WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE NEVER EXPECTING
What a thrill to pop in on Lynsey’s blog and rant-write a bit! For those of you who know nothing of the rigors of infertility, I hope I can, at the very least, entertain you for a moment and/or give you a second of pause whilst talking to your less fertile friends.
By way of introduction, I just turned 39 years old, have been married for almost seven years and have been trying to reproduce for most of that time, to no avail. We wanted five. Five! Not a family, but a small village. We have tried it all, done it all, spent it all- physically, emotionally and financially. No suggestions if you please.
Without further and drawn out ado, so goes the odyssey of one infertile myrtle. Strike that. To call it an “odyssey” denotes some sort of intriguing and mystical journey of epic proportions. This experience has been an awkward high school trek through a traveling fairground spook-house, at best, complete with unexpected and uncomfortable horrors around every corner and flashing lights into dark, unsightly caverns. The dark caverns of my nether-regions, that is. It is true. There have been more people up in my biz in the last six years than have signed up for Obamacare to date. That being said, my infertility drama has come in four phases, over the course of seven years of marriage and the sexiest of repeated, purposeful and planned sexual encounters….that just made me laugh. Out loud. If you knew me, the thought of purposeful sexiness would crack you up as well.
Phase One: Knowing Everything.
I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and I am a complete and unadulterated control freak. That started long before THIS fun-fest. But I find that the quest for knowledge and need for control, in so far as they relate to infertility, are a common thread amongst women. I have read every book, seen every video and followed every suggestion imaginable. Cut to me asking my poor husband if he would mind me standing on my head whilst he, “drop it in”. Vulgar and strange, yes? Nope. When trying to conceive- it is ALL on the table. And everywhere else.
Along that same vein (pun not intended), I now know more about the reproductive organs and cycles than any person should ever know. Ever. And I can’t make it go away. Since that very first investigative calendar, so long ago, that I tracked my “window” of baby-making opportunity, I have been permanently endowed with conclusive egg drop knowledge until death. I now keep it to myself in the hopes of maintaining some sense of female bedroom dignity. I am positive my husband will agree that there is nothing sexier than a specifically bossy woman on a timetable during “intercourse”. HOT.
Phase Two: Piss Me Off, Why Don’t Ya?
The angry phase went something like this: I began trolling fertility websites until my eyes wanted to bleed. I started to feel a violent streak. Then I wanted to make other people’s eyes bleed. Fertility sites are a vortex not unlike the recent polar variety- cold and lonely seeming places where folks complain, commiserate and dwell, hoping for a hint of sunshine, if only from one another. They have their own, annoyingly syrup lingo that grates my nerves. Still. So maybe that violent streak nested just a little. Did you know, for instance, that every husband mentioned on a fertility chat is a “Dear Husband”. “DH” for short. In fertility gab land, there is a magical powder that doesn’t actually exist or I would be bathing in it daily and probably doing other things with it you would consider unseemly, called “baby dust”. To this day I can’t eat an egg without considering my cervical mucous. Awesome…and then some.
“Today my CM was eggy and my DH laughed at me for being so grumpy. Boobs are sore! Goodnight and Baby Dust to all!”
I know, right? When I got to the point that I wanted to respond that they should shove the baby dust up their DH’s you know where for better projection I stopped visiting. It is horrible, I know. Maybe not as horrible as the answers I started giving to the invasive questions people ask about your sex life when they find no evidence of children.
Convo. Example (four years in):
Betty: “You should try lifting your hips and rocking back and forth…”
Me: “You know, I tried that once, but I might not be doing it right.
Maybe you can come over and watch to make sure…”
I am past the angry phase for the most part. Lucky for everyone. Including the “DH”. Ugh.
Phase Three: Fitting In.
Perhaps the saddest phase of all. Imagine, if you will, a group of five women in their thirties, sitting around the lunch table swapping adorable stories about their children (all have children, save I). What’s a barren gal to do? Naturally, I reach into my grab-bag of belongingness for a relatable story, only to emerge with the one about Elvis, my dog, dropping a deuce in my bedroom whilst Bravo, my other dog, rats him. That goes over like a lead balloon. Why? Because dogs are not children to anyone but the infertile dog hoarder, a.k.a. ME. Certainly don’t divulge that information to MY dogs, but having children, I will surmise, helps distinguish the differences. People with children can’t help it any more than I can. It is no one’s fault! Let’s all hear that.
At the same time, let us all think before we speak, lest we have THIS conversation:
Me: “How are you today? Haven’t seen you in a minute! So excited you are here!”
Betty: “Oh my God.
Sorry to interrupt.
I think I just felt myself getting pregnant.”
Me: Short burst of obnoxious laughter.
