Saturday, January 3, 2009

Further Reasons to Be Angry

Moving right along. I was still mad about the idea of treatment. But I was also angry about something else, something I really didn't expect to be angry about, and that was adoption. Like all normal people, I said before I was married that I would have a whole bunch of kids, and that if I couldn't have them, I would adopt a whole bunch. Clearly, this was the way Nature and the Invisible Hand of child-distribution worked: the fertile have children. Infertile hopeful parents take up the slack of kids needing homes. Obviously.

What did I know?

I mean, I have learned a few things in the interim that make me leery about adoption. There's the fact that stranger adoption through domestic and many international sources (does not include intrafamily adoption or adoption from foster care or certain other special-needs adoption avenues) is terribly expensive. Maybe $25,000 per child. Who can afford a large family at those prices? And you can't start your family young. Though I didn't realize it for a while, my husband early on concluded that that would be our path. He's been about one million times more rational and mature about this process than I have. So in his head, he's thinking about when we could afford to adopt our first baby, and looking around us at other people who have adopted successfully. Meanwhile, I do not want to adopt. Anyway, the second major concern I had was the sort of transplant rejection rate. Children adopted post-infancy have often suffered seriously before they're lucky enough to be adopted by a loving family. What if my kid grew up to be an ax-murderer? This concerns me.

In some ways, though, though these concerns are both serious, they were both excuses. They were not the issue. The issue was in some part that I believed that if I walked around with a rainbow of adopted kids in tow (I'm unusually colored, and even Caucasian adopted kids would pretty clearly not be mine), I would wear a blinking sign on my back that said "DEFECTIVE" for the rest of my life. But the overarching issue was that I expected to be called by God to raise a child or children. I didn't want to buy them, acquire them, fill out forms in triplicate to apply for them, or shop for them in a catalog. That is how I pick out my shoes. I like shoes, but I view motherhood as more elevated than shoe ownership. If God doesn't handpick them and bestow them on me in some unmistakable and personal way, I do not want them. Sorry.

So, I'm still mad about adoption. Fortunately, it doesn't matter, because I do not have $300,000 lying around for my family of twelve. That's more even than the debt we're carrying!

I'm not as resistant to treatment any more. I had my period of sticking my fingers in my ears and pretending that the infertility wasn't there. I worked at my job and paid my bills and occasionally tried to clean my house and I kept up with my family and friends, at least a little, and then every so often I remembered that I didn't have any children and broke down. But at some point, when I wasn't paying attention, it snuck up on me that I would maybe, maybe, be willing to go to this very Catholic fertility clinic in Nebraska that people just kept mentioning to me. I know (two degrees of separation, mostly) a lot of people who've been. It's got great success rates. It also doesn't do any of the "uncatholic" treatments. So I know people use it for their line in the sand. They go. They get treated. If it doesn't work, they stop with the pursuit of treatment at all. There's something nice about that. I think.

But now I don't want to call them. Partly because it's been a while since my FSH levels were tested and if I have premature ovarian failure at 26 there won't be room in the world for all my anger. I was a good girl. I waited till I was married to have sex. I didn't believe in birth control so I never took the pill at all, not even as treatment for my endo. Instead I spent $300 I didn't have as a student (the pill would have been covered by insurance. Stupid pill. Stupid insurance) and took lupron even though it made me crazy and sick. Obviously I never had an abortion. I don't think people who make mistakes when they're young should be, or in fact are, divinely punished with infertility. But I didn't even do anything to be punished for.

Also, partly, I don't want to become The Patient again. I don't want to go on a special diet, which I hear they recommend. Actually, I'll probably outright refuse. I am a totally non-compliant infertility patient, since I don't believe I've committed any moral failings to get here and therefore I refuse to accept moral discipline as a road to conception. It isn't fair, so I won't do it. I don't care if it's good science. (This is going to be fun for the doctor I get when I do call.) I still hate needles and I still don't want to be tested to death, and I know they will. I still find something more than repellent about suggesting my husband produce some sperm for them to test and I will not agree to such methods.

Also, I don't live in Nebraska, or even sort of nearby. Discussing my menstrual cycle with my straight-laced boss was unacceptable; how do I explain to well-meaning chatty coworkers that I am taking a vacation for a week to Nebraska where I know nobody? I hate lying. I can hear myself now. "Well, I'm not even thirty, but I may never have children. It means everything in the world to me - I don't give a hoot about this job I seem so committed to. All I want is children, so I'm blowing the stack on treatment hundreds of miles away. I'm not even taking my husband. If this doesn't work, I may open one of these windows one day and jump out. So, what are you doing on your vacation?"

I don't know if anyone is reading this. But I know there are lots of women in the infertility community who have been through medical indignities I could not well imagine and smiled through them, because they might lead to a baby. My attitude must be shocking, fairly offensive. Who am I? Well, I guess maybe it's like this: I refuse to accept that I'm a defective. And until I do accept it, I will stay on the road I'm on. I may get treatment soon and I may not, but I will inch each day further from the joyful and selfless college student who tried to spend all her time helping the suffering, toward the cynical, self-absorbed, vain, arrogant, impatient, superficially Christian, short-tempered, materialistic involuntary professional woman who pushes even her husband further and further away because she doesn't want anybody with her in the world she never wanted to be in.

You know, that didn't end on an uplifting note.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm ... maybe I should go back to your more recent post and try editing out the gluten/endo link!!! It's just my IRL friend has found such relief from her terrible AF's by changing her diet. Unfortunately she & her dh have not conceived yet, although endo seems to be the only thing in their way that we know of. I keep hoping for them. But the gluten-free diet really did help for her feeling better.

    I hope you don't mind me going back to read the older posts you have written.

    I should have been in bed 45 min ago though!