These are the posts from anotherchild.com that were lost inadvertantly when the blog’s administrator changed up the theme of the blog. These were written during a time when I thought it was easier to talk about SIF and the desire for another child seperately from my T.K.O. blog.
I’ve come to realize that my desire for Another Child is just as much a part of me as infertility and the need to segregate them is no longer necessary.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Dawn Friedman from This Woman’s Work who encouraged me to write about my feelings on Secondary Infertility.
We have a son who was conceived in 2001 without any inclination that there would be problems later on. It wasn’t until early 2005 when we couldn’t get pregnant again as easily after a miscarriage in November 2004, that we became aware that something had changed in those three short years. We quickly shot through the ranks of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) which included semen analyses; hysterosalpingogram (HSG); a couple of Intrauterine Insemminations (IUI) on injectables; and two Invitro Fertilization (IVF). The closest we got to a pregnancy was on New Years Eve 2005, which ended in a chemical pregnancy. At this point, we are back to square one. No more ART. We whisper “adoption” and “it could happen” at night when our son is sleeping peacefully in his room. We are hopeful, but realistic.
I feel like it’s the first day of school after a summer break and I have to introduce myself to people who already know me, when in all reality, no one really knows me deep down.
In the past 10 months since I’ve been blogging I’ve made some incredible friends along the way. What I forget too easily is that many were not there at the beginning, and if they are like me when it comes to reading blogs I try to pick up wherever it is I met them. So, it is with a surprising case of shyness I introduce myself:
I am DD. I am a 38 (too soon to be 39) year-old who has been married nine years to a man I’ve known for 14. I refer to him as Mr. DD. We knew that as soon as we answered the question, “So, when are you two getting married?”, we would have to start answering the, “So, when are you two going to have a baby?” After four years of marriage, we figured we should take the leap. We tried half-heartedly for a couple of months and when I had my annual check-up I asked the pro when would be our best time to try. She circled the date on a little calendar and a’skipping home I went. We “tried” on that date and voila’, we were pregnant. No drama. No worries. Nine months later I had a baby boy. I call him X. That was December 2001.
In the summer of 2004, Mr. DD and I discussed the idea of having a second. I think it was at that time I tried the ovulation predictor kits and after the first month of trying, I was pregnant again. Who knew that this baby-making business was so easy…right?
Everything was “normal” as far as I knew. I hated the morning sickness and would bitch from sun up to sun down about being pregnant. I was excited by the idea that I would get the summer of 2005 off due to maternity leave. At 15 weeks, I was just getting over the early pregnancy symptoms and my pants were getting tight.
It was on November 10, 2004 that my world crumbled around me. I had some spotting. So light, so indiscernible, I almost ignored it. I called my OB who didn’t seem excited either, especially since I had just been in for a routine check a week and a half earlier and listened to the heartbeat with a Doppler and had a normal ultrasound at 9 weeks. I’m sure it’s obvious what I happened next.
After failing to find the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler, we did an ultrasound. My baby had died. She measured at 12 1⁄2 weeks gestation. Her name is Vivienne. My husband does not know I named her.
Genetic testing was done and an anomaly was found on our baby. Mr. DD and I were tested and we discovered it was nothing we had passed on. It was a complete fluke.
We started trying immediately. I had a positive HPT 6 weeks later, but within a week, I was bleeding again. We did not do a beta to confirm so my doc speculated the positive HPT was “leftover” from miscarrying Vivienne. I believe it was a second miscarriage.
After six more months, the OB ruled out blocked tubes and ran a sperm analysis. The SA was questionable but he felt Mr. DD had the right stuff to get the job done (why wouldn’t he since he had already twice for sure?), but referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). After two IUIs on Follistim, the RE strongly suggested IVF/ICSI since Mr. DD’s samples were crap – for lack of a better term.
We actually got a positive beta after the first IVF. It was on New Year’s Eve as a matter of fact. But I knew within a day, that something was wrong. Saturday I felt sick. Sunday I didn’t. By Monday, which was to be the 48 hour beta, my intuition proved to be right. Two weeks later, that pregnancy was officially over. We went onto a second IVF/ICSI, but it didn’t work, either.
So…there’s our reproductive life in 660+ words.
I have struggled since the day I started my own blog about being labeled with Secondary Infertility. I wrote once that I felt like an outcast on an island of castaways.
I have such joy in knowing that I have a biological child, but since the miscarriage and subsequent losses, that joy has been tempered by sadness, depression, anger and resentment. I not only lost a baby girl, I lost friends and family members because they wouldn’t or couldn’t understand. I lost my faith in God. I lost my faith in the medical system and Artificial Reproductive Assistance. Worst of all, I lost my faith in me and my body.
