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Grateful for Infertility?

First, let me start out by sharing that this morning, my almost 14-month-old son found my vibrator. This is a moment I will NOT be recording in his baby book.

 March 21st, 2012 – First time he discovers mommy’s sex toy.

He was playing with my alarm clock which is on my nightstand when our nanny said she was going to go and pick out his clothes for the day. I’m grateful for this as she did not witness me wrestling with my son to get the toy out of his hand when he eventually opened up the drawer and found it. I need to call my therapist.

Secondly, I arrived to work this morning and my first call of the day was a man asking about insemination. This is a typical call I would receive… only here is the difference: He was asking if I could help inseminate his female pig. He went on to explain that there aren’t a lot of male pigs where he is in Alaska so he’s between a rock and a hard place to get “Bessie” knocked up.

So… it’s already been an eventful morning and I haven’t even finished my mocha lite Frappuccino yet.

Today is the start of this month’s “International Comment Leaving Week”. I love these weeks as I get new visitors to the blog and I get to read blogs I might not otherwise have known about. Therefore, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what I’d like to write about and frankly, my life (if you can’t tell) has been so wacky lately, it’s hard to even think straight.

Regular readers know my history but for new readers, here’s a brief summation: I went through three years of infertility treatment (5 timed cycles, 3 IUI’s and 3 IVF’s) and got pregnant with my son on my third IVF after retrieving 13 eggs but only having ONE embryo. That one embryo was the one trying to figure out why my vibrator doesn’t light up like his other toys.

After my son was born, I returned to my boring day job only to hear about an opportunity to work at Fertility Authority. I’m now the Patient Care Manager there where I try to match people with doctors in their area. I get people’s history, their budgets or insurance information, if they have a certain diagnosis and where they are located to help find an RE that fits the bill. I think of it as almost a “medical blind date” where someone will end up pregnant at the end. EHarmony – move over!

Infertility has changed my life – completely. My friends, my interests, my passions, my home life, my career, my focus and obviously, what I write about. I’ve said this often but I’ll say it again: Despite how amazing many things are about where I’m at now, I still don’t like saying, “I’m grateful for infertility”. I just can’t say that. 

Am I grateful for the people I’ve met? HELL YES. 

Am I grateful that I’ve taken something so negative and turned it into a whole new career where I can help others? DAMN STRAIGHT. 

Am I humbled and beyond appreciative for the son I have? I CAN’T EVEN PUT IT IN TO WORDS. 

But I can never lose sight that my story has worked out a certain way, and not everyone’s has.

That’s not to say that the only way you can find happiness is to have a baby. I don’t mean that at all. I just mean that some people’s journeys include deep heartache that I’ve never experienced. And infertility in general, although packed with humor (if you can find it) is so incredibly heartbreaking and disruptive that it’s hard to imagine that everyone feels gratitude towards it.

It actually reminds me of the time Michael J. Fox said he was grateful for Parkinson’s. What a kick ass awesome attitude. And part of me DOES get it. There are things, as I’ve mentioned, that I am grateful for that has come out of my experiences but again, I just can’t say, “Thank you infertility!” Not even in jest.

Maybe it’s because I don’t believe you’re given infertility as some sort of guiding fate.  To say I’m grateful for it would almost be admitting that it was some sort of destiny for me. Some look for reasons for things and I’m a firm believer in “things don’t always happen for a reason”. Sometimes, sucky things just happen and that plain ol’ sucks.

Ultimately, it’s about how you choose to handle infertility or in general, anything that life gives you. Michael J. Fox has taken his Parkinson’s diagnosis, made others aware of it, raised money towards research to curing it and has given a face to a disease many people struggle with.

I, in my small little way, have taken my experience and my outcome and made choices in how I took my “infertile lemons” to make some serious vodka laden lemonade.

As Epictetus said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

This morning, I’m exhausted, overworked, behind on most everything and feeling overwhelmed and anxious as usual. But I know that even though I don’t have all my sh*t together and I’m current dealing with a pig needing fertility assistance (oy!), I’m in a better place than I ever dreamed. I love helping people, I love getting emails and phone calls where people I’ve worked with tell me they are now pregnant, I love that my sanity and sense of humor are still intact despite it all and more than anything in this world, I love the son that I never thought I would have. He’s my lone perfect 8-cell embryo filled with both mischief and hope.

So this is me now and as always, I hope all of YOU are muddling through and hanging in there no matter what your struggling through.

With hope and humor… always.

35 thoughts on “Grateful for Infertility?”

  1. Because I'm an idiot, I accidentally deleted a comment from Olivia. So, I'm cutting and pasting it here (sorry Olivia! It's been that kind of a day!):

    Olivia has left a new comment on your post "Grateful for Infertility?":

    Hello from ICLW! You are incredibly funny and well written! I love your blog and I totally get where you are coming from with the whole being grateful for infertility. I am not thankful for it, but I definitely appreciate the people I have met and the understanding I have gained. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I uncomfortably explained that I only work with humans. What so cracked me up was he sounded like he was trying to hide our conversation from the goat in the background!

  3. My middle child had a hearing loss go undiagnosed until her 2nd birthday. It affected every area of her development. She didn't say "Mama" until 28 months, 3 weeks after we corrected her hearing. Now at five, she's been discontinued from speech and is the best reader in her class. I still tear up daily listening to her talk. My youngest child said her first word at 11 months and it boggled my mind. My pediatrition said I was the first parent she's had in awhile that is thrilled to hear their kid is average. I appreciate normal development so much more now thanks to my daughter's disability. While I love the way I see the world and my kids now, I certainly can't say I'm grateful for my child's hearing loss. Selflessly, I could say that because she had to work harder to catch up to her peers than she should have had to. That's true and I ache for the effort she had to put forth to learn what other children develop naturally. But selfishly its more because of my worry, my sleepless nights, my fears about what her life might look like. So no, I totally get when you say that infertility has changed your life and your grateful for the changes, but not for the infertility.

