Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now That I'm on the Other Side

This question was left in my comments:

“I was wondering if you would be willing to share your thoughts on infertility now that you have had a baby? Do you feel that it has erased the bad feelings associated with the last few years of TTC? When do you think you will try again for #2? Will you go back to the RE right away or try on your own for a while?”

I’m always scared to write about infertility now.

While I was pregnant, I wrote about weight gain anxiety, and was summarily ripped a shiny new gaping asshole.

And maybe you’re thinking that I exaggerate.

I moderated two comments, and also got a handful of HATEFUL emails. Calling me a train wreck, narcissistic. Calling me pathetic.

All of those things are somewhat true, but hey! I don’t need to hear it from people because I already know. I was accused of being a piss poor infertile for talking about…pregnancy? I guess?

(I do fully realize that I am a narcissistic pathetic train wreck, but at least be accurate. I mean, I like Britney Spears and watch The Hills. And I have a blog, for the love of the sweet baby jesus.)

So what I’m taking way too long to say is this: I am going to answer these questions. And you are welcome to disagree with me. Welcome, I say! But if you plan to disagree with me via Blogger comment, then do so respectfully. Don’t hide under the cloak of anonymity and attack me personally, because you are only making yourself look stupid and I will reject it anyway. I already know that you think I am lame and that my ass looks fat in these pants….

(…and all pants, if we’re being totally honest, because I have developed a very serious case of shovel butt.)

(Like someone smacked me in the ass with a huge shovel?)

(Flat and smooshy.)

Do you want to know what I think about infertility? I think it is unfair. I think it sucks. I think that people are so ignorant about infertility that it makes me wish that I could breathe fire. I am tired of the only public examples being Jon and Kate Gosselin and Nadya Suleman. And Michael Jackson.

I think that I need to calm down, because my bitterness is showing in the most unflattering Tara- Reid-Boob-Exposure kind of way.

* Ahem*

No. Having a baby hasn’t erased all my bitterness toward the overtly fertile. Dulled it? Perhaps. But I still have inappropriate reactions to unplanned pregnancies. I cannot be the person who will feel bad for you or agonize with you when you are not using birth control and are SHOCKED! when you have sex and * gasp * get pregnant.

I cannot be the person who feels bad for you because you have been trying to get pregnant for three months and it is upsetting you.

I have a bit of a hierarchy of happiness, if you will, when it comes to being able to relate to people who are trying to get pregnant. Kind of like a second grade math type of thing…

Trying to get pregnant for 3 months
is less than…
Having to do a cycle of Clomid,
which is less than…
Clomid with IUI,
which is less than…
IUI with injectibles,
which is less than…
IVF,
Which is less than…
Multiple IVFs,
Etcetera.

I have a strange, stalkeresque feeling of instant friendship with anyone who has done IVF. Like, I feel the need to instantly overshare about my vagina and Mark’s sperm. More than I feel the need to overshare about that on a regular basis, anyway.

We do want to have another baby. At least one, I think. We’ve got 11 frozen babies waiting for us at the Cleveland Clinic – I wave to them when I go to the mall next door to the Clinic. “Hellewwww ice baybees! Mommy needs some new shoes!”

I’m pretty sure I’ll never do another fresh IVF. If these frozens don’t work, then I’m done with the drugs and the stirrups and the vag cam. That entire experience was hard on me, and I’m enjoying it’s fading from my memory too much to want to bring it back.

I’m way too busy trying to (unsuccessfully) bring sexy back, anyway.

I don’t know that we will ever “try on our own.” When I decide it’s time to try again, I’ll go to the Clinic and have them load me up. We will not be using birth control, though.

But if one more person tells me just how fertile I am right now, my head will probably explode because seriously. My giving birth has nothing to do with the state of the sperm.

What do you guys think? If you have been through infertility, how would you answer those questions?

65 comments:

jenn said...

i'm in my second ivf cycle (after my first one failed last month...ugh). and i was sorta curious if i'll ever feel not so bitter about all this. i hope some day i'm pregnant and this will all be a distant memory. for now though, it just plain sucks.

Ricci said...

I've never been through infertility or the treatments but I have been around enough family and friends who have. I just want to say that I agree - IT SUCKS! You shouldn't be ashamed or stoned for having a fear of gaining weight once you get pregnant. You shouldn't be judged for complaining about pregnancy symptoms, because you went through hell to get there. I have more but I'll stop now and just say, I love this post.

Marie said...

I don't really have anything to add to this due to the fact that sometimes I feel like a fertility fraud. I got pregnant a month before my first RE appointment and I am sure that would make some a little green and totally understand. I also was dealing with secondary and that always made me feel a little craptastic. But, the pain I felt was/is very real and the loiness protection I feel over this little baby is so fierce that it sometimes scares me. If you want a child and have complications then it hurts. Period.

P.S.
If you are taking blogging requests, I would LOVE to hear more about gestational diabetes. I have it and am driving myself crazy and am full of questions. I have looked at your archives and couldn't find much about it but I do know you were diagnoses. Perty Please??

Leah said...

I think people are stupid. The end.

I completely agree with what you are saying. We are part of a club, not by choice, that you can't possibly understand without having walked in our shoes. I am 33 weeks pregnant (after 4 years and multiple miscarriages and fertility treatments including IVF) and still feel like I will never have a baby. It's terrifying! And I, like you, don't feel sorry when you've been trying for sooooooooooooo long...it's been a whole 3 months and I had to use Clomid to get pregnant and it was so hard. blah blah blah. I try to be sensitive because everyone has a story and their own feelings. But Damn! Clomid? By itself? Lucky dogs!

I think that people should just stop asking stupid questions and mind their own business. I also think that when people ask stupid questions that they should promptly be smacked in the mouth. I've seen so many people hurt by things that strangers say. And instead of standing up for themselves, they sit back with mouth hanging open, feeling defeated. We have to put on our boxing gloves and stand up to stupid aholes. Not sure if that answered your question of not but I'm getting fired up! Getting out of control!! =)

Anonymous said...

I tried for years to get pregnant with my first, who was born 5 months ago. After all of that trouble and all of the artificial hormones, I swore off birth control, and we were going to decide about treatments for #2 at a later date.

