Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.
This week, I sat in my doctor's office to get the results of some recent tests. I went into the office expecting to hear about the next expensive procedure we needed to do. I was prepared for her to tell me that I needed to go to the fertility specialist, instead of trying to trick my insurance by treating my infertility issues through my ob-gyn. I was expecting the same thing I've always found while struggling with infertility: a little bad news and a plan of attack.
Instead, my doctor grabbed my hand and slowly began to shake her head. The words started tumbling from her mouth. They were kind and gentle. It included lots of "Sorry" and offers of help if I wanted to look into adoption. I tried to thank her as I struggled to hold back my sobs. Tears were streaming from my eyes, but I really didn't want to fall apart until I made it into my car.
This week, I found out that I will never get pregnant again. After two and a half years of trying and hoping, my struggle is over. Yes, there are revolutionary procedures being performed by just a few doctors in the country. I could travel to a bigger city and pay the equivalent of my mortgage to repair my broken reproductive system. But that isn't going to happen.
Most often, we hear about the infertility stories that have a happy ending. People share all the hard work and stress that went in to getting pregnant after they have a beautiful baby to show for it. The sad fact of the matter is that not every infertility story has a happy ending. Some people hang in limbo, trying over and over again with no success, for all of their childbearing years. And some doors snap shut at the age of 27, before other women have even considered having children. Turns out, I'm one of the unhappily ever after cases.
To be honest, I feel like I am in mourning for those possible children that I desperately wanted to have. I feel like I have lost a loved one. Just because I didn't know them yet doesn't change that. Like any person struggling with grief, I think it will take time for me to accept the situation and attempt to move on.
Let's be real. There's a lot of crying going on in my home right now. I'm crying over the prenatal vitamin that I no longer need to take every morning. I'm crying over this stupid extra stocking that I'm never going to need, but probably never going to throw away. I'm crying every time a loved one stops over and tells me that there are other ways to have children and that I should really consider adoption.
Last year, I was pregnant for Christmas. I was actually getting presents from my mother for the child that we had just found out about. I still have those tag blankets and plush toys packed away in a box. Last year, the holidays were filled with hope and excitement. Then, just a week later, I found out that my pregnancy was ectopic. I lost my baby and I lost my Fallopian tube, but I still had hope that someday we would have another child.
This year, even that hope of another baby is gone for the holidays. I am slowly trying to accept that my daughter will be an only child. I'm trying to accept that all of those nursery plans I made will never get used. I'm seeing the future that doesn't turn out like I planned it.
Through all of the ups and downs of infertility, I always had hope. I truly believed that someday I would get pregnant. Losing that hope is almost as hard as losing a pregnancy.
This post marks the end of the Unbearable series. I had always assumed that these posts would end when I had a baby. I imagined writing that triumphant piece and saying goodbye to infertility. I wanted to be able to tell all of the amazing people who offered me support and prayers that this whole mess had finally paid off. I am truly sorry that I don't get to give everyone that good news.
As my doctor handed me tissues and rubbed my arm, she softly said to me, "At least we know." She was right. I can not imagine going through the next decade, month after month, year after year, trying to get pregnant and constantly getting disappointed. The grief I'm feeling now is bad, but that futile routine would be worse.
Now I know that I will never get pregnant. I know that the third bedroom I've been letting sit vacant can really become an office. I know that when my little girl asks about having a brother or sister, I need to stop answering, "Hopefully someday." Now I know that my infertility journey is over.