I’m an ordinary person with (semi) ordinary desires. I was a skinny bitch before I got married, but six years later, I can’t even fit one leg into my old jeans. The youngest child of Bible-thumping Southern Baptists, I was an honors student, youth group member, and basically a good kid.
Until the boy next door.
Age 15, was determined to prove I was not the naive loser across the street, so I rebelled. I hated my life during high school. I hated the rules my family had – no one else’s family seemed so strict. I hated that I was different. I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder at eleven, I spent most of my teen years trying to be normal. I wanted to be like the other kids, not the freak who’d gained weight and slept too much thanks to her medicine. I managed to graduate from high school with honors, was accepted to an in-state, public university, and I was determined to help other freaks like myself.
Six months into college, I met my future husband. My husband wanted to start trying for kids immediately. I was an independent, stubborn college graduate who wanted a career before starting a family. But I’m only <insert age here>, and I’m just not ready for kids. I could have said that line in my sleep, I repeated it so often.
Finally (says my husband in the background – FINALLY!), I caved. Having been on various maintenance medications since adolescence, childbearing was not an overnight decision for me. Doctors had to be consulted, medications slowly eliminated from my bloodstream, alternative therapies considered.
After two months of planning, I threw away my birth control. My own little piece of feminine power was gone. After having had several pregnancy scares and supporting several friends through their unplanned pregnancies, I never dreamed it would be so hard.
31 cycles later, I’m still trying. Over two and a half years of sex on a schedule, peeing on sticks, and praying month after month after month. 26 months in, my husband finally agreed to be tested. The verdict? His swimmers are intact, mobile, and raring to go. Male ego still intact, he went with me for my tests. Blood tests, hormone levels, ovulation tests, all came back normal.
Until the HSG. One fallopian tube appears completely blocked. I have no idea why because my insurance won’t cover infertility testing and we can’t afford a specialist and exploratory testing. I have a few friends who know of and support our efforts, but no one really understands. How can they? Until you have faked a smile through baby showers and children’s birthday parties and yet another holiday during which Grandma asks when you will finally start a family, how would you know the constant emotional ache of an empty womb?
I’m scheduled for a consultation to see if an ovulation induction drug may help, but that’ll be out-of-pocket. I have no one who really understands what this feels like – the constant frustration and disappointment and guilt that I’m keeping my incredible, loving husband from being a father. In all fairness, my closest friends are wonderful and supportive, but I don’t want to be all whiney and “woe is me and my pitiful plight,” so I don’t really talk about it.
I feel the kick in the gut when yet another “guess who’s expecting!!!!!!!” post pops up on Facebook. I smile on the outside and congratulate the happy couple.
I ask myself why I didn’t start trying to have children earlier. I’m 28; he’s almost 31. If it was going to be this hard, I should’ve known somehow so I’d have more time to fight it. I should have known. Hell, I was on so many medications as a child, I’m surprised I haven’t sprouted gills. I didn’t get my period for two years as a side effect of one particularly difficult prescription.
I should have known.
The worst part is the fear that I somehow deserve this. I know intellectually I don’t, but what if this is God’s way of telling me that my genes don’t need to be passed on? Why should I force an innocent child to go through the hell I did as a kid? How fair is it to have kids, knowing there’s a 50% chance my child will be another “survivor” of my condition? What if this is punishment for being a rebellious teenager? I wasn’t a responsible kid; hell, most days I didn’t care if I got caught. What if I DO deserve infertility? What if I did this to myself? These words look so strange on the screen, but what if it’s true?
Yes, I’m asking the question that no couple struggling with infertility wants to ask and what no doctor says: what if this is my fault? How can I look my husband in the eye and tell him he picked a reproductive dud? How do I tell my parents who want a grandchild so badly?
And how do I go through the endless days in this haze of despair without someone who understands?
I didn’t know whether to post this here on Band Back Together. I know The Band is here for anything, but my life and my problems seem so…ordinary. I tell myself, you don’t have it so bad, you know. I don’t like to complain, and I don’t like to draw attention to my imperfections (hell, they do a good enough job on their own… no help needed, thank you very much).
But..I changed my life’s plans to have a family.
What if I gave up my dreams for nothing?