Honoring National Infertility Awareness Week

Here we are in the middle of National Infertility Awareness Week 2012. I’d like to share a funny and inspiring infertility story. For those that belong to the exclusive infertility club, where no one wants membership, our story is no different than any other couple.

Trying Once Again
It’s February 2008. We were trying for our second child and growing weary dealing with male and female factor infertility this time around. We did our best to make one another laugh at the ridiculous and always embarrassing side of being barren.

It was the morning of our Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Bright and early, my husband was at the andrology lab, providing his deposit, where he started to feel like Norm from Cheers.

The Guy’s Etiquette Guide to the Andrology Lab

  1. Do not make eye contact in the reception area.
  2. Speak barely above a grunt to check-in at the front desk.
  3. Refrain from singing or humming the song, “Hav’in My Baby.”
  4. Last, but certainly not least Never, NEVER, N-E-V-E-R open a closed door. Can you believe the rooms did not have locks?

I went in two hours later spinning the nurse practitioner (NP) wheel wondering who would grace me with her presence, ask me to disrobe from the waist down, give me a paper sheet the size of a oversized napkin to “cover” myself and then make me wait in that cold, cold room. A NP enters rattling off my husband’s sperm stats like the box score from a baseball game: count, motility and morphology. She completes the insemination, sets an egg timer, how ironic, for 20 minutes and leaves me with my thoughts.

Our nights were always the same the day of an insemination. We’d climb into bed and one of us would ask the other, “So how do you think things went?” Like either of us would really know, but infertiles have these discussions, it’s what gives us hope.

On this particular evening, my husband began to complain about his visit to the lab… You know, they just really messed with my routine today…the usual gal wasn’t manning the front desk; it was someone new who made me uncomfortable. IT WAS A GUY! I gasped, A GUY?! LOL Yes, a guy that went through the whole procedure like I had never been there before. It was really embarrassing.

To be clear, there is nothing more embarrassing than what women go through. Let’s be honest, you fellas enter a room
A-L-O-N-E and do what you have been doing since you were 12-years-old. While women mentally go to their happy place and pretend they are making snow angels rather than in stirrups exposing themselves to every ultrasound specialist, NP and doctor that enter the exam room that day.

My husband’s second complaint was just as silly: Then my room’s adult materials were, ahem, definitely worked over. In fact they were from 1991 and 2001. Can you believe it? 1991 and 2001? These magazines are seven and 17 years old. With the amount of money we are paying, you’d think they could have more current magazines.

Yes girls…that’s what I thought…if we’re talk’in money here…I think I’d prefer a lower copay than $800 a month for my injectible fertility drugs, or perhaps cloth sheets that cover you on the exam table or how about a heated exam table. Not a better selection of periodicals for the men’s specimen rooms.

As I listened to him complain about the quality and outdated library he was provided, I couldn’t help but think, “Why aren’t you concentrating on what you’re in that room to do? Why are we doing an analysis on the dates of magazines and the evolution of smut through the years?

I had a hard time empathizing that day. I couldn’t help myself with my response, “You know…I can’t feel sorry for you. I enter a sterile exam room with hotel artwork on the walls, a cold, paper covered exam table and a revolving door of new people to greet me at each visit. Where I go, for you Grey’s Anatomy fans, there’s no McDreamy or McSteamy poster on the ceiling to put me in the mood.” : P

How Things Turned Out
When my husband and I embarked on the journey to have another child, we made a pact that if one of us had enough, then it was time. One no, was two nos. I told him this was our last month. I couldn’t take the shots, the weight gain and the sadness that had set in. I could tell that my unhappiness was affecting my mothering of our son, and he was the last one I wanted to suffer. I came to accept that if we weren’t pregnant that month, then our son was meant to be an only child. One could never say that we didn’t give it the good old college try when our last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and landed me in the ER on Christmas Day hemorrhaging.

When my visitor arrived that month my heart sank. I shed many tears realizing that it was the closing of a chapter for us, no more children, no brother or sister for our son. But then…my visitor left as quick as she arrived. It turned out my progesterone levels were borderline low, which caused me to spot. The solution was progesterone in oil injections for the first trimester. I know, more shots…but these shots I could do if it meant holding a baby in my arms and giving our son a brother or sister. Our second son was born December 10, 2008.

I honor each and every couple that has infertility in their past or present. It’s definitely a horrific voyage you’d prefer to not have stamped on your passport. One thing that infertility taught me and us as a couple is that you have to have faith. We were always taking turns encouraging each other to find our faith during this excruciating process.

So in the end, always believe that something wonderful is about to happen, because sometimes, we must walk by faith and not by sight.

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