...And Here I am expecting #2 in February. I'm going to have Irish Twins.

momofonefornow said...

I am pretty low on the hierarchy. We tried for 4 years before a doc finally allowed us to do a clomid cycle. I got KU'd on our first month of clomid. So, like I said, pretty low. However, those 4 frustrsating years when we weren't getting the help we needed put me through hell. I watched my sister-in-laws get pregnant a total of 6 times before I did. That was so very hard for me. I have also tried about 8 medicated cycles over the last 4 years with no luck. My wasband didn't want to do IUI's or IVF's.(I believe this was an insecurity thing on his part) So I basically had to give up.

As far as how it feels, I still get angry when I see people treating their children as if they are dispensable. I hate it when teenage girls get knocked up, and I rage for the IFer's around me that want a baby so bad but never get that coveted second line. What I am trying to say is that as far as I can tell this horrid feeling never goes away. It is kind of like losing your virginity, you don't ever get that innocence back. Once an IFer, always an IFer.

annacyclopedia said...

I read always but rarely comment, but this has been on my mind a lot lately, so I'll jump in. I'm currently pregnant for the first time and am coming up on 25 weeks - so far, so good. I also run our local IF support group and have been struggling about how involved to be because I'm worried about hurting others with my presence or talking about some of the things that are still on my mind from our IF experience. We used DI to get pregnant, and will have to do it again if we want more kids - my IF will never go away unless I leave my husband. So while I don't want to spend my whole life lugging around a big "we're infertile!" sign and turning that into my whole identity, I know that as long as I'm in the family building mindset, it will never go away. And even afterwards, this experience has shaped who I am. So while I think it's possible to heal from IF and move on and not dwell in the worst of the pain forever, at the same time, it's something that each of us has to negotiate for ourselves. Nobody can tell us what our own process is or should be. The idea of someone telling me (actually, it's already happened a few times) that I shouldn't give up hope and I might get pregnant "naturally" with my husband really, really pisses me off - at this point, I wouldn't even wish for that. It would cast so much doubt on our choices up to this point and make things so hard - if we are lucky enough to have other kids, I hope they are conceived the same way this one was and using the same donor.

Basically, I object to anyone telling me what I should be feeling. Being told I should be grateful when I express fear or anxiety about this pregnancy or how we're going to handle disclosing DI to our child - like you said, it makes my head explode. Just cause I'm scared or uncertain sometimes doesn't mean I'm less grateful.

Awesome post. And sorry for the novel.

SmartAssMom said...

I'd answer them very much like you - except I don't have any frozen embies so I'm a little bitter about that. Heh.

The rawness of infertility fades with a baby, but I think most of the other issues stick around. I was JUST rolling my eyes at someone who was scared they couldn't have a baby because they've been trying for 2 months and aren't pregnant. I think the difference is the infertile me without my daughter would have ripped into her. The infertile me with my daughter just rolled my eyes and will spend way too much time thinking about it today.

And I can't tell you how many times I've heard the "you're going to get pregnant" since having my daughter. Eleven months ago. Almost a year. With no birth control. One more month and I'm technically infertile again, right?

For us, we won't do another IVF either - and my chances are very slim without intervention. So we're likely one and done. But there was a time when that one was extraordinarily unlikely so we're ok with that. Besides, that newborn stage is so overrated.

Monty said...

I got pregnant easily - I just didn't have healthy pregnancies. My first was molar. I had a d&c at 9 weeks, followed by 10 weeks of chemo and a 6 month wait. Then I got pregnant again and had a m/c at 6 weeks.

Right now I'm almost 20 weeks pregnant and still get jealous when people announce a pregnancy.

How to answer the question: No, it doesn't erase the bad feelings, the pain or the heartache. It makes it worth it. I am not the same person I was before all that. I changed completely. Some for the better but more for the worse. I alienated myself from a lot of people and I'm a lot more blunt in everyday conversation. I don't hide the fact this is my 3rd pregnancy. I'm still scared to death something will go wrong. I wish miscarriage and IF weren't so taboo and I wish people thought before they spoke.

Along the lines of 'just relax' how many times do you hear 'just adopt'? Ha.

I hope I won't be bitter forever, but every new *surprise* pregnancy that goes perfectly is a knife to the chest.

It's hard to cross-over from infertile to pregnancy to mom. I feel like I'm leaving friends behind. It's a hard gap to bridge. As much as I try to be considerate of their feelings I hope they will be considerate of mine. As many times as I cried over pregnant women at the grocery store I feel like I'm the bad guy now. Weird transition...

Now that I’ve written a freaking book, I’m curious to see how everyone else responds.

Jennifer said...

It's like you're reading my mind! On our third IVF attempt we got a BFP, but it's early and we still have a long way to go. I feel like I still deserve my "badge of honor" even if I have a baby. Thanks for this blog - it is exactly how I'm feeling.

Emily said...

I feel the same, although the kid hasn't come out yet.

I am jealous of your ice babies. I've done 2 fresh IVF's and have nothing remaining. Will have to do another fresh IVF... or 2... or 3... if we want to have 1 more kid.

Kerri said...

Loved this post. I am pregnant now after 2 years of TTC and one IUI with injectables cycle (and a surgery to remove endo- maybe that moves me up a notch on the hierarchy?!). I feel like I have to be so careful about what I post on my blog now, because I don't ever want to come off as being ungrateful or complaining about this pregnancy when I know how much it sucks going through infertility. I think you're right-pregnancy (and being a mom) kind of dulls the pain of infertility a little bit. It's not the focal point of your thoughts anymore. But you don't ever forget it, and you're still changed because of it. Oh, and as a sidenote- I always read your blog while I was going through IF, even though it was pregnancy-related. I didn't care when you complained about pregnancy-related things. I thought it was funny and it gave me something to look forward to. I don't understand people who feel otherwise.

Kathleen said...

