Finding out. I like to call this I-D Day. Infertility D-day. The day you find out something is off and additional measures will need to be taken for you to have a child. Wow is this a day that will remain etched in my memory for the rest of my life. A horrible, unexpected day. I was young, newly married, very active, and otherwise completely healthy. I.e. not your typical patient for this sort of thing.
Let me get this straight. You’re telling me I can’t get pregnant the old fashioned way? I don’t understand. What does that mean? I thought there was only one way to make a baby. I feel like I learned this in 5th grade in an uncomfortable video and sketchy model demonstration. You’re telling me that was a lie? I think you’re wrong. You should definitely check again.
I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you or the person you love has already experienced this day. I get it. I understand. No doctor ever delivers this information well. Instead, most of the time it is delivered by an OB GYN who has 8,673 other more important things going on in his career, plus he realizes he’s about to lose you as a patient, so he very nonchalantly tells you you’ll probably have to see a specialist. Then he gives you the referral, throws some pamphlets at you and says to read about your options. Ummm….what?
That’s pretty much exactly what runs through everyone’s minds when they get this kind of news. It’s sort of a say what?! moment. At this point you really don’t know why it’s going to be difficult. You just know it is and you now have a doctor’s confirmation. Yay (sarcasm intended). You may have some inkling, like you have polycystic ovaries, irregular periods, or symptoms of endometriosis. But more than likely you haven’t gone through the extensive and incredibly invasive tests that come once you’ve started with the specialist.
As my friend’s husband so eloquently put it: “If I would’ve known how hard it was to get you pregnant, I wouldn’t have used so many condoms in College”
Here’s a quick rendition of my I-D Day. I went to my OB for ovarian pain that had become unbearable. The night before my husband and I were dtd (doing the deed, I’ll get to these strange acronyms that become a second language in this life) and I almost passed out from the pain. Yep... that’s gonna need a doctor. I had been married for 6 months at this point. We had talked about having children, but hadn’t had a serious conversation about it because we were still newlyweds. After a quick ultrasound, my OB told me I had a fairly large ovarian cyst and suggested birth control to suppress it. Hmm…seems counterproductive but ok, simple enough, right? Wrong.
He then went on to explain that my ovaries looked polycystic (i.e. lots of little follicles on them) and my bloodwork from a few weeks prior didn’t come back with the greatest results.
This is when the pamphlet throwing happened. I’m sure there wasn’t actual throwing, but in my head the memory includes him taking the stupid pamphlets, smacking me on the side of the head with them, and telling me to get the F out of his office. There’s a slight chance my head is being overdramatic with this story. He did, however, tell me he could start me on a follicle stimulating pill, but it may not work for me because of my unusual hormone levels, so I was best to move on to a specialist. He referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
I’m sorry… a reproductive endocri-what?
I didn’t bother asking questions. He slapped the I-word on me, hypothetically smacked me with the pamphlets and the phone number referral, and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I was by myself when I received the news because I wasn’t expecting it. Why would I have someone come with me to an appointment for ovarian pain?
In hindsight I’m glad I was alone. I’m not much of a crier typically. I remember driving to a Starbucks parking lot and completely breaking down. Those hysterical sobs that make the people who pull up in the car next to you awkwardly look away and pretend not to see you so as not to make eye contact. Yeah, that was me. The ugly crier. It’s not news anyone ever wants to hear. I threw the pamphlets away in the first trashcan I saw. I pulled myself together and called my DH (dear husband – again with the acronyms that become second language). Then I called my sister and had a completely different conversation. This is when the cussing and yelling happened.
I told you before how important laughter is to me, right? So without thinking, I went to the closest movie theater and found the funniest movie that was out at the time. I ordered a huge bucket of butter-soaked popcorn, a giant diet coke (diet obviously because I that makes it better), and I laughed obnoxiously loud through the whole movie with about 3 other people in the theater. I will never forget that day.
For me, the only answer to coping with the news was to find my laughter. I couldn’t let this horrible diagnosis take me down with it. So I found a way to laugh. I laughed so hard that day my stomach hurt. The movie was The Hangover by the way, so you can appreciate my laughter. For you, it may not be about laughing. It may be about crying, or singing, or writing, or talking. Whatever it is, it’s important to find a coping mechanism so the news doesn’t define you. I-D Day is only the beginning. And life is about to get very interesting after that day.
Our story gave us the ending we were looking for. 6 failed IUIs, 1 failed IVF, 1 miscarriage, 1 FET, and we finally got our miracle twins. 4 years later surprise! Baby #3 beat those <5% odds. That is our story, but it’s not everyone’s...and that’s ok.
Let me be very clear when I say this: whether you become a mother through natural pregnancy, medically assisted pregnancy, sperm/egg donation, surrogacy, adoption, or fostering… a mom is a mom is a mom. Whether you struggle for years, experience the pain of multiple miscarriages, get pregnant naturally unexpectedly, fall victim to secondary infertility, or decide your fur-babies are going to complete your family… a mom is a mom is a mom. There is no superior option, better choice, or right decision for everyone. Whatever works for you, works for you. And never forget that. You are just as much a mom as every other mom you meet. And you’re a da*n good one. Period.
Meet my boys. Now 7, 7 and 3. I will never, ever for one second take them for granted or forget what we went through to bring them onto this earth.