Writing the most important letter of my life!
The past few days I have been sitting down at my computer to write an essay about infertility. Chris and I are applying for an IVF grant with an organization called Baby Quest. I've gone to college and grad school and have written countless essays. I've written essays for school, to get into school, to apply for a job...you name it and I've written it. Writing and English were one of my best and favorite subjects. So why am I having such a hard time? I've always been somewhat of a perfectionist but I want this to be PERFECT. I NEED this to be perfect. It seems like I am writing the most important essay of my life since it could affect our future in so many ways.
The grant allows us to ask for as much or as little money as we need. I like this organization because it's not an "all or nothing" deal. It allows us to contribute what we can (and I believe we should contribute). But truthfully in my heart of hearts, I think we will not be chosen. Chris and I are not rich by any means but probably make too much money compared to other couples applying for this gift. Still, it doesn't hurt to try so I am giving it all my effort. We have almost all of the money saved for the actual IVF procedure BUT are lacking the 5 to 6 thousand dollars needed for medication. We are lucky to have decent jobs and I honestly thank God for that every day. But saving money is still a slower task than we anticipated. If winning this grant allows us to start our family sooner, than bring it on! We definitely aren't old, but we also aren't getting any younger. In my mind I keep hearing the doctor say: "at the age of 35, fertility decreases significantly for women." Normally that wouldn't scare me but since we already have a diagnosable problem, it makes time seem of the essence.
We have been trying to conceive for 25 months and have been in the care of a specialist for one year now. A few months back when we were told IVF is our only option, the saving account began. It's funny how things change....that savings account used to be our "travel fund". We are still rightfully jealous of other couples who are worrying about money for home repairs, retirement, their child's education, etc.... we haven't had the chance to get that far and as weird as it sounds would die a thousand deaths to be in that situation. At one point we were literally watching every penny we spent. A $1.50 cup of coffee that I got once a week seemed like the end of the world if I spent it. Now we are "middle of the road". Our lives completely stopped and turned upside down for the past year because of infertility. While having a baby is the single most important thing to us right now, our lives can't continue to stop either. Infertility has already stolen so much from us: our sense of privacy, our intimacy, our money, our sense of feeling "normal" and healthy and in some way our relationships with others. So we are still trying to be the "normal" Chris and Rachel (as best as can be) and are traveling, hanging with friends and having fun...but within reason.
I think the thing I struggle with the most is how others perceive me....I try to make people understand where I am coming from but deep down I know NO ONE can understand unless you've lived a day in the life of us. Because we are saving for a baby, I don't want to be judged for buying new shoes, for going out to dinner, for going on a vacation. I don't think anyone is really judging me....maybe I judge myself because I do feel a little guilty for "acting normal" sometimes and doing some of things we used to do. I know that money could go towards our baby, but our lives have been uprooted in so many other ways. At this point, I need a little sense of normalcy and fun. Sometimes it's also hard for people to understand why we decline a dinner reservation or say we can't go overboard on Christmas. If they only knew how awful we feel everyday and how much we are struggling to save money, maybe they'd cut us some slack. Still, I know not everyone will understand what we struggle through. I know this because I STILL hear comments like "what's meant to be will be" or "just have faith". Those comments hurt as much as they did a year ago when people said them. The truth is that "having faith" or "relaxing" (or whatever) will not guarantee us a family. The reality is that many people with infertility never have children. For the record, I hope everyone will prove my somewhat pessimistic way of thinking wrong.