It’s been nearly two months since we found out the last IVF attempt failed, and every waking moment has been consumed by the Whys and What Ifs that come with Infertility. We still want another child. Badly. But we can’t come to an agreement on the How. Mr. DD still has faith and hope left in his heart that it can happen just like it did all those years ago: naturally and without worry. Ever the cynic, I do not believe that.
I feel quiet resentment that my husband never agreed to donor sperm, even though my eggs are just as much at fault. I gather information on adoption, thinking that I will find the magic agency that will guarantee me a healthy newborn by the end of the week.
I’m scared that if I stop pushing that the years will pass by and I will start to accept that this is how things were meant to be. I don’t want to accept that now.
Prayers and Wishes
I am so tired of this infertility crap. I want to be oblivious to the reproductive cycle. I want to feel my eyes glaze over when someone starts talking about trying to get pregnant instead of being able to recite how a cycle actually works in such a comprehensive and clinical way, people think I have taken classes at a med school. I want that innocence back.
I find my level of hypocrisy insufferable. I dismiss any and all claims that God somehow has a hand in my infertility. How could he? How could anyone think he has a bigger picture in mind when he strikes my family’s life with such sadness and loss by taking away at least two pregnancies, but he provides quads to a woman who gave birth to triplets a few years before? But then I am the first to turn around and offer up a prayer for someone else. Who is listening to my prayers? If they won’t hear my own pleas, why would they listen to those on behalf of someone else? If there is a higher power, he or she is only stirring the pot that is this universe and letting it simmer to see what shakes out.
I really wish my husband and I had never discussed having more children after we had such a uneventful experience with our son. I try to recall how we felt before that summer in 2004 when we were content with one child. How it felt at that time to have our hearts and lives full. It’s only been two years, why does it feel like it was ages and ages ago, and that it reminds me now that I’m now at the age I said I felt I could stop wishing?
I wish with every ounce of my being I didn’t want another baby.
I wish with every ounce of my being that I could have another baby.
Yet Another Fork in the Road
This weekend I was outside decorating the front porch for Halloween. I spent a good deal of time outside, especially on Sunday preparing the house (we are experiencing some incredibly beautiful weather in Nebraska for this time of year).
It is the first time I’ve decorated the house since we moved in and I’ve had to add some hooks to the door frame and figure out the best way to run the cords for all the lights. I traveled back and forth between my husband’s shop and the house enjoying time not spent in front of a computer, doing laundry or cleaning the house.
I’m telling you this because during all this time, I never once had to worry about what X, my son, was doing. I told him I was going to be outside if he needed me. After about a half-hour, he came out, rode his bike on the drive and then after a while went back inside. By the time I came back into the house, I found him sitting at the kitchen counter, watching SpongeBob, drinking koolaid and eating some fruit snacks, all of which he did without any help since Daddy wasn’t home, either.
I’ve realized that I am really enjoying his self-reliance and I question my desire to complicate things by wanting to get pregnant again. When we originally discussed having another child, X was just 2 1⁄2, and we worried about taking care of two “babies” even though by the time we got pregnant and realized he would be nearly 3 1⁄2 , he wouldn’t require the same level of attention as a newborn.
After losing the baby, we never really talked again about how difficult things would be with two “babies”. Instead we tried to find the upside to having the additional year in between two children. That additional year has now turned to two and now X is just a few weeks away from turning 5 and still, there is no baby. Two years isn’t that much of a time-span for an adult, but for him, it’s nearly half his life.
When I found out I was pregnant back in 2004, I had to rehearse and rehearse with him how to tell family he was going to be a big brother. He never understood what he was saying, and after we lost the baby, he never mentioned it again. Now he asks if he can have a baby brother or baby sister, especially since he’s gone back to school and many of his friends seem to have them. Why not him? he asks.
So, I feel very unsure of our future. We are still trying and right now I am in the very enviable position of a “2WW” after undergoing a donor insemination (DI). But if this ends in just another failure to add to all the others, I don’t know how motivated I am to keep going.
I say “I” because I haven’t discussed it with my husband. I don’t know if I want him to know I’m thinking about giving up. I don’t want him to see the light at the end of the tunnel, just in case I change my mind. I don’t know how to tell my son that he will never have a baby sister or baby brother to play with. I don’t know when I will have to tell him that he did have a baby sister, but that God decided to make her an angel instead.
I don’t know why after two years of reliving the same nightmare month after month, I now think it’s time to give up my dream.
Someone Else Can Say It Better
Upon the heels of “just another” of my failed cycles, I read a couple of posts that seemed perfectly timed to my feelings of loss and failure as not just a woman, but as a mother as well.
Julie from Sisyphus wrote this post, Perversly Unyielding, or Possibly Deranged that hit me particularly hard because I’ve always wondered if the reason I am so driven to have another child is because I felt that I haven’t had the chance to “make it right” after my miscarriage in 2004.