Hey Jen. Thanks for writing this post! We tried to get pregnant for almost 2 years before success. Injectable hormones with IUI did the trick once we finally decided to try it. Soon after I got pregnant, the bitter, jealous edge of hearing about other pregnancies began to wear off, but it never went away completely. It was still there, it just depressed me less. The same goes for the mommy jealousy-- now I look at new moms and don't feel the need to glare at them anymore, but I do assume they had none of my infertile heartache and am jealous. I am always grateful of the women at the moms groups I go to who volunteer the fact that they had trouble getting pregnant. I always want to go hug them! I also notice a deeper appreciation for their babies in these women than in other women. YES, everyone there appreciates and loves their babies, but there's just a different level of gratitude, I guess. I've also noticed that more of the infertile mommies plan to stay home and not return to work than the other mommies. Interesting...

As for #2-- yeah, it's annoying all over again when people suggest that all our problems might be solved now that I've had one successful pregnancy. I'm pretty sure they won't be. So we're not going to use birth control. Why bother? If we end up with a surprise pregnancy, we'll welcome it. But I really doubt this will happen. I do feel pretty confident that injectables and IUI will work again for us when we chose to try again. And that feels good-- that desperate despair that came with our first seemingly hopeless TTC attempts, the feelings that it might never happen for us, the thoughts of a childless future-- those feelings are thankfully gone. I wouldn't wish those feelings on anyone, and I'm grateful they have passed for us.

Stacey said...

I couldn't agree with every comment anymore! Especially the comments that I receive on a daily basis about how fertile I am, and that I will indeed get pregnant very soon! Hellloo...I wasn't the only one with the issue. I don't think me giving birth has ANYTHING to do with the number or the state of my husbands sperm! Thank you for saying many time what I would like to say!

dreamsandfalsealarms said...

I think that MF is the hardest for people to get their heads around. RIght after telling someone that my husband has a translocation, explaining what it was, and why in our case his sperm are just not viable, she pulled out the pregnant after adoption card! Its like I told her I had my arm amputated, and she said "But, it might grow back! they're doign amazing things with genetic engineering these days!"

Cort said...

I'm about 24 weeks pregnant after four years of infertility and one round of IVF (with no frozen embryos, which I'm pretty disappointed about).

I'm cranky. I'm tired. I don't really enjoy this whole pregnancy thing (although, my boobs are FABULOUS). I don't like being kicked in the bladder while I'm in court (I'm a court reporter). I don't like randomly gagging while I brush my teeth (which I thought was over after the first trimester, but was reminded a few days ago that NO. IT IS NOT. CRAZY BITCH). I don't like gaining weight, regardless of the fact that none of it has landed anywhere besides my belly and boobs (again, YAY BOOBS!).

So I'll probably get my ass handed to me, too. Feel free to visit my blog to do so! I will erase your comments, probably. Whatever.

I still hate the overtly fertile. I still can't bring myself to go to my sister-in-law's surprise baby shower this weekend, because, dude, this is your third baby, and according to the etiquette gods, YOU ONLY GET ONE BABY SHOWER. This rule does not have the caveat "Except when you switch baby-daddies each time." Also, please learn to keep your legs closed, and maybe take a 5th grade educational course on where babies come from, because you don't seem to be grasping it. I'm basing this on the shocked, "OMG, I'm pregnant. How did that happen?" reaction we all get from you every single time. And, if you marry this guy, the third of your husbands (and may I remind you, you're only 25) I'm not going to the fucking wedding.

So, um, I have some issues with that. Issues with people constantly getting pregnant when they, in my obviously correct and holier-than-thou opinion, have no freaking business doing so. Not because it affects me in any way. Not even necessarily because I can't do the same thing (although I'm jealous), but because those people are usually damaging their children.

People who get pregnant easily who can afford to care for their children and who can emotionally support them? Eh, fine. I'm happy for them. I don't wish infertility on anyone. Still, I wish they could at least PRETEND it took them more than an hour of trying to conceive.

Infertility leaves major scars. I spent the first four months or so of my pregnancy unhappy, terrified that at some point the bottom was going to fall out, I was going to miscarry, and blah, blah, blah. That's what you expect when you're infertile, because you are inundated with those stories. You're "around" more people who have had that happen (by "around" I mean on internet chatboards and such, usually, but sometimes fellow infertiles come out of the woodwork around you). It hurts. It will always hurt. I will always be bitter about it to some extent.

But, you know, I'm also grateful for it. Yep, you heard me right. The fact that I hated going through the infertility process for four very long years does not negate the fact that I NEEDED to go through it. When we started trying, it wasn't the right time for us to have a baby. Now it is. When we started trying, had I gotten pregnant right away, I don't think I would have appreciated it as much. Now I will. I'm a much different person now, and will be a much different parent than I would have been four years ago. And that difference is a good one.

We probably will try on our own for a few months for baby #2 the end of next year, but we will not be holding our breath. Then we will move on to injections with IUI (and pray for non-multiples), and if that doesn't work, we will move on to IVF again, I suppose, although I'm not too excited about that prospect. It WILL NOT take me another four years to conceive though. I won't wait to see a specialist like I did this time, listening to my incompetent doctor who knew nothing about infertility. Now I know what works, and we're going to run with it.

Bean said...

Thanks for writing this. It's a topic that I've been thinking about a lot lately, and I find it interesting to see what others have to say about it. Plus you always make me laugh out loud (thanks for that!).

Ann M. said...

I got pregnant easily--four times in two years--and miscarried the first three. We have military healthcare and it sucks. I lost the first one all alone while my husband was on a deployment. I couldn't even call him. The second was a missed miscarriage that I carried a whole trimester, just hoping they were wrong. When I called to cancel the last sonogram after I'd lost the baby and nearly bled to death was the ONLY time anybody ever said that they were sorry about what happened.

We kept our mouths shut for so long about the last pregnancy because we were just so afraid it would be taken away too. I keep telling my husband that I don't want to try again because I just don't want to do any of this again. I don't know if I can. Especially because I do feel like I'd be in that "oh, shut up, you have a kid so you're not really infertile" club and feel even more lost.

Minta said...

I'm not on the mommy side of infertility, yet, but ti's nice to read about those who are. I look forward to joining you one day.

I have a hierarchy, too, of how intertile you have to be for me to not feel bitter about your being pregnant. Of course I don't mean "you" as in *you* but you as in everyone who is not me. There is the factor of miscarriage on my hierarchy though.

