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The Guilt of Infertility

April 27, 2019

Written by Alexis Kiely, Guest Blogger

My road to parenthood started in 2013.  My husband and I had been married for a year, I was 33 and he was 34.  We had just gotten back from a beautiful vacation in Europe and had decided (as the planners we are), that next on our list would be having the kid that we had both always wanted.  In our inexperienced minds, that would be all it takes.  Give it a few months and I would be pregnant. 

Little did we know at that time, that we were 1 in 8.  I was one of the 12% of women who experiences infertility.  Mine was defined as “unexplained”.  After two years of trying to get pregnant, we spent another two years exhausting all tests and medical procedures that our insurance would (partially) cover.  Through this whole experience, people would question us constantly about when we were going to have kids.  I’ve heard every iteration “How many kids do you have?” “None?!” “What are you waiting for?”  “Don’t wait too long?”  Each question hit me like a dagger in my heart.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that there was nothing in the world I wanted more.  I found myself biting my tongue instead.  For some reason, I was carrying this guilt around.  Guilt that I would make people feel uncomfortable if I told them the truth.  All while they were giving little to no regard for my feelings. 

After four years with no success, we started the expensive and emotional road of IVF.  I started the process with what I can only describe as measured hope.  It’s a feeling of hoping for success while also not allowing your hopes to get too high because you’ve had nothing but disappointment up to this point.  The planner in me thrived under the schedule of our first egg retrieval.  In a situation where everything is so out of your control, this was the one piece I could take charge of and complete perfectly.   While the results are uncertain, I could ensure that my shots were taken at the exact right time, that I made it to every monitoring appointment and lab appointment.  It’s crazy how the mind works when thrown into a chaotic situation.  It grasps to the one thing, no matter how minuscule it may seem, that makes it think it’s in control.

When we found out we were pregnant from our first FET, it didn’t sink in.  My life had been about trying to get pregnant for so long, that the switch to being pregnant was very hard to make.  That feeling continued on throughout my pregnancy.  I always felt like I was a step behind.  This feeling was even more prevalent when I suffered a sub chorionic hematoma at 6 weeks.  We came very close to losing her and I spent the rest of my pregnancy fearing the worst.

Even when I started feeling her kick and seeing her move on the ultrasound, it just didn’t feel real.  The downside of infertility for me (aside from the hormones and money spent!) was that it robbed me of the ability to enjoy a pregnancy without always planning for the worst.  As much as I loved being pregnant, I could never relax and get comfortable with the thought of becoming a mom.  I couldn’t bring myself to speak her name before she was born.  I had to be forced into creating a registry.  Getting the nursery ready scared me to death and was a task I couldn’t bring myself to complete until well into my third trimester.  All of these normal pregnancy related activities made me feel like I was tempting fate.

As my due date approached, I was finally feeling ready to welcome our little girl.  And then my due date came and went…. and went….. and went.  My doctor agreed to schedule me for an induction 10 days after my due date.  We joked that it took medical intervention to get me pregnant, and again to get me unpregnant.  The upside is that our little girl was born during National Infertility Awareness Week.  It’s such a good reminder of what we went through to get here.  I no longer carry the guilt of infertility.  When people ask when we’re having another, I feel no guilt in telling them we probably won’t.  I proudly explain to them how hard we fought to get her here and how we’re not sure if we want to go through that again. 

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