Sunday, January 20, 2008

Under the surface

Kate over at Bee in the Bonnet had a really good post recently. (Actually, all of her posts are good. For the record, this chick is way cool and I want her to be my best friend even though I don't really know her. Sorry if that's creepy Kate.)
Anyways, at the end of the post she wrote:
"So. That's a lot of crap for one post. But I think it all needed to be said. I challenge you all to make a post for yourselves saying what needs to be said. There's always something under the surface waiting to come out. What is it for you?"

So (in my usual roundabout way I will talk about something else before I get to the point, if indeed I have a point at all) I told my mother about our infertility tonight. We went to L*wes to wander the clearance and to pretend like we were remodeling her kitchen. I also walked over and looked at f!replaces, because they are 50% off right now. We have a gas line into our living room and have talked about getting a fireplace since we moved in. But we don't *need* one and even at 50% off, $350 is a lot to spend when we are trying to save up. My mother suggested I use some of the money that she had given us for Christmas and I laughed and said we had already spent it. Whoops.
Of course, she wanted to know how I had already spent $2000. So I told her A_ was having surgery. On his balls.
I made her wait until we were in the car (and no longer being eavesdropped upon by the clerk) to explain why.
I said "A_ has no vas deferens so he's having surgery." Then I briefly explained that we'd have to do ivf w/ icsi.
She said "Oh, so you knew this before you got married."
Um, no.
Gasp! "He knew and didn't tell you!?"
Um, no, queen mama drama . That would be grounds for me *killing* him, not trying to have a *baby* with him.
Then she told me about how my cousin (whose husband had a vasectomy) had tried ivf and failed. And did I know, it was really expensive? And heartbreaking?

Luckily, we were already in my car driving back to her house when this conversation happened. So I managed to drop her off before this conversation went any further. Because I could feel where it was going and I didn't like it. It was going to the conversation my mother had with me when I told her I was marrying A_. It was going back to her warnings that A_ and I were not the same age (he's nine years older - mind you, my father has six years on my mom) that he was Muslim, that his "culture" was different from mine (read: he's black). And now, on top of all this, he has the audacity to have CBAVD.

I managed to (pretend to) be nonchalant, dropped her off, and limited myself to a couple of whimpers through my teeth on the drive home.

And here's where we get to what Kate said. What's under the surface.

My mother was just about to express what, in some ways, I feel.

I feel so incredibly guilty, but I resent having to do this. Having to be depressed, having to spend money I don't have, having to wait for a child, having to inject myself with drugs for a 35 or 40% chance this will work.
I walk around and see men and think of them as potential sperm donors.


I am, of course, being totally arrogant in my belief that there is nothing wrong with *me*. I know all the reasons why what is above is selfish and unreasonable and I *do* love my husband and want to have his child. And I don't want anyone to read this and think that their husband resents *them* for female factor IF. And I don't want anyone to read the last sentence and think "Hey, I didn't even think that until you just said it, you bitchwhore."
This is just my own terrible thing that needed to be said. But I can't tell my dh that I would be happy if we went right to a sperm donor. Because it would crush him.


  1. Through our journey with the many doctors and the many many many tests, J and I have gone back and forth over which one of us is more infertile. At first it was me--strange hormones were screwing with my cycles. Then it was him--crappy sperm. Then, after 3 failed IUIs, we switched to IVF with ICSI (ICSI is FABULOUS, BTW--nothing like having all your eggs fertilize), and it looked like IF was more my issue again, because of my fibroid. Then in our second cycle, my RE said J's poor sperm morphology was making crappy embryos which didn't last. SHE COULDN'T HAVE MENTIONED THIS EARLIER??? We got complacent because of the ICSI, so he wasn't really cutting down on drinking, smoking, etc. AARGGHH. (This same cycle was when I learned it takes THREE MONTHS to improve sperm! Did you know that? Why didn't anyone tell us this earlier?)

    Now that I've had the surgery, the burden of IF is back on him. And he's been stone cold sober for 3 months now (which SUCKED during Christmas!).

    What was my point? Oh yeah. There was a time when we talked about a sperm donor. He even asked his brother (who said "no"--a story for another day). There was a time when I fantasized about just picking someone from a catalog and being done with it (hell, I even LOOKED at the listings online!).

    But that all passed. Because I realized when we started considering adoption that it wasn't the loss of having a little "me" I was grieving, it was having a little "him." I love him more than anyone else in the world, and I want HIM in baby-form (which enough of me thrown in to feed my ego, of course).

    So no, you're not a horrible person. Just don't tell your DH you had such fantasies, and thank him nicely for having surgery on his balls. :-)

  2. I did know about my husbands possible infertility before we got married and I didn't care. I was young and having kids seemed so far away, and hey, that's for grown-ups. I shrugged it off and figured, eh, we can adopt. I had no idea how difficult adoption was. My husband did agree to donor sperm. When we started the journey he was ok w/being open, then he was ok w/sharing right before puberty, and now he doesn't want to share at all. It is really hard for the guy. For my husband at least he just doesn't want the world to know. I don't know what he thinks would happen. He wouldn't lose his job,wouldn't lose his friends, his family wouldn't stop loving him. Plus he was born w/a birth defect and there is nothing to be ashamed of (sigh). The whole fertity junk just sucks.

