Infertility & IVF... It's a Struggle, Not an Accident
As you know, I write about weddings and weddingy things, so this is quite a departure from my typical articles about wedding behavior and perspective while planning. But, as a topic that is close to my heart and soul, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could make some positive change simply by sharing my perspective, story and goal with you. Because, frankly? It's fucking exhausting sitting on it all by myself. What is it? Well, "it's" a common "problem" that is so taboo, and so, dare I say, scandalous, that nobody discusses it; nobody talks about it. In fact, it's so scary that network TV won't touch it or produce a show about it because of how they will be perceived by doing so.
It, is IVF. In vitro fertilization. Being infertile. Feeling broken. Something that affects millions of people both emotionally and physically on an annual basis. It’s becoming so commonplace that in 2014, CNN reported that there is a record number of women using IVF to get pregnant. And yet, we still can't discuss it openly and honestly? C’mon! I mean... Should I whisper it? ivf. There, was that more comfortable? Well, fuck that! And fuck not talking about it! It's time to blow the lid off of this popsicle stand... Because pretty much everyone I know has gone through it, is going through it or knows someone who is going through it. Not being able to get pregnant or stay pregnant or having one too many vaginas or one too many penises is a thing, and IVF is a solution. Usually.
Because infertility doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care about color or race, or who you love or who you sleep with. It doesn’t care how much money you have or don’t have. It doesn’t care if you’re famous (Google all of the stars who have gone through IVF); it's an equal opportunity for all. And, I never thought it would happen to me… Well, to my hus and me. Seriously, I spent all of my 20s trying not to get pregnant (little did I know), and too much time in my 30s trying to get pregnant. And now? Because of IVF, I am a mother of two “test tube” babies. I went through a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), round after round of IUIs (inseminations), egg retrievals (they put you under for that shit), and finally, several rounds of in vitro. I stumbled my way through self-injections, mind-altering hormone pills, and what felt like exhibitionism considering how often I was naked around strangers, all to finally have what most couple have accidentally after a drunken night at a bar.
It seemed so unfair. We live in a world of baby bumps and showers and when you’re dealing with infertility it’s not only heartbreaking, but frustrating too. Because people are pretty fucking stupid about unknowingly diving into your personal life when they ask questions. I mean, they are so completely unaware and dense to reality when they ask when you’re having a baby or when the next one is coming or or or… Nadirah Angail sums it up perfectly in her article seen on Huffington Post, called Mind Your Own Womb (also on NadirahAngail.com). But, people don’t mind their own wombs. A simple and seemingly innocent question has made me cry in front of a stranger, or lash out publicly.
I felt incredibly alone, and kept wondering if this was a sign. Like, maybe we shouldn’t be parents. And, there were days I actually believed in that bullshit. There were days that I wanted to give up. There were days I wanted to scream, “fuck it”, we’ll get a dog, move out of the burbs and into a place in the city, have more money and travel. Sounds good, right? But, I didn’t give up. I kept going, and tried laughing more, and giving a shit less. Even Daniel Tosh has an opinion about infertility. He did a hilarious bit about it (yes, I said hilarious), and although it was totally crass, it was honest and real and awesome, and he had the balls to talk about it. To LAUGH about it!! To make fun of it! And I respect that, because a lot of the time, I forced myself to laugh my way through the process because the alternative was way too depressing.
Because, I couldn’t talk about it to anybody. And, considering that I’m not one for being at a loss for words, this was a whole different world for me. I would have LOVED to feel comfortable talking about what I was going through, openly, without watching people squirm as I uttered the words infertility or IVF, and then seeing the pity spread across their face. And it sucked because on top of all of the procedures and borderline obsession, what nobody knows, is that IVF, etc. is fucking time consuming. Blood draws and ultrasounds (yeah, the lovely internal ultrasounds, aka: the wand!) every other day usually BEFORE work. Stabbing myself with needles filled with hormones; drugs that made it nearly impossible to be nice and civil in even the most mundane situations (considering I work with brides… Totally brutal.).
And yet, I’ve been told that an educational reality show about IVF is too female skewed and too earnest for TV. Wow. Seriously? We live in a world where shows like Duck Dynasty exist, and a reality show about IVF is too earnest? Are you fucking kidding me? When I got that news, I literally said, “shame on the networks”, something my mother would totally say. Because, infertility and IVF is a “people” problem, not a “woman” problem. And, if there was an outlet with real people dealing with real fertility problems (ranging from getting pregnant, to staying pregnant, to surrogacy, etc.) I think it would just be an “earnest” show for “all” people to turn to when they feel like they’re dealing with it alone.
So, if you’re going through IVF or dealing with infertility, just know, that I went through it too, and it sucked, and it forced me (and my hus) to be stronger than I ever could have imagined. It’s 100% worth it in the end, but the road is bumpy as hell, filled with disappointment, loss and most of all, courage. Maybe one day I will be able to share my whole story and that of others with you. But, for now? I need you to know that you can get through it too.
Image via Name Bubbles