The infertility side…the side no one asks to say Hello from…EVER
I’ve had so many questions over the past few weeks, and from the day I offered to be a surrogate, these are the times I was most worried about. Lets get one thing straight, this is not about me. This is about someone who has had their own children and realizes she would move heaven and earth for one of her best friends to have the same experience. I did not make the offer out of guilt, I made it out of want. Because we are sisters and so open with each other, I could have very easily said…not for me, and Kate…she probably would have preferred it that way. When you love someone, your heart truly aches for them. You feel their pain. So for as bad as I hurt for Kate and Paul, they also hurt for me and having to bring someone else along on their roller coaster ride.
We share our story, not to garner attention. Believe me when I say, it would be A LOT easier to brush under the rug, ignore, and not speak about what is going on. But who does that serve? Suffer in silence to avoid the risk of having uncomfortable conversations? No. Honesty is our policy, and we are hoping that by opening up and laying it all out there that maybe someone else who is starting to walk the tough road of creating a family in a way that is different from their original expectations can see that they are not alone.
For the common person, not exposed to the ugliness of infertility, lets start from the beginning. My older sister and my brother-in-law have been ttc (trying to conceive) for almost 9 years. I will spare you all of the medical terminology (because you won’t remember any of the words or probably don’t know what half of them mean anyways) and just say that they have done everything. (Insemination, In Vitro Fertilization, Sperm Donor, Embryo Donor – if you are really interested in the ins and outs you can start with those words). And here we are, the only real answer has been the conclusion that Kate’s uterus is not the most welcoming environment. Yes, it took upwards of $40,000+ for professionals to come to that very scientific “diagnosis”.
Kate and Paul – after being told it could be a slight problem with his sperm, or a slight problem with her eggs (and not wanting to sink $20,000 into further research on those parts) opted to adopt embryos. These are babies that have already been made by another husband and wife, but their family is complete and they don’t want to throw these embryos away, so they put them up for adoption. After 1 chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage at 8 weeks from these embryos, that is when the doctors started to point the finger at Kate’s uterus. And this is when my conversation with my husband, Matt started. What about being a surrogate? Would you support that decision? Do you have concerns? Are there any stipulations? Where do we go from here?
At dinner one evening, Matt and I made the decision to offer myself as a gestational carrier and with tears in her eyes, Kate yelled (almost immediately) “No”. She followed it up with, “Paul and I knew you would offer, and I can’t do that to you so no”. To which I replied (as only a sister would say) “Well my offer stands, and honestly if you pick anyone other than me, I’ll be personally offended”. So now I get what I want (the opportunity to help Kate and Paul grow their family) and they get what they want (a
free surrogate). Only kidding, had to add that in because this post is way too serious for my liking.
Fast forward a few weeks, a few doctors appointments, legal annoyances and prescription filling and there I was. I found myself taking 6 pills a day (at specific times) and 2 doses of progesterone daily. My hormones were raging (sorry Matt) and I was left feeling pretty tired. That’s when it hits you. Oh how easy it is to conceive when all you are worried about is timing (maybe you had to take an ovulation test or two) and throwing your legs up on the headboard (or maybe doing a headstand) in hopes of everything swimming in the right direction and staying there.
We don’t get it. Maybe we (fertile women) feel a deep pain and despair for those longing to start their family, but will we really every fully understand it? No, we won’t. It’s the sitting in the waiting room for 1-2 hours (the demand for infertility doctors in RVA is unreal) and looking around at everyone’s faces that really made it sink in for me. What I would give to sit and ask them each questions and truly listen to what their journey looks like.
Maybe that’s what they need. To not feel different, to not have someone clam up around them when they hear that they are struggling to start their family, maybe they don’t want us to understand because then that would mean someone else is experiencing their heartache. Maybe just an ear to listen, someone to say “wow, that really sucks” or “oh. my. gosh it costs how much?” maybe a “holy shit, they shoved what where?”. Really ask questions, not the whole “maybe you should relax, take some time off, then it will happen.” Or the standard “good things come to those who wait” or definitely not the “I know someone that tried for years and once they stopped trying, they got pregnant!!” No. Really listen. If this is you that is struggling, know that you aren’t the only one. Maybe we all just need to say “Hello, from the other side…I’m here for you and thinking about you”. (or wanting to carry a baby for you, if that is what this is going to take, so move over because I’m ready to hop on the rollercoaster with you)