Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pay any price, bear any burden

I was reading a post over at Walled Garden about facing possible infertility and deciding whetehr to fight or accept that some things are meant to be and was trasported back to the worst time of my life. One day in what now seems like a long time ago, I looked up at the calendar, did a mental calculation of how long Rocky and I had been married and realized that something was wrong. I should've have a successful pregnancy by then. I went to doctors and endured unpleasant and expensive tests. I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get pregnant and stay that way until I could deliver a viable baby. I was willing to pay any price and bear any burden in my great crusade.

Here's something the infertility doctors don't tell you: Trying to get a baby costs a lot of money. Let no one sugar coat this. You will need LOTS of ready cash and in the end you may have nothing but massive credit card debt to show for it. Adoption, to be fair, also costs a LOT of money and you'd best try to do it while you are under 40 and before you spend all your cash on infertilty treatments. You will also have to put up with well meaning advice from people who have no freaking idea of what they are talking about and the smug near contempt of luckier women. (So much for universal sisterhood. I find that other women can be crueler than any man and with minimal effort.)

I remember going to the hopsital to have a test that my doctor told me would be mildly annoying, like a pinch. I knew I was in for trouble when I walked into the hospital room. He had three nurses. Two to assist him and one hold my hand if I needed it and to keep me from thrashing around. It was not mildly annoying. It felt like a swarm of bees was moving through my reproductive system and stinging me as they went. I prayed for courage. I prayed that I not start crying and embarrass myself. Finally, just when I realized that I couldn't contain myself anymore and was going to start weeping the test was over. The nurses and the doctor congratulated me for being so tough and remarked with wonder that I didn't carry on one bit. They had me lie still for about ten minutes(to avoid dizziness) and then slowly go to the dressing room. Rocky came in and helped me get dressed. I was still stunned from how painful the whole test was and pretty much did nothing but nod and grunt when the doctor told me that my tubes were clear.

We went home and Rocky told me to stop this. He refused to let me torture myself anymore. I was relieved but sad. Actually sad doesn't adequately describe how I felt. Amy Winehouse singing Back to Black sounds like a mere case of the blues compared to the state I was in. I felt like a failure. I felt as if I'd let everyone down. I, who was always the best little girl in the world. I, who was always a high achiever who feared and dispised failure, was publicly, spectacularly letting everyone down. Rocky would not have a child. My mother would not get a grandbaby. My deceased father's family line would die out. His genetic gifts would perish from the earth. It was as if he was dying a second time and it was my fault. A few days later my brother-in-law called to say that his wife was having a baby. I told him how happy I was for them and I meant it. Then I hung up the phone, collasped to the floor and cried and cried and then when I thought I was done, I cried some more.

I felt such rage. People like Susan Smith and Diane Downs have children easily. The undeserving, the ill equiped, the abusive all seemed to be able to have children but not I. I hated being around babies. I loathed the sight of a pregnant woman. It seemed like I was constantly being smacked in the face with reminders of my own physical decrepitude. I brooded and sank into a pit of despair.

And then one day, things got better. One day God decided that since I wasn't going to help myself He'd give me a shove in the right direction. I may tell that story one of these days. Say a prayer for childless women. It's not something you just get over and it's forever. I'm happy now and I can even suspect that it might be for the best. Two serious hereditary health conditions run in my family and I would hate to pass that on to a beloved child. One day, God will tell me why He said no and I accept that.


Lynne said...

Oh dymphna, I'm so sorry for your burden and your loss of opportunity/possibility. You are lucky to have a man like Rocky who helped you realize that you should stop trying.

The medical profession makes me angry sometimes for not being honest.

Dymphna said...

Thank you Lynne!

Anonymous said...

What an honest & humble post...God bless you always..

Carolina Cannonball said...

"I hated being around babies. I loathed the sight of a pregnant woman"

after the death of my son, I was this way for a very long time.

I know fertility issues are the hardest for women to bear. You have my prayers along with coffee wife.

Episcopollyanna said...

I can completely relate to everything you've said here. Your husband sounds like an amazing man, and I too am lucky to have a great husband who supports me through what has turned out to be a heartbreaking process.

I love your honesty here. God bless.

Dymphna said...

Thanks all!

Benedicamus said...

THANK YOU! Married 4 years, no babies yet (one miscarriage)... so the jury's still out for me. Sigh.
You've summarized all of the feelings that a childless woman feels. I have gone from wanting to throttle people (usually other Catholics) who ask if you're, ahem, "trying," or something like that, to gradually accepting God's will. Sometimes (depending on hormones, etc.) embracing His will is easier than others- but that is life, and if I didn't have to overcome my willfulness with the pregnancy issue, then it would be something else that would have to snap me out of it.
Will pray for you- you are blessed to have an understanding husband (mine is too). A great post!

The classy librarian said...

HI dymphna,
I am sorry that you have this cross. I don't know what it's like to not be able to have a baby since I have 4 children,, however, I don't have a husband. He left me with 4 children.
Nevertheless, I can relate to your suffering and anguish that you've written about in this post. Sometimes it's hard for me to be around my friends with their families and their loving husbands. Peace be with you..