I hate what infertility’s made me

I’ve debated long and hard about writing this post.  That logical side of my brain tells me that I’ll regret it later, that emotional side of my brain tells me I’ll feel better once I write it.  Sensibility says there’s no way this post can come out right, that it can never hope to convey the range of emotions, thoughts, and questions flowing through my mind and body.  Practicality says this blog was created to document it all, and there’s no point in maintaining that mission statement if I’m going to hide in the corner and cry when things get really, truly difficult.  I don’t know whether this is just another narcissistic call for attention, or a positive step I need to take toward healing.  All I know is I’m writing.  And, at least the act of writing slows the endless flow of tears.

I’m hiding in my bedroom right now.  I cried through the night and knew working today would be unbearable.  Now, as I sit here, I’m finding being stuck in my house unbearable.  Seems I can’t win.  There are contractors working in our basement; Mr. But IF told them I’m home from work “sick.”  Truth is I’m home from work heartbroken and crying into a pillow to soften the sounds of the whimpering.  I hate what infertility has made me.

When deciding to call out this morning, I also accepted I’d be unable to make our usual Wednesday night trivia game.  It’s a small town.  Half my co-workers would be there watching me contentedly answering quiz questions, after being conspicuously absent from my incredibly demanding job.  I’m frustrated to lose that one social outlet of the week where I get to just be me, but am reminded how even that relaxing night has plagued me lately.  How recent competing trivia team names like, “Better late than pregnant” and “My sperm count is” stung.  How last week’s theme of the royal birth was nearly unbearable.  How one well-intentioned friend – single, alone, and still hoping for a family “some day” at age 35 – always grills me for advice on her own fertility, incessantly discusses that Atlantic article, and naively celebrates how easy adoption will be for her as a well-off African American woman.  I hate that infertility has infested every moment of my life, removing the fun from a game of trivia and the relaxation from a post-game beer (or, as the case may be, seltzer).

Another home pregnancy test this morning showed a much lighter second line than the one I saw yesterday.  Looks like my clinic may have finally gotten something right for once.  That beta of 38 was almost surely just residual HCG from Sunday night’s booster.  As I type this my right arm is throbbing.  I’m afraid the blood draw site from yesterday may be mildly infected.  It’s swollen, it stings, it’s not the first time.  The sore draw site, my Lovenox bruises, the heating pad I’m sitting on on the last day of July to ease the pain of the PIO lumps – they are all physical reminders of the science experiment my body’s become.  I hate how infertility has left so many physical scars, so many indelible reminders of my inability to do what comes naturally and effortlessly to so many others.

With my husband at work, trivia night cancelled, and sobs so hard I couldn’t even begin to call my “never lose hope/why are you injecting yourself with all that poison?” aunt if I wanted to, I’ve turned to my rocks, my dearest friends in the computer, my LFPers (don’t try to puzzle it out, you won’t get it).  I’ve been making an endless barrage of teary, “woe is me” Facebook updates today.  Well, this week, really.  As one welcomes home her lovely baby girl, one learned the gender of her second, one sits in a hospital waiting for the delivery of her high-risk twins.  All these moments to celebrate and to rejoice, and here I sit crying and alone.  Wailing out (if only in type) for help and hope to these strangers that are so dear to me, and receiving support in spades in return.  But, I hate that infertility has stolen much of my joy for them, and replaced it with this whining, desperate person that bears no resemblance to who I once was.  I hate that I don’t recognize myself through the words that I type, and that change has resulted from infertility.

As I hide in my bedroom I stare at the paintings, the photographs, and the furniture that surround me.  The two landscapes painted by my mother when she was slightly younger than me.  The collage picture frame that contains a photo of the fledgling But IF’s on one of their first dates and my mom and dad experiencing the same in their finest 70s attire.  The cherry wood furniture my mother bought me one happy Christmas long ago.  It reminds me of the mother I lost, and makes me realize how much harder it’s become to live this life without her.  I hate that infertility has made her absence more raw, brought that pain all crashing back, well over a decade since I initially lost her.