Also, I think it is so wrong for anyone to judge an infertile pregnant woman for complaining about being uncomfortable during pregnancy. So. very. wrong. You can be greatful and uncomfortable at the same time. It's a lot like men being hungry & horny at the same time.

Julia said...

I couldn't have sad it any better.

I'm not jumping right back into to IVF any time soon. I too am enjoying the break.

As for the comments. They can kiss my shovel butt!!!!

niobe said...

I think there's something wrong with me. Because even though we did two IVFs (first time with me and second time with a gestational surrogate) and are currently doing an FET (with a different gestational surrogate), I've never really had any bitterness about infertility per se.

Though I've had far more than my share of bitterness about the twins that we lost following IVF #1, so maybe it all evens out.

Anonymous said...

I just gave birth to our daughter in March after 12 (yes, 12!!) years of infertility, with three pregnancy losses (two ectopics, one miscarriage) during that time. I went through nine rounds of clomid, acupuncture, numerous herbal remedies, specialized pelvic therapy- you name it, I probably tried it. I watched everyone - family and friends - around me become pregnant. I suffered from a lot of anxiety. I wondered if our time would ever come. We finally tried IVF last July and were absolutely thrilled to be successful. We couldn't be happier to have our baby girl.

I will always remember the pain of infertility, but finally my focus on that has gone. So much time and energy was spent on ttc. Now it is being spent on our baby. I don't feel bitter. But just like you, Jen, I don't want to hear about how someone has been trying for a few months without success. There is no way I could sympathize with them. I also feel a connection with others who have gone through fertility struggles and done IVF to have their babies.

Sara said...

Let me share my infertility story. I think I'm low on the heirarchy, but it was a battle just the same. Baby G turns one tomorrow, so this is definitely on my mind right now.

After several failed Clomid cycles, I moved onto Femera, then Femera plus Metformin. I went in for my routine blood check to see if I had ovulated and was told that I didn't. The doctor said we could do injectibles next, but DH and I had already decided that if pills didn't work then we'd adopt. I have PCOS, so I didn't want to go further, to the "harder" treatments, just to have a miscarriage. Mentally, I knew I couldn't do it.

Imagine our surprise when we find out the last "failed" cyle of drugs worked. I didn't know until I was 8 or so weeks along. Wonderful! Best news ever! Due date August 24, 2008.

I was hospitalized on July 9 with pre-eclampsia. I went to the doctor one morning and he told me I couldn't even go home to pack. He put me in a wheelchair instead and brought me to the mother/baby ward. I was going to be there until 37 weeks and be induced/c-section, or the baby came, whichever happened first. Baby came first. 6lbs, 4.5oz 6 week early Baby G. 10 day NICU stay, but really healthy considering.

I struggled with PPD. I couldn't get over the feeling that my body had failed me and my baby. First, I couldn't get pregnant then couldn't stay pregnant. I know that isn't necessarily a logical thing to believe, but I think as women we're so hard on ourselves. As women, we are *supposed* to have no problem getting pregnant or staying pregnant. To have that perfect pregnancy ideal pushed on you your whole life and then to "fail" at it is hard. For me, it's still hard today.

DH wants another, like now. I'm pretty sure I'm done at one. He stuck by my side through everything, but he'll never begin to understand how I feel about everything we/I went through. Pre-e could have killed me. I'm at high risk for another preemie already having one. PPD. Oh, let's not even talk about PPD. I'm *still* seeing a counselor.

Anyway, I wrote a novel and I'm feeling weepy with the big first birthday coming up, but so incredibly happy to have my little girl.

KimboSue said...

Seems like all of us Infertile Moms feel the same way you do Jen!

I will never give up my IF badge. I am proud of the fact that I was able to conquer it, but will NEVER, EVER forget where I came from. Between male factor (low count, varicocele, poor morphology, slow mobility) and female factor (annovulation, slight PCOS, slight overweight, thin lining) it truly is a miracle that we were able to conceive. And after 4 IUI's with clomid and injectibles out the ass, I am so glad we did it because my little man is the sweetest thing in the universe. NOM, NOM, NOM.

But I digress...it will never "erase" all those feelings I had. They will remain in the back of my mind. And it is like a knife to the heart every time I hear a pregnancy announcement - especially surprises. GRRR.

If we were going to have #2 (which we aren't because DH will be 55 this year - although I am still considered in the UNadvanced maternal age category) we would most definitely go back to the RE. I really don't want to have my husband and my baby in walkers at the same time.
:0)

Michelle said...

I'm backwards and mixed up. We had a referral to the RE when I got pregnant with my son three years ago this October. I just started my third injectibles IUI cycle to try to have a second. Anyone who says a successful pregnancy "cures" you can suck it.

I will say it makes me sort of sad that people rank infertility treatments. You either can get pregnant and carry a live baby without medical help or you can't. We divide ourselves even more when we rank our treatments and what we need to be doing is holding each other up with love and support.

I'll put my hippie pants away now.

PJ said...

I am so annoyed that anyone would write you hateful comments or hate mail! I will beat them up, ok?

I can't imagine that those feelings of infertilty ever fully go away, especially if you've really been through the trenches. And I totally agree about there being a hierarchy.

It's AWESOME that you have 11 freezerbabies. That is like the perfect number for future use. :)

Amanda said...

I am like a previous poster...I had no trouble getting pregnant but staying pregnant was an entirely different story. It's interesting to hear from an infertility standpoint though - thanks for posting your thoughts and experience. I do wonder what is going to happen to your "11 frozen babies" once you're done with them...(quoting you directly so that no one accuses me of changing the language to something 'crazy pro-lifers' would say.) It seems very sad that you already refer to them as babies but they'll probably just be thrown away or destroyed. Doesn't seem right. That's my beef with IVF, but again, I've never been there so I'm sure my opinion means as much to you as used toilet paper. ;-)

calliope said...

still bitter but a bit less.

pregnantpause said...

When I was 20 years old, I became pregnant. Needless to say, it was kind of a shocker. I was still in college and not at all equipped to deal with a baby. But I got over it, grew up and fell in love with my daughter the minute I met her. That was 13 years ago. 5 years ago I was married to a wonderful man who is a fabulous husband and the best step-father my daughter could ever have.

