Monday, November 17, 2008

Out of the closet....

On her post yesterday, April talked about being open about infertility. She wrote really eloquently about the struggles to come out of the infertility closet. She wrote about how raw and exposed she felt talking about IF.

I have always been open about my feelings and more willing to talk than DH. He did not want to get our families involved, and he did not want them to know details of our personal life. So he didn’t tell his family, and I respected his wishes and didn’t tell mine.
He respected my “need” to talk to some of my closest friends, and so I was open with some friends right from the beginning.

After a while though, it became harder and harder to shield and answer questions from our families. At that point, we had been married over 6 years, and both sets of parents were keen on receiving “good news”. I got tired of lying to them, so I told DH that if he wanted to keep it from his family, he could. I was not going to keep my pain from my own parents any more. So I told my mom. It was so “relieving” to tell her, because now suddenly, I could talk to her without pretending that we weren’t ready yet, or that life was so cool and we hadn’t thought of having a baby yet.

DH saw the relief I felt, and the ease with which I was now able to converse with my folks, so he told his parents too. Informing them took a lot of pressure off of us. It made it so much easier to deal with things.

The support we received was incredible. The questions stopped – at least “those” questions stopped. Now the questions were more like “What does the doctor say?” or “What’s the next step now?”

Our IF was “unexplained” for the first 6 years. I think it was easier for us then to talk about it. “Doctors can’t say what’s wrong. All tests have always come back normal.” When DH’s balanced translocation was discovered, it added a layer of complexity to our situation.

I did not want to tell my family about his translocation, because I did not want any negative thoughts about him, ever, even subconsciously. DH told his family, and then we discovered cases among his mom’s siblings, which we now can attribute to the BT. His mom’s sister had 2 babies that died, and from the symptoms, they probably had an unbalanced translocation on the same chromosomes that DH’s BT is on.

We were suddenly dealing with chromosomes and percentages and genetics, and we did try to explain to some of our friends. I don’t think most of them got it. We were talking about doing a biopsy on the embryos (PGD), and most people did not understand what we were talking about. We were talking day 3 biopsy, vs. day 5 biopsy and the culture in the lab and FISH analysis etc. For even an average IFer, these are complex discussions. For a fertile friend for whom getting pregnant is only equated to intercourse, these were discussions that were Greek and Latin to them.

Then I got pregnant, and subsequently miscarried. After that, I completely shut off from the real world. I turned to online message boards, blogs and friends that live in my computer.

Since then, one chemical pregnancy and one ectopic pregnancy later, now, when I have the diagnosis of my T shaped uterus to add to the complexity of our case, I seem to have closed off from the real world even more. There are possibly 3-4 people in real life who know the entirety of our current situation.

I told my family about my uterus, and he didn’t tell his. I guess we do this out of protection of each other in front of our families. We told a couple of friends – the couple that are still friends enough to want to know.

However, I now find myself exhausted, and feeling very raw and exposed and vulnerable every time I go into a detailed discussion of all our issues. It’s one thing to say, “I’ve done 6 clomid cycles, 5 IUIs, 4 fresh IVFs so far” and leave it at that. It’s a whole different ballgame to get into chromosomal discussions, and uterine shape discussions and biopsy discussions!

So while I am definitely out of the closet, I’m tired. I am really tired of being infertile. I am tired and disgusted that I’ve let my IF become me. I’m tired at the length of my story on this topic. So tired that sometimes I have a hard time remembering how many clomid cycles we did or how many IUIs we did and whether the IUIs were with injectable drugs or with clomid!

I’m running out of steam, and I’m so ready to close this chapter. Come February, and whatever be our outcome, I am going to stop being infertile. I will either be pregnant, or I will be childless. ☹


I Believe in Miracles said...

Oh sweetie~
This is such an awesome post. As someone who isn't out of the closet with her family, it has so much for me to think about (food for thought, so to speak) and yet my heart also aches for all the pain you must have felt with the raw exposure to certain people, while keeping things from others. I agree, it is so much easier to tell the people in the computer than it is to tell people f-2-f.
I know that big February deadline looms large, so I'm praying for you my friend.

Nichole said...

What an awesome post! I am moving you to the top of my prayer list as February nears. I am so sorry you have had to endure this - all of this.


nancy said...

I'm just tired for you. ~hugs~ and looking forward to february so you'll just know what to focus your energy on. Whatever energy you even have left.

Lisa said...

I know what you mean. IF consumes my life. It's hard to talk about, think about, or do anything else. No wonder people think we're crazy. I have become someone so shut off from the rest of the world. No friends, barely see our families (because we live 3000 miles away) and really, I can't think of anyone who would want to hang around me. Or what value I could add to a discussion anymore, unless it's about protocols, fertility foods, sperm selection, egg quality, etc. It's crazy how my life has become sooo focused on one thing for so long that I honestly don't know what will become of me once this cycle is over. In two weeks I will either be pregant, or walking away from Infertility treatments forever. Only problem is, I don't know who I am without them anymore. I am going to need to spend a lot of time rediscovering myself and redefining my interests.

I can't imagine not cycling at this point, it's such a part of my life, a disgusting part, but the biggest part. So I know how you feel.

April said...

thank you so much for your kind words in this blog and on mine. i think that you did a much better job than me. ;) i appreciate your struggle. i know it's's totally consuming and exhausting.

at least we have eachother now, too <3


Linda said...

I wish that everyone has a supportive family like yours. When we "came out" about our infertility and DH's translocation, my family laid blame on DH and DH's family denied it (even though there is only one biological grandchild from a total of 5 children). Anyway...I'll be checking on you often. :) I wish you the best of luck and I hope you get the miracle that you truly deserve!! :)

Polly Gamwich said...

Oh man Nikki, you have had a hell of a journey. You posted on my blog awhile back and I'm just now catching up.

I read this post and it broke my heart, I'm so sorry that you didn't have support of family and friends for so long, and that you are where you are.

I SO GET not being able to talk to most ppl about the technologies. My blog is open to all of my IRL friends and family as well as the Internet world, so I run into a lot of having to explain myself a ton. And some days it's really hard.

Hey, I'm in the South Bay, if you ever find yourself at Stanford or in S.Bay maybe we could do lunch and complain together?

I'll be stalking you,

Anonymous said...

Hey Nikki..a heart-felt post..I can only imagine your pain even while writing this..the physical drain of infertility is still manageable but the emotional drain is the most painful. Psychologically it turns you into something that even you yourself dont recognise any more. I am glad your families are supportive. That atleast is one big portion taken care of. Am praying for you.

AmandaHoyt said...

I'm so sorry for your losses, Nikki.
My prayers are with you and your husband.

Shelby said...

Nikki, as always, you express yourself so beautifully. This is an exhausting journey, isn't it? Nowadays, I've been so tired, I barely even relay details to Mr. S. I too feel as if I have 'become my IF'. Like you, I am more than this, but nevertheless, it is undeniably all-consuming.

I am hoping beyond hope for you. I am hoping that you will have what you have been aching for and most of all, I am hoping for peace and an end to this exhaustion. February is as good a time (and better) as any to see that happen!

Jackie. said...

I bet you are tired. I hope that February comes fast for you, and that hope can be a part of your life if that helps you get through the next couple of months.

I think about you all of the time. I want to make sure that you know that not everyone sees you as fitting into just one box called infertility. When I think of you, it feels like,"That sweet Nikki, she does not deserve this." I know that you are an entire person even if it feels like sometimes you are less than that.

Big hug,