September 2010 to November 2011: 14 months of trying to conceive by ourselves = FAIL
December 2011: Clomid cycle = FAIL
January 2012: another month of trying natural conception = FAIL
February 2012: IUI number 1 = FAIL
March 2012: IUI number 2 = FAIL
Is anyone sensing a trend? Counting 19 consecutive months of failed attempts. Yesterday we again got the opinion of our reproductive endocrinologist that we should consider IVF. Although we were originally told that we should try 6 IUIs, because the sperm morphology is so bad, they recommended we stop where we're at now an consider other options. When I heard him say that without IVF I most likely will not have children, I couldn't breathe, think, feel. I wanted to throw up. While the chances are better with IVF, there is still no guarantee. We are classified as having severe male factor infertility and fall within the small 3% of people with infertility that need IVF. Lucky us. There are no medical treatments for poor sperm morphology. As discussed with our doctor, IUI doesn't help increase morphology or our chances. I'm not sure why they even suggested it in the first place then. If we had any other problem with me or with Chris, we would be great candidates for IUI. We have the one diagnosis where it's pretty much a guaranteed failure. So why the big deal? We are lucky enough that IUI is mostly covered under my insurance plan for 6 trials. IVF is not. The process in time consuming and invasive. Minimum cost per trial is around $15,000....medication alone costs between 3 to 5 thousand each month. Sometimes it can take up to 3 trials. While we have good jobs and make a decent living, we don't have that kind of disposable income. While we wait and save, we are wasting valuable time. We are beyond angry that it's so easy for alot of other people to have children. It's not fair. Why is it so hard for us? It's not fair that to even have a chance of a family we have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars. We never thought this would happen to us so we’ve never planned for it. Who does? Most people our age are figuring out how they can put money away for retirement, home upgrades or how they are going to pay for their children's education. Instead, we are budgeting for our fertility fund.
It's starting to take a toll on our marriage. In my earlier posts, I said that this process is unique because it can both pull you closer together and tear you apart at the same time. Funny how that is. I wish the problem were with me. I think we'd have better chances that way. I'm not angry at Chris whatsoever but AM angry at the situation. The problem could easily be with me and also isn't his fault. But I am human. I can't help to feel resentful towards him as hard as that is to admit. I can't help to think that things would be different if I married someone else and that if it weren't for him, we would be in a place. It's raw, unfiltered feelings. I love Chris with all my heart. Clearly I am not with him for his hair or his money but because over the last 12 years I grow to love him more and more each day. OK, maybe not on the days where he does something stupid, but most days. He tries, but he's a guy. It's expected he can't relate to this as much as me and that's hard to deal with sometimes. He's the one and only person that has a real understanding of how I feel. I'm an independent person and don't like to be told what to do and I don't like sharing my "real" feeling with people....even my own husband. This process is helping me to let all that go, let him and others in, and learn that having and sharing feelings is ok sometimes. I am slowly learning to rely on him for support and ultimately I hope that will win over everything else to keep us together through all this. If this is God's way to teach me a lesson, it's pretty cruel, but working.
As the number of failed attempts grows, I become less hopeful. I can count and recollect each and every of those 19 times. It's easy to get discouraged. Each month is an emotional roller coaster ride. Some days I am hopeful and some are filled with despair. But inevitably, each and every month I start my cycle and there is no baby. The room next to ours still remains empty. Each month I inevitably receive this painful reminder. The days leading up to the start of my cycle I can't help but to grow excited and hopeful that this will be our month. Each month my hopes come crashing down. I can't tell you how bad that moment feels and how long it lingers. Sometimes I can't breathe. It is so incredibly difficult to go to work every day and have to pretend everything is ok. I can't cry in front of my patients. While I may seem fine on the outside, some days on the inside it is taking every ounce of courage I have just to make it through the day. Sometimes while I have conversations with other people about different things, I'm STILL thinking about it. I can't get it out of my head. I'm not an emotional person in the respect that I cry easily in front of others, but some days it's all I can do to hold back the tears.
Take a moment to consider the life of someone with a chronic illness like MS or someone paralyzed with a spinal cord injury. Mostly these are not life threatening illnesses. But who could argue they are earth shattering and life changing. . .In our lives, in our marriage, this IS earth shattering and life changing. Chris is great with children and no doubt will make a terrific father. In the past, I on the other hand, never really liked being around children so much. I don’t know when or what changed. I love my child so much already and they aren’t even born. Sometimes the things you can’t change in life end up changing you. I don't want to compare myself with people that have these terrible diseases but I can honestly empathize with some of what they must feel and how out of control they feel of the situation sometimes. As a physical therapist that treats these types of patients, I am glad I've acquired this skill to make me better at my job and a better person. But why is it that insurance covers majority of medical treatments for these people and not for someone with a disease of their reproductive system? Each of our bodies has about 12 systems, with our reproductive system being one of them. Insurance often covers everything under the sun for every other system expect the reproductive system. Only recently was it recognized that infertility is a disease of the reproductive system. Why do other non life threatening diseases get so much attention and medical coverage? Why is it ok for someone suffering with a life changing disease like arthritis or parkinson's to talk about their feelings so openly but the same isn't as acceptable for someone with a reproductive disease? Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist and hurt.
I can't count the number of times I've heard someone say, "don't give up hope" or "it'll all work out". I'm not a pessimist but a realist. I’ve always been really hopeful I’ll win the lottery or have a supermodel figure and clearly that hasn't happened yet either. I'm still waiting on the boob fairy to fly my way also. Advice like that, while meant to help, sometimes trivializes what I feel and is just meant to place a bandaide on a gaping wound. I know I have to have hope, and I do. But unless you can say you’ve dealt with the same consistent heartache month after month you don’t have room to judge my "pessimism". It’s easy not to look up when everything is down. While everyone can hope it all works out, can anyone guarantee that? Only God can. Each month I hear those words, it's like a broken promise because each month it's not ok and it's not working out. Like I said, I have some hopes too but no one else but me and Chris has to have those hopes come crashing down month after month. Sometimes it's just easier to be a little less hopeful because by being prepared for the worst, you protect those feelings a bit. Alot of people have told me stories of how they know someone who went through the same thing and now they have children. That's great for them but not everyone is that lucky. There are also many couples out there who don't have that great story. No one talks about them. There's always that chance we could be one of those couples. I know I'm giving mixed messages: I want and accept support but at the same time don't always like what I hear. I guess it's the nature of the circumstance. Through all this some of you have been such a great support and I am very thankful.