Pause. Realization it was not a joke….here comes the face…making a face……making a TERRIBLE FACE.
Phase Four: Psuedo-Acceptance.
The irony of it all is that I am not scientifically “infertile” at all. Neither is my husband. They can’t actually tell us what is wrong, if anything. Thousands of dollars and a stadium full of people filing in on the red carpet of my uterus later, the official diagnosis is “unexplained infertility.” That is an actual diagnosis. Who knew? A non-diagnosis diagnosis. The not knowing cuts to my core. I know other “infertiles” can relate. Dealing with it, well, I have chosen humor, as I always have and I have really thought about the pros of the inability to conceive, because the cons are endless.
So here are some of the good things about infertility:
- When I go to the doctor, for say, a broken finger, and they ask “When was the first day of your last period?” as if it were relevant-I ALWAYS know.
- I now know the actual difference between POSSIBLE and PROBABLE.
- People tell me I’m young all the time just to make up for the face I make when I answer the “do you have children” question.I don’t do it on purpose.Most of the time.
- I can still blame flatulence on my dogs, because they won’t tattle.
- I have a more complimented non-productive/reproductive system than anyone I know.My ovaries are “perfect,” my cervix is “beautiful” and my uterine lining is generally “gorgeous”….what you got downtown?That’s right.
- Each year brings a new theory regarding the delay in conception.This year’s is a winner.It has now become glaringly obvious to us that our child has to be born at the exact right time to save all of humanity by leading the underground rebellion against the uprising of….the machines, circa John Connor in Terminator.
I call it “pseudo” acceptance because despite the 1% stats I am looking at and all the knowledge I have floating around in my head that screams otherwise, in my heart of hearts (whatever that means) and my uterus of uterus..es, I still cling for dear life to an ounce of a sprinkle of a twinkle of hope that somewhere, somehow, my husband’s friggin’ baby dust will sprout me a cabbage patch kid of my own. I only know that the smidgeon of an ounce exists because of the Tourette’s- type reaction I have every month when Nora comes to town. Yes, “Nora”. She deserves a name. She is obviously a scheming weasel.
While we are at it, I offer this list of “things not to say to your infertile friend, or any person with ears, in general.” On some level all are inconsiderate, but on another level, hilarious. Even further still- those of us who are “reproductively challenged”, for the most part, have developed thicker skins than you breeders:
1. Never, under any circumstances, offer up one or all of your children to an infertile person, even in jest. Example:
Walking through grocery store, husband and I verbally compliment a stranger’s baby. She immediately says, with the exhausted tone only a mother knows, “Do you want him?” Before she is done, husband and I both scream “YES” in unison. Stranger chuckles nervously, looks at us as though we are prone to abduct and scurries off frantically.
2. Lay off with the obvious suggestions. Infertility doesn’t make us ignorant. It DOES, however, make us uber-sensitive. Suggesting I “try getting drunk,” or “don’t get up…” O.K. So alcohol is just a dumb suggestion. As for the latter, I’ll just say it the way it feels- no shit! FYI- most people struggling with infertility have done it all, tried it all, made up new stuff and created folklore over the matter. I wore pebbles inside my ear once and later tried to reach for a muscle in my back that “calls to the unborn child.” I also happened to pull said muscle in the process. Unborn child did not exactly take my call.
3. Across the board, don’t ask people “why” they don’t have kids. Some people don’t want them and some people want them desperately but don’t have them. Either way, both are ready to pounce on a bad day.
4. For everyone’s sake, don’t say out loud that you wish you were not pregnant and you never wanted children. I don’t feel that needs explanation.
5. Finally, and for me, most annoyingly, THERE IS NO STATISTICAL, SCIENTIFIC OR OTHER EVIDENCE THAT SUPPORTS THE ASSANIGN THEORY THAT WHEN YOU SEEK TO ADOPT, YOU GET PREGNANT. None. I don’t care who you know that knows someone you don’t know that had this very experience.
So that’s it. A perfectly sensitive rant from the leader of the fertilit-emo movement. I hope you don’t misinterpret my humor and anguish and take away that I am angry with you for having beautiful children that should be mine…just kidding. In reality, I am happy for all people that know the joy of creating life. Truly. I hope to help everyone realize what a true miracle it is that their junk makes adorable human beings.
As for me, until the DH’s pixie dust finds my invisible egg and breaches the DeathStar grade force-field (obligatory Star Wars reference. You are welcome.), I will be collecting and loving more dogs to fill the void in my heart that I currently sense can only be filled with the love of a child. And I will be hitting my knees…..not hoping to make children (is that not how it works?), but instead, I’ll be praying to God to give me unwarranted grace and help me make non-pseudo peace with the idea of NEVER having them.