After returning to bed this morning to commence my teary day of solitude, I heard from Barb Collura about the final results from the Hope Award voting.  My blog was not selected.  And, I hate that that hurt as much as it did.  That I couldn’t just be supremely proud to have even been nominated.  That the knee jerk reaction was, “Well, here’s another thing I’ve failed at.”  None of those responses are like me.  Anger at my situation, at doctors, at insurance providers, at inane comments, yes, but anger at failing to win a popular vote when I damn well know everyone else in the running deserved some good news just as much as I did?  That’s not me.  I loathe the pain olympics that so frequently comes with this infertility business, and I despise myself for indulging in even a tiny bit of, “Why not me?”  I hate that infertility has made me ashamed and afraid of the jealous monster always lurking under the surface.  I hate how I’ve become accustomed to living all aspects of my life as if they were a competition.

The Mr. just texted to ask me how I was “holding up.”  I’m frustrated that the answer always seems to be, “not so hot.”  I know he’s in pain too, but I somehow am lacking the capacity to acknowledge or respect that.  If not altogether, than at least to the degree to which I think I should.  This man has brought years and years of joy to my life, and now I feel as if all I give him in return is pain and suffering.  No one should have to have the “in sickness and in health” part of their marriage come to full bloom before their spouse even turns 30.  I am angered by the fact that he’s a pro at giving PIO shots, that he knows what the products of a miscarriage look like, that he holds our friends’ 5 month old with a mixture of joy and deep sorrow, that he constantly has to text, “How are you holding up?”  Infertility has forever changed this man who did nothing wrong except make the mistake of loving me.

I didn’t start this post intending for it to have a happy ending.  But, getting it down, I realize in a small way it has to have one.  I’m hiding in my room, but I’m doing so because infertility has taught me my limits.  And, that is good.  Stepping back from social outings when your heart is aching is something the old me wouldn’t have done.  I’d have put on a brave face and suffered for the sake of those around me.  That is not good.

The physical scars of infertility are difficult, but without infertility my Hashi’s may never have been diagnosed, I wouldn’t have lost the pounds and gained the health that Metformin returned to me, I wouldn’t have had the laparoscopy that diagnosed my endometriosis or the autoimmune testing that has let me know I’ll need to keep a careful eye on my health for the rest of my life.

Perhaps most central to my thoughts today, without infertility I would never have met my “friends in the computer.”  These women who have done everything in their power to refuel my soul, provide me with virtual shoulders to cry on, and hold me up when all I want to do is fall so far down the bottom of a dark pit that I’ll never be able to claw my way out.  And, it’s only from having watched my mom lose her battle with cancer that I know how deep that pit can be and how important it is I never fall down it again.

Despite today’s news, infertility blogging has still been a tremendous gift in my life, and it would be incredibly stupid of me to allow anything to change that.  Through blogging I have supplemented my support network with new faces and avatars, new sources of sanity, new women that I root for.  High on that list is this year’s Hope Award winner Tracy of Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen.

And, finally, the mister.  What I need to say I’ve already felt in my heart as I put those words to virtual paper above.  Each one of those words would anger (and probably will anger) Mr. But IF if (when) he read them.  As he said last night, “I got you, and that’s all I need.”

I wish I could stop infertility from making me forget how good I have it.  I hate what infertility has made me, but I’m not, nor have I ever been, powerless.  I’m going to be sad for a long while, but the sadness won’t always be all-consuming.  I have to believe that some day I’ll stop mourning what infertility has made me and start embracing what infertility has given me.

28 thoughts on “I hate what infertility’s made me

  1. This post has me in tears hon, absolutely tears (at work!). My journey was different than yours, but I do understand those feelings of hopelessness and despair and anger and self pity. I was SO THERE just a couple of years ago, and it sucks. It beyond sucks. It sucks the joy from your life in so many ways, and it’s HARD to see beyond it when you’re in the midst of it.. in the depths of it.

    You’re right though — Infertility won’t always be this all-consuming. This journey will resolve itself in some way, and you will look back at this time in awe of how strong you were and are.