We started trying four years ago and a year later were told that I had endometriosis and he had low morphology. I had to have surgery, which was horrible. Afterwards they told us that IVF was our only option. I was so depressed. At this point all my friends and cousins were getting married and starting their families. I basically had to watch while everyone I knew got pregnant one by one, and then in some cases, got pregnant again. I didn't know how to feel. I was hsppy for them, I went to their showers and held their babies. But I was also very bitter and envious.

I know that some people thought I was stupid to have a baby when I was so young. But I couldn't help feeling over the last few years that God gave her to me then because he knew I couldn't have one later. I knew I should be greatful for the child I had, but I couldn't help wanting to share that experience with my husband. He deserved it as much as I did.

For the last two years we did nothing because we could not afford IVF. My insurance did not cover it and where I live it costs about $30,000. We don't exactly keep that lying around! Finally we were in a position to start putting money aside and we were planning on being able to start in September.

Three weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. I still don't know how it happened. I am in a state of shock. We've already been to the Doctor and seen the heartbeat but I still can't believe I am going to have a baby. Only time will tell if I get to keep this pregnancy, but I don't think I will ever forget the fear and anxiety of the last four years. I am hoping that I will be able to start enjoying this experience once I'm past my first trimester. I've waited so long for this, I want to enjoy every minute. It's kind of hard when you are barfy and gaggy and afraid of miscarriage though. By the way my sister is also infertile (she has pcos but has had a child) is already planning my shower. Not all IFs are bitter and can't be happy for new mommies.

Cort said...

I have one more story to share. When we were on our third year of IF treatments with no end in sight, my cousin got married. She started trying to get pregnant immediately. Two weeks later she was going on abuot af ight she and her husband had, and how he walked out of the house, and how mad she was because, "He was walking out on me and possibly his unborn child."

Oh. My. God.

A week or so later I got a text: "Bad news. I'm not pregnant."

Bad news?

BAD. NEWS?

That's not even news, you psycho! One month, that's all you've been trying! ONE STINKING MONTH. I was so pissed. I sent her a long e-mail trying to explain that I couldn't be her sounding board for this. I was very nice about it. A lot nicer than I felt she deserved at that point. She got mad. I basically told her she could go fuck herself.

And oh, BTW, she ended up being pregnant. Must have been implantation bleeding or something.

We're still friends now. We got over it. But not because I apologized. I had NOTHING to apologize for. I had suffered enough, and I certainly wasn't going to suffer over her inconsideration for my struggle.

Yes, we are all entitled to feel how we feel, but if you're going to vent to someone about it, know your audience. Because until you reach about the year point, I'm going to have very little sympathy for your "struggle."

Amy M said...

I've read your blog since you were at Redbook and rarely comment, but you bring up some good points here. I have 2 kids from 4 cycles of ivf with icsi. They are 8 and 3. The sting never goes away. I still am bothered by pregnancy announcements from people who are super fertile or weren't trying. I'm especially bothered by parents who abuse their kids. And, as evidenced by the fact that I've followed your story, the secret sorority is still hard to leave. Am I thankful for my kids? Absolutely! Do I treasure them more than those who didn't struggle to get pregnant? I think so. And maybe that is the payoff. We know how close we came to not meeting these incredible children and we make every moment with them matter.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do in the future. It's worth it!

Shannon said...

I just think you're incredibly funny. I laugh every time you post. It makes all this infertility nightmare more bareable. Thanks for being honest, crass, and seriously funny.

P.S. Your little girl is adorable.

Alison said...

I've been reading your blog for quite a while and am glad you've brought up this subject. I get pregnant quite easily but have had numerous late miscarriages and only one successful pregnancy. My daughter is now 2 years old and I still feel pangs when people announce their pregnancies, especially when they are still quite early on.

People have started asking when we'll try for another child and to be honest, I'm not really sure I can handle 40 weeks of stress, dead baby thoughts and knicker watch. Pregnancy is not a joyous carefree time for us.

I feel that having a successful pregnancy can numb the pain of pregnancy loss and infertility but that you're never really "cured".

battynurse said...

I don't quite get why people think that the pain of infertility just goes away. Yes I'm sure it may become less of an acute ache and maybe more of a chronic one but the life you had planned turned out different, sometimes drastically so. You end up bargaining and accepting whatever you can get. I'm probably not saying this right. I always wanted to have at least 2 kids. At 39, broke, after 2 failed IVF's with my own eggs I can say I will never cycle again with my own eggs. If I do cycle again with donor eggs or embryos it will likely only be one more time and if I don't have twins I will have one child. I will love that child like crazy but will always feel a little bad that I couldn't give it a sibling and yes there will always be a small part of me that will sort of resent those who can make their family plans and carry them out without a hitch.

WannabeMommy said...

Dang... thanks for that post. Because I was soo ready to start hating you for being all "Infertile? ME?? Oh no.. I'm a MOMMY now." Good to know you haven't forgotten where you came from ;-)

Lindsay said...

I have never left a comment before on your blog, though it has been entertaining me for quite some time. (the post that hooked me? the one where you list the things you should never say to an infertile. I still go look at it for a laugh!) I actually came across it AFTER dealing with IF. I decided to comment on this particular post because I feel that the scar of IF has marked me, and I will forever be different because of it. My journey was different than yours, I did not use IVF. My husband I were almost on our way to Vietnam to adopt when I got pregnant. (to which I feel it necessary to explain that our urologist told us the fact that we got pregnant on our own was truly like winning the lottery based on his counts. Anyway, I just wanted to say that it makes me sad to know that people would leave you such rude comments. I think you are absolutely hilarious, fat jokes and all...maybe its because I too am on the other side, but can't one infertile feel happy for one who has trekked through it and made it to that other side? Doesn't it at the very least give people hope? I do remember all too well hating when pregnant people bitched about it...I know it hurts, but this is a blog. Dont read it if it bothers you! Anyway that is my two cents. Congrats to you on your beautiful daughter! And thank you for providing me with such great entertainment!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, thanks for addressing this. I just had my first child with donor egg IVF. I hoped those pangs of frustration and envy when my friends got pregnant easily would end when I got pregnant myself, or when my ultrasound looked good, or when I had a healthy child. Not quite so. It takes a while to unlearn all the triggers that set off my grief and bitterness (I had years to practice those). But to those going through this, please don't discount donor egg if it is an option for you. Once I made the decision, I have NEVER looked back with regret or been sad that the child I carried was only possible with someone else's generosity.

kerri said...

