Fertility Etiquette and Update


I think any woman, any couple, that is experiencing sub-fertility knows that from time to time you’ll get comments from people who love you, but who say something that makes you cringe, either inward or outward. I’m not beating up on anyone, but just letting people know how comments can be taken and what’s actually helpful as opposed to perceived to be helpful. I’ve also got an update from my meeting with Dr. M on NaPro.

Well-meaning people who have absolutely no idea what I am going through because both of their ovaries work just fine will tell me that “you’ll get pregnant when you least expect it” or “of course you’ll have a baby when the time is right” or (my favorite) “Just relax and it’ll happen”. I try really hard to be kind, because I *know* that people who offer “helpful” advice have no clue what they’re talking about (unless they have experienced sub-fertility themselves), and think that what they’re saying is actually helpful. These people love me and want what’s best for me, I tell myself, though I’m so tempted to point out that I can be the most relaxed human on the planet, and if my ovary doesn’t release an egg, a pregnancy will not happen.

I am 26. I probably have at least another ten years of “fertility” left in me, and so I know that statistically, the chances of me having one healthy pregnancy during that time are in my favor. But who wants to think of that? Why don’t you try telling someone who’s looking for a job *right now* that “of course you’ll find a job when the time is right” never mind that it might take you ten years to do so. See how that goes over. Who wants to know that they might have to wait up to ten years for the thing they want the most? Would you?

“You can always adopt” is another one that gets me. Of course, this is a true statement. ANYONE who is a stable adult can (at least apply to) adopt a child. Just one time I’d love to turn it around when someone says, “You can always adopt” and respond with, “Yeah, so can you. Let’s go sign up together.”

Adoption is a beautiful, amazing thing, and to be perfectly frank, I’ll be surprised if we don’t end up adopting at least once. Adoption is on my heart and was even before I knew my husband. BUT, even if I have a house full of kids, if none of them came from my womb, I will still be barren. Adopting a child does not take away any of the pain of sub-fertility. Yes, in adoption your deep desire to be a parent is fulfilled. But the desire that runs just as deep, to be pregnant, to carry life inside you, is not.

I’m not trying to rag on anyone who has felt they don’t know what to say, so they’ve said something similar to one of the above statements. I know that people are trying to be supportive and loving, and I appreciate that, I really do.

I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t ask me how the whole fertility journey is going, if you care to know. I’m glad to share it with those who love us, but also know that mostly, if you want to know, the best thing you can do is listen, and maybe give me a hug or a prayer.

All of this is by way to giving an update on our doctor visit at the end of March. I know, you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to find out what happened.

Well, pretty much since then, nothing. That is until three days ago. His plan was to do what’s called a hormone study, in which I have a blood draw every other day from ovulation until Peak +11. This is to study what my progesterone is doing. Many women miscarry because of low progesterone levels. Dr. M is pretty sure of another conception occuring at some point, but worries about another miscarriage, if my progesterone levels are off. This hormone study will determine if I need help in the progesterone department.

The really frustrating thing (of many, many) about PCOS, is that it will often cause several peaks before ovulation happens. This cycle, I had four. Three false alarms that had me running off to the lab for blood work, only to find out that my numbers were not yet close to ovulation levels. Then, on CD 44, ovulation! Peak number 4 was the real deal.

So, now the hormone study can commence. I’ll update again when it’s all over.

Thanks for listening, rant over. Have a great weekend!

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  • http://musingsofacatholiclady.blogspot.com Michelle aka Catholic Lady

    I had to do that hormone study during a period of weird cycles after I had my 2nd baby. It can help to treat low progesterone even when not pregnant to lengthen luteal phases (mine was 6 days before and then 13 after the treatments…which was just to take progesterone supplements).

    I have had to take progesterone in each of my last two pregnancies because I don’t make enough naturally to get through the first trimester. Thankfully, my NFP-Only doc figured it out before we had a miscarriage…it is great that you have a doctor evaluating yours.

    I think I probably said some of those types of comments before I ever had children. I think your approach is good though, at least you can realize that people are, for the most part, well-meaning. But I’m sure it isn’t easy and probably draining to always remind yourself of that when the words sting. Prayers for you. I definitely think that we are blessed to live in a time when there is NaPro Technology and a blessed few doctors willing to work within the framework of God’s creation of women to figure out cycles and fertility. God bless them and God bless you.

  • http://www.eafromtheheart.blogspot.com Maggie

    I am praying, praying, praying hard for you. If I lived there, or you lived here, I’d bring you some cookies and a big hug!

