Never. Never in a million years did I expect “infertility” to be a word that applied to me. It wasn’t in my twenty-year plan. Not on the cards. Infertile…who? Me!?! You gotta be kidding.
Perhaps you felt that way too.
As a little girl, it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be a mother. Playing with my baby dolls was my favorite childhood game. I gave them their bottles, washed their faces, changed their nappies, loved ’em, tucked them into their cradle and tip-toed out of the room. It was a foregone conclusion that I’d grow up, marry young and have babies. A “career” was just a way of passing the time until my dreams came true. But then again, my mom was olde-fashioned so her worldview was the only one I knew.
Even as my twenties gave way to my thirties and I wondered if a nice, decent, normal man even existed and would ever come my way, infertility still never crossed my mind! Periods came and periods went, some early, some late. Some months I had cramps, other times I didn’t have a cramp for months. Usually, I had to cope with flooding. My body was normal. It was my normal. Or so I thought. So focused was I on finding a husband, I scarcely heard the ticking of my biological clock.
Infertility never crossed my mind. Certainly I was fertile.
When Rhys and I met, fireworks went off, violins played, bells rang and we waltzed down the aisle into matrimony, infertility still didn’t cross my mind. We threw ourselves into baby making with a passion. Rhys hated scheduling and planning, preferring passion to be spontaneous and that was fine by me. After all, hadn’t my mother scared me into celibacy as a teen with dire tales of teenage pregnancies!?! They certainly didn’t plan or schedule anything. Apparently…
Sex = Babies…automatically!
“My period was late, so I went to the doctor and he confirmed I was pregnant.” That was my mom’s story. Simple. Straight-forward.
So when I missed my period six months after wedding Rhys, I was sure I was pregnant. After all, a missed period means pregnancy.
It’s Just PMS
Every month like clockwork, I got raging PMS. But that was normal for me. When PMS hit, even the sound of Rhys’ breathing annoyed me. When he spoke, I wanted to scream.
My PMS became a joke. A by-word. All our friends knew about it. They ribbed me good-naturedly. Every 21st day, Ivy flipped from sweetheart to shrew. But it was normal.
Earth to Ivy!
If it hadn’t been for my best friend and infertility sister suddenly falling pregnant, I might still be bumbling around in a fog of wrong assumptions. I was rudely disabused of all my false notions…and frankly, it hurt. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
It took several months of very late periods and peeing on a lot of HPTs (home pregnant tests) before I realized a so-called “missed period” didn’t mean squat, not diddly squat, where my body was concerned. It didn’t mean pregnancy. No! It just meant, “Your body is all screwed up again. You’ve wasted your money on a bunch of expensive HPTs and you’ve yanked Rhy’s chain hinting you might be pregnant yet again!” You can only call wolf so many times before you start to feel pretty silly!
It took even more time to realize that while random sex might result in pregnancy for some, unscheduled sex for us was just…sex. But not baby-making sex. If we were going to conceive, it was going to take intelligence, research, education, planning, calendars, basal thermometers, special lube, bulk purchases of OPK sticks, herbs, supplements, vitamins, expense…all of it seemingly calculated to ruin passion. It wasn’t going to be easy for us to start a family unlike, apparently, everyone else in my family.
The only good thing that came out of the popping of all my assumptions was the realization that my PMS-from-Hell wasn’t actually PMS. It was a symptom of ovulation. That’s right! Ovulation coincides with the day I can’t stand to be around Rhys and he can’t stand me. Oh the treachery of it!
But the worst part was the label: infertile. Like a big, red “I” that hung around my neck. Pigeon-holing me. Labeling me. Tucking me into a dry, lifeless cubbyhole. It hurt. I could imagine myself as a wrinkly old lady in a nursing home whom no one ever visits, while the staff whisper, “She never had a family, you know.” On an intellectual level, I know my self-esteem and my fertility should be in separate boxes. One has nothing to do with the other. I’m working on disentangling them and when I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.
But when the balloon of your false assumptions pops, it hurts…badly!
You’re not alone in this infertility thing, sister. We’re in this together!