    You are amazing – as a person AND as a blogger – and you don’t need an award to tell you that!

    Hang in there hon… I’m praying for you.

    • Sorry for the tears at work, but thank you for your kind words. “Meeting” people like you is really all the award I need…

  2. You certainly know how to make all the feels happen. Your phenomenal writing aside, I am constantly sad others have to experience what I once did (still do, but more in denial).

    • Making all the feels… I think that about sums me up these days. I just wish I could get them to visit at somewhat more regular intervals. This having them all show up at once unannounced thing is starting to get really old…

  3. Whew! I can certainly relate and I wish there was something we could do to make all of this easier on all of us. You’re in my prayers.

  4. Oh honey, how did you pour out MY own heart like that? You are truly a gifted writer. Infertility has changed me too, in ways that I am so ashamed, but also in ways that have helped my naive and sheltered person move forward through all of this. Thank you for sharing your story with us, your heartache and sadness is shared by so many of us, and your words are the hug that I needed to reassure me that I am not alone in my sadness. There is so much in you. A gifted writer like you must have such a warm and caring heart. I hope this message brings some joy to your day. Please know that you are appreciated. =) Elizabeth

    • Oh, how much joy it definitely brought to my day…

      This –> “[…] your words are the hug that I needed to reassure me that I am not alone in my sadness” <-- is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I've ever read here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  5. I wish I could reach through the computer and give you a hug. You certainly captured what things were like for me. Those were dark days and it breaks my heart that you are still stuck there waiting for something good to happen and always getting the s&*% sandwich instead 🙁 (I’m not as eloquent as you are of course).

    • I dunno, s&*% sandwich is pretty damn eloquent if you ask me… 😉

      Anyway, thank you for your words of support. It does mean a lot knowing I have so many women rooting for me and cheering me on from the “other side.”

  6. I wish words could fix it but they can’t. Whatever I write isn’t going to make infertility go away for any of us but I write because I want you to know you have people all over the country thinking of you. I’m in CA and all day Iv been wondering good, or bad? I’m sad, angry and frustrated for you, with you and even though we don’t know each other, we share a journey known of us want to be on. I hate infertility, I hate pregnancy fb announcements and I hate explaining to those who don’t get it. How can we block fb preggo announcements. There must be a way. Than you for sharing, venting and allowing us into your world. In some twisted way we are all Bonded Together.

  7. ditto on the sending hugs. IF has changed us all – and I echo so many of your thoughts and feelings about feeling hurt that it hurts as much as it does (no matter what it is). fwiw, I think you’re doing all the right things – you’re letting yourself feel the feelings. right now, I think that’s all you can do.

    • Thank you. In hindsight (like, right now) I get that the feelings are normal and necessary, but in the moment it is just so difficult. I always feel like time will make it easier, make it more predictable, make me understand what’s coming, but each and every time it’s the same. 24 hours of absolute sadness, followed by slowly digging out and starting again…

  8. IF has changed me too…I think it changes all of us. I wish there was something I could say to make it better but know I can’t. Just know we’re all here in the same shitty boat xxx

  9. I just.. I don’t even know what to say… I wish we weren’t going through all of this, that you haven’t had so much pain in your life. I am so appreciative of the fact that you even have the room to think or care about other people, when it would be easier to keep it all to yourself! You are amazing, and I’m so glad to have “met” you, and to consider you a friend. 🙂

    As for the contest, I sincerely did NOT expect to win. I was rooting for YOU the whole time! Thank you for your kind words, and while I know it’s a bitter pill right now, just know that your blog has had a major impact on many… and will continue to do so.

    *Big Hugs*

    • Wow, thank you. Seriously…

      I’m so very, VERY happy for you. The immediate sense of sadness I felt had nothing to do with you or anyone else. It was just that knee jerk sense of another thing going “wrong” that I had no control over. And, I think we all know how those thoughts tend to snowball. Doesn’t matter whether it is a blog contest, a pregnancy announcement, or a well intended “Do you have children?” from a stranger — once you let your mind head down that path things start getting ugly.

