Monday, July 27, 2009

The value of a lady

I recently had a conversation with my manager about *maybe* going to Denver at some point in the future. I wanted him to know, so there was no misunderstanding if and when I did go.
The conversation went something like this: (The sequence of sentences may be mixed up a little, because I was too shocked to be able to remember everything, and you’ll see why I was shocked)

Me: I wanted to let you know that at some point DH and I will be going to Denver for our “treatment”.
Him: What treatment?
Me: Our fertility treatment – I had mentioned it to you before, right?
Him: What treatment?? OH the pregnancy one?
Me: Yes, the pregnancy one (controlled eye roll here)
Him: How old are you?
Me: I’m 38.
Him: You’re 38????
Me: Yes
(This “You’re 38??” and “Yes” was repeated some 5 times)
Him: How long have you been married?
Me: 12 years, and we’ve been trying since 2001.
Him: You’ve had some abortions right?
Him: It must be very hard.
Me: Yes it is.
Him: I used to be like Hitler in my house, never cared about anything until my wife had her operation.
Me: What operation? You mean she had a C-Section?
Him: Yes – they take the baby out, and they ask us to cut the cord. That moment changed me. That’s when I realized the value of a lady.
Me:……………………….. (Thinking to my self – Oh my word!!! Which means, there is no value in my existence at all!!)

I picked my jaw up off the table, muttered something unintelligible and left the room.

In retrospect I think there is so much I should have not said, or that I should have cut the conversation short right in the beginning when I got the drift that he wasn't evolved enough in the EQ department. But at that time, I was just so shocked that I ended up sitting there like a sputtering gold fish, enduring this!

Oh BOY!!! What would you do if anyone spoke like this to you?

Friday, July 17, 2009

More than the inability to have a child

Infertility gets defined as the inability to get pregnant after trying for 1 year (or 6 months depending on your age), or the inability to carry a pregnancy. That’s the technical description, and what is apparent and visible to the outsider.

But to the couple dealing with IF? It pervades every aspect of life. At least for DH and me, that is the case. It impacts relationships, confidence, career, finances, body image – just about everything!

I look back over the years, and there’s so much that has changed, so much we have lost…all because of infertility. This is what my infertility has done to me….

  • Relationships – Let’s see. How many relationships have changed, and how they have changed!! The most important one – DH and my relationship. On the one hand, it has matured and grown deeper, to a level where we really really “get” each other. We’ve both become protective of each other, and will unconditionally put the other in front of anything else in life. However at the same time, our relationship has suffered – deeply so. The spontaneity has left the relationship. Much of the laughter has left. Much of the intimacy has left. In its wake – there’s a lack of self confidence, and poor body image.
  • Relationships with our families have changed. Our families love us, and hurt because we hurt, but nobody gets what we are going through. And I can’t blame them – only when you’ve walked in our shoes will you know how badly they pinch. There are times that I want to talk to my parents, and tell them how I feel inside, but something holds me back. I end up projecting my same old “I’m brave, I’m fine, my life is good” face to even them. At the same time, I can’t help but feel “guilty” that they don’t have grandchildren or nieces / nephews!
  • Relationships with friends - if any still remain! Most of our “friends” have fallen off our radar. They don’t know what to say to us anymore, or they end up saying or doing things that hurt, causing us to retreat further into our shells, in some cases, far away enough into our shells to never come back. The ones that are still around are constantly treading on eggshells around us. Social isolation - yes, that's us. I got tired of putting on a happy face for everyone, and I got tired of expecting people to understand. I gave up.
  • My career – What’s the point of having worked so hard at getting at an MBA degree when my life was going to become all about my IF? Any time that I have a choice to make, I have chosen to overlook my career. I’ve taken “lesser” jobs, I’ve given priority to my doctors’ appointments and treatment schedules, and needless to say, I’m nowhere close to my classmates in terms of achievements professionally. It hurts to see people be able to focus on their careers and rise, while everything else in their life happens smoothly. For the general subsection of my friend circle / classmates, children have been born and are growing up without even a tiny bump on the road. Part of it were choices I made, and part were situations I had to deal with.
  • My confidence levels. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I have ended up feeling inadequate as a woman. As a wife, daughter, daughter in law. Reproduction is known to be one of the things that drives all creatures to even exist. And I feel like I have failed at the reason to exist. How then can I even dream of ever feeling confident again? Do I spend the rest of my life in isolation? To add to the feelings of inadequacy, there are the feelings of ugliness and unattractiveness. All the extra weight - the tight clothes, the pants that don't fit, the old pictures that mock me with my own skinny face smiling back at me!
  • Hope and the ability to look forward and dare to dream. I can't any more. IF has taken it all away from me.
I don't know if I have taken IF particularly badly, or if I don't know how to deal, or if I'm making a bigger deal out of it than it is, but IF has changed who I was, and made me into this person I do not like. I don't know if I have allowed IF to take away more from me that I should have, but I do know that it sucks to be an infertile person living in such an uber fertile world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's been a while....

I'm here. Alive and well. I've just been very quiet lately. There's been a lot going on in my life - but no, I did not have a miracle BFP, and I am not pregnant and therefore in hiding. (Sadly - I'm not one of those girls that everyone knows - you know the one people talk about "I know this girl, she tried for 8 years, had 3 losses, went through 5 IVFs, and just when she had given up, BAM, she was pregnant on her own!")

My life is average.

Remember my uncle in the east coast? The one I went to meet? He had been so sick for so many years, with each episode adding on to the previous one. The final event in March this year when his lungs collapsed was like the last straw on his back. He was on ventilator, and being fed through a tube, and with no hopes being given by any doctor that he would ever recover from it. It was really sad - his brain was alert and active, but his body would not cooperate. His muscles had atrophied over the years and he had been on a wheelchair for a few years. He wasn't able to do anything for himself anymore, and it was not getting better. He decided he had had enough. He requested the doctors to pull the plug a couple of weeks ago. They took him through several psychological and medical evaluations and then decided he was sane enough to be making the call he was.

My parents came from India, and were with my uncle when the ventilator was removed. The doctors had said it would take 2 - 3 hours after the ventilator was removed for his oxygen levels to be too low for him to survive.

But no - 3 hours went by, 5 hours went by, 12 hours went by and he was doing ok. We were all confused. Were we witnessing a medical miracle? The doctors were shocked, and they said they didn't know what to say any more. Finally it was 3 days after the ventilator was turned off that my uncle passed on. His family, my parents, my DH, and a couple more relatives were with my uncle in his final moments.

It's been a couple of weeks now. My parents are back in CA with us - they will stay for a little more time before they head back to India.

I've been busy trying to soak up every moment with my parents while they are here, and therefore have been inactive on the blogs. I'm sorry that I haven't been commenting much on your blogs, and I haven't been writing at all. I do try and read most of your posts, but sometimes am not able to sit and comment back. I will be back to being more regular soon, I promise!