neighborhood, so I think I'll take a few moments to churn out a post.

On the baby front - no, not pregnant. Truthfully, I can't remember when I last mentioned the whole infertility-thing, so forgive me if I end up repeating myself. After doing six or seven months of fertility drugs with no success, my doctor gave me a referral to a fertility specialist out in town. ("Out in town" means a non-military provider.) We met with him a few months back and, after reviewing my medical record, he had Zac and me submit to a few more tests. Of course, all of the tests that I have to take require specific timing, so it took us a couple of months to get the tests run. Of course, everything came back normal.

The fertility doctor prescribed me a drug called Follistim. Short version: another fertility drug. We would use it in conjunction with IUI, which most people refer to as "artificial insemination". The process is I have to wait for the right time in a cycle, notify the doctor, go to his office, and learn how to inject myself with the drug. Then, when the stars align, Zac and I would go back to the clinic, he'd give his sample, they'd put it in me and we'd cross our fingers. Sounds like a grand ol' time.

Honestly, we still haven't decided if we're going to go through with this or not. It's pretty taxing emotionally. Not just the strain of not getting pregnant, but the strain of, "Is this really what we want? Why are we putting ourselves through all this when we're not even sure if we want to be parents? Are we questioning whether to be parents because we really don't want kids, or is it just the stress talking? How can we be sure?" We've got a few weeks until we'd need to decide whether or not we want to proceed. After talking in circles for a couple of weeks, Zac and I have decided to just let the situation be for awhile. When the time comes, we'll see where we're at.

Since I've started going through all this infertility stuff I've become much more aware of other people's struggles with it. Facebook, in particular, has been valuable in giving me some insight to what friends of mine, both male and female, are going through/have gone through. Some friends have adopted (both locally and abroad), some friends were successful with their treatments. I'm sure others are still struggling with it and choose not to share. I can't say I blame them. There's hardly any middle ground when it comes to disclosing your reproductive life to family, friends and strangers. Either you don't share anything with anyone - e.g. that you're trying, that you're not trying, that you do/don't want kids - or you have to share everything. Because once you disclose the fact that you're even considering having kids, people ask and ask and ask and ask and ask and ask and ask and ask . . . . People are genuinely curious and supportive, I get that, but still, it gets a little tiresome explaining intimate details of my health, my husband's health, and our sex life. (Really, how would you feel if people asked you about what you and your spouse do in the bedroom?)

Wow, that's starting to sound a little rant-like. It's not meant to be venomous, just exasperated. I guess I would just this advice to people out there: Even though you're curious, try to refrain from asking and wait until information is shared. If people want to tell you, they will. Also, as a pseudo-Public Service Announcement, please refrain from using the statements, "It will happen when you least expect it," "It will happen if you just relax/don't think about it," "As soon as you stop trying, it will happen," or any variation thereof. It gets old and, honestly, those statements are not necessarily true. Instead, try something like, "That must be incredibly frustrating. I hope everything works out for you."

So while the above paragraphs make it sound like I'm upset, I'm actually not. June has been an awesome month so far. Two of Zac's former ATG co-workers are back in town and it's been a lot of fun spending time with them. One of the guys is here on leave because his wife, a good friend of mine, is expecting their first child any day now. (Actually, she's a couple of days overdue, much to her frustration.) The other guy is here because his ship is in port for a few weeks. It's been great having them back around. Zac's office hasn't been the same since they left. We've spent a lot time the last couple of weeks, sitting around, having a few beers, talking, laughing, eating and having a great time. We're excited that both of these guys and their wives are going to be in San Diego with us come fall and winter.

Today we're having a BBQ at our house. We weren't sure if we were going to have it or not, since my friend hasn't had her baby yet, but since she's not in labor we're having a party. It should be a good-sized group. Maybe a dozen people. That meant Zac and I spent most of the morning cleaning the house. Zac was outside, cleaning off the lanai when he popped his head in to ask for the car keys. Apparently he had left the gate open while he was working back there and Zoe slipped out. Usually she sticks around, too chicken to get very far from Toivo, but this time she was AWOL.

I let Zac drive around looking for her and when I finished mopping I joined in the search. I found her not too far away, but across the main street in our neighborhood. I managed to get her to follow me home, so no harm, no foul. I think Zac was relieved, knowing that I would have been pretty pissed off at him if we hadn't found her. (He claims that he wouldn't have missed her. I think he's lying. This is the guy who lets her curl up in his lap on the couch.)

Anyhow, time to start prepping some food. Zac's got the smoker going and some racks of ribs are going on in a few minutes. Just another beautiful afternoon in paradise with friends!


Molly said...

Ryan wanted me to keep our trying a secret, though as we kept going, I had to tell someone, so a few close friends knew. It's too emotionally rough to go through something like that silently and I trusted them to not ask weird questions, which they didn't.

We were lucky. We also knew what was wrong long before we wanted to try (or knew that we wanted to be parents)--my periods had suddenly spaced themselves out in an alarming way. So we were able to get on a drug regimen immediately... I also did acupuncture and used charting and predictor kits. Because of funding, we had to be pretty aggressive. Emotionally, I would have been ready (but exhausted) to go on, but insurance would have cut out and as a grad student, we just couldn't afford it. We were incredibly lucky.

We have another good friend who tried for three years, had five miscarriages, and was on their last set of "popsicles" (as the papa put it) and wouldn't have tried more. Their son "took," and he was born, healthy a few weeks after Maya.

And a friend of a friend took several years to get pregnant and started trying immediately for #2. It's been three years.

In both cases, the doctors don't know why. That's where I think I'm really lucky--knowing why--because then they can follow a protocol (that I thought was so slow in progression! be aggressive! I have six months' worth of insurance!) that has been proven to "work."

I can't help but have these thoughts / reactions when I find out friends are considering not having kids... there are some that I think: "Huh. Probably a good idea." And then there are those that I think: "Too bad. She'd make a good mama" (or "they'd make good parents.") Not as a judgment. As a compliment. I have some friends that are like that--and I think of you as one of those people. You mention not knowing if you want to be a parent, and I understand that--I didn't know until I spent some time with some amazing little boys who share a gene pool with my husband--and something clicked for me. And when I want something, I end up wanting it in an aching way. Urgency and subtlety crash into each other.

Anyway, I'm thinking of you. It's a tough experience. (Did I tell you my next book is going to be about the experience? The first, which is out now--hooray!--was about Alzheimer's and my grandpa. Guess the body's failings are a fascination for me.)

OK, Maya stinks, so I guess I'll change her diaper and stop nattering here. She's also messing with the mouse, which means I may lose all this babbling. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone. As you stated in your blog post. People definitely keep quiet about it and when I bring it up to friends who are perfectly fertile, they look at me in that deer-in-the-headlights way. It's hard. And lonely. Boo.


Teebore said...

Because once you disclose the fact that you're even considering having kids, people ask and ask and ask and ask and ask and ask and ask and ask . . . .

Boy howdy, even if the disclosure doesn't amount to much more than "sure, someday."

It will happen when you least expect it," "It will happen if you just relax/don't think about it," "As soon as you stop trying, it will happen,"

Yup, because that's EXACTLY how biology works.

What, you broke your arm? Well, just don't think about it! :)