infertility · ivf

What NOT to Say

I’ve been wanting to post about this encounter for a while, but things have been very busy for this little blogger and I haven’t had much time to sit down and type it out. “Why have you been so busy?” you ask? Well, for starters, R and I are trying to sell our house so every spare moment has been taken with renovating our kitchen and bathroom. We have a realtor coming tomorrow to look at the house so this weekend was spent finishing everything – and it’s still not finished! Secondly, I am the director of an after school dance program at my school and our recital is this Wednesday – and I am nowhere close to being ready to putting on a recital! Plus, I am still looking for a place to live, still looking for a job, and trying to keep my sanity with a bunch of whining first graders (that GOD spring break is next week!)

ANYWAY – back to my original reason for this post –

Several weeks ago, when I returned to work after my surgery, a colleague came up to me and asked how the surgery went. I replied with my usual “it went fine — nothing has changed about my prognosis but we learned a lot, etc etc.” Keep in mind, I did not have this surgery with the hopes of changing my prognosis – it was more of a precautionary thing. Well, this woman replied with “well okay, there’s always surrogacy or adoption!” As if I should hug her and thank her for the wonderful solution to my problem.

There are so many problems with what she said. If you don’t instantly understand what’s wrong with it, please don’t feel too bad…unfortunately these kind of comments happen often. So this is why I’m writing about it today. On behalf of anyone who suffers from infertility, here are the reasons for why I was offended by that statement.

1. “Surrogacy” is a solution for women who are unable to carry a fetus in her uterus. There has never been a reason to believe that I would not be able to carry a child. My uterus has never been the problem. Surrogacy is for women who have had repeated miscarriages, or have something physically wrong that prevents their uterus from sustaining a healthy pregnancy for nine months.
2.There are millions more steps to go through before I get to the point of choosing either of these options. If this IVF fails, then I will try with donor eggs. That simply means that someone else (either someone I know or an anonymous donor) will go through the first steps of the IVF process – shots to grow follicles and Egg retrieval. Once her eggs are retrieved, R’s sperm will inseminate her eggs in the lab. Meanwhile, I do hormone treatments to prepare my body for the transfer of embryos into my uterus. So you see, this is much different from surrogacy. I would still carry the baby, give birth to the baby, etc. Surrogacy isn’t even an option for me because my problem is with my eggs – therefore if I am unable to grow eggs for my own body, I wouldn’t be able to grow them to be transferred into someone else’s uterus.
3. Now on to the adoption suggestion. If, let’s say, I had gone through the millions of other steps that I would need to go through to reach the point of choosing adoption, I would still have a painfully long and expensive journey ahead of me. It is not something that someone just decides to do for the heck of it (unless you’re someone who has no desire of having a biological child – which there’s nothing wrong with that, but obviously I am not one of those people!) The adoption process can take years and it is extremely expensive. It can be just as heartbreaking, especially if your are trying to adopt an infant. I have heard so many stories where birth mothers change their minds, etc…yes, these things really do happen! So to all of you people out there who know someone suffering from infertility – do NOT, under any circumstances, suggest adoption. Consider this a fair warning. I swear to you that I have come very close to slapping someone across the face for suggesting that adoption is a solution.

Now I realize that this woman did not mean any harm. She just doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand the emotions involved (she doesn’t have children, nor does she want them), she doesn’t understand the terminology or the biology behind it, and she’s just trying to find a way to show her support. I get that – I really do – I just wish that she could take a moment to think about what her words really mean to someone like me. She’s also said things to me like “well why don’t you just take a break for a while – like wait a couple of years.” Even after I have explained to her that the longer I wait, the worse my prognosis gets…not to mention how I would go CRAZY waiting that long. We have been trying to have a baby for almost 3 years now – that’s how long I’ve wanted this.

So, this made me realize that this is another good reason to write this blog. Other than a log for my personal benefit, or a way to let those close to me know what’s happening, or a way for other “infertiles” to find information about IVF or CCRM – it’s a way for people who don’t know about these things to educate themselves. I know it’s too much to ask for everyone to go and search around on the Internet to figure out exactly what Diminished Ovarian Reserve means, or what fallopian tubes actually are…I mean I wouldn’t know any of these things if it wasn’t happening to me. I had no idea how the reproductive system worked before a year ago. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that time – when I didn’t know anything. It’s hard to remember that people just don’t know the process. It’s so normal to me now that I forget to explain things better.

So please, ask questions. I would MUCH rather people ask me questions then suggest what I should do. I don’t care if you ask me something that you think is ridiculous, because chances are I didn’t know the answer until 12 months ago. I forget what people don’t know.

I would be happy to draw you pictures or explain things in more detail – as long as you can handle the discomfort that it may bring. If you don’t want to hear words like semen or cervix, then don’t ask – but please please please refrain from making suggestions.

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