Missing what I never had…

There’s something very strange about infertility. Well, actually, there’s a helluva lot that’s very strange about infertility, but, today, I wanted to talk to you guys about just one thing in particular. I’m going to warn you right now about the potential for over-share, revealing a side of your parents that you probably don’t want to think about, and possibly letting a few secrets out of the bag…and it’s a long ranting post…so you’ve been warned – read on at your own peril!!!

For me, I think today’s topic is one of the hardest parts of dealing with IF and I’ve no idea if anyone else experiencing it agrees – but as an infertile, you suddenly become obsessed with the things you can’t have with regards conception, pregnancy and having children. They’re not things I thought about previously, but all of a sudden, it seems bloody unfair that I can’t have them. They’re things that a fertile couple probably never even consider, but now we’ve been officially ‘Infertile’ for a year, they’re starting to really piss me off.

I don’t think this feeling is something a fertile would understand. Well ok, they might understand it, but not with regards having children. They may experience these feelings about other activities or dreams, depending on their situation or what challenges they’re facing. Maybe amputees have similar feelings, or people struggling with disabilities. But all of a sudden, I feel myself mourning the loss of the most peculiar things, things I never even thought about before never mind thinking about whether they were important to me, things only an infertile would miss.

Let me try and explain with the help of one or two examples…

Let me set the scene…it’s a gorgeous Saturday morning, your mom’s had a stressful week and wants to get out a bit, do something different. So we hop in the 4×4 and head up the west coast – we’ve never been to Yzerfontein, so let’s go check this place out. Drive round the lovely little village, playing ‘imagine if we owned that house’. A super lunch in a small restaurant over-looking the beach, some wine for your mom, seafood…lovely. Lunch over, it’s walk on the beach time. We walk along the ‘town’ part of the beach, round some rocks and then there’s just 16 miles of stunning white sand, surf crashing on the beach, slight spray/mist rolling across the sand, and after we pass the beach-front restaurant hosting a wedding this fine summer’s day, it’s just us the sea and the sand. We stroll on for a while chatting and laughing till we cannot see another soul on the beach…time for some naughty nookie – awesome!! Now, before you get worried, I’m not going into specifics, but lets say “…a little while later…” we’re strolling back along this fabulous stretch of beach, heading back to the car with dozy expressions and an awful lot of sand in places sand really doesn’t belong. And now here’s the crunch…instead of waltzing along happy as a pig in shit (like most guys would be in the same situation), I find myself thinking about how awesome it would be if we could conceive our children in just such a way. How incredible to know your kid was conceived on a special day, a romantic afternoon, a memorable location. It’s not something you’d necessarily tell anyone, but in the recesses of your own mind you’d know that your child was conceived on the perfect afternoon, in a perfect venue, in a sexy and erotic manner. How cool to know your kid was conceived on a beach in the throes of passion with the love of your life…NO…NOT US…If we want our kids conceived on a beach, or some other exotic location, it’s gonna look like the set from one of those  ‘plague’ or ‘outbreak’ type movies, you know the kind, big clear plastic sterile cube with the filtered air-conditioning and the doors that make that shhhwwooop sounds as they open and close, anyone entering and leaving taking the disinfectant shower. The scenario from then on depends on whether we’re ‘exceptionally lucky’, just plain ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’.

If we’re ‘exceptionally lucky’ your mom on a stretcher in the plastic cube while the FS and whoever else needs to be there is leant over her nether regions, with the mother of all syringes filled with my sperm…If we’re ‘unlucky’ your mom is on the same stretcher in the plastic cube while the FS and whoever else needs to be there is leant over her nether regions, with the mother of all syringes filled with someone else’s sperm (thanks Zorro)…If we’re just plain ‘lucky’ your mom isn’t even in the sterile cube and some nerdy lab tech is leaning over the petri dish trying to insert a single sperm cell into your mom’s egg…all while the waves crash unnoticed on the pristine beach just outside the plastic walls…

I don’t know about you, but this seems highly unlikely – not sure FS’s and lab tech’s do home visits, let alone ‘exotic location visits’ and unless we win gazillions on the lottery, is probably likely to be a little outside our budget (hell, at this stage, we’re not sure how much ‘traditional ART is within our budget!!).

But it’s not fair…I have now decided that I want my children conceived on a spotless beach, or under a palm tree in an exotic location or in a secluded valley near a plunging waterfall with a lovely rock pool. Not some pokey lab in Pinelands!! And if I wasn’t infertile, we could do it. But I am, so we can’t, and I’m not happy about it!!

Fertiles, even though they’ve probably never thought of it, can do this sort of thing. They can walk along the beach after a fantastic naughty nookie session and wonder if that’s the one that’s gonna result in their first child. Not us…no…with every step back towards the car, the more depressed I feel because that daydream is denied us.