After 4 years of trying... 1 miscarriage... 7 rounds of clomid... 3 rounds of injects with IUI, two surgeries and in the middle of our first (and hopefully only) IVF it never gets easier. we get questions all the time. we are the only couple in our "groups" to not have a baby or be pregnant and we've been together longer than any of them.

i was actually told by someone with 3 children that i was LUCKY to be infertile. b/c she has 3 kinds and going through a divorce b/c babby daddy is a douche she thinks not having kids at all is a blessing.

i would give anything to be able to have a baby with my husband. i don't want a ton of kids. this journey has been long, draining (emotionally and financially) and nerve wracking. i'm lucky to have a man so supportive of our dream.

thank you for your post. it's perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I was pretty high up the IF chain...4 m/c with natural pregnancies (including one at 5 months) then...2 clomid 3IUI and 3 IVFs - pregnant with twins on the 3rd one and delivered 10 weeks ago. I have to say that for me - the pain of IVF and more importnatly the loss of my son at 21 weeks has largely disappered with the birth of the babies. (It may just be because i am sleep deprived). i have tremendous sympathy for those walking the road - but my own personal hell seems to be much behind me. (I hope)

Ivy said...

I just get pissed with people's ignorant comments about IF. My DH and I tried for a good 4 yrs, and we are now 27w along after ivf w/ icsi. I don't think about the wait and the tears and the drugs and the vag cam anymore... but I did happen to meet an Obstetrician the other day who actually had the gall to say "you can't be 100% certain that you didn't get pregnant naturally, can you? I'm just very cynical about the IVF process" Uhm WHAT!?! I almost smacked her on her smug ass nose. Uggh.

Bekah said...

Hell yes, I'm still bitter. Just because I finally had a baby doesn't mean I forgot how sucky the whole infertile experience was. And I'm so effing tired of people assuring me that having a baby will "fix" my body. Well, it's not going to do anything for my husband's sperm!

We'll never use birth control, but when we're serious about having another baby, it will be off to the clinic again.

Mintfree7 said...

I still feel strange being on the other side. I have 2 kids now one from IVF #2 and on from a FET, that I am so greatful for. But for some reason I still can't get rid of my left over IVF drugs and stuff...I don't plan on doing another cycle yet I can't let go. Sigh.

One thing that annoys me the most is when fertile friends who know I did IVF ask me when I am having another. WTF? I don't think they have a clue what it took to get the 2 kids I have. Anyway, at the moment I am enjoying the 2 kids I was lucky enough to have.

One thing that I just had to mention Jen (because I thought you might find it funny/and or strange)
I got an email on my birthday from my fertility clinic wishing me a happy birthday and a note that said they hope to see me soon! SAY WHAT? I wonder if they send these to everyone???? I mean I know I am getting older but dang on.

Karla said...

We're somewhere in the middle of your hierarchy (which is about the same for me btw). We tried 3 years to get P. We did two IUI's which both failed and I decided that's all that I could handle and we were done. Of course then six months later we got pg so I got to listen to all of the "I TOLD you if you just relaxed and didn't TRY..." bs. We had the lovely "unexplained" IF lable so no one really knows why we were suddenly able to get pg after three years. We then tried for a year for a 2nd baby (again w/ unexplained IF) before we decided we were just done w/ one because I didn't want to go through more IF drama.

Like you said I still have some serious reactions to people that obviously should never have been able to reproduce, and those "surprises" (My SIL has FOUR surprises btw so I get to hear about that a lot *rolls eyes*).

I'm also still a pretty big IF advocate and quick to tell someone my opinion about their ignorant assumptions of what IF and AI are.

I guess that IF was such a huge part of my life for so long that it's just kind of stuck there permenately even though my son is now four.

Karla said...

I should add though that having my son does make the feelings of IF fade a little bit for me. I can at least now (remember he's four) think about our journey to have him w/o ending up in tears and feeling angry, but that took awhile even after he was born.

Annabelle said...

Thanks for this post. Going through infertility and STILL being childless - in part, by choice - makes me feel like I don't belong anywhere.

We are pretty low on the hierarchy - but more because we chose to stop after IUI's. That was one of the most difficult decisions of our lives. But since no one could tell us why we can't get pregnant (we went from hydrosalpinx + probable endo --> surgery --> nope! tubes look great! must be MF --> nope! the counts/morphology look good --> must be some unexplained tubal thing) AND since we can't afford IVF, we decided to stop. No one can understand this decision - even friends who have had difficulty getting pregnant.

Am I bitter? Yes. Do I feel guilty when I enjoy a child-free evening with my husband? Yes. Is this how I ever thought my life would turn out? No. Am I tired of hearing the "oh, just relax, it'll happen", "oh, just adopt" comments? Abso-f-ing-lutely.

Anonymous said...

I want to light those who are ignorant about fertility treatments ON FIRE! I hate, hate how stupid people are in reference to infertility. My daughter is 10 months old. She was a result of IVF #1, after 4 failed IUI's. I have an appt. in 2 hours for TTC #2, because we may move out of state from our wonderful insurance that ::gasp:: pays for IVF, so we have to hustle up and see if I can get KU on IVF #2 as quickly as possible. If not, it will be 5-7 years before we could have a savings account to pay for OOP cost of IVF. Sadly, despite 42 eggs, we have no frozen embies.
While that will be wild fun (IVF#2), I feel lucky to have one child and insurance (if even temporarily) towards the cost of #2. I know I'm lucky. What I don't feel so lucky about is when people share with me their wonderful, delightful, endearing thoughts of fertility treatments. -No, my child is not "against God's plan".
-No, God did not want me to "remain childless"
-No, I'm not selfish because I won't "just adopt"
-No, I'm not pregnant with twins, triplets or even 8 awesome babies and yes, at 35 weeks, I'm certain. Yes they checked it out. One is not hiding behind the other. Yes, I did IF treatments, which does not "always make twins"
This list could be so long. But as I type it, I hate people all over again.
Love the blog:)

Karla said...

