Monday, December 15, 2008

Secondary Infertility: Who Knew?

How can someone who’s already had a baby be infertile? It was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard.

Many women have all the same tests I did and get no kind of answer. They are left to wonder if perhaps it really is just a matter of "relaxing" and "letting it happen." At least I knew I wasn't crazy, and I had a reason.

Perhaps I was always hormonally a little off and just got lucky the first time around. I doubted that, because I was briefly pregnant before Chloe (2 pregnancies in 8 months, not too shabby) but then again maybe this explained why I’d miscarried early on. My doctor said she wouldn’t have expected me to be having this issue at 33 years of age, but of course I am rapidly reaching – ugh – “advanced maternal age” and that wasn’t helping matters.

“Listen, I wouldn’t say that you could never ever get pregnant,” said my doctor. “But if it does happen, it will probably take a very long time.” She recommended Clomid. I immediately thought of Jon and Kate Plus 8, which has me petrified of multiples. That money shot of her Frankenbelly in the opening credits is like a car accident you can’t look away from. My OB explained the chance of multiples – mostly likely twins -- was 10%. She said I could totally do twins. I realized she didn’t know me very well.

What had happened in the last 4 years to mess with my fertility? I spent a lot of time wondering if anxiety was somehow depressing my lady parts. I have found the rhythm of the preschool years very challenging (drop-off and pick-up book-end my day with stressy subway rides) and I work in a much more intense work environment than I have previously. I find very little time for girlfriends, and with no close mommy friends with kids of the same age, I generally just let those days where I am pretty sure I am a total fraud of a mom fester and eat away at me. I don’t roll with the punches and can’t really pull off Zen. And then there was that cookie(s)-a-day habit, which unfortunately was not counter-balanced by a steady exercise routine. But I didn’t smoke, drank moderately and have never done drugs of any kind. And despite the chaotic pace, I am madly in love with my life and my family. Still, I couldn’t help wondering: Had I done this to myself?

(Ohh, that felt a little Carrie Bradshaw, if she ever wrote about something as unsexy as infertility)

I’ve always thought fertility science was a landmine. It seemed that there was a high probability that you’d have to make some awful decision about reducing multiples, or deciding just how bankrupt you want to make yourself chasing after pregnancy. And I hate even little decisions, not to mention thorny, life-altering one with multiple levels of moral ambiguity. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t fault anyone who’s experienced baby lust and made their way through the infertility funhouse in hot pursuit -- I just hoped I’d never have to go there.

And yet here I was, realizing if I wanted another biological child, I probably had no choice. My doc mentioned she could reduce if it was multiples but I knew in my heart I just couldn’t. And I also knew that if I had twins, somewhere down the road, probably after many years of no sleep, few vacations and stretch marks that look like a cougar mauled my belly, I would think back and realize that everything always somehow works out in the way you want it to, even if you're fuzzy on what you really want.

Or maybe that was a convenient theory to have when you've lost control over your reproductive destiny. But I'll take it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Sash. BIg HUGS. Nina xxx

2:50 PM  

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