Friday, January 2, 2009

The Early Years

I'm such a veteran of this process that I've already started sorting out being infertile into different stages. (I jest. I'm not so much a veteran, mostly lost, but it does feel like I've been here forever.) I was married almost 3 1/2 years ago. We started "trying" to have kids pretty much right away. (We're Catholic, so we don't do birth control, but we weren't even "NFPing.") So my official diagnosis - one year of trying to conceive unsuccessfully is the medical definition, I believe - came up pretty quickly. I opted out of a lot of the things most people go through in that period. I did have blood tests twice to measure my FSH levels (sorta high - around 10). My doctor concluded because of that that I'd be a bad candidate for clomid (one remedy I had gotten myself used to the idea of trying). But I never did the high-speed drive to the hospital with a beaker of sperm in one hand. And after my second blood test I was supposed to go to a specialist but I just couldn't do it. (I'll probably write more about that later.)

Anyway. During that first year - and for some time thereafter - I did what I'm sure many many other women have done. Every month when I got my period I cried. I wasted my money on lots of pregnancy tests and took them too early for them to be conclusive and they were still resoundingly negative. My husband and I would talk ourselves into all sorts of reasons that this month might be It. If I was feeling nauseous or lightheaded, or my period was a day late, I was sure this time I would be pregnant. Then that slowly transformed into saying every month that this month would not be it. My husband and I both said it to each other. "Don't get your hopes up." But of course I did, even though I put on a brave face, so I kept crying every month. At some point I realized that by wanting it so much, and wanting only that, I had made it so that I was a constant failure by the only measure that mattered to me. I started to get angry. I also stopped keeping a chart of my cycle. I don't remember exactly why I stopped, but it turned out to be a stroke of genius - by having no idea when my period was due, I couldn't tell whether I was late. I didn't have a pattern to look at to think that this month might be just a teensy bit different. I just stopped thinking about it (at least, on the surface). I stopped crying every month. I expected to have my period every month and I absolutely did not expect to be pregnant. (Part of me realized that if it just took an awfully long time but I did eventually get pregnant, this would make it a nice surprise. That hasn't worked out either.)

Then two and a half more years passed like a weekend. Nothing. We're still (by the medical definition) trying to conceive, although we don't really think about it. Well, maybe my husband does sometimes. I don't much; it would only make me upset. But sometimes I'm a little afraid - what does it mean to try for thirty months and not conceive? Is that maybe much worse, more untreatable, than just twelve months?

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