Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's all about perspective

When my OB/GYN said, "maybe we should refer you to a fertility specialist," I was devastated. I made it out of the office without sobbing, but it's not an easy thing to hear.

I'd felt for a while that the conversation was coming, and it was a sensitive topic for me. Recently, I went to dinner with a friend, who knew we’d been trying. After some small talk, she bombarded me with questions. “Aren’t you worried? OMG! What if something is wrong? Have you been checked out? Do you think you’re infertile?”

After the talk with my OB/GYN, I bought a few books that have helped change my perspective about facing infertility. I think for many, including myself, there is an assumption that IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a last resort. As I read the books, I learned it’s more like the first line of defense. IVF involves tests and medications that control your system to make optimal conditions for pregnancy, giving you the best chance possible. It’s a hopeful process, not the end of the road.

One of my initial worries was that IVF would be never ending and expensive. “How many cycles will I have to do??” “What if it doesn't work and we run up a ZILLION dollar bill?!!?” I wondered, irrationally at times. Reading other women’s stories helped me give myself an endpoint. In the book I’m reading now, the woman underwent six rounds of IVF. That’s too much for me. I may change my mind, but for now I’m content with my personal endpoint, when, if needed, I can explore other options.
I’m also trying to cut myself a break: I do not attend every baby shower. I have over 30 friends who are pregnant. I’ve decided it’s perfectly acceptable to drop off a gift, hug/kiss and be on my way. I’m still a good friend.

Another thing that has helped me is talking about it. Easier said than done, right? My friend didn’t know asking “do you think you are infertile?” would forever change my opinion of her. If had I been more upfront, and not just sat silently hoping a meteor would strike her, she would have dropped the conversation sooner.

Talking about it makes it less of a big deal, like pulling back the Wizard's curtain in Oz. Holding the pain internally is a lot to keep inside. If you aren’t ready to go public, find someone you can talk to, a friend or maybe a professional. It's okay to admit you don't know what to do. No one does.

I’m at the very beginning, and even since writing this, I have experienced ups and downs. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this is incredibly scary, but I can at least hold onto the fact that my path will lead to solutions. 

Tracey Kllinge is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources.

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