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My Infertility Story (Part II)

Infertility is a bitch.

This is her story:

Hi, Gen here, again. In my last post, I gave you all the details about the cycles I’ve been through, the HUGE number of procedures I’ve had done to my body and my quest to have both my first and my next child. I wrote that post as I was looking down the barrel of another Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).

We had miscarried with my last try.  It had been a fresh cycle which meant tons of shots taken both in my belly, (self-administered) and then in my backside (given to me by Sam, my husband.).

What my last post didn’t describe to you was the emotional roller coaster the past 3 1/2 years have been.

The hormones are a bitch. I didn’t react well to the estrogen but I had no choice but to continue to self-administer this excruciating medication. It killed me. Every swallow, every suppository, every injection ate away at me. And broke me down.

With my first child, I had to take a break after several unsuccessful cycles.

I sought out massage and acupuncture. I increased my cardio work-outs. I did more yoga. And I found my sanity.

The next cycle we got pregnant and stayed pregnant.  It was a dream come true.

When Chloe was 10 months old, we started again.

We blew through our frozen embryos. My doctor recommended that I be sterilized in order to protect future embryos from the caustic fluid in my fallopian tubes.

We then did another fresh cycle. And we were pregnant! But I wasn’t in a good place. Sam and I had been arguing. The money we had been shelling out to build our family was taking a toll on us.  My emotional instability was wearing us both down.

When we went for our first ultrasound the doctor didn’t see a heart beat. He assured us it wasn’t unusual at this point, only 5weeks, 4days.

We went for another ultrasound. Heartbeat!  But the baby wasn’t as large as it should be. And the damn nurse practitioner had NO bedside manner and did NOTHING to assure us of anything, did not tell us be prepared for this pregnancy to be rough. Nothing. She didn’t offer to answer questions, her face stern and uninviting.

I hated her.

A third ultrasound showed that the baby was growing well, so that was a positive. At 8 weeks, my doctor released me to my OBGYN.

Sigh of relief.

Surprisingly, I was able to get into to see my OB the next week. We joked, it was good to see each other again. I made my usual inappropriate jokes about a dildo cam.

We were both still laughing when the image of our baby came on the screen.

And there was no heartbeat.

I was in shock.

The D&C was scheduled four days later.

I didn’t cry for three weeks.

Three months later it was time to try again. I had started working out again. Sam and I had been working on the house together and had found a new sitter who relieved a TON of stress we’d been suffering.

Life was good.

As I started meds, a friend recommended that I write a post for Band Back Together.

It scared me. I was afraid to feel this all over again. I was afraid it would wreck the fragile self I was holding on to so tightly.

But I did it. I was careful, I didn’t fall apart and I didn’t write from my heart.

We did the implant, we tested ten days later and had good numbers, we were pregnant.

And the real waiting game began. The mental challenge was laid before me, “hold it together for another two weeks.” Two days ago I asked Aunt Becky if I could write this post because I was a neurotic mess.

I took a home pregnancy test and was such a nervous wreck I did it wrong and invalidated it. I took another.  It was positive but took SO long and how could I trust it?

I was wigging out!

Sam kept telling me to calm down. He asked, “What is it going to take for you to relax? One good ultrasound?  Two? Another trimester?”

I said I didn’t know. The last pregnancy ruined me.

Today we had our first ultrasound.

And there was a heartbeat.

And I am relieved.

Like A Ton of Bricks

Every once in a great while my job requires me to go out of town, fine and dandy… extra money and all that jazz.  Today I had to go to Cedar Rapids.  Good enough…Today I’m driving… listening to my favorite morning radio talk show, laughing my ass off… Then I look over I see a sign.

Iowa City 40 Miles.

I stop laughing.

My chest tightens.

I can’t breathe.

My mind turns off.

I no longer hear the banter of the D.J.

I’m back there.

It’s the 4th of July and I’m back to the back seat of my mom’s Kia.  My step dad is driving, my younger brother next to me, my mom in front… 85 miles an hour.  I see that sign…  Iowa City 40 Miles… There is no way we can beat the helicopter…We are all blank. Dead inside.  They have my bubba… My sweet baby brother.  We speed up.  Hoping there are no cops… maybe hoping there are so we can drive faster.

My mom’s phone rings. It’s the hospital… They need a recorded permission to take him to surgery… My mother speaks with the courage of a thousand Roman soldiers.  I hear the wavering in her voice.  She’s not crying though. She can’t… None of us can.  The Doctor. or whoever was on the other end of the phone asks for the details… What happened?  We don’t know… He fell of course… how do you not know???? Everybody must know by now….How far??? We don’t know 50 – 75 feet maybe further, maybe not as far… The Doctor tells her nothing.

But we’re closer now…. Iowa City 27 Miles

My mother is pleading with the surgeon to please not take him back yet.  Let us see him… Let her see him… Before the surgery… It’s brain surgery for crying out loud… Just 27 miles… We’re almost there just please wait another 27 miles.  They can’t. They have to take him back now…My step-dad drives faster…. We’re not going to make it in time.  We all know it’s a waste of energy to try to make it there before they have to take him back… We still drive faster.

