To Be, Or Not To Be.

I don’t know how to not be infertile. It’s truly all I have ever known. I don’t know how to not make myself physically sick over whether or not I can stomach attending another baby shower. I don’t know how to walk down the center aisle at Target–the one that passes the baby clothes. I’m almost 40 years old, so you would think I would eventually get over it. But, for the last decade of my life, these conscious and subconscious decisions have been a constant ache in the back of my mind. Like a bad knee, it doesn’t really stop you from doing things, but you always know it’s there and sometimes it hurts like hell. 

Which brings me to the point of this post…I don’t know how to do this. This time, I have decided to be open along the journey. I don’t understand why infertility is “supposed to be” something you suffer in silence. Throughout the first decade of this nightmare, I was ridiculously concerned about burdening others with my pain. And while I’ll probably never be the type to just openly talk about “how I’m feeling” (I cringed just typing that), I do think there is value in understanding others’ walks of life–sometimes for the sake of knowing a path you will never experience, and sometimes to know you’re not alone when your path feels like the only one full of thorn bushes. So, here I am…telling my story. Or the internet-appropriate parts of it at least. 

In the spirit of sharing this story, I have told people what’s going on with me this time. I have posted about it on social media. Some people are interested and want to know more, while others want to quickly change the subject. For the record, I’m good with either. 

I have come to realize, though, that I speak my story with a tone of trepidation. I think this is a defense mechanism–an adaptation that has evolved over time. More than once I’ve been asked, “Aren’t you excited?” Answer: Yes. Also answer: Not yes. I find myself currently in this weird in-between stage. I want to be excited. I really do. I even find these short windows in which I’ll allow myself to ponder baby names or search nursery ideas on Pinterest. Hell, yesterday I found myself researching baby monitors (Yes, I’m an enneagram 5), before slamming the lid of my laptop mid-search and walking away in a panic. Because these windows…these windows are damn scary. When hope starts peeking in, that distance to fall becomes higher. And I don’t know about you…but heights can be terrifying. 

In summary…I don’t really know how to be infertile. I figured this road out on my own over the years, and I’m sure I didn’t do it right. But also, I’m learning I don’t really know how to not be infertile either.

(ten. twenty-four. twenty twenty-one.)

The Magic of Three

The phrase “third time’s the charm” is rooted in the ancient belief that the number three is magical. I sure as hell hope there is some truth to that. As I sit here tonight, I could use all the magic I can get.

Today, Justin and I began our third, and likely final, journey down the road of infertility treatment. The previous two attempts, being obviously unsuccessful, have left their fair share of scar tissue clouding my heart and mind when it comes to trying to conceive. I’m not sure what it is, but something tells me this time will be different. So, here I begin this blog. This story of Us: While We Wait.

For the sake of story telling, let me back up. At 39 and 41 years old, this is not something we planned to do again. Three months ago to the day (there’s that magic number again), I began experiencing frequent and excessive periods, with new cycles beginning every 13-15 days. Frustrating. Draining. Exhausting. Scary.

My first attempt at answers was with my family doctor who told me I was anemic (no shock there) and likely peri-menopausal. In a word, I was devastated. The periods continued and I was then referred to a gynecologist, Dr. Mitro. Here, after a series of tests, I was told it could be: cancer, fibroids, or a hormone imbalance. More tests confirmed a hormone imbalance likely due to my PCOS. Dr. Mitro said we could treat this with hormone therapy, which would take away any chance of ever getting pregnant. Or, if I still had the desire to become pregnant, he could refer me to a fertility specialist. So this is how I found myself in the care of Dr. Reshef, my third (3!!) doctor in the last three months.

Today we saw Dr. Reshef for the first time and developed an “aggressive and judiciously swift” course of action. In the world of fertility, 39 is geriatric. Literally. In less than a month, I will be back on fertility drugs. I have hope as this is a new one that wasn’t around the prior two times we attempted infertility drugs. We both really liked Dr. Reshef. We found him both competent and compassionate, and like I said…I feel good about it this time. Judiciously optimistic, to borrow his phrase.

I am a ball of emotions, feeling all the things. At this point, I don’t know if I am more terrified at the thought of my last attempt at carrying my own child being unsuccessful OR actually becoming a parent at the end of this. At forty years old, are we crazy?! Probably. But, that’s a story for another day. Today I am going to pray to the fertility gods and the “magic of three” that this actually works.

(ten. eighteen. twenty-twenty one.)

Here we go.