Something I’ve Lost.

May 1, 2012 at 8:18 am | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 9 Comments

The more years go by, the harder it gets for me to try and correct people’s misconceptions about infertility.

(Ha. Pun totally unintended. But made me giggle anyway.)

Not only am I nearly fully depleted by the emotional requirements of processing through our IF – I mean, really, we’ve been running this ART marathon for 6 years now – but I also don’t see the POINT.

People believe what they believe and it’s just not the best use of my energy trying to change their mind.

So I don’t spend a lot of time talking about our infertility in my therapy sessions. Partly because I think I’ve come to acceptance, partly because I know that when I am struck with grief I’ll work my way out of it, and partly because it’s a LOT of work to explain to my therapist how hard IF is on me.

But yesterday I was talking about marriage, and how hard it is on me lately to be intimate with Charlie, because honestly, what’s the POINT of it? I was never really INTO the whole sex thing for fun to begin with, and it’s not like we can create a baby from it or anything anyway.

And she challenged me.

Didn’t you already create Lucky between you two?

No, we didn’t create Lucky. A bunch of scientists created Lucky. It had nothing to DO with Charlie and I or our love.

It was science. They took my egg, took a sperm that looked okay, and injected it into my egg. They watched the embryos develop in a petri dish, and then put them in a catheter and transferred them into my uterus.

And most of the embryos died, but Lucky, well, he didn’t die.

She kept pushing it, though. Well, didn’t they take parts of you? You and Charlie committed to being parents, just like anyone else has done. Your challenge was just the getting pregnant part, whereas other people have challenges in staying pregnant, or carrying a pregnancy to term, or BEING parents when the baby gets here.

And I didn’t really say anything, because honestly, what’s the POINT?

It’s not like I feel any less of a parent because we used IVF.

I’m not really any MORE of a parent, either.

But in order to conceive, we need a phalanx of people to make that happen. Doctors. Nurses. Embryologists.

And even worse, those embryos HAD to be looked at as statistical chances. Because otherwise, I have to deal with the fact that 13 out of the 14 embryos we transferred didn’t make it.

Getting – and staying – pregnant has NOTHING to do with how much I love an embryo, I want a baby, or how much I love Charlie Brown.

And yes, it maybe never actually WORKS that way for everyone, either.

But so many people get to PRETEND that it works that way. They can take their love for their husband and their desire to expand their family and make a baby together.

And no matter how much you can explain away, oh, we have a medical issue which makes it challenging for us to get pregnant, it doesn’t take away the simple fact.

We cannot make a baby together, Charlie and I. It doesn’t matter how much we love each other, or how transcendent the sex is, or how much we wish for it. Babies, for us, are made by other people, and then we roll the dice and rely on statistics to see if those embryos will take in my uterus or die.

I’m not saying this to be a martyr, or allow myself to wallow in the Suck, or whatnot. It’s just our reality, and I’ve (mostly) accepted it.

But just because I’ve accepted it?

Doesn’t mean I haven’t lost something in these years of dealing with doctors and failed cycles.

And I just don’t have the ENERGY to explain this to my therapist. She gets to believe that it’s as simple as the fact that we have challenges in getting pregnant, and Charlie and I committed to being parents and we somehow made it happen.

We DIDN’T make it happen though. At best, it was statistics. At worst, it was blind luck.

And it’s like saying that we committed to being parents is taking responsibility for only PART of the equation. If we have a part of being active in becoming parents, then we are also responsible for the embryos which didn’t make it.

Which isn’t true, either.

I grieve the idea that Charlie and I cannot create a child ourselves. I hate that we’ve opened up something that SHOULD be transcendent and intimate and just between us to medical professionals AND statistics.

I’ve lost something deep and spiritual – the creation of life – to science.

How do you explain that to someone who explains infertility as “a challenge” so that they understand?

It’s too much work to even think about sometimes.



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  1. The way I tend to look at it is: it took a lot more love, devotion, and desire to create these kids via IVF than by sex. Yes, a bunch of other people were involved, but in the end it WAS us actively deciding and supporting each other through it … and that means more than sex by far. So to me I guess it doesn’t feel like a loss and I can redefine sex as some other entity.

    But you know, that also frees me up to say sex doesn’t matter and find intimacy in other actions instead.

    Which, imo, would have been a better topic for your therapist to tackle instead of going down the path she did. She really seems to not understand the difference you feel there.

  2. First of all, I want to say that I have no idea what it’s like to need to depend on others, and science, to get pregnant. I don’t know what that is like and I can’t fathom the devastation though I can guess it would be overwhelming. Having said that, I would say that even for those who don’t have to get assistance to get pregnant, makin a baby is very much about statistics and blind luck. Because even for them, it doesn’t matter how transcential the sex is or how much the love each other, what it comes down to is ever month they have a 10-20% chance of getting pregnant and then a 75ish% chance that pregnancy will stick. And they might try month after month and not hit those odds. Or they might hit them only to be in the 25% that loss them, again and again. Or they might be in the 1% that has an ectopic or a molar pregnancy or a blighted ovum or one of the other things that can go wrong. And even though they didn’t need science to get the conception part to happen, the statistics and blind luck are still there. Again, I’m not trying to belittle your struggle or your pain or say that the randomness experienced by someone not using ART to get pregnant is the same, I just realized as I read yor post that I recognized all you were sayig about blind luck and statistics and having no control and it not being about how much I want it or I love Mi.Vida or how much I’ve prepared my body or whatever else, in the end it’s just a roll of the die. And then another and another until finally a healthy baby is born. And it’s true that you needed others to help you roll the dice for you and maybe you have more info about the statistics of your situation, but everyone is rolling the dice, no one can just do it cause they want to. No one.

