"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Understanding: Bust an Infertility Myth

Myth: If you already have one child, you know you are fertile and will have no problems conceiving and carrying to term again.

Hi, my name is Kristin. I'm a wife and a mother to 3 boys. I am also INFERTILE. Yes, you read that right. I have given birth to three children and I am infertile. See, infertility isn't just the inability to conceive. Infertility, whether primary or secondary, can also be defined by repeat pregnancy loss.

In many circles, I was one of the lucky ones. When trying for our first child, I got pregnant during the second month off of birth control.  And, despite some issues with mild pre-eclampsia, I gave birth to a full term, almost 9 pound baby boy. When Marty was about 2 1/2, we decided to try again and quickly got pregnant again only to lose that pregnancy almost immediately. Technically, it was classified as a chemical pregnancy (a term I fucking HATE) and it was my first miscarriage so none of us thought too much about it. After that loss, it took about 4 months (it seemed like a lifetime but was nothing in reality) to successfully get pregnant with our second son. Once again, I was one of the lucky ones. Despite Joey being born 4 weeks early, he was 7 pounds, 20 inches, and was breathing on his own immediately. Overall, I'd say my faith in my body's ability to reproduce had been restored. Boy was I deluded.

Our descent into infertility hell came when we decided to try for our third baby. It took almost 3 years, 6 miscarriages, 3 D&Cs, 626 lovenox shots, 207 progesterone suppositories, and more heartbreak than I can quantify to conceive and carry our third child to term. If we were ever blessed with another pregnancy that led to our 4th child, I would have shots and suppositories to deal with yet again. I'd say those stats place me firmly in the infertile camp.

Those years of infertility fucked with me mentally like nothing before or since has. I lost all faith in my body and it's ability to do what others took for granted. I developed serious white-coat hypertension. It literally got to the point that I would walk into the elevator leading to my OB-GYN's office and I could feel my heart rate and blood pressure go up. The deep and abiding desire for another child coupled with the repeated and abject failure of my body to cooperate sent me into a deep depression. I was use to being the one who could always help others but I found myself at the bottom of a deep, dark pit I could not claw my way out of. And, despite the huge shit pile infertility gave me, I was again one of the lucky ones. I was lucky because it only took about 3 months of chemical help to lift the awful depression I was in. I was lucky because my doctors were able to diagnose and treat the cause of my secondary infertility (the lovely one-two punch of luteal phase disorder and my own special variation of a clotting disorder). I was lucky because I had insurance that covered the meds I needed to treat my issues. In the end, I was lucky because I got my Gabriel, my post infertility baby. Many women are never that lucky.

It's a myth that if you already have one child, you know you are fertile and will have no problems conceiving and carrying to term again. I am living proof of that.

Understanding Infertility
Check out the history of National Infertility Awareness Week


Kakunaa said...

Hear ye, hear ye! Great post, love. Smooches.

AnotherDreamer said...

Great post!

Alex said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Ordinary Girl said...

So very true. I went through infertility for my first, but run into this just as much. It seems like everyone thinks once you have that first baby, the rest will come like magic. I'm so sorry for all that you've gone through. You have certainly been in the trenches and deserve the care and compassion that should come with that.

ICLW #117

Anonymous said...

Ugh, chemical pregnancy. One of my top 3 most hated loss-related terms.

I haven't experienced secondary infertility, but I understand the pressures and expectations you'd experience and I know too well the absolute suckage infertility brings.

Barb said...

Yes to so much of that.

nutschell said...

what an informative post. Its good to understand issues like infertility, and how they affect women.
Great meeting you through the A-Z!

Snowcatcher said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you were blessed not once, but three times!

I wish I could have been so lucky...

battynurse said...

Great post. And very true.
I also HATE the term chemical pregnancy.

St Elsewhere said...

So very correct.

I now wonder (as in after I entered IF land) if some of my acquaintances who have 1 kid, and only 1 kid...they tried for only that one, or that they never were able to have more.

Dora said...

Trying to catch up on my reading. This is an awesome myth busting post. Love you!

Esperanza said...

I hate it when people assume that just because you have a child you can't be infertile. It's so insane! Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm sorry for your struggle and your losses.

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

Myth busted!

You said it perfectly. I'm a follower who can't wait to read more.


MMM said...

This is a great myth to bust. One of the most misunderstand aspects of being infertile.