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“Leaving” Infertility?

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a blog by murgdan, June 15, 2010

He’s here.

My miracle is here. I can hold him in my arms. I can touch him, feel him, and hear him breathe softly in my ear. (Or scream loudly in my ear depending on the time of day or night). In some ways it feels like the nightmare of infertility is finally over. I’ve woken up and it was all just a bad dream.

And other people view it that way too. I’ve been congratulated a million times over, and some of those congratulations include messages such as, “Congrats on finally leaving the land of infertility!” Some people have asked, “How does it feel to no longer be an infertile?”

Granted, I’m no longer part of "the struggle." Alas, I don’t know that I ever will be a part of the struggle again. There are no future baby plans; no final thoughts on re-entering the baby-making pool.

Have I left infertility behind?

I, like many others, always struggled with hearing those who have living, breathing ART miracles claiming that they would ‘always be infertile’ and that it would ‘always be a part of them.’ It’s true, yes; I am and will be forever changed. At the same time, however, I’ve been thrust face-first down the rabbit-hole like Mommy in Wonderland and find I have suddenly been welcomed into the circle of parenthood by people who left me in the dust years ago.

I woke up on the other side of this chasm and have been greeted with sleeping advice and breastfeeding guidance from friends I lost touch with years ago. I’ve finally been given my 9lb, 6oz membership card and have been welcomed into their club.

This is the ticket to forget my past, right? This is my opportunity to dive in and move forward with life.

So am I leaving infertility behind? Yes and no.

Because it’s true, I’m no longer a part of the struggle. My miracle is here and it’s all I can do to live in the moment and enjoy every second. So while ‘leaving the land of infertility’ may be an accurate description, as the constant obsession with all things pregnancy related fade into the background, ‘no longer infertile’ is equally inaccurate.

When my midwife asked me what I planned to use for birth control, I chuckled, “We don’t need birth control. We have male-factor infertility. We needed IVF/ICSI to get pregnant.” It wasn’t my words to her that reminded me I would always be a part of an infertile couple; it was her words back to me: “Yeah, well. It’s always the people who needed IVF who come back after 12 weeks because they’re pregnant.”

The anger and injustice that rose up within me at hearing that response reminded me of what I would never leave behind. My awareness. My passion. My anger. The ignorance of the general public will always ignite something inside of me that wasn’t there before this experience.

It is our experience that changes us. It is our experience that remains with us. And while I know that I am different, set apart, and set free in a sense, I also know I will never be the same.

I’m not sure if it’s me who can’t leave infertility behind, or infertility that cannot leave me. But it will be forever intertwined with this new family of mine. It will keep me grounded. It will keep me grateful.

It will keep me.

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Comments (17)

All my life I wanted children. I wanted boys to be exact. We struggled for 3 years before the drugs worked and out came a 9 lb, 4 1/2 ounce boy. That 1/2 ounce is important! Then 8 more years of trying to conceive....nothing. Finally, after consultation with doctors and my husband, a hyserectomy was performed. Suddenly conception was absolutely not going to happen. My health was so much better, but there would be no more babies. SO many people would say...."only one?" Like how pitiful is that. But at least God allowed me to have a son. Now son is a grown man and married to a beautiful, talented, wonderful woman....who suffers from IF. I can relate to her just so far as, after all, I did ultimately conceive and have a baby. And I know she looks at me and thinks the same thing. But it's true that the feeling or thought process of IF never leaves you. It's a rare day that I don't see an expectant mother and think about why I didn't have more and why my daughter-in-love hasn't conceived. I too hear of unwed, teenaged girls having sex and happens. I too hear women say things that to anyone who has struggled with IF...just pushes a few buttons. So let me just say, IF is a part of your life story. Just as you can't erase where you went to school, who you went to the prom with, or what were you thinking when you wore your hair that way.....IF is woven into your story. But it doesn't define who you are. Only God can create the woman you are and who you will become...if you let Him.

Nope - you don't leave it behind. And after 6 years of failed attempts after our beautiful, perfect daughter was born, and now having to give up and work through the heartache of knowing it worked once...and never again...the dr had the tenacity to ask me at my "well woman" visit last week what we were using for b/c!!!! Good lord, are you KIDDING me? I will always treasure what we have but feel a bit sad about what could have been.

