Monday, 2 February 2009

fertility... or lack thereof

my first pregnancy was an accident. i really didn't want to be pregnant, and seriously thought about an abortion. in the end, i went through with it because i thought it wasn't fair to punish my child-to-be for my own particular problems. once i'd decided to go ahead, instinct/nature seemed to take over, and it wasn't too long before i was happy with the pregnancy and feeling a precious connection with the thing fluttering (and later kicking and hiiccuping) in my tummy.

the second pregnancy wasn't so easy. from the time i wanted to be pregnant til the time i conceived was about 18 months. i can't say that i was majorly stressed out, but it did bother me. and i hated all the nosy, overly-concerned relatives and friends advising me that i shouldn't wait so long before having another one, and i shouldn't have an only child. thankfully i did get pregnant, which shut them for a little while (then they started on the "when are you going to start trying for a boy?" it just never ends!).

so i have a very little experience of what it's like to not get pregnant when you want to. it's not much. it's not anything like the experience of a friend of mine who has spent the last couple of years spending tens of thousands of dollars on expensive IVF treatments, desperately trying to get pregnant.

in her latest attempt, she conceived triplets, but one by one they died. she miscarried the last one a few days ago. another hope shattered, another bundle of cash down the tubes. it's hard to watch her pain, it must be worse for her to feel it.

i comfort her in the best way i can. i tell to keep remembering all the good things in her life, to be thankful for the love and support around her, for her general health & well-being, for her nice house and comfortable lifestyle. just keep concentrating on the good stuff, there's so much you could lose, appreciate it while you have it.

it seems to help, but even as i say it, i know that there's no way for me to really understand how she feels. it's all very well to think of the logic of the situation, to know that there are many people that are much worse off than her on this planet, from a lack of much more basic needs. it's all very well to counsel patience, but i know it's not always realistic when wanting to have your own child is as much biological as it is cerebral.

so my thoughts are with my friend, as she goes through her struggle. hopefully she can find a place in her life where there is peace and she can find happiness in other ways if pregnancy doesn't happen for her.


Azlemed said...

My wee sister has fertility issues and it turned out her ex husband did too.. they did the drugs and were looking into ivf next, it was very stressful for her, esp when we were both trying for a baby and I got pregnant and she wasnt.

the stress of not getting pregnant was a factor in their seperation. I have been lucky, the longest we tried to get pregnant was 4 months, the girls were concieved pretty much as soon as we decided to get pregnant.

infertility is a huge issue especially if you want children and you cant have them.

The other options for couples are limited too... surrogacy isnt spoken about much, nor is adoption anymore, I suspect the issues are even worse for gay or lesbian couples who need the help of a person outside their relationship to help.

Julie said...

It's amazing once you start opening up to people about these issues how common fertility problems seem to be. For example I know many many women who have had miscarriages, most of whom have also had full term pregnancies with healthy children at the end. Three years ago I would have told you I only knew one person who'd miscarried, now I know too many to count (some of whom miscarried many years ago). And I'm sure there are many others who will never mention it to me. So I just try (really hard, not always successfully) not to be nosy about baby-making now, because you never know what hurt your question/statement may inadvertently cause.

lovestitches said...

we're in the beginning of the process of adopting. It's a painful road and it tends to feel like a lonely one but I agree with Julie, once you come out with your fertility problems you find out how common it is. In its little way that knowledge helps.

Danielle said...

I just wish I'd never told anyone we were trying to have a kid, because every month that passes (15 months since the early miscarriage, which made me feel like ten different kinds of shit and which was the only conception we've had) makes me feel like more of a failure. And everyone's so nice and encouraging, and they're all so fucking pregnant in about five minutes flat, while you sit there twiddling your thumbs like an idiot, doing your best to maintain some kind of emotional equilibrium and pretend you're laid back about the whole thing.

Wow, that was kind of an overshare. I think I'm just sick of being on the downlow about how much I am freaking out over this.

Sigh. I think I need to approach it differently. The world will not end if I don't get to procreate, FFS.

Deborah said...

We battled through infertility, twice. It was awful. We satred trying to have a baby when I was 27. I knew something was wrong after six months or so, but we waited out the year, and then went to see our doctor. We tried an immediate surgery fix, but it didn't work. From there, it took us a few years to work out what to do next. We had some issues to work through, and in the meantime, I had started on a degree and then been advised to do a PhD, and we decided that we would give me a year or so to get into that. Early on, I told my supervisor that there were times when I just lost myself, because of our infertility. He was very concerned, and offered me only one piece of advice. "Deborah," he said, "do make sure you have something else to do, some other life plan, just in case it never works out." "P___," I replied, "why do you think I'm doing a PhD?." He looked a little shocked.

We were very fortunate. Once we decided we were ready to try treatment, we were lucky, and got pregnant on our second attempt, and I carried that pregnancy to term.

Second time around, it took us a long, lonely, heartbreaking year, during which time we moved country, to become pregnant. We were down to almost our last chance, and I don't think we had much emotional resolve to go to the next high-tech level. But we were very, very lucky indeed - that's when we became pregnant with our twins, who are identicals, so in a sense I feel as though I beat the drugs.

We nearly lost them at 11 weeks - a threatened miscarriage. It's my turn to share too much now - I didn't let my partner near me for the rest of that pregnancy, because the threatened miscarriage was pretty much brought on by too much afternoon delight.

The night that I found that I was bleeding was the most devastating and horrifying of my life.

Those years were lonely and heartbreaking. I wept each Christmas because my arms were still empty, and all around me people were singing songs to celebrate the birth of a child. That was when I finally walked out of the Catholic church, having lost all faith previously, but then finding that the so-called Christian community offered me no support whatsoever in my grief.

I know your heartache, Danielle, and your friend's Anjum. There is no easy comfort to offer, and there is no easy way through it, and the grief does not go away. The passage of time helps, as always, with grief, but it is still there.

Big hugs.

stargazer said...

wow, thanx for sharing your experiences. as i say, i'm very far from knowing exactly what it must feel like. but it would help to know what helped in terms of support from friends and family. i hate to watch my friend suffer and want to help in whatever way i can, in a way that makes things better not worse.

Azlemed said...

some times the best help for people is just them knowing that you care and are there for them whenever they need u.

Others i know have appreciated little acknowledgements of their loss... a women on trademe makes wee bracelets for women who have had miscarriages,

Another thing would be when she gets to her due date to be there too and maybe do something special as thats a really hard time to get through as you know you would have been holding a baby around then.

I have never had miscarriage, but when pregnant with Orion 1/3 of the women who belonged to a group i belonged to lost their babies.some of the above helped them.

Danielle said...

I agree: the due date is horrible.

Of course, I think it depends on the type of person you are, what ends up being most comforting. I didn't really want my friends to be extra nice to me based on this, because when people are nice to me all I do is cry. I'd rather just hang out and talk about the megalomania of Tyra Banks or something. :)

Azlemed said...

I now know what those women feel like, I had an ectopic pregnancy on thursday. I lost a lot of blood, part of a tube and a baby.... i am still struggling to come to terms with it all, i didnt even know i was pregnant.