Infertility hurts

cymbalta

You’ve probably seen that television commercial for some drug that helps depression “Depression hurts”.  It depicts nice people who are apathetic towards things they used to love; they are sad, isolated, etc.  I would like to steal their tagline and write a few words about how infertility hurts…

My partner and I have been trying to conceive a child since about 14 months ago.  We knew we may be up against it, given my age, for one (38), and the fact that I had a history of breast cancer.  It was not the cancer itself, but rather the life saving chemotherapeutic medications I received that did a number on my little eggies…When my periods got back to normal within a year after the chemo was over, I had been hopeful that there would be good chance, but that didn’t prove to be the case.

Rather then get into all the clinical details of what we’ve been through, I wanted to talk about how it is affecting our day to day existence.  I thought that perhaps breaking it down into the parts of life that are affected would make the most sense.

Friends: By now, most of our friends are married with children.  Some have actually struggled with fertility issues themselves.  But now that the children are there and they are on the other side of it, they are busy with their new lives as parents.  It is hard to keep friendships up in the best of circumstances, given time constraints and schedules, etc etc.  But speaking for myself, it is becoming increasingly difficult to feel like I belong to their world anymore and I get the sense they feel similarly.

I have an increasing sense of isolation the more time passes and we still don’t have our own child.  I wrote a bit about this in my post “the island of misfit toys” where I mentioned that at least living in NY made us/me feel a little less like outcasts. But, as time passes and the frustrations continue to mount, even being NY is not as helpful.

I know it is my own construct.  I have a somewhat proud nature, always striving for perfection. It is hard being a total and utter failure at something and holding my head up high with those friends already “in the club”.  It is easier to just not call, not connect.  It is easier to just “go underground”.   I worry that they may blame my partner for secluding me, but it is all me…

Family: My mom has been really great.  She is the only one that I let in a little as to what has been going on.  But her instinct is to want updates and I hate talking about it except in the rare instance that I want to volunteer something.  I don’t mean to shut her out but I can’t help it.  Again, I think it gets at the sense of failure and sense of being a disappointment both to myself and to them.  My poor dad – I just don’t want to worry him, especially after the whole scare I gave them with my cancer episode. He is getting older – 85 and I dream of having a baby that he can meet before he passes on…

granddad

My brother and sister in law had also gone through a very similar issues trying to have kids. Eventually they got there and now have beautiful twins.  But somehow because they have their own stuff going on, I don’t ever feel compelled to share.  They look to me for support with their issues.  It doesn’t feel right for me to lean on them some how.  I don’t feel comfortable exposing a vulnerability.

My fiance’s mom and dad are also aware and have also been really supportive.  They are mostly concerned about my health, which is really sweet.  His brothers I am not ready to let in.  One has a beautiful little girl at a great age that he and his wife are enjoying…why spoil that with our problems?

Finances: We are extremely fortunate that thus far, we have had the income/savings to be able to afford all this treatment which is essentially not at all covered by insurance, despite living in at state that is supposed to have better rules about what must be covered. (My employer fits through a loophole and is able to opt out of coverage somehow.)  But it has put a huge damper on getting student loans paid off, getting our mortgage paid off, investing, living better, etc.

I know a lot of people are really struggling, so I don’t want to be a crybaby about it.  But we live pretty modestly.  I have become extremely cheap and it compounds all the other ratty feelings that have been invoked by infertility.  I never go clothes shopping lately despite living in a city with some of the best shopping in the world.  In my pre-infertile life I was generally a pretty happy-go-lucky-love-to-go-out-to-restaurants-and-operas-and-shows kind of gal…(supporting the economy, I liked to call it 🙂 )  But now, NY has become a tempting apple that I can see on the tree but dare not pluck…As I mentioned above, being in NY had previously been helpful in coping, in the sense that we were surrounded by other people in our age bracket without kids all around us.  But now as the time drags on and expenses mount, it is becoming a financial liability and a temptation I dare not fulfill, at least not too often.

tempting apple

Goals/Plans: Our wedding is on hold.  Any vacation/getaway is on hold.  Long term plans?  Forget that, we have to wait to see what happens.  We can’t make any plans beyond the upcoming weekend for fear it may run into a necessary office visit or step in the process…not to mention the funds…

We are getting close to a turning point in our current coarse of treatment.  My nurse thinks the odds are in our favor that we will at least clear the hurdle that cut us off the last time.  From there, other new hurdles will need clearing…

I have learned the fine art of patience…I thank God for my job which gets my mind off things for much of the day.  But the sadness sets in at night…

Thanks for listening,