Another example…I want your mom’s pregnancy to be 9 months of joy and blissful ignorance…worried about nothing more serious than stretch marks and whether we’re talking to the little bean enough, playing Mozart and Beethoven to her swollen abdomen, oblivious to any fear or apprehension, laying on the grass with my head on her thighs watching to see an elbow or foot deforming her bump …but you know that’s not how it’s gonna be. Infertiles never lose their fear, never miss the chance to worry about the next milestone, the next pass/fail point, never get to waltz through 9 months with no worries or anxiety…because we’ve seen the statistics, we’ve read about everything that can go wrong, we will never take our child’s successful emergence into the world for granted – we’ll still be worrying at your 21st birthday…because we’ve lost our naivety…it’s been ripped from us the moment we got labelled as ‘Infertile’ and found ourselves spending our time scouring the web reading anything we can about conception, pregnancy, birth, sitting in waiting rooms to meet with specialists, joining forums and talking to other infertiles and reading their stories/issues/challenges, having blood tests, dildo cams, blood tests, physical examinations, blood test, semen analysis, blood tests, billions of injections and some more bloody blood tests. There’s no naïve wonder at the miracle of creation – we know better. We know that it takes years of research, unstinting dedication, heartache, financial burden, science, tests and emotional dedication – AND THAT’S JUST THE CONCEPTION!!!!!

We’re jealous of the spontaneity of fertiles…they can have sex whenever they want without all the stress and mental baggage that starts to go with it the longer you’re infertile….we want pregnancy to come as a great big surprise, a shot out of the blue, a bolt out the dark…not something in the calendar that we’ve written in in pencil, because after the last failures we’ve learnt that writing it in in pen means you’re reminded of the failure for the rest of the month…we want the dream discovery…mom’s wondering around the shops on a Saturday morning, it occurs to her that her period’s late, wait a minute…it’s pretty damn late…hhmmm…maybe she should pop in to Clicks and get a pregnancy test kit…get home, pee on the stick…shock horror..two lines…spontaneous excitement…tells dad…shock on his face for 10 seconds, he blinks, and starts jumping up and down…we’re gonna have a baby…how fucking awesome is that…better start saving for university fees…no, not infertiles…it’s more a case of 23 HPT’s, 4 Beta’s and a scan before we can jump for joy – and then don’t jump too much…there’s still 8 and a half months to get through yet…and that’s just sad and spectacularly unfair.

We want to be able to investigate schools and nurseries, baby clothes and pushchairs, car seats and bottle sterilisers without the overwhelming feeling that we’re jinxing the hell out of things. We want to be excited at seeing a pregnant women and her proud doting husband, knowing that soon that’ll be us. We want to cuddle our god-children without worrying if everyone around us is nervous that we’re gonna flip out and try make a run for the border with their kid, or spontaneously burst into tears and create a scene in the restaurant because there’s a family with twins at the next table. We want to be able to look at other peoples kids without that part of us that sits off to one side, watching ourselves, waiting for the spike of jealousy or sadness that we know is coming. We appreciate the people who are giving us our space while still giving us support, but hate the fact that they feel they need to handle us with kid gloves. We want your sympathy and understanding but we wish there wasn’t a reason for you to have to give us sympathy and understanding…so we don’t want your damn sympathy dammit.

And I don’t want to feel like everyone we’ve told is looking at me on the sly, trying to find an external indication of my failure as a man. The feeling that whenever they are looking at me, that they’re wondering if I’m man enough to satisfy my wife…cos lets be honest…he can’t get her pregnant – there must be something majorly wrong in the trouser department.

And it’s all these emotions and thoughts and feelings that make being infertile so fucking impossible…and god help our friends and families, because we’re so bloody conflicted and emotional and confused and sad and angry and depressed and hopeful that they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of saying a single thing to us without the probability of upsetting us immensely – so it’s no picnic for them either.

But for me, basically, I suppose I can sum it all up by saying that I want to be ‘not infertile’ again, although, I suppose, strictly speaking, I was never ‘not infertile’, so I’m wanting something I never had…

~ by HopelesslyTTC on 28/01/2010.

7 Responses to “Missing what I never had…”

  1. Ummm… feel better now? Thanks for your insight. Before I was never really all that sure if I wanted kids, now I have been told that, well, if it’s at all possible, it’s going to be jolly hard work (i.e. a pump stiched into my skin that gives me an injection every 80 mins, umm how sexy is that), but of course, as human nature seems to dictate – the moment you are told you can’t have something, you want it…. anyway, I’m only at the very beginning of the journey and I’m trying to stay pragmatic about it. Good luck with yours.

  2. LOL…yeh…glad to get that off my chest…just sorry you had to endure the ranting, rambling, raving and ridiculousness. Jeez, I thought 4 injections a week for 9 months was a tough protocol, but 1 every 80 minutes sounds pretty hectic!! You’ll have to get a blog going so we can read your story and keep up to date with your progress..keep in touch and best of luck

  3. You put to words so perfectly what alot of us think and go through..

    Ugh. SO sorry that you are feeling this way!! It really sucks feeling so incredibly helpless! We, too, had actually forgotten the ‘proper’ way to conceive. I’m so sorry – hope you start feeling better soon.

  4. Enjoyed your post. As a IF woman, I know that we sometimes discount what the man feels. Keep it up Hopeless…you are a good man

  5. Thank you for putting this out there – IF affects so many more areas of life than an “outsider” can imagine. Your post really resonated with me. I wish the best for you & your wife.

  6. This is a great post. (I found your blog on the February IComLeavWe list.) I related to a lot of what you wrote and I particularly like reading a man’s perspective since my husband has also been diagnosed IF. This is a tough road so it’s always nice to find others out here who share our feelings.

  7. Bravo and thank you

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