      I cannot WAIT to celebrate with you from afar in November.

  10. life pretty much sucks right now.. i too am holed up in my bedroom with my thoughts going haywire. i dont really have anyone else to talk to so i go visiting all these infertility forums to shed some hope when there isnt any for me. it becomes difficult to “count your blessings” when you know you will never have what comes to most women naturally. and i hate the fact that i brought this upon myself. (thats enough of venting)

    but i liked reading your blog (first time here). it said what i have always wanted to say! hope things work out for all of us.. infertiles
    i prey they do

    • I’m glad you found my blog, and even more happy that you’ve found the ALI blogosphere to help hold you up during this truly unbearable time. Totally judgement-free zone. Sometimes life just plain sucks, and it’s OK to say that.

      Thinking of you and wishing you the best.

  11. It has really done my soul good to find out I’m not the only one going through this hell. Yet I’m sorry anyone has to go through this.

  12. I have spent hours on the internet looking for somewhere to vent. I am new to this. But there is only so much my wonderful husband can understand. He doesn’t get my pain of not being to do what most every woman can do with ease. I lost my baby boy in 06 at 18 weeks. Then in 07 I lost my baby girl at 16 weeks. I was too scared to even try to get pregnant for a long time. Then last year I got pregnant again and I knew something wasn’t right right away. I miscarried at five weeks. That’s been eighteen months. And we still haven’t conceived again. I just feel like I wasted a lot of time trying not to get pregnant. I know this a long post but I’ve kept all this to myself for so long. Even if no one reads this I still feel like a weight has been lifted.

    • I’m so sorry for your losses, but please know that even though it doesn’t feel like it, there are so many women and men walking in your shoes who can relate. It can be really scary to put yourself out there – whether on a blog, at an in-person RESOLVE support group, on Facebook or Twitter, with family or friends – but for me, finding a way to normalize my experience by talking to others who had lived through it was an essential part to my being able to maintain SOME sanity through this all.

      So, feel free to vent away here ANY time and rest assured that someone is reading! Sending many hugs your way.

  13. Thank you so much for your reply. I really wasn’t expecting it. It is really scary doing this for the first time. I just knew I had to do something before I went insane. Hugs your way too.

  14. I’m overwhelmed with tears and empathy as I sit, hiding in my bedroom stunned that someone could put into words exactly how I’m feeling and what I’ve gone through. Although I’ve completely hidden all of my infertility problems, surgeries, and doctors’ appointments from all friends and family, I’ve never felt so compelled to write on a blog to complete strangers. This unfortunate, never ending experience has made me so bitter, I question if I’ll ever be able to return to any kind of normalcy. Every monthly reminder, every doctor’s appointment, every baby announcement, and unexpected pregnancy continues to add to the bitterness, anger, self-pity, and devastation that is growing inside of me. Losing my mom to cancer in the last couple years definitely seems to add to this hopelessness as well as make me question my strength and faith in God. I’m honestly not sure how I even came across your post and I know it was written last year, but I really wanted to say thank you! Thank you for being honest, for being real, for being human, and especially for being a strong, enduring woman. I feel privileged to have read this and pray we all find some peace and serenity during these dark times.

    • Thank YOU for your beautiful comment at a time when I really needed it! I’m so sorry that any of what I wrote would apply to you, but I’m also so happy that you’ve found comfort and solace in my words.

  15. I know this is an old post but I think that most, if not all, women dealing with infertility feel like this at some point in their journey.

    PS: I just read your most recent post and saw that you were pregnant. Congratulations!!

  16. I cried reading your blog… as I read, I am reminded of my own infertility and failures to carry full term healthy pregnancies. I hate this ugly feelings of jealousy and envious whenever I saw happy pregnancies/deliveries updates.
    But at the same time, with your blog, I am also reminded that I am not alone and there are others who understand too.
    I also read your recent post, congratulations!

    • I’m so sorry for those knowing tears, but I’m glad you found a place to vent even if just for a tiny bit.


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