I too couldn't believe they were asking me about birth control on my way out of the hospital with my baby, after 2 years of TTC. I always thought that babies were magical, but I didn't mean that literally.

My DH and I are planning for a second child, and I wonder if we'll be treated any differently by the IF community because we now have one child. I know that the monitoring apointments will be a struggle... I would not dream of bringing my daughter to the REs office. I would have cried, especially in the days after a failed cycle, to see a baby in the office. I won't inflict that on anyone else, but where do I find a babysitter to start at 6am?

Beautiful post. Awareness...I think that is what most people lack. If you haven't experienced infertility (anything, really), you can never really understand the pain/anger/heart break. It's hard to understand if you haven't had the experience yourself. the comment about you being on a high horse. WOW...really? Why are you on fertility authority if you think we are playing God? Take your negativity somewhere else, please.

Wow, this is a really powerful post! Congratulations on conceiving a child, it' s a true miracle! Having a child is the best thing in the world -- my daughter turned two a few days ago and she is the most precious thing to me. I truly cannot imagine my life without her.

I so know what you mean! I am delivering my IVF twins on Friday at 36 weeks after my 4th transfer. I still get angry when someone "accidentally" gets pregnant or complains that they weren't ready/didn't want kids. I know my babies will always be a little bit more special than a baby that wasn't longed for.

It does make me sad when people complain about their kids when there are so many people who desperately want kids but can't have them. My mom use to say to me - "you know that you were wanted" - My parents ttc for 5 years before I came along.

Are you for real? Your baby is a little more special? Get off your high horse please. Playing God doesn't make you or your kids "more special"

After my first (2 years of struggle with IF) I let that ray of hope that the second time would be easier sneak in and thought that I'd welcome another one at 12 weeks post partum... 2 years later, we're back on the crazy train, trying to concieve again... Stupid doctors who imply that having a baby can somehow 'cure' IF.

Man, I needed this. I knew I was changed forever, but I thought that the infertile feelings might change and that the "changed" part would just be my attitude toward life in general. WRONG. I'm fully learning that I'm a Pregnant Infertile. I'm not sure I will ever be just a pregnant woman, nor am I sure I would want to be.

Thanks for making me feel a little more whole.

Murgdan - I totally agree. People who have not experienced this can never truly understand, but I feel that it is an experience that does leave you forever changed. I am left more grateful and awestruck by my own "miracle" - but unfortunately, there's still remains a residue of bitterness and pain that I can't see fading anytime soon.

Well, I don't know Murgdan... I suppose it's always possible that somehow the ICSI performed with a sample of the Italian's sperm to create your 9lb 6oz miracle could have fixed all of his sperm and his sperm making capabilities. After all, stranger things are bound to have happened... {shaking head in disgust at ignorance of even medical professionals when it comes to IF}

My boy isn't here yet, but I have been struggling with the same thoughts. We aren't cured of our infertility. I'm not suddenly fertile. But, we also aren't in the trenches. We're not struggling with getting pregnant anymore (and NOT planning to waste anymore cash on bc!) but we still don't have the normalcy of being fertile. Don't have an answer, but can commiserate with you!

OH! This is exactly what my hyperemesis nurse said to me the other day. That you never know and that it can happen to you.

In my experience, those anecdotes relate to couples dealing with female-factor, NOT male-factor. I'm not worrying about this possibility. I just attribute such statements to the fact there is stupid everywhere.

At 32 weeks pregnant after IVF, I wonder the exact same things you wrote about. And with regards to BC after birth, what is the point? I needed IVF. I have severe Endo. Will it really matter? My OB made the same comment to me about coming back in 2-3 months post birth because I'd be pregnant and I laugh because, really? In my world there is no such thing as a "free" baby, is there?

And why does she say it like it's a bad thing if you got pregnant 12 wks after giving birth? Hello?! I'm pretty sure most of us are praying that pregnancy would somehow restore our fertility (yes, I'm sure even people dealing with MFI have those daydreams on occasion) and we'd have a second "miracle" pregnancy.
Even if I wasn't infertile, though, I'd get pissed off at a dr. or midwife butting their nose into my business, asking me about bc - when I reproduce should be NONE of their business.
But yeah, her comment was completely out of line. I imagine just like the comments of "you're going to get pregnant as soon as you adopt". Until you've been there and gone through infertility, you have no clue. And once you've been's always a part of you.

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