Monday, May 19, 2014

A check in with Infertile Myrtle

-- The following is a guest post from our secret lady friend who chooses to remain anonymous until a baby kangaroo is officially put into her mama pouch -- 

Since the last time I checked in, I tested positive as a carrier for a one genetic disorder, the mister’s swimmers tested positive for awesomeness, I started on hormones to make me ovulate, I signed up with a new pregnancy app called Glow, I ovulated (yay!), I convinced myself I was pregnant, and I convinced myself I was not pregnant.

I’m currently at the tail end of my “Two-Week Wait” – the 15 days post-ovulation before your period comes when all you can do is overanalyze every twinge in your abdomen and wonder what exactly is going on in there. I excitedly went through a list of early pregnancy symptoms with Hubs last weekend, fairly certain that I had enough of them to indicate I had a baby baking. Tiredness? Check! Bloatiness? Check! Lower back pain? You better believe it! His response was, “[Wife], you literally spend every night farting and begging me to rub your back before you fall asleep on the couch at 9:00.” 

Fair point.

After about a week of fantasizing about an adorable tot drunk-baby-walking through a beautiful meadow at sunset, I woke up on Wednesday feeling pretty certain this wasn’t my month. Nothing changed, per se; I just had a strong sense my womb was empty after all. This feeling was further validated by my plummeting basal body temperature, which is an indication Aunt Flo is on her way.

I just want to be done with this, you know? My insurance doesn’t cover infertility, so each doctor’s visit is hundreds of dollars out of pocket. Each ultrasound to check my follicle growth, despite lasting less than five minutes, is another $100 or so. We’re so fortunate that we can afford it, and that we’re not yet at the point where the visits are costing in the thousands instead of in the hundreds. But still. Boo.

The upside is that if I’m indeed not pregnant, I’ll be able to sign up for short-term disability insurance so I can have a source of income during maternity leave. I was completely na├»ve about how that worked… I had always assumed I would just get paid for the full three months I’d be out. Not so; my employer will continue to cover my benefits during that time, but I’d have to use up my sick and vacation time to get any cash money. Did you know that out of 185 countries surveyed by the United Nations labor agency, America is one of three countries (and the only western one) that doesn’t offer at least partially paid maternity leave? Call your representative and tell him/her that that shit is whack.

I’ll know for sure what’s going on in there early next week, but I’m steeling myself for another round of the hormones. Hopefully the second time’s the charm!

*****

Part of my infertility journey has been figuring out how much of it I want to share. As I mentioned in my last post, I feel strongly that if I had known how incredibly common it was to go through infertility issues, I probably would not have felt so devastatingly alone and scared upon getting diagnosed with PCOS. I’m not yet at the point where I want my name attached to these posts (though my identity is one of the world’s most solvable mysteries), but I still feel like it’s an important conversation to have.

I went to lunch on Friday with a coworker who struggled to get pregnant for several years before having twins this spring via surrogate. We talked about how lame it is that most people know nothing about infertility until they’re going through it. They don't talk about it in sex ed; that's for sure. She said it wasn’t until she miscarried that a whole cadre of women came out of the woodwork to offer their support.

Now, when people tell her how great she looks for having just given birth to twins, she’s very open about the fact that they were carried by a surrogate. She’s not ashamed – and why should she be?

We teared up several times during our meal, particularly when she said these two things:

“You have to keep sharing your story.”

And also:

“It was so worth it. Everything. All of it.”

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