Catherine who maintains a blog on miscarriage and loss, Life Begins…, published this beautiful letter, Just Once More by Laura Brogden. I swear I can feel the aching emptiness in my womb while reading it.
Never Worse Than NeverNever Again
I read that line on a blog several days ago and I haven’t been able to shake it out of my head since. Its simplicity is what I think twists me up inside even though initially I nodded my head in somber agreement.
How could I agree when I don’t have anything to make the judgement on? Mr. DD and I never experienced the “Never”, and I can’t help but wonder how differently things would be for us now if we had started on the wrong side of the statistics.
We would have been better prepared by consciously making the decision almost immediately as to what to do when we’re ready the next time. Instead we waited with our eyes shut thinking a subsequent pregnancy would happen the way it did the first time. Ironically, it did, but nothing could have prepared us for the first of three miscarriages. No one can ever be prepared regardless of the number of times it happens.
After the first miscarriage, we had to “do” a minimum six month of trying naturally, which does nothing but stress one out and it’s not fair that most physicians won’t offer a referral until you do. In our most recent cycle, I’ve learned that the now 24 months that have passed since then, waiting and trying have not increased our chances of getting and staying pregnant. I found out the hard way that in just 12 months, my ovarian reserve has pretty much dried up.
And what knocks me on my ass is that we are now experiencing the Never Again possibility without warning.
So here’s a question: is there really Secondary Infertility when there was already Primary? With Primary you already know that the next time ART will more than likely be involved. You know the lingo; you know the odds; and maybe PIF has even given you the good fortune (in relationship to the whole shitty process) of having frozen embryos awaiting you.
In an email exchange I had with someone, my eyes were opened to the idea that there is no SIF if there is PIF. I don’t mean necessarily that the second child can come easier to the IF who desires child no.2, I just mean that SIF have their “eyes wide open” to what is to come. They may even know from the moment their first child is born that they are done. They’ve accepted it and have the peace that can comes with time and having a new baby in their arms. How many times have you heard a PIF hope that they have twins the first time around and know that their family will be complete?
Here’s something that came directly from my email exchange:
“When you go straight to ART for #2, this is not experiencing SIF. That’s not hearing ‘only’ one child for a few years, that’s not your child begging for a sibling, that’s not being the only only in a classroom and being told that your time is easier/looser etc b/c you only have one.”
Another question: how can there be Secondary Infertility when there wasn’t primary? I would like someone to explain to me how Infertility has become Secondary. Secondary to what?
Even more difficult when it comes to our Secondary Infertilty diagnosis is feeling like you are squelching your spouse’s hopes that you could possibly conceive without ART. Yes, it’s possible, but highly unlikely. My husband has repeatedly told me that he feels like I’ve “written him off” (because our IF’s main cause is MF, but not the only factor). If we had had Primary, we wouldn’t have the late-night crying and under-our-breath hissed discussions that we’ve done it before without a doctor’s assistance, we can do it again. We would just be trying to figure out what are the next steps we should take in ART that have the quickest and most desirable outcome.
For me, I can only speculate that we never would have had to do the two failed IVFs which strapped us emotionally and financially. If we had had PIF, the use of donor might have been accepted without a blink of an eye – maybe not the first time, but more so the secondy time – and possibly the only heated discussion we might have had was should the donor be Irish/German or Irish/Irish decent.
Secondary Infertility is a misnomer and leads to so many misconceptions and unfounded bias. Do you think the couple who had PIF who find themselves surprisingly pregnant naturally a second time now consider themselves Fertile? I would love to see someone admit to that. So why should I now consider myself SIF when there was never PIF. And here’s even a further leap: why should I consider myself SIF when maybe we were never “fertile”? Maybe we just got lucky the first time, and then found out the hard way that we are actually Infertile.
I thought that as time passed it wouldn’t hurt as much.
I remember my niece, J., announced her pregnancy last fall which was just shortly after we started on the IVF path. I figured it hurt as much as it did because we thought ART would solve our problems.
I remember when one of my co-workers announced her pregnancy after our first IVF ended in a chemical pregnancy. I thought it hurt as much as it did because it was right on the heels of heartbreak.
I remember when another niece, L., announced her pregnancy. It was after our second and last failed IVF. I figured it hurt as much as it did because we realized that having a second baby may only be a pipe-dream.
Today, another co-worker announced her pregnancy. Her third.
She said she wanted to share a secret. I figured it was she had found a new job. She had been looking.
She told me that her little girl was going to be a big sister.
I smiled and told her congratulations while inwardly I screamed, “You said you were done having babies! How could you do this to me?”
I figured it hurts so much because she caught me unaware.
I’ve come to the realization it will always hurt this much.