" -No, my child is not "against God's plan".
-No, God did not want me to "remain childless"
-No, I'm not selfish because I won't "just adopt"
-No, I'm not pregnant with twins, triplets or even 8 awesome babies and yes, at 35 weeks, I'm certain. Yes they checked it out. One is not hiding behind the other. Yes, I did IF treatments, which does not "always make twins"
This list could be so long. But as I type it, I hate people all over again."

Anon - I will join you in setting all of those idiots on fire. ;)

Jodi said...

I've been following your blog for about a year and a half. I have a son (Nico 9 mos) who was conceived using IVF in Jan/Feb of 2008 and was born 10/22/08. Here are my answers to those questions:
I was wondering if you would be willing to share your thoughts on infertility now that you have had a baby?
My thoughts on IF remain the same. I have many friends who I met online who are still dealing with IF TTC baby #1. I have nothing but respect for those couples who are persuing fertility treatments and pray for them daily.

Do you feel that it has erased the bad feelings associated with the last few years of TTC?
I can't say it erased the bad feelings, but I don't think about them as much as I used to now that I have a son to be thankful for instead.

When do you think you will try again for #2?
Nico is 9 mos old and we are starting the FET process as we speak. We have 27 (I know crazy) frozen embies we will work with. If (heaven forbid) none of those work, we will probably do another round of IUI/IVF depending on how much $$ we have left on our IF insurance coverage.

Will you go back to the RE right away or try on your own for a while?
We will not be TTC on our own...I have PCOS and don't ovulate on my own (I have to force periods every 3 months). I've gone 9+ months without a period and it wasn't from being pregnant :) My husband has anti-sperm antibodies from 3 hernias (where it looked like he had three balls b/c his intestines dropped into his sac). Given both of our conditions, IUI with meds or IVF is the only way we could probably get pregnant on our own.

~Jodi

Jodi said...

I also wanted to add where I stand on the hierarcy of IF...we TTC naturally for 1 year. Did clomid twice with timed intercouse and got pg...m/c at 11 weeks (baby stopped growing at 7). Did two more rounds of Clomid then went to the RE. Had a hysterscopy to remove scar tissue from D&C did 1 round of IUI with injectibles and got pg (but didn't know I was pg til I was 9 weeks but baby stopped growing at 5ish weeks and had to have a D&C the day before X-Mas :P). Decided to do IVF since my insurance covered it and got pg on the 1st cycle and had the 27 leftover embies from that.

Malloryn said...

Jen, thanks for this great post. I'm sorry to hear about the asshats who gave you a hard time when you complained about some of your pregnancy symptoms. They can go jump in a fire.

At the point when IVF was discussed as our next treatment option, we decided to follow the adoption path instead. These days, I cringe when people tell me that now that I'm adopting or after I adopt, pregnancy is sure to follow. I've been reserved in my responses but my patience is wearing thin. I guess this is similar to a pregnancy curing your IF problems.

I'll always be an infertile woman and I identify with the experiences of other infertiles. I derive a lot more joy from hearing about a successful treatment or an adoption match, than hearing a pregnancy announcement from a co-worker or acquaintance. I know how hard it is, and the suffering we go through both physically and emotionally. If there's one thing I've learned, it's how important it is to support people going through this.

Sandy said...

I find the "you are super fertile right after giving birth" comments as annoying as "you will get pregnant as soon as you adopt." Yes, these things happen, but people also win 347 million dollars in the lottery and get struck by lightning seven times.

Anonymous said...

I haven't made it through to the "other side" yet. But I tend to agree with the hierarchy approach. I guess now that I am heading towards the bottom of that list (IVF bound), I've started to resent the "we're magically pregnant" stories or the ones where it took just a cycle of Clomid or one IUI.

Of course if it was me, I'd be grinning from ear to ear for the rest of my life. But its not me, so I can only be bitter about life instead. :)

Leyla said...

Well, this is the first time I've commented on your blog. I LOVE your blog by the way. You are hell-arious!

Infertile history: 35 years old, 8 years married and infertile, 13 weeks pregnant after first round of IVF. 1 frozen emby waiting on me.

I hear you. I do. But, I wonder if it's naive to think that everything will come easy for you in life. What I mean is, you are beautiful and funny and probably have a great marriage and a hugely successful career. Your wit is amazing! You had to fight to get pregnant. So what? That's your life. Now you have Olivia. That's YOUR wonderful life.

I'm not trying to be too uppitty or high road-ish. But, through my struggle to get pregnant and anger over my teenage step daughter who's having identical bastard twins and all the wonderfully fertile, I think - that's just THEIR life. All of us have great things about us that came easy and all of us have struggles.

What kind of life/persons would this/we be if we got everything we wanted just when we wanted it?

Take care!

Shauna said...

I love, love, love this post!!!! OMG - it's all I've wanted to say but couldn't!!!!
Thanks for saying it so perfectly.

ps - it's not any better after adoption either....I can't tell you how MANY people have told me that I will get pregnant now that I've adopted. Geez...really???? Two failed IVF's and NOW i'm going to get pregnant because I adopted??? wow! I didn't know adoption increased your sperm count and corrected ovulatory defects! amazing!

LOL

peesticksandstones said...

Awesome post. Thank you for articulating so well what's been on my mind (but I'm too dazed/tired to put into the right words). I TOTALLY want to hug every new person I meet who's done IVF, and have a hard time holding back from becoming scary TMI lady before I can even tell the person my name.

Glad to know I'm also not the only one who says hello to my frozen embryos when I pass the clinic. Our kid was born just 4 weeks ago, but I'm already stressing about the next/what we're willing and not willing to do, how we'll pay for it, etc, etc.

Also, having one now and knowing how hard it was just getting a successful, healthy singleton birth to term -- I am waaaaay more afraid of the risks of carrying a twin pregnancy now. And, well, of having two newborns. But twins seem to be a gamble you have to take with IF treatments. I mean, does anyone transfer just one frozen? Guess it can be done. But yeah, that weighs on my mind a lot. Already.

