26 April 2012

The Stresses of TTC

In helping people understand more about infertility I want to share what can be so stressful and difficult. As I was writing out the difficult parts of trying to conceive I decided it was just a sad, depressing list. There is always something good to be learned or gained from any difficult experience. So, before I share the stresses, here is every bit of good I can squeeze out of this uncomfortable, unwanted, unpleasant experience of infertility.

Hearing these from someone else would probably be irritating. As it is I'm rolling my eyes at myself as I write some of these positives. My recommendation is don't say these to someone who has these difficulties :)

- Every one of our children will know they came to our family by choice and prayer and that they are and always have been so loved and so wanted.

- My husband has gotten so good at knowing how and when to comfort me because he has to do it so often.

- This experience has helped me reprioritize. Things that used to be important are lower on the list, and I have a better understanding of what is best for my family.

- I know more details about my reproductive system and how it works than a lot of women learn in their entire life.

- We've had extra time to learn the kind of parents we want to be and how we want to handle different situations. We've had extra time to do research and to get tips from people who's parenting we like.

- When I did become pregnant with Aurelia I didn't mind the not so lovely parts. I was grateful every time I threw up (even all the times on the bus), I couldn't have cared less about getting stretch marks, being huge,

- I'm able to help and answer questions for people who are at the beginning of trying to have children or realizing they are infertile.

- Now, when our daughter gets frustrating I am able to be extra patient because I wanted so badly for her to be in our family, and we prayed so hard and so many times to have her with us.

- I feel more comfortable talking to people who are also dealing with fertility issues, instead of being awkward and not knowing what to say and not to say.

- I have developed better patience and perseverance.

- The birds and the bees talk will be less awkward. "Where do babies come from? Well we go to the doctor and they take a part of mommy, a part of daddy, mix it up to make a baby and then put it in mama's tummy" (mostly joking...mostly).

- I know what not to say. Before going through this I'm pretty sure I had said just about every one of the comments in the
 Things People Say post. Now I know better.

And now for the unpleasant parts... 

- Your entire life is scheduled around your unpredictable body. Your body runs on its own schedule and its not your social or work calendar.

- Every time I have a blood test Daniel ends up taking the rest of his work day off because I'm crying too much to take care of our daughter.

- Feeling that there is a child out there who is supposed to be with your family but you can't bring them home.

- You either can't completely commit to anything or end up constantly cancelling things because you don't know if you'll be ovulating, being inseminated, having another ultrasound, etc.

- Getting your hope up just to fail. Its like thinking Christmas is tomorrow then waking up to find out Christmas was cancelled (only for you), they threw your presents away and burned the tree in the back yard.

- Some medications have to be done at exact times, procedures have to be done on exact days at exact times.

- Loss of privacy. Baby making isn't you and husband. Its you, husband, reproductive endocrinologist, a dozen RNs, the ultrasound technician, the pharmacist, the specialty pharmacist, the checkout lady who scans your ovulation predictor kits and pregnancy tests, and the random person who catches you sobbing in the public restroom after another failed cycle.

- Having to deal with all of the stresses alone if people don't know you're trying. We didn't tell many people when we were trying for Aurelia. It is preferable because then you don't have to share failure after failure with other people, but it can be lonely.

- The feeling of "Whats wrong with me? Did I do something to cause this?"

- Stabbing myself in the stomach with a needle, I have done few things as counterintuitive.

- Its extremely easy to get angry with people who don't appreciate their children, and it usually causes tears.

- Hormones, lots of crazy hormones.

- You're temporarily robbed of a normal sex life. Ovulation doesn't care when you'd like to get to business. When we have IUIs we come home from the fertility center with an instruction sheet that includes "follow up intercourse tonight". Nothing says romance like "You must do this NOW".

- Guilt. Knowing that Daniel is perfectly normal and I'm the one keeping us from having a child.

- Breakouts, I get one with nearly every round of treatment.

- Repeated disappointment.

- The back and forth of the two week wait.

- Its upsetting to see people on facebook complaining about being pregnant.

- Resenting every pregnancy test you buy because you're pretty sure its going to be rude and tell you a negative result. Pleading with said pregnancy test to just give you a positive already.

- Unsolicited advice. "Oh you don't have kids? You should have kids. You know what trick works for getting pregnant? Oh here is an old wives tale that has zero foundation in science."

- Shopping for baby gifts for other people's kids, and wishing you were doing it for yourself.

- Failing over and over again at something that teenagers aparently do so easily (curse you 16 & Pregnant).


  1. I had to stop watching 16 and pregnant awhile ago. It was too hard and too sad for me. I know I should be happy for the children I have, but it's hard when you just know there is another child waiting to join your family and you also know that you're running out of time.

  2. Jessica,
    I don't think I've seen you since freshman year, but I am so glad you've been linking this on facebook so I could read about your struggles and feel closer to you. I just want to say I am so sorry you have to deal with this. Though I am single and not dealing with infertility, it is on my mind a lot because I know there are high chances for me to struggle with it in the future as well. I have PCOS and Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hypothyroidism...all of which can make it difficult to some degree to get pregnant. So, though I'm not there yet, I do feel for you. Stay strong! You are truly an inspiration.
    Also, do you mind if I mention you in a blog post soon? I've got one working in my mind and want to include your story. Any objections?
    Take care, Jess! I'm praying that things will work for you soon and that you'll be strengthened to carry this burden until then! :)

  3. some of these are spot on. i love (not) when people, even people who know my situation, tell me to enjoy this time while i can without kids. that just feels like a punch to the stomach. or people who go on and on about how amazing their body is at knowing "the miracle of creating a child seamlessly." i'm not kidding, someone told me that after my second miscarriage.

    i think it is exactly the unknowing - the constant counting, tracking, testing, calling the doctor, etc. etc. etc. and the feeling of urgency and devastation with each passing month with no progress. a never realized how long a month could be.

  4. This definitely helps me with perspective. I just can't wait for our baby to come and I keep worrying that he's okay and complaining about my weight gain and discomfort or even wondering if getting pregnant was the right decision in the first place. But that's pretty selfish of me and not the best way to start being a mother, since it's a completely selfless thing to do, or at least should be. You are the awesomest and I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. If and when you are blessed with another little baby, he or she will be the luckiest child in the world. I'll be praying for you and I can only hope to be as good a mother as you are already.

  5. Jessica, I loved these lists - both of them. I love that I can hear your lovely voice in these posts and what a mature tone they have to them. (I realized that as I reread this that I sound like an old fart- oh well, maybe I am ;)