Surprise! I’ve added a new category to this blog.
Fertility. But before you X-out, I promise there will be fun anecdotes relevant to many life things embedded within this new tale I’m telling.
But back to fertility for a sec, because, well, that’s the topic: a topic I’ve heard people fret over a great deal over the past few years. Especially 30-somethings. Which makes sense, since Mother Nature offers some pretty great gifts in some pretty small windows.
Sometimes it feels like there’s never enough time to make the right decision. But maybe that’s just my personality. I digress.
Fertility is also something I never really thought twice about. In fact, one of my early childhood memories of trying to understand where babies come from goes like this:
Me sloshin’ around on my parents’ water-bed (the 80s seemed to be a weird and wild time — I’m pretty bummed I was only around for the tail end of ’em) and dragging out story time with questions well beyond my comprehension.
Dad was the storyteller and Mom sang the songs. Dad did naps. Mom did bedtime. So Dad was the only one on duty this day. And bless him for carrying the full weight of the burden below…
The post-naptime-story I selected this particular day was, babies. Now, I’m not 100% sure why, but the idea of having children horrified me without really understanding how or, god forbid, why that whole process all went down.
But, I assumed it was inevitable. Mom had babies and I would grow up and have babies. It’s just the way it was.
What a revolting idea though. Little four-year-old me was already panicking.
“Dad, what if I don’t want to have babies?! Is there anything people can do to stop them from coming?!” I asked while looking him dead-in-the-eyes, wide-eyed and clutching the stuffed polar bear I’d had since the day I was born.
“Sure if that’s what you really wanted. You can take special vitamins,” he said without skipping a beat. So calm, cool, and collected.
How could he be so blatantly nonchalant about this, I must have thought… had I known what “nonchalant” or “blatantly” meant, of course.
He skipped over the chapter about how those vitamins are actually birth control pills and… come to think of it… he glossed right over the birth chapter too.
To be fair, I was four.
But I was onto this whole grotesque birthing thing, regardless… I’d seen my earliest not-so-glamorous birth shots. I saw my mom’s even less-glamorous shots with me on that “birth”day.
I knew it wasn’t gonna be pretty and I wanted nothing to do with it. And I was a very pro-active four-year-old (a lot’s changed, unfortunately).
“Ok, can I start taking them now, Dad? Please?! With my Flintstones and cereal,” I pleaded.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation because it was 27 years ago, but I know he said I was too young for those grown-up vitamins. He was kind and parental about it, I’m sure.
I had a lot of nightmares growing up — and I’m nearly positive that day was no exception.
Flash forward 27 years later and who would have thunk I’d be putting my body and bank account through the ringer in order to do the very thing my four-year-old self found so maddeningly distressing.
Especially after my doctors told me I was basically made for baby-making (in the least offensive way possible). Wide hips, perfect ovaries, high AHM (Antimullerian hormone), normal thyroid function, stellar ovarian reserves, and relatively young — 30 at the time of all the female fertility testing.
But lo! Here I am. And that $10k I referenced in the title: it’s for a couple weeks’ supply of the injections I’ll be mixing myself at home next week.
Don’t worry, my husband found a pharmacy in Massachusetts that is shipping them to us for half of that. Everything else is thousands more… (I have a really crazy story about all this financial burden coming later).
All in all, this is all pretty invasive and time-consuming, but hey… it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be.
Except don’t ask me to repeat that when I’m in the middle of a hormonal breakdown. I go back and forth between a bit of Jekyll and a little of Mr. Hyde lately.
Apologies to my friends, family, and colleagues. As if you needed a more dramatic version of me to deal with.
Anyway, I’ve started this blog because I’m hoping to build a community of humans going through all sides of this.
Whether you feel pressure to have kids but don’t want them. Want them, but can’t have them. Don’t know what you want. Whatever. I want to know your “why”. Because knowing “why” we make our choices isn’t always clear.
So we go through the motions until we have a breakthrough. And then that “why” emerges, through the beauty and the pain.
I’d like to share some beauty and some pain with people living out their own questions… figuring out their own “whys’, while navigating all their own beauty and painful bridges to get where they want to go.
I’ve gained at least some insights over the past several months and I’m looking to story swap with other females who’ve experienced fertility roadblocks — mental and physical ones alike.
For now, I’ve got quite a story to share with you. And I’m going to do my best to be 100% honest. I’m not going to dramatize every little appointment and setback, but I won’t minimize the sacrifice this choice requires.
And coming from a person who lives in a perpetual state of analysis-paralysis, every single decision in this process weighed on me like a ton of bricks.
Needless to say, I didn’t always deal with that well. So here’s a story of heartbreak, triumph, revelation, a few drunken meltdowns, and ultimately, my walk through IVF (in-vitro-fertilization).
I’ve avoided the issue, been bitter and envious about the issue… but mostly because I was just rolling through the motions in the early phases, not understanding (or maybe not wanting to deal with) the whole big picture.
Regardless, stay tuned. I think this story has a lot of intriguing plot twists. Spoiler alert: I just finished my last birth control pill last night (sounds counterintuitive, I know).
I start the super fun hormones Sunday night. The daily shots I must administer myself. Sidenote: up until high school, blood and needles could send me to the floor without a moment’s warning, so I guess you could say I’ve come a long way (always celebrate the little victories y’all!).
Jury’s out on who/what I’ll be the next few weeks. But rumor has it, I’ll be slightly less of an irritable monster, just a fatter one with new exaggerated feelings. Yay!
The doctor who trained us how to mix the chemical powders into their salines before injecting ourselves every AM and PM said we might even feel euphoric on these next rounds of hormones!
Funny (slash sad) hormone stories coming v soon. New updates on new hormones to follow after that. Thanks for tuning in for the intro/overview now though. And Godspeed to all you gals and gents in some form of your own “what-the-F” fertility/life journey.