Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stupid things people say on Facebook to congratulate expectant parents (or "The best way to ruin an otherwise lovely Sunday afternoon")

For those dealing with infertility, social networking sites can feel like a minefield. And thanks to status updates and "the newsfeed," Facebook is quite possibly the worst.
As humans we want to share our milestones and life accomplishments with as many of our loved ones as possible, and rightfully so. I can't really begrudge anyone wanting to share a cutesy preggo announcement, sonogram or positive pregnancy test pic. But I can judge the stupid things people post in reply. Remember, if you voluntarily post something online, you're giving the world a free pass to critique it. And no, the irony of this statement appearing in a blog isn't lost on me. Thanks for asking.
So here are the responses I wish I could post to well-meaning yet oblivious well wishers.

Post: "It's about time you two!"
First off, it's glaringly obvious this person has never battled infertility. Second, why would you scold somebody that you perceive has been "holding out" on having a baby? Did they do it to spite you? Are you really so invested in their reproductive habits that this response is appropriate? Grow up.

Post: "You better catch up on sleep now! Lololol"
Seriously? I know this is meant to be humorous, but they've probably been pregnant for about a minute before the advice starts. I could go into how this response could either be viewed as spiteful or patronizing, but really it's just overused and ultimately not worth it.

Post: "You better hope for a boy!"
I'm sorry, did we just teleport back to Henry VIII's England? Does the presence of a Y chromosome still bestow endless blessings upon the new parents? Nothing sums up the fact that misogyny is alive and well like this statement. I object to this not only as a female, but also as an infertile woman. I'm just gonna go ahead and hope they have a successful pregnancy and healthy baby, m'kay? But good luck with the whole male heir thing.

Post: "Children are such a blessing from God!"
There's absolutely nothing wrong with this statement except that it makes me feel like my heart is in a vice. Children are indeed a blessing from whatever higher power you believe in. But it hurts to think about. So... fuck you.

Post: "There's no greater feeling than when you see your baby's face for the first time! You're gonna love it!"
No seriously, fuck you.

It's worth mentioning that not one of these statements is likely to offend me when they're in response to my own good news. And this admitted hypocrisy makes me question whether or not I'll even invite the ol' FB into my pregnancy. If I do, I'll probably limit it to family and close friends. You know, the people I love no matter what stupid shit comes out of their mouth.

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 3, 2012

My love,

In my experience, no matter how long a woman battles infertility, if she does get pregnant, she inevitably switches teams: from the barren to the blessed. There’s no set time on when this happens. Maybe once she gets a positive pregnancy test, once she’s escaped the uncertainty of the first trimester or at her baby shower. Doesn’t matter; from what I’ve observed, it’s a sure bet. And I’m sure I won’t be the exception.

During the time we’ve been trying meet you, I’ve witnessed the pregnancies and births of three close friends. Sometimes it’s hard, other times it’s exciting. It all depends on what’s going on in the rest of my world.

Tonight I found out that your Aunt Renee is pregnant with her second. They went through hell to get their first child, and double that for the newest one. For this, I’m incredibly excited for her. It’s what came after the announcement that left a sour taste in my mouth. Through all of our conversations regarding infertility efforts and the lack of etiquette most people seem to have, the last thing I expected was for her to gush about morning sickness, choosing names, and ultrasounds.

But there it was. On the other end of the telephone line, holding my ears and my brain hostage. I suppose, for her part, it was more out of relief that their final try worked, and for that I truly can’t hold it against her. But I think it’s made me that much more aware of how I’ll behave when you make yourself known. However, like I said, who knows what will happen when I switch teams?

Goodnight, my dear. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

January 24, 2012

My love,

I want to talk to you a little bit about implantation bleeding. Mainly, the fact that it’s a bullshit myth. Well, not entirely. I know it’s happened for real, but not nearly as frequently as infertile women trying to conceive would like to think. Let me back up – if you’re a girl, then you’re intimately familiar with the ways of the female reproductive system, specifically the menstrual cycle. If you’re a boy and you’re gagging right now, I have three words for you: suck it up. I want you to learn a lot from this journal, and one of those things is that infertility erases a good deal of modesty from your life and menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of.