Iowa City 6 Miles…. 6 MILES we’re only 6 miles away from where he is… From where the doctors are performing miracles.. We are too late to see him.  He’s already in surgery.  We know this… We still drive faster… We’re there… FINALLY we’re there… We can’t find the entrance… There’s no “Panicking People To the Left” sign… There should be… (remind me to put that in the suggestion box).  We go in… We can’t see… Still blank… It smells like sick people.  Like fake real flowers and wax… There is a player piano… (I will later find this very disturbing and somewhat humorous.) Elevator… up… Okay, waiting room… We sit… and wait.  The lady at the desk is clearly ready for her shift to be over.  She tells us the surgery will last up to 4 hours…

4 hours… OK… 4 hours… How do you function for 4 hours while an 11 year old is having brain surgery??? We pace… We get a Pepsi… It has no taste… I think we talked about who was going to drive what car when this was all over…  I don’t think we knew if this was going to be all over.  Then my husband was there.  The one who saved him, the one who scaled almost 45 feet down a bluff without shoes to save him.  Blood stained and covered in mosquito bites. Blood.  So much blood….

Then over the P.A. system my mothers is called to the triage desk.  He’s done… He’s in post-op… He’s okay… or at least will be.. They won’t be able to tell until the next day or so if he has any brain damage, but the outlook is good.  Over 200 stitches. I’m terrified to see his face.  His sweet cherubic face cannot be tarnished.  Post-op… The second worse place in the entire world. (Only to be outdone by the children’s cancer ward in Peoria… story for another day.)  It’s sterile and cold.  Dead.  It smells worse than the lobby.  Like saline and metal.  They try to make it pretty with florals and leafy shit.  It doesn’t work..

They let us see him, my mom first.  He doesn’t say anything.  Then me… Bandages cover his head.  His face is swollen.  He has a drainage tube coming from his head.  It’s so cold. I lean down to kiss him, his warmth radiates through my entire body.  My sweet bubba. He says nothing… He can’t; the drugs are still doing their job.  Then my husband… He comes out crying.  My brother told him thank you… The first words he managed were to tell him thank you. That still radiates deep. It was then I knew he would be OK.  My bubba…

It all came back to me.  In a red hot flash… Like a ton of bricks…The day my little brother fell 45 feet from a look out point at a park in a nearby town, while at a family reunion picnic. Thank God for my husband who scaled the bluff to try to rescue him and for my son who alerted us and for the amazing rescue team who was able to get him out.  It was straight out of a Rescue 911 episode. Except real… and not re-enacted for your viewing pleasure.

I wasn’t afraid to drive to Iowa City. In fact the thought never had crossed my mind that it would sneak up and haunt me.  But it did.  I don’t do that.  I don’t freak out.  I deal well with most things.  I cope well with most things.   I think what scared me most was how it took me off guard.  Then it was over as quickly as it started.  The rest of my drive was fairly uneventful.   Maybe this was my mourning.  Maybe this was my way of closure and coping. I really don’t know.   But now… He sleeps.  On my couch.  I had to go pick him up… I had to be with him tonight.

His face isn’t tarnished, except for a small Harry Potter-esqe scar on his forehead.  His back is still sensitive.  He did suffer a compression fracture to his spine after all… But HE his fine.  He is still my sweet amazing cocky little brother.  He still gets in trouble at school and gets mouthy with my mom.  We are so lucky to have him.  I could not imagine my life with out him.  I thank the good Lord every day for that.  My sweet bubba.

I Was Supposed To Have A Big Brother


I can’t believe you’re drinking again. In February it was a HUGE shock to learn that you’d started again after TEN FUCKING YEARS of sobriety. But now, 8 months later, it’s not that shocking. And it’s really no surprise that you’ve been at it for 6 months, either.

I know I should probably be all supportive and shit like I was last time. But quite frankly, I’m really pissed. Not only did you drink away your entire teenage years and your twenties, but you drank away all of your family, too. Including me, your little sister. You were supposed to BE THERE for me. You were supposed to be my big brother. But no, your drugs and alcohol were more important. Dad left, and then you left, leaving Mom and me wondering what the fuck happened.

And so I lived without a brother for 15 years. Entire years would go by that I didn’t know if you were alive or dead. But you finally got your life together, got sober and stayed that way for a long time. You got married to a wonderful woman and life was good. I was so proud of you.

So why did you have to go and fuck all of that up again? Are you TRYING to kill yourself?  Because that’s certainly where you’re headed, no doubt about it. You’re a 44-year-old smoker with diabetes and God knows what else. Let’s add some binge drinking into that equation and see where you come out. And if you do want to die, why not just get it over with? There are plenty of ways to get the job done faster.

If you don’t want to die, then ask for fucking help. I’m pretty sure you’re way past the point of being able to do this on your own. Man the fuck up and get treatment. Stop being such a selfish asshole. Do you even care what your behavior does to your wife, your stepchildren, your grandchildren, your parents and your sister? Yeah, remember us? We’re tired of this. Tired of getting our hopes up and then having them crushed. Tired of worrying and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Take the help now, brother, while it’s being offered. Because I’m afraid you’re not going to get many more chances.

Yes, this is harsh. I know my brother’s alcoholism is a disease, and that I have no clue what it’s like to be him. I’ll come around. But right now I just need to be mad.