It gets even trickier when you add recurrent miscarriage to the mix. For me, getting one to stick is just the first part of the battle. I already am mentally lining up every fertile female pal I have in my mind, trying to figure out who might be kind enough to be our surrogate if we're unable to trick our uterus again. The key is finding someone who'll work for cupcakes.

Anyway, this is a fun discussion -- thanks for getting it rolling!

Tracey said...

Jen:
I really get pissed that people have left you hateful comments, but then again it's a free country and you have a blog and well, they have their computers? Still, it gripes me to know that someone would hide under the cloak of anonymity to leave a hateful comment in the first place. Okay, enough of that...what I did want to say to you is that I absolute love your honesty, your humor and your candor. I suffer from seondary infertility and am working my way up (or perhaps down...LOL!) your hierachy of happiness. Next up - - IUI with injectibles. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for ALWAYS being able to make me laugh or smile. The photos of sweet Olivia certainly do the trick everytime I must say. You have made the past year of my infertility almost sane by just being you. Again, thanks!

Kara said...

I don't know if it's technically considered "infertile" but losing babies isn't on your hierarchy and I think you should add it. 4 pregnancies in 3 years and one live baby. A miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a sweet little (live) baby boy and then a stillbirth. Add to that a year of trying for the first miscarriage. I think people have pretty much stopped asking me when we're having the "next one".

And yes, it still stings pretty much everytime except when someone announces their pregnancy and I know they have already had a miscarriage or difficulty conceiving. I can be happy for those people. The stillborn daughter just happened so I'm sure that will fade a little in time.

I think it's a little different than infertility in that I'm actually afraid to get pregnant again, no matter how much I want to do so.

MrsAmandaMqn said...

We've been TTC for 16 months, I have PCOS and recently found out that my husband had a zero SA. It never ends in the IF world, does it? It's hard every day and I just hope that one day I get to blog about my beautiful baby.

I love your blog, you're hilarious and your daughter is gorgeous.

Lisa said...

This has also been on my mind alot recently. I have a wonderful daughter who was born this February after 4 years, 1 m/c, 6 rounds of Clomid (1 with IUI), 2 rounds of IVF with injectables and IVF #1. The whole experience was horrible and heart wrenching but I find the pain is somewhat dulled now. I can genuinely be happy for someone's pregnancy with a minimum of eye rolling now. However, when I hear people bitching about *surprise* pregnancies it does bring up those bitter feelings again.

For what it's worth, I too work with a hierarchy but I think it's more in how you relate to someone's experience having gone through it yourself than not feeling bad for the person. (Although the 3 WHOLE MONTHS people do piss me right off!)

I think I was forever changed by IF. Some of it good and some =of it bad. I think it taught me patience and that I am not always in control. It also taught me that you never know what the person next to you is going through. On the bad side, however, it made me bitter, jaded and even more cynical. I also alienated alot of people simply because they had children or might ask when we were having one.

tasha said...

It is almost 9 years infertile with one miscarriage. We just completed IVF 3 and are praying it works. Imagine that we've paid for it all out of pocket, right now we've spent $50,000+ on IVF procedures/meds/needed surgeries and all for a maybe baby maybe more heartache. I know it will never be far from my mind how hard we tried when my best friend accidentally got pregnant (with twins!) after dating a guy for a month1

Eileen said...

I am going through IVF right now and your story gives me hope. I stumbled on your blog by accident and look forward to reading more of it.

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lori said...

i have to admit that i feel disconnected from my IF status right now. my journey has ended. after plenty of struggle, i have two beautiful kids, and i could not ask for more. but, i still identify with other IFers (quietly, b/c i feel a little guilty having gotten to the other side). going through IF and IVF shapes who i am as a mother and as a woman.

and, i'm with all of you on those STUPID comments about how fertile one is after giving birth. my husband is a cancer survivor and i have PCOS. together we have ZERO chance of EVER conceiving without major medical intervention. yet, people who know our ENTIRE storty still pop off with the stupid comments about how we will have a surprise pg. whatever. dumbasses.

btw, i JUST found your blog, so i'm catching up and commenting on old stuff. sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am currently 10 wks pregnant with twins via IVF, after 2 canceled cycles due to risk of OHSS. Everyday I feel guilty because instead of being overjoyed after struggling with IF for 2 years, I'm constantly worried something bad will happen! I look forward to the day when I'm past it. I also feel a bond with others who have gone through this struggle.

Oh and in addition to worry about the babies, I also think that it sucks that all though I'll probably never have a flat stomach again after twins. I'd take twin skin down to my knee caps if it means I'll end up with 2 healthy babies - BUT, it still kind of sucks. And the only reason I'm anonymous is because I don't have a blog. I believe all girls are a little bit vain to a degree. Those people attacking you for it need to get over themselves - at least your honest enough to put it out there. No one wants to be infertile - dealing with IF doesn't make you some super human martyr - your still human and you can still be vain! I believe all women are vain to a degree!

mollym said...

I am new to your blog, but found it through mutual friends in the infertility boat. Never would I have thought I'd find such amazing women at this point in my life, and I agree, it's like becoming stalkerishly obsessed to connect about all the doctors, drugs, the lovewand, and the struggle. I was directed to a private chat board for women who have been smacked with this crap~ and we're all over your hierarchy as far as getting preggers goes. I just had a beautiful girl after IUI with injects and a 2 year struggle. Here are my answers...
1. Infertility bites ass, even after having a baby. I hate that I know about all of this, and I hate that my body does not work correctly, but then again, nor does the hubs'. 2. Having a baby does not erase the bad feelings, because I'm already thinking about what happens next time and I still spent 2 years upset and crying and phychotically whacked out on hormones. 3 & 4~ My legs will be back in the RE's stirrups the day after my Elle turns 1 (it's a Monday, I already checked). Now, my OB is so concerned i'm gonna all her within the next 6 months *upset* about being pregnant with Irish twins. Umm, or not? Cause pretty sure with mutual infertility, I'll be stoked to be preggers on my own, regardless of timing.