Tag Archives: Infertility

My Unborn Dream

I cracked an eye and looked at the clock. 1:00pm. Time to drag myself out of bed to get cleaned up for the doctor visit. A sigh so deep pushed up from my weary depths. I felt wrung out like a dirty dishrag. The angry pain still coursed through my lower back and legs making walking difficult. I washed myself the best I could, trembling from exhaustion. I noticed I was bleeding even stronger now, clumps of waste left behind. I picked myself up and locked the fragile emotions deep. I had to get through this appointment. I drove myself to the office which was mercifully only 10 minutes away. I didn’t think I would make it much farther. I dreaded this appointment for I knew what was coming, what the doctor would say, and there was nothing I could do about it. Maybe it wasn’t what I suspected. Maybe I was just fearing the worst, but in reality everything would be okay. I kept my fingers crossed as I headed in to see Dr. Lee.

At least the chairs are comfortable as I settled into the mauve-cushioned seat. What is it with doctor’s office and using the color mauve? Was it listed on the approved soothing colors brochure? It reminded me of rotten watermelons, the bright pink faded, mushy, and washed out grey with detritus. I wished that Alex were here to support me. I couldn’t believe he chose to go to work instead. It wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last, I supposed. I brushed my golden blonde bangs out of my eyes, lost in thought. Alex and I had married four years ago. It was one of the best moments of my life. I still couldn’t figure what happened, what was the pivotal moment where everything began to change. Where did I start losing myself and becoming somebody I wasn’t?

Long ago, I gave up my voice, instead choosing to hide in the background of my fun-loving husband. His personality was so vibrant and domineering, it’s no wonder that people chose to be near him. Even I used to be enamored with his zest for life, wanting to constantly bathe in his radiance. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, I realized that I had faded from view. I was no longer the center of his world, but pushed along the sidelines as others became more interesting. I was often referred to as Alex’s wife instead of by my own name, my own person. My “friends” weren’t even really my friends anymore. They were Alex’s friends who embraced me only because I was associated with him. I initially had accepted this as part of the natural course of our marriage, but over time realized that I was tired of taking second place to everything and everyone else.

“Kat?” The nurse interrupted my thoughts, calling me back to the present. Nervously and feeling very alone, I trudged to the back and into the room with the nurse.

“You can wait here. Dr. Lee will be with you in a moment.” The nurse hung the clipboard outside the wall and gently closed the door. I shivered in the cold sterile room as I sat on the hard exam table. Moments passed as I picked at my fingers, chewing on the hangnails – a bad habit that I had forced Alex to give up. Just as I thought they had forgotten about me, Dr. Lee walked in.

“Hello, Kat…I hear you’re not feeling well. Can you tell me what’s going on?” Dr. Lee asked in her comforting, motherly voice. Her black-haired, five foot frame bustled efficiently around me, checking my blood pressure and temperature. I dispassionately began telling her of my morning, the severe bleeding, and the excruciating pain. Just talking exhausted me. I was ghostly pale and clammy, staring with a faraway gaze.

“Kat, we’re going to draw some blood to do a pregnancy test as well as some other tests to find out what’s going on, okay? I need you to come with me to the nurses’ station. Can you do that?” Dr. Lee offered a smooth hand to me and helped me down off the table. I followed Dr. Lee to the nurses’ station and eased myself into a chair. As the mousey brown-haired nurse drew my blood, she smiled sympathetically. I could see the pity in her eyes. I looked away as the nurse removed the needle, not wanting to meet her gaze again. I just wanted to get it all over with and go back home to bed.

“It’ll be just a few minutes for the results,” the nurse stated as she walked away with vials of my blood. I stared at the floor letting my blonde curls fall forward to cover my face, willing the minutes to pass quickly. I mindlessly scraped my leather flip-flops across the carpet. All too soon, the nurse was back with Dr. Lee.

“Kat, I have the results of your blood test. You were pregnant and are having a miscarriage.” Dr. Lee rattled off some other results such as only a few days old, nothing to worry about, this is normal, but I didn’t hear much of what she said. All I could think was that I lost it. I lost my baby. The nurse and Dr. Lee looked at each other, concern clear on their faces. “Kat? Do you understand what I’m saying?” asked Dr. Lee. “Do you have someone who is here with you? That can drive you home? You need to rest.”

I shook my head and mumbled, “I drove myself. I’m alone. I’ll manage.” I thanked Dr. Lee, shook her hand limply and slowly drifted to my car, numb and confused. So much for so little. How was I going to tell Alex? Would he even care? I walked in the door of our small double-wide trailer, not remembering how I got home. I stripped my clothes and climbed into the welcoming bed, burying myself under the turquoise sheets. Tears began to slip from my hazel eyes as the reality of what Dr. Lee said hit me. My chin trembled, my body quaked, I sobbed, grieving for my lost little child.