  3. Running late, so will comment more later, but I just wanted to say WORD. Just WORD.

  4. Ok. Been there, done that.

    When I first wanted to go off of BCP, Scott wanted to wait. He thought I'd go off the pill and would instantly get pregnant, whereas I just had a feeling that it would take longer than we would like. You know about my "feelings."

    So we waited. When I finally went off BCP's, obviously I did not get pregnant. A YEAR later (almost 1.5 years from when I was ready to have a baby), I convinced Scott to see a specialist, who ran an SA. Turns out that Scott's morphology was low, and it would be virtually impossible for us to conceive naturally.

    Recommendation? Clomid + IUI. Turns out we should have moved right on to IVF, but we wanted to try the low cost option first anyway. Did we do it right away? NOOOOO, Scott wasn't ready. He wasn't ready to admit we had a problem. 14 months later, we had our first IUI. And failed. Then we had another one, and failed again.

    Curing those almost 3 years, there were many, many, many times where deep inside me I questioned WHY I was bothering. I was SO angry. It was SO unfair. Everything I went through, from pills, to treatments, to HSGs, to appointments, was all because of HIM. And he didn't feel the sense of urgency I did.

    Well, now, I think you know the rest of the story. Turns out my eggs have gone to crap and we ended up having to use a donor. Hmm...

    I sometimes wonder if we had stopped dinking around sooner if I could have conceived with my own eggs.

    Everything you are feeling is normal. Just don't tell him about your thoughts. I didn't.


  5. "bitchwhore" What a funny word. I'm gonna start using that one.

    I think we all resent having to do this. It just isn't fair.

  6. A random things first ... "On his balls." and "bitchwhore" made me laugh. Is my "inner child" actually a 13 year old boy who giggles at "This is your captain in the cockpit". Yes, yes. I loved beevis and butthead.

    ... The fact that your mom was all "And he didn't TELL YOU?" was hilarious. Like it's something the guy knew his whole life, using secret ploy tactics to get an unsuspecting woman to marry him. The absurdity of it all. Heh.

    To your important part. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling like you do. It's totally natural to think about, even secretly, the reasons you are going through so much pain and well, shit. But anyone who doesn't have those fleeting thoughts wouldn't be normal. And then you do the even more normal thing and feel guilty about it. We know you don't actually hate him for it. But you hate the problem he has. It's unfair and it sucks. But the issue he has is just that - an issue. You can hate the issue without having any ill will towards the man. And what a man you have who actually is going to try to fix it with ball surgery that costs the cost of the IVF you may have to do too. (ouch, but there is no other way to reword that one).

    Funny you talk about the "under the surface" posts. I just wrote one last night. (it's on my 2nd blog, but I talk about it a bit on my IF blog)

  7. Hey! Thanks for the props! And you can *SO* be my internet BFF. I don't have an online best friend yet!

    In our case, I don't know yet whose fault it is, really. I know that I have PCOS, but I have been treating it since Jan. '06. I know that my husband has spherocytosis, but that shouldn't necessarily result in decreased fertility (unless there is some weird something re. spherocytosis that I don't know about yet).
    Anyhow, I'm sorry that your mom was acting like that. And I do know how weird it is to have those feelings under the surface, whether it be "please-let-it-be-him, I'm-tired-of-being-broken", or whether it be "I-wish-he-would-let-us-use-a-donor". I'm beginning to think that the path through infertility is paved with therapy and grief counseling. It's constant cycles of grief and guilt, even if one does manage to have a child. No matter where you are in your fertility process, there's some part of you that must grieve for the many losses that seem to come with infertility. And that sucks.

    Again, thank you for writing this, and for linking back to me. I really appreciate it.

  8. I'm so sorry, Io, that the conversation with your mom took an icky turn. There are all sorts of creepy feelings lurking below the IF surface, no matter who's got the impaired fertility or if there is no explanation at all. It's good to get those feelings out there, in a place where they won't hurt anyone and may help you cope.

    So let 'er rip!

  9. My husband did know, and did not tell me. I found some medical records indicating azoospermia around 3 or 4 years ago, and I just felt sad for him and figured, I never really had the baby urge, so it's not going to matter. Well, I got the baby urge, and he never came out and told me about his medical history, so I thought perhaps it had been fixed and if I could go to an RE, he might come around and be open to treatment. I arranged for him to have an SA and at the last minute he refused. He then told me that he had had a problem, but he did not want to talk about it. Anyhow, he now sometimes seems to be ok with using a sperm donor, but guess what, I'm 42. Though according to a test my RE ran months ago, I am still able to go through treatment without using donor eggs, I think now our chances are slim. I love my husband, but I have to face the fact that he was dishonest with me and his dishonesty prevented us from perhaps thinking about adoption or donor sperm many years earlier, or at least having some time to think and process things through. So, I feel very disenfranchised. In all honesty, at this point, I'm not even sure about wanting a baby. I just feel kinda lost all around.