Taking steps and making appointments.

(Photo from ShadyGroveFertility.com)

About a month ago, my husband and I attended a fertility seminar called “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting”. The seminar went over the basics of all of the first steps in fertility planning – from initial consultation to explaining the actual treatments. At the end of the seminar, everyone in attendance filled out a registration card, and from there we would be contacted to set up our consultation appointment. We walked out into the hallway, hugged, and just kind of melted into each other. It was overwhelming, it was scary, but it was the first step.

The very next day, I had a missed call and voicemail from a patient service rep from the fertility center. I had every intention of calling back right after work, every intention of putting the wheels in motion. But when I pulled up that phone number, I froze. All of the sudden, I remembered that I did not have my insurance card in my wallet – oh darn, I would have to find it and call later. Then we had a meeting at work, when I was reminded that my insurance was going to reset on August 1st. Oh, I couldn’t schedule an appointment before then! Because my deductibile will reset then. The next week and the week after that, I was going to wait for this or that or a hundred other things.

So today I took the first step. On my lunch break today, I called the fertility center and made my initial consultation appointment. My preferred office only holds new patient appointments on Thursdays from 8:00am – 3:30pm. Which is, of course, super inconvenient for me, because I work on Thursdays from 8:00am – 6:30pm. My next choice office did have appointments that fit into my schedule. So, I scheduled one. Next Friday, July 21st at 1:00pm.

I texted my husband to see if he would be able to make it to the appointment – a long shot, since the appointment was snack dab in the middle of the day. To my supreme happiness, he immediately texted back that he would take a half-day from work so he could be there. God, I love that man.

As soon as I hung up the phone and added the appointment to my calendar, my stomach dropped and I felt nauseous. I can’t believe it’s finally come to this. I put this off for so long – because making that appointment, taking that step….it makes it all real. It means that this is our life now. Making that appointment means admitting defeat – admitting that I cannot do this on my own. It was a hard pill to swallow. And even now, twelve hours later, just writing about it is giving me that same feeling. The queasy, lump-in-your-throat, uneasy feeling. And I know I will feel the same, if not worse, at the actual appointment.

So today, I made the step; I made the appointment. And I’m trying to recognize that this is not admitting defeat, or waving the white flag. Needing help is not the end of the world or the end of our story, it’s just a new, unexpected chapter.


To Buy, Or Not To Buy?

(Photo above from Google – Pinterest)

I am an active member on several infertility facebook pages and groups. Basically, it is a safe place to commiserate with other women (& sometimes men, depending on the group). It is especially helpful in cases like mine, where no one around me seems to understand. Not only do people not understand, they don’t know what to say about it…so they say nothing. Which feels worse than saying the wrong thing – because at least they’re trying.

One of the recent posts that gained a good bit of traction was a woman asking if anyone else was already purchasing baby items, despite their struggle. She stated that her husband did not understand, and he would get upset seeing the items. There were many responses; most women stated that they purchased a onesie, blanket, or small item here and there, but nothing too crazy. Some women stated that they had not purchased anything, and would not, because seeing it in their home, sitting unused, was just another reminder of the fact that they don’t have a baby. And then there were one or two women that went above and beyond, but of course I am not one to judge and I would never tell any women that she was wrong for doing it. One woman had purchased an entire set of nursery furniture, stating that she had done so because it was on sale. Another woman had an entire room in her home dedicated to her “stockpile”; she stated that everything she had stashed away had been purchased at extreme discount, using coupons and sales wherever possible. She had furniture, decor, activity gyms, strollers, diapers, creams, multiple boppys, etc. But hey, if that is how she is choosing to cope? All the more power to her.

I, myself, have a small stash of items, squirreled away in our spare bedroom, AKA what will hopefully one day be a nursery. I will admit that I did purchase more freely early on in this journey. I am little more hesitant these days. Mostly because some days, even walking past baby section in any given store is enough to bring tears to my eye. Some days, I am perfectly fine and can peruse through, looking at items without missing a beat. I have mostly small, inexpensive items; a cute onesie that I found on clearance, three small wooden baskets that I used at our wedding as a surprise Cigar Bar for my husband (perfect now for organizing small items), a little piece of artwork and a lamp that I found at an online swap & sell, etc. Before our wedding, which is when we officially started trying to conceive, I stumbled upon an adorable little upholstered rocking chair at Home Goods. I texted my (then) fiance, and he agreed that it was cute, and that I should go ahead and purchase it. He then went to New Orleans for his bachelor party, not realizing that he was going during a large art festival – and brought home a small hand-painted canvas to hang in the baby’s room. That fantastic, wonderful gesture has now sat in that empty room for fifteen months.

I still occasionally find something that I want to purchase, but I am much more hesitant now to pull that trigger. With every item, as I hold it and run it through my fingers, I wonder how long it will sit unworn, unused, unseen. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but one day. I know that one day, we will have a baby in our home. And I know that one day, that beautiful little human is going to use all of the wonderful things that have been purchased and loved and squirreled away, just for them.

Father’s Day.

(Photo above from Google – CrossCards)

Another Father’s Day has come and gone. The second one now, since we’ve been married. The second time I’ve wandered off in my own mind, lost track of time in the greeting card aisle, just longing to be able to pick out the perfect Father’s Day card for my husband. The 3,457th time I have felt that lump in my throat, scared to death to let that thought enter my mind, even if just for a second….what if I am never able to buy that card? What if I’m not able to do the thing that all women are built to do? What if I’m never able to make my husband a father?

No, really….what happens then? Will we drain our savings accounts, hoping and praying to get the chance at a miracle? Will we throw all that out and try to adopt? Will he go on to find someone who can add “father” to his list of accomplishments? Of course, my heart tells me that would never happen, but as each month passes, that second line never shows up, and my hope grows just a little bit dimmer.

I have always dreamed of the day that I would be able to surprise my husband with the news – “we’re pregnant!”  I have spent more time than I would care to admit watching videos of announcements, gathering ideas to squirrel away for later. But what if that moment never comes for me?

It has been nearly fifteen months since my husband and I started trying to conceive. In the back of my mind, right from the start, I was scared. I don’t know why, but I always had the feeling that this would not happen for us, at least not without some heartache. But actually living it is worse than what I could have ever imagined.

So, now we have crossed the one-year threshold after which “the experts” advise you to begin to seek fertility testing. It’s terrifying, and I feel like a complete failure. But I’m going to face my anxiety and terror head-on. Because I don’t care what I have to do, next year my husband is getting that damn card.