Maybe This is How It Is Between Husband and Wife

Alex went in the bedroom to get dressed, pulling on jeans and a button-down plaid shirt. It didn’t take him long to get ready as he had no hair to contend with and showers were only five minutes tops. He was a roll-out-of-bed and go kind of guy and he was quite content with it. Shaving was the only concession he usually made since he would end up a wooly mammoth in two days if he didn’t keep it under control. It was bad enough he had to shave his back and chest hair so it didn’t pop out of his shirt. He glanced back at the bed. I was still curled up in a ball. He shook his head, wondering if he should even bother me.

“Alex? I don’t feel so well,” I mumbled. I looked at him through pain glazed eyes. Alex walked over and put his hand on my forehead.

“You don’t feel like you have a fever. What’s wrong?” Alex brushed my bangs aside gently as he felt my forehead.

“My lower back and stomach are killing me. I can barely move my legs and I’m bleeding like a stuck pig,” I whimpered as I cradled my stomach. “I think there’s something wrong.”

“Maybe you should go to the doctor?” Alex eyed me skeptically.

“I probably should. Will you call and schedule the appointment with Dr. Lee? Can you take me? I don’t think I can drive.” I attempted to push myself up in bed, but another gut-wrenching convulsion sliced through my lower back. “Ooohhhhhh!” I cried as I fell back in bed.

“Can’t your mom or dad take you? Is there someone else you can call? I have to work. You know how important it is that I be there. I can’t afford another day off to go to the doctor with you.” Alex huffed and straightened up. He knew there was no way he was missing another day of work to go the doctor again. He had already missed a few days because of the fertility tests and consultations. I would just have to do it without him.

“Come on, Kat. Maybe you’re just having a bad period. It can’t be as bad as you’re acting. I’ve got to go. You’re going to have to do this without me.” Alex rolled his eyes and went out to the kitchen, packed his lunch and got ready to leave for work.

I laid there, silent tears leaving a silver trail down my cheeks, feeling incredibly alone. I couldn’t believe that Alex would just walk away like that from me. Didn’t he love me anymore? Didn’t he care? Couldn’t he see I was in so much pain? I heard the front door slam shut and the car drive away, leaving me abandoned on the bed.

Maybe I deserved it. Maybe this was how it was supposed to be between a husband and wife. I scrabbled for the cell phone on the end table, knocking off a book in the process. Nittany, the three-year-old grey tiger cat, took off running from the bedroom, startled by the loud thud. I made an appointment with Dr. Lee at 2:00pm. I dropped the phone over the side of the bed, curled up into a ball, and tried to fall back asleep. I hoped the crushing pain would ease as I sobbed quietly into the pillow.

Our Dream of Having Children

Alex and I talked often of our future and children, as young couples tend to do. We both wanted little ones someday, a lot of them, so we decided to pursue our dream of having children.  I stopped my birth control thinking this would be easy. He said it would be fun with all the racy and wild sex we would have. It was good. The sex, I mean. Alex was game for most anything I wanted to try. But months turned into one year, then two years, and still no child. It took convincing, but he agreed to go with me to see Dr. Kim, the fertility doctor.

We had to decide how far we could go in the fertility treatment process to realize our dream. I wanted to do whatever it would take. Alex was a bit more hesitant. There are so many choices, my first impulse was to go straight to in vitro fertilization(IVF) thinking I would get pregnant faster. But according to Dr. Kim, cheaper therapies, such as fertility drugs or surgery,  were often very effective. I learned that about 90 percent of couples with fertility problems who have children were treated with drugs or surgery only. We agreed on medication trials for now.

They needed a sample from Alex. I laughed until I cried at his embarrassed indignance to fill a cup. They offered magazines or movies, but he said that all he had to do was think of me. I was touched and proud. Later, we learned the results that his swimmers were valiant and plentiful (much to his relief). I endured the multitude of tests and painful ultrasounds. Alex held my hand during the internal ultrasound where they lit me up with blue dye. I never knew a simple, straw-sized tube could be so painful as it traipsed around inside my uterus. He wiped my tears as I grimaced and whimpered. The verdict was a tilted pelvis. No reason for not being pregnant, but it explained the occasional painful banging during some of our rowdier nights. I secretly suspected it was still my fault I wasn’t pregnant yet. There was something wrong with me. But nothing seemed conclusive, until Dr. Kim discovered I rarely ovulate. Well, that could be a problem since you need to ovulate to get pregnant. Biology 101. We agreed to the Clomid, a fertility drug that was supposed to help. I’ll spare you the scientific details.

We began to live in month-to-month cycles of hope and disappointment that revolved around ovulation calendars and menstruation. As we navigated a tight schedule of tests and treatments, our lives were placed on hold — postponing vacations, putting off my education, and short-circuiting our careers. What the doctors don’t tell you is how the anger, frustration, depression, and sorrow that go along with fertility treatments can invade and affect every aspect of your life, strain friendships, and erode self-confidence.