Monday, June 02, 2008

No Baby Story - Part Deux

(a continuation of this story, that started over 10 years ago. Didn't think my memory housed this much information.

And the stats here are just numbers I picked up through the years, so I have not annotated my references. I told two friends when they turned 30 to start working on getting pregnant right away based on my experiences. Both got pregnant in their first month of trying and were totally unprepared. So what do I know?)

Annoyed, is what I was. Annoyed with the media, the science, the technology. For years I was under the impression (as was likely a whole generation) that we could really have it all. The education - yup; the job and career – yup again; the marriage/ stable relationship – three for three; and then the baby carriage – still waiting… All in that order. Advances in reproductive technology had allowed women to think that babies were so easily attainable. Coverage of all these remarkable older celebrity women able to give birth well into their late 30s and 40s. Miracle babies to women in their 50's. What a false sense of confidence this gave us.

Fertility rates do plummet after the age of 35; that magic number. But what was little known then, or at least not really highlighted to the uninformed, was that your chances of getting pregnant start falling once you hit your late 20s. In fact, the most “ripe” age for getting pregnant is likely 16 – after that it’s all downhill. There’s a reason for all those teen pregnancies.

Speaking of which, how bitter was I becoming about not being able to get pregnant? All these stupid, stupid (remember, very bitter, often not-too-nice me) young girls getting knocked up at the drop of a hat not only once, but time and again despite all the available contraceptive options, while despite all our finely timed efforts, we were getting absolutely nowhere? Had we really waited too long?

To make matters worse, several of our friends, those who were settling down a little later, even marrying after we did, were getting pregnant. It only got better -- we lived in one of the most family friendly parts of town. Babies were here, there, everywhere; baby boutiques were popping up and strollers were starting to block the sidewalks of our neighbourhood. Even when I tried not to think about it, it was always staring me in the face.

The husband, well, he was never really that caught up in it. He’s the glass half-full guy, a real optimist, and figured that we would become parents, eventually. He’s the one who usually told me to relax, and we all know how effective THAT can be … perhaps at putting your marriage in peril. Obviously without him in the process nothing would have happened, so he really was a great support. We were in this together, whenever I would let him be a part of it. I shut him out a lot as my way of dealing with the frustration. His lack of angst to the same extent of my despair, signalled to me his lack of commitment, which could not have been further from the truth. I needed him more than I would admit. To say infertility can take a toll on your relationship is putting it mildly.

I remember a few months after my physical, at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, I noticed that a couple of the girls were not drinking. I guessed correctly that they were pregnant. And so after over a year of little or no alcohol, I promptly got myself shit-faced drunk and suffered the consequences by throwing up for only the second time in my life. Vomiting for all the wrong reasons.

I could only hope for a better 1998.


Another music post from another band I "discovered" in 1997 - and I'm crossing my fingers that we'll be able see them this August. Because they are too good. Enjoy.


Life As I Know It said...

I'm enjoying reading your baby journey. Glad it has a happy ending, and looking forward to the next installment!

gmcountrymama said...

It sounds like such a difficult time for you. It is great that you are sharing your story because so many women go through the same thing trying to get pregnant.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

You have no idea how much I'm nodding with familiarity here and now.

The strain between the couple, one thinking the other doesn't care as much as them.

The standing by and seeing everyone else get pregnant.

The bitterness at the doctors and technology who lead you to believe it's like falling off a log.

Seeing babies, children and families in places where they never before existed.

Aside from the obvious pregnancy, all couples dealing with infertility issues want is to know that someone understands, no annoying nonsensical advice, just understanding and support.

Reading this I know you understand, and as a result I feel a little lighter. I'm sure others feel the same.

Imagine how much weight could be lifted if more people spoke about their troubles?

Thank you for this.

(and btw, I'm well impressed with your taste in music)

imbeingheldhostage said...

Thank you for sharing this personal journey. I never had to go through your pain, but I had people around me that did (one being my step-sister) and I felt so guilty when I would get pregnant. Once, about a month after I finally allowed my Mom to tell people, we found out my lil' sis was finally pregnant after 10 years of trying! THAT was wonderful.
And the best part of reading your story is that I know the ending... is that cheating?

Kathryn said...

Ditto to what imbeingheldhostage said.

Thank you for sharing something so personal.
Great post!

PinksandBluesGirls said...

I am LOVING the chronicle of your babymaking. You have such a personal, yet universal way of weaving your story. Conceiving truly is a miracle... whether it takes one moment or one decade. I taught high school for 30 years and saw my share of students getting pregnant... while friends and colleagues struggled. One friend (who did, by the way, have 3 children after years of trying for the first!) used to tell me that she was going to get smashed on cheap wine, crank up the funk and hop into the back seat of her car in her parents' driveway... for some hot action! She was convinced this was the way to go! We laughed. We cried. We all had babies... eventually!

xo - Sharon - Pinks & Blues

ps - keep the installments coming!

Jillian said...

Hi honey! I'm back. Had more bad news at the RE on Friday. I haven't posted yet about it because I almost feel like it's just too much to follow after the whole cancer scare. I mean, people are going to think I'm a big black cloud. Anyway, they found a Subchorionic Hematoma next to the baby. They gave me a 50/50 chance of miscarrying. If I don't miscarry then the concern changes to premature labor because of the sharing of space within the uterus. Sucks to be me again. Put on strict bed rest that has not happened yet. Not a very supportive husband right now. So, I guess what's going to happen will...makes me sad.

Mr Lady said...

I think that, just by reading this, I may be pregnant again. It's that easy for me. And no, this is not totally awesome. Just ONCE, I'd like to have a PLANNED child. :)

I find the best way to get pregnant is to do everything humanly possible to prevent it. That's worked out nicely for me!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Maw....get my gun...

April said...

It's hard to read this, and as an extremely fertile woman, have no feelings of guilt for being so fertile!
But I know you're speaking of a struggle many face, and you're helping me see an entirely different perspective, and I thank you for that.

Sandy C. said...

I couldn't agree more that the media science, and technology gives off an unrealistic image of fertility. When starting my career as an NICU nurse, I was astounded to see that more than 50% of my patients were related to fertility treatments. The media fails to show this side, unless some celebrity is somehow affected by it.

I'm so glad that amazing bloggers like yourself are opening up and sharing their stories.

mrsmogul said...

Good luck, and I am an optimist! A couple of friends adopted and they're truly happy, However, it may not be an option for you guys so I will cross my eyes and legs that you get preggars!

Family Adventure said...

From the POV of someone who never had problems getting pregnant (more so problems keeping the baby), this is a very educational read. Thanks for sharing with us, Karen.


Kami said...

It sounds like a very hard time and I have to second what others have said, it's so nice to know there's a happy ending though that makes the pain you went through no less.


I can imagine infertility is very hard on a relationship and it's so real how you describe it.

Kellan said...

I'm glad you had a happy ending too - it was a long, hard journey for you!

Have a good Wednesday - See you soon - Kellan

OHmommy said...

I am so happy you are writing this. ;)

It sounds like such a difficult thing to go through. Many women will be so thankful to you, for these series.

Xbox4NappyRash said...


and men...


Maggie, Dammit said...

I'm loving this. You're so right about the perspective we were sold as a generation... I've thought about it for other reasons, but not for this illuminating one. Great post.

Don Mills Diva said...

Thank you for writing this Karen - you are saying so much that needs to be said. I STILL have friends in their mid-late thirties who think "of course" they'll have kids one day - I just want to shake them...

Missives From Suburbia said...

You tell this so well. You take me back in a split second to that period in my life, and it makes my stomach do flip-flops and my eyes fill with tears reading your work.


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