Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When this journey began

We started our fertility process in August 2012, after 15 months of trying to get pregnant. We had already done some preliminary fertility testing, all of which came back inconclusive. I was diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” which is a crappy diagnosis because you really have no answers. Basically, my uterus was being a total bitch.

Jack and I went to Shady Grove for our first appointment on a weekday morning. The first meeting with the doctors is to go over what testing you’ve done, analyze your situation and come up with a plan for moving forward. They also sit you down for a talk with their financial planners to go over what your insurance covers and what your particular treatment plan would cost you out of pocket. It’s a lot of information to get in just a couple of hours, and it’s incredibly overwhelming.

While they tell you ahead of time what you’ll go over in that first meeting, no one can prepare you for the emotional toll of hearing all of those words out loud. I have always been the girl who wanted kids, but sitting at that table in the financial planner’s office was the first time in my life that I began to doubt whether or not this was what I wanted. Tens of thousands of potential dollars spent, possibly with no result, the months to years of your life dedicated to the process and the mental and physical exhaustion you put your body through just to try, I began to wonder if it was worth it.

We drove home from that first meeting mostly silent, both of us trying to process everything that was just thrown at us. I pulled in the driveway, turned off the car and just sat there, neither one of us making a move to get out of the car.

“I don’t know if I want to do this,” I said.

It was the first time Jack had ever heard me question wanting a child, and he was shocked. Before that day, there was never a doubt for me that kids were in our future. But in that moment while trying to process what we had just learned, I wasn’t sure anymore.

Maybe this will sound silly, but when you’re trying naturally you tend not to really think about the actual having of the kid too much. It’s exciting and fun. But when you’re looking at spending a small fortune on a regimented medical process, it changes the way you look at the result. I started to ask myself questions, some of which made me feel like a terrible person. Did I really want to go through all of that just to have a kid? What if it doesn’t work? Is the universe trying to tell us something? What if we spend all that money and it does work but our child isn’t perfect?

And perhaps the biggest: Wouldn’t it be better to decide on your own to not have kids instead of letting the process decide that for you one day?

It was too much for me to handle at that moment and I broke down sobbing, still sitting in the car while Jack – going through his own emotional turmoil - searched for the words to make me feel better. And here’s the thing – when you’re going through fertility treatments there are very few “perfect” things for people to say. But Jack somehow found those perfect words.

“Listen, I want kids, but I don’t need them,” he said. “All I need in my life is you.”

That moment and those words reminded me that we had a good thing. It wasn’t like there was a baby-sized hole in our lives that needed filling. A kid would be a great addition, but if it wasn’t in the cards we could spend the rest of our lives traveling and growing our careers and enjoying all of the expendable income that childless couples have. No matter what, it was going to be ok.

I wish I could say that day was the worst of it – it wasn’t. The process is hard and heartbreaking and humiliating at times, and not everyone has such a strong support system in place. But sitting there in that car that day, hearing those words, I knew that we could handle it.

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