Anyway, implantation bleeding is what (sometimes) happens when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining. This can cause minor bleeding. Very minor bleeding. But every woman trying to conceive wants to believe the spotting at the beginning of each period is implantation bleeding. Community boards are FULL of anxious women asking if they could be experiencing implantation bleeding, or IB as they call it. Needless to say, within a couple of days, when it’s revealed to be a full-fledged period, IB is the furthest things from our mind.

As I’m sure you can tell, little has progressed in the last six weeks on our journey to meet you. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been on Metformin for about five months and I’m having regular periods for the most part (hence the IB angst.) Also, your dad’s been on a drug called Anastrazole for a month in hopes up upping his testosterone and lowering his estrogen, eventually raising his sperm count. He had some blood work done two weeks ago to check if the medicine had any effect. Today was his follow-up appointment and it turns out that the meds worked! His estrogen is down and testosterone is up. Good news for the sperm! We’ll find out more about that in a few months. He’s going to take the pills for another 90 days and then do a semen analysis.

So all in all, not a bad day! Wherever you are when you’re reading this, I hope you’re happy, healthy and warm. Goodnight, my love, and I’ll talk with you soon.


Friday, February 3, 2012

December 10, 2011 - Starting Over

My love,

I’m sitting in bed, under warm flannel sheets and a mink blanket, drinking delicious hot chocolate your father made me. It’s Saturday night and I’m doing the thing I love most in the world – nothing. I get so much enjoyment out of doing absolutely nothing. Well, that’s unfair to say; it’s not like I’m doing nothing. I’m always working on a project, surfing the internet, or staring idly at the TV whilst drooling on myself. Sometimes I alternate all three throughout a block of time. So really, your mother is a multi-tasker. Please try to contain your sense of awe.

I suppose I should introduce myself, or rather the me I used to be. I hope you’re reading this on your 18th birthday wondering what your boring, outdated and control freak mom was like at 27 before you came to be. Well, you’ll be disappointed to know that at this very moment, I’m boring, outdated and a control freak. Sorry. I wish I could tell you I used to be a Vegas showgirl, or a congresswoman or a nuclear physicist, but those would be lies, and I don’t want to start you out reminiscing about a lie.

Maybe I should start at the beginning. I was raised the only child in a two-parent household in Wyoming. I don’t have much to complain about; I had a mostly happy childhood, excelled academically and had about 6 best friends in a ten year period. That all seems like ancient history, though, because it was before I met your father. I’m not saying we’ve had an epic romance on par with Tristan and Isolde or Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, (see how I didn’t say Romeo and Juliet? They’re slightly overrated as a couple. I mean, Jesus, they’re two teenagers who throw the ultimate temper tantrum because they can’t get married, and then they tragically and accidentally end their lives. But I digress.) but it’s special and unique to us.

Our relationship began in 2000 when I was a sophomore in high school and he was a senior. I’ll spare you the awkward and mushy details for now, and I’ll give you the highlights. We began dating in 2000, bought a house in 2003, I graduated college in 2005, we married in 2006 and decided to start trying to have you in 2010. Now here we are in 2011, and I can honestly say it’s been a wild decade!

December 4th marked the one-year anniversary of trying to get pregnant. It’s been tough and we haven’t, as of yet, been successful, but we’re fighting. The same year we started trying for you, I was diagnosed with a condition called PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome. It’s just a few fancy words meaning I don’t ovulate on my own. I’m in good company, though, because it’s estimated that 10-20% of American women have it, and it’s the leading cause of female fertility problems. So… phew! What a relief that I’m part of an in-crowd! I’m just kidding; it’s a bullshit thing to have and there’s no cure for it. I can mitigate it through diet and exercise (remember the hot chocolate mentioned above?) but that’s another story for another time.

I’m hoping that through this journal I can show you what your father and I went through to bring you into this world, and that no matter how angsty you get as a teenager, you’ll know you were always 100% on purpose.

I should head off to bed soon. All this nothing has made me pretty sleepy.