  • http://www.jennalynnpresto.blogspot.com Jenny P.

    Oh I hope your Dr. is able to give you some insight!

    I know what you’re saying about people trying to be helpful, as we’re going through the same thing. I’ve even had people voice that they’re jealous of us because we can do “whatever we want.” Except, of course, for the one thing we really want…

    God bless you on this journey!

  • http://www.rebecca-feelmylove.blogspot.com Rebecca

    I 2nd Maggie – praying, praying, praying for you! And sending hugs your way.

  • http://graceandpressure.blogspot.com/ Grace

    I hear you on the helpful comments. Not quite so helpful, but equally painful was, “Wow, your sister gets pregnant so easily! You really think you’ll have trouble?” …thanks for that… So, I hear you.

  • http://catholicmutt.blogspot.com CM

    I’m so glad you shared this! You are on my heart and in my prayers. I have a very close friend that is also struggling with this. You’ve helped me to reach out to her… but I was also thinking of you!

  • Colleen

    Loving you, and saying a prayer for you.

  • http://becomewhatyouare.wordpress.com becomewhatyouare

    Those things are hurtful. So is, “sorry about the miscarriage, but at least you have kids.” As if the already born ones “make up for” the loss of another and somehow you’ve no ‘right’ to grieve. But you’re right. People do mean well. They are just clueless. Hopefully this post will help others to think before they try to “help”.

    Offered a prayer for you.

  • http://mostuncapto.blogspot.com Emily G

    Thank you for being honest. I understand. Infertility and miscarriages are two of life’s unpleasant situations where people often make the mistake of trying to say something comforting that involves more than promising prayer, or just voicing love and support. It never works. When I miscarried, people said things that really hurt. People who wanted to make me feel better. “Oh, you’re young. You’ll have more.” My child was replaceable? “Well, just trust that God did this for your own good.” I’m sorry, but God did not kill my child. He let it happen, yes, but He didn’t kill it. “You’ll forget how much it hurt soon enough.” No, I won’t. I will never forget how painful it was (and is) to loose a child.

    My prayers and sympathy are with you. I hope Dr M is right, and I hope that baby comes sooner rather than later.

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    “Yes, in adoption your deep desire to be a parent is fulfilled. But the desire that runs just as deep, to be pregnant, to carry life inside you, is not.”

    I am amazed at the people who just don’t get this. If a couple is seeking pregnancy, then presumably it is because they want pregnancy, not just a child! I too plan to adopt, and I hate they way that people seem to think that adoption is “for” infertile couples. Umm… adoption should be for the good of the child, not as some sort of second-best method of meeting the needs of the sub-fertile.

    I am sorry that you’ve had so many false alarms, though glad that you were finally able to get the tests done. I am looking forward to future updates.

    Are you the sort of person who enjoys reading about fertility stuff, or does it stress you out? I found a blog this last week that made me think of you, but I don’t know whether such things are helpful or frustrating.

  • http://thatmarriedcouple.blogspot.com/ That Married Couple

    Sarah, thanks for sharing this post. I’m going to third Maggie – you already have my prayers, and if we were closer you would definitely have hugs and sweets!

  • http://www.thiscrossiembrace.blogspot.com This Cross I Embrace

    Have you considered an ovarian wedge resection? It was my miracle surgery for PCOS- I was completely anovulatory before the surgery (without meds) and afterwards I ovulated without meds… 5 days after!!

    Now my cycles are regular 27-30 day cycles. Unmedicated!! It is unreal! Of course, I still take medication to strengthen my pre and post-Peak hormones, but when I do take a break cycle, I am still regular and it blows my mind.

  • http://adoptivus.blogspot.com Mrs C

    Thanks for this post – I’m going through the same thing.

    My favorite insensitive comment came from a Catholic “friend” with very robust fertility (2 kids in under 2 years of marriage). After telling her why we thought we hadn’t conceived after 12 months of marriage and why we’d probably have ongoing infertility issues, she told me she was sure we’d be fine and described some people with “real infertility” – she said, “they actually have real infertility – they’ve been trying for 3 or 4 years”.

    I was stunned – so I guess my infertility at that stage wasn’t “real”?

    Its been more than two years now and we were recently told that even after a very painful operation I am to have next month, because of various considerations, our chances of conceiving are ridiculously low.

    Does that mean my infertility is “real” now?

    We are happily pushing ahead with adoption. And I can’t wait!