Sunday, March 27, 2011

Infertility: 5 Things I've Learned

Prewarning, this isn't my normal. Sometimes one has to talk home truths. I hope me baring my soul here can help someone else though.

Over the last two and a half years my husband and I have tried very many times to achieve what most people can do without thinking about it. We've been trying really, really hard for kids. We've tried temperature and calendar methods, we've counted days, we've done blood tests, semen samples and sworn at doctors. We stopped drinking at all, we took vitamin suppliments, and we briefly entertained the idea that maybe its all about our house being wrong. Yes, we went *that* crazy. Or maybe I went that crazy, and he didn't know any other way of helping than to go along. I don't know. He's been awesome either way and I love him very much. Once or twice we've had near hits, and that makes oit that much harder each month to pick ourselves back up and carry on, and I think we're nearly at our limit. But what has made it so much harder isn't that we've had no success for two and a half years. It's that we've had no real help with our problem for that amount of time. So lets look at some home truths about infertility.

1) The White Elephant.
You know the game you used to play as a kid, where you would say 'don't think or talk about the white elephant' and no one won? Infertility is the adult version of that game. No one talks about it, ever, and then we talked to some of our friends one day and went 'WAAAAA infertility!' and they went 'OMG you too?'. Everyone we know has some relationship with it, whether it's just 'I had a miscarriage and we have used contraception since but GOD I want a baby!' or 'I'm never able to have kids, I'm way over weight and have advanced PCOS'. What I fail to understand is why it is such a hush hush topic? Ladies and gentlemen, in not talking about these things, we are shooting ourselves in the foot! You don't talk about it, and evryone ends up thinking they are the only one with any such issues, and let me tell you, that makes the suffering so, so much worse.

2) Doctors.
I'm sorry to burst the bubble for those out there who believe their doc can fix everything and is wonderful, but here is the home truth: Your doctor is simply human, just like everyone else you know, and therefore makes mistakes and has emotions just like everyone else. Your doctor is not infaliable. T (my man) and I have been to three doctors about our problems so far, and I have a fourth doctor I am going to begin seeing on Thursday. The first two doctors were terrible; one said my husband, who drank 3 to 5 standard drinks over the weekend and nothing during the week, was an alcoholic and that was where our problem came from. He also said that it didnt matter how irregular my periods were, if I was having them, I was perfectly fine and fertile. He lasted one appointment, and my husband still worries about his drinking today. Another doctor said that there was no way that my husband being vegetarian could have any adverse effects on his fertility. Not trusting this by now, we went home and did some research that showed a vegetarian diet leaves a man with no zinc, therefore lower sperm count. On to doc three. By now he was taking suppliments for zinc, and tests proved him perfect, so we looked at me: We've done it before, so It all works there, my bloods came back fine, doc couldnt find a thing to point at with me and wouldnt look at the items I was begging her to look at, ie Porgesterone levels. At the same time, she refused to refer us to any specialists, because I am, in her viev, too young to be having problems and the specialists won't want to look at me. So we were stuck now; doctors could no longer really help us, but they refused to refer us, despite us having tried for nearly three years now. Like I was saying, they're faliable and they're human. Both of these observations suck balls.

3) Age Works Against You Everywhere You Go.
I am 22 years old in several months. My husband is older than me by a few years. We have been trying for kids since I was 19 years old. In Australia, we are distinctly told if you have been unable to get pregnant for two or more years, go to your doctor and get them to refer you to a fertility specialist. Sadly, because of my age doctors will not do this for me; apparently fi I were 33 years old they would, quote, have no hesitation in refering you this instant, but you are young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Unquote. Yes, I do have my whole life ahead of me. I want to breed, have my kids now, in the next 5 to 10 years; not get to 33 and have the first of them. That is not only impractical, its unkind to the kids. I can give them more NOW. So HELP me. Oh wait, yeah, that stupid age thing. Age should not factor into fertility, but at the moment, it is the ONLY factor there seems to be.

4) Any Help You Can Find Is Overpriced.
Recently, my brother gave the the phone number of a place that he believes can help me, and after talking to the manager extensively, I agree. However, while my man and I are comfortable, we are not made of money. No one is. So this leads me to wonder how in my right mind I can justify paying $180 for an hour with someone just for a first consult? Per person? ANd it wasn't cheap before that either; going to the lackwit doctors we went to cost $60 per 15 minute session. The problem we are finding is that doctors know they have you by the proverbial balls when it comes to fertility issues. They know that if you are desperate enough to have to be there, you really cannot protest at the price. My worry is that while I am able to get the help I need, hopefully, or at least while I am able to AFFORD the help I need, what happens to those who cannot?

5) Family.
They are meant to be the support network, the people you fall back on, the ones you can cry all over and sometimes yell at for no damned good reason at all except that you're going off the rails and they love you enough to understand. Sometimes they're nmot. His family has been fantastic, and some of mine (thank you D&M!) have been a dream. But a lot of my family either simply do not understand, or are outright scornful. Apparently due to my age I should stop being an idiot, stop worrying and stressing as obviously thats the problem and things will happen. Or the better argument: Get over your grief and move on like a normal person. And the cincher? Doesn't matter if you've gotten over the grief, or if you are not stressing, or worrying; denying you need to do these things reinforces to them that they are right and you are delusional. Sadly it is not allowable to round house them, so you have to smile, grit your teeth, and run an internal monologue of swearing.

So there you have it folks, my findings so far in my quest for actual help. Anyone in Perth, Remede Wellness Centre are very happy to help, have wonderful attitudes, and despite the pricing (or because of it?) give me confidence. Good luck!

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