    I hope I’m not being a bitch or throwing your word in your face. Perhaps I just don’t understand, and am missing the point completely. I guess I just thought that knowing those of us who don’t require ART feel similarly would help you in some way. I hope it doesn’t do the opposite.

  3. My perspective is a bit different because I did conceive my son through sex. And while you are right in that we did not have to put so much effort into it the first time….I actually feel a lot more intimate and proud of how we conceived my daughter. I think because while in the flurry of trying to get pregnant the first time–I cannot really tell you the exact time/place we conceived my son. But I can tell you (and I have pictures of the embryos!) exactly how my daughter was created. Yes, science created her–but we did a Whole lot of work to get her!

  4. Honestly, the ONLY people that understand it truly are the ones that experience it. You can explain, hell you can even draw diagrams, and the fact is that for people that get pregnant and stay pregnant without ever having to check for spotting a million times a day, or know that the feeling you have in your gut isn’t gas, its a complication from an ending pregnancy……those people will never understand. Therapists included. Whenever I hear a story on the news about an infant abduction by a woman who has pretended to be pregnant, though I am mortified, there is a part of me that thinks ‘yep, I get it’. That desperation, that need, the one that makes you think irrationally at times…I get it.

    The one thing though is that women now have the shot (no pun intended) to conceive via many means other than sex and for many that gives hope where not too long ago there was none.

    When we were trying to have a child and we applied at an adoption agency they told us we were to forgo all infertility treatments or we would be dropped from their adoption lists. Wild. The only thing that one social worker asked that made sense was when she asked if I wanted to be pregnant, or wanted to parent. It sort of awakened a part of my brain that had been isolated.

    As for the sex part–After the scheduled sex due to injections, egg releases, and vag prep because I was “hostile”….well it really took any fun out of sex and made it a job. It’s hard to make it fun again.

  5. I am sorry that you even need to explain it in the first place as I see it (the inability to create a child through sex and the need to use a calvacade of other individuals to do so scientifically and the toll that that process would take on a couple) as intuitive. There are so many things in life (the tragic loss of a loved one, a dreaded disease, suicide, the death of a child) that I don’t need to experience in order to perceive how the parties involved might be reacting. So, it is a shame that your therapist is putting you through hoops in order for her to ‘get it’. Sure, unless you are infertile, you can’t possibly understand the processes of treatment (financial, emotional, physical, psychological) but that doesn’t mean it would be that big of a stretch to at least get the burden/toll/strain/disconnection that going through repeated ART would have.

    I don’t know, maybe I’ve been around/in it too long, but it doesn’t seem like it should be counter-intuitive for a trained professional.

  6. I understand that the science makes it less private. But I don’t think it makes it any less amazing. Yes, it takes its toll. So does unexplained repeated pregnancy loss … where we had a cavalcade of medical professionals with no idea what to do. Your therapist shouldn’t be asking you to explain that.

    I’m not sure, though, that you’ve lost that creation to science. Because honestly, without you, that particular life would never exist. I think that’s how I reconnect myself, spiritually, to a process that was managed by science.

  7. I thought you had a therapist who had experience with infertility. Did I remember that wrong?
    I like what Delenn and Justine said a lot. I see what you’re saying about it taking a whole lot of other people, but Lucky was still a result of the two of you committing to becoming parents. Sometimes when I try to imagine being a regular fertile person, it just seems weird to me. Getting pregnant is such a crapshoot no matter what, and such an amazing feat under any circumstances, it seems strange that for so many people it WOULD work right away. It seems far more logical that something as huge as creating a new life would take months or years and many medical professionals. But I guess that doesn’t change anything.

  8. And this is the exact reason I stopped seeing my therapist. He was great with the grief I felt over the loss of my dad and how I was managing the ensuing mess but when it came to the IF stuff and how I was (not) handling it, he just did NOT get it and I didn’t have the energy to fight his concepts. It’s so incredibly hard for anyone who has not lived it to truly understand how it effects us in ways they could never imagine. Heck, ways WE never imagined until we were immersed in it.
    But hey, he helped in ways I needed to make it possible for me to work through the IF stuff so I guess that’s something! Hopefully your therapist is doing the same for you.

  9. I am just sad that you don’t want to be intimate with Charlie Brown….that you seem to be so miserable..I wish I could give you a baby made by you and Charlie…but more than that I wish I could give you happiness…and I’m not sure that the baby will actually give you the happiness you desire….I don’t know when it will ever be enough..really..My husband used to say to me, I’ll be happy when…then we’d get there then, if we do this I’ll be happy…it was NEVER enough..He worked through it like you did and is truly happy now…I hope your therapist helps you get there, if not get a new one..

    Leslie B.

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