  4. First off, why do they have to make vibrators such fun colors? Because I am just waiting for the day that my kid discovers it…..I need a locking side table.

    I too am curious how you are going forward with the pig insemination caller.

  5. I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Though I must admit, I had to stop during the pregnancy months. Survival mode I suppose. But now i'min a better place. My heart doesn't ache when I see babies or read about pregnancies. While infertility sucks crusty b*lls, it has definitely made me a stronger woman.

  6. Long time reader, first time comment…

    I had my ET Sunday (fingers crossed!) and my nurse gave me a handout about getting through the two week wait. One of their tips was to think about some of the "positive outcomes" of your treatment (other than the hopeful obvious one, of course) like that you are closer with your partner, etc. So, this post came at a great time for me – it's nice to see how your "positive outcomes" continue to make your life better. And for ME, I can say that one of my positive outcomes is that I've found blogs like this one to make me laugh 🙂

  7. Dead on. I actually wrote my first ICLW post today about this topic, but I don't think I quite got the point across as well as you did. I'm grateful for who am I (which has now been shaped by IF), but I can't be grateful for IF.

  8. I didn't know it was ICLW so here ya go! I adore your blog, and I think I've commented before either of us got knocked up. The writing you do is so important to so many. Thank you.

  9. I've been following your blog for awhile and really enjoy your humor and insight.
    Today was the first time I looked at Fertility Authority's website. I immediately looked at the section to see what infertility clinics are listed in my state, Washington. Poma Fertility clinic is listed. Their website lists their ivf success rates at 66% almost double that if the national average. Also they seemed to be substantially less expensive. I've made an appointment to see them but I was wondering what your opinion is on that. Is it too good to be true? I've read lots of precautionary tales that warn against clinics that promise too much.

  10. Pig insemination, huh? Well, at least he's thinking about fertility issues, though I wonder why he hasn't considered contacting the local vet (and am now wondering if he has other intentions for his pig).

    The message of this post is a good one, especially for those still in the trenches. Infertility is a shitty, life-sucking experience. But one thing we can control to make it less painful is to be mindful of how we are reacting to a situation. In a perfect world, people would just understand. But we don't live in a perfect world. And resolving requires that you be mindful of how you react.

    Raising my glass of infertility vodka laden lemonade to you as you continue your work. And thankful to have you as a friend.

  11. Happy ICLW! I'm really glad that you were able to see the silver lining to infertility. I'm not there yet, but I hope one day I will be! I really like this line: Sometimes, sucky things just happen and that plain ol’ sucks. I couldn't agree more. I'm definitely *not* an "everything happens for a reason" person!

  12. Hear, hear! It's so nice when someone I don't even know in another part of the world just "gets" me. Without infertility, I would not have my two wonderful (adopted) children, whom I would not trade for anything. I am immeasurably grateful for my children. But I'm not grateful for infertility. It sucked and I wouldn't wish the experience on my worst enemy.

  13. Here from ICLW. I just read through your entire blog and I'm so happy that I did. The humor you had throughout your journey, even in the tough times, amazes me. All I can say is that the people that you're playing matchmaker for are extremely lucky to have someone who truly gets it helping them. I know this is a few months late, but happy first birthday to Michael!

  14. My little one has gone into my drawer before and found a little thing of lube. She asked me what it was and I said "goopy stuff". So now she gets no end of joy of going into the drawer to find the goopy stuff and telling me she's found it. *dies of embarrassment*

    Happy ICLW!

  15. Oh wow. Aren't you glad you didn't have to explain the vibrator to the nanny? ahaha! I agree with you SO much about not being able to say you are grateful for infertility. While I have gained some things, I honestly can also say I would have rathered be able to get pregnant and have a family. I never imagined growing old without a family of my own. It's hard to say "thank you infertility."

    Good luck with getting the pig knocked up!!! lol

  16. Think on the bright side, at least he didn't walk down the hallway towards the dinner table where your in laws were sitting, singing into it like a microphone. My niece did that – she's 18 now and the story is still told yearly much to my aunt's mortification!

  17. Hello from another ICLW visitor and new follower. Thanks for the work you do and for the much-needed laughs!

    I am nowhere near grateful yet — just trying to keep the worst of the bitter bitchiness away. And generally succeeding, especially after reading posts like this one. 🙂

  18. Yay comment week! I read the parts about the vibrator and the pig to my partner and he just looks at me funny and asks "What the hell are you reading?!"
    I don't know if i'm grateful, i'm only just starting out and there is A LOT ahead of me; But like you i try and look at it in a positive light. I'm always saying "Well, when we're done having kids, at least we wont have to buy birth control!'

  19. Here from ICLW… A first-timer to your blog. I'm like you. (ok, not entirely. I have no idea what a vibrator even looks like, lol) 😉 BUT… I will never be able to say "I'm thankful for recurrent prgnancy loss or secondary infertility. I'm so happy for the things that have replaced the lives of three children." Not happening. We are adopting. I look at my new daughter and think, " wow. We hve you because olivia died." but even with the joy she brings, I cannot be thankful for the losses we've endured.

    Thanks for sharing.

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