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This post has been a long time in coming. Truthfully, this should have been written a few months ago. However, between preparations for the audit at work and having just recently had the conversation with Hubby a week ago, the timing just didn’t seem right.
A year ago earlier this month, I was in Chicago interviewing for the position that I now hold. The very same one that has given me much stress and headaches over the past 11 months. The same one that has made me realize exactly how strong I really can be … without the hormonal emotions getting in the way.
I specifically mention the “hormonal emotions” for a reason. That’s because when I look back during those active “baby-trying” years , I can now see how much strength I needed in order to get me through that period.
Except I can honestly say that I never feel that I was strong at all during that time period. I felt as I was living day-to-day, hoping that somehow I would catch a break from all the “hard work” I was putting into starting my family.
Whereas with the “challenges” I faced this past year … well, they didn’t feel like a day-to-day struggle. There was always an end in site for each new challenge I faced. From the very beginning of “Operation: Move to Chicago,” there was a goal in mind that was achievable:
- Find an apartment; check.
- Start new job; check.
- Survive living alone in new city for three months with seeing Hubby only on the weekends; check.
- Get through six months at new job without being fired from “My way or the highway” boss; check.
- Live through high profile work audit with dignity intact; check.
Everything I faced since moving here was (relatively) successful; with that bright light guiding me to the end of a dark tunnel.
Unfortunately that same bright light was never there when facing the darkness that is infertility. And, in my case, definitely not successful … at least in the way that I defined success.
There’s this memory I have from back in my high school years. It’s back when Disney began to start re-releasing classic movies on VHS tapes. The idea was so that a person could own these movies before they were put back into the “vault” of classic Disney animation.
My mother totally bought into that smart marketing ploy. In fact, she bought many videos including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and … if I can recall, Sleeping Beauty. AND she wouldn’t even open them; storing them away in her dresser, in her own personal “vault.”
“Not fair,” I remember telling her. Especially since I loved Ariel and Belle. “Couldn’t we just open them up and watch them once?”
“No,” she had told me. She was saving them for her future grandchildren. So that she can sit down and watch these movies with them, whenever they came over to visit.
This memory, as inconsequential as it may seem to others, is one that cuts me incredibly deep. It’s a reminder of how I’ve failed to fulfill my parents’ dream of becoming grandparents.
Never mind that I already felt horribly bad that my body was not able to give my husband a child of his own. This specific memory reminds me that I’ve probably disappointed my parents as well. That I haven’t been able to give them the grandchildren that they’ve always wanted.
I’ll be honest that one of the many reasons Hubby & I moved to Chicago was start fresh. There had been way too much emotional Infertility baggage that I had been carrying around for years. And although I had been working very hard at purging that baggage, I could never fully put it away … at least into a place within me that could make things manageable.
So putting some physical distance between myself and the baggage (which held waaay too many memories of hurt and disappointment), as well as the physical location where most of these memories occurred, was something I felt I needed to do.
And it’s with the blessing of my very supportive husband that we found ourselves moving out-of-state; away from the only “home” I had ever known. All this is in effort to be exposed to new people and to be open to new challenges. To have a fresh outlook on where Hubby & I stand in our quest to have a family.
Next October will be my 20th High School Reunion. Part of me is interested in seeing where everyone is at in this stage of life; to see how far they’ve come since we were teenagers. Then there’s the rebel in me that thinks, “Pshaw … HS Reunions are so ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’! We must break this cycle at once!”
And then there’s the Infertile (with a capital “I”) in me. The one with no children. The one with nothing exciting to show for my life over the past 20 years, other than a degree (only undergrad, to boot!) and a good job. I’ve no kids to brag about; I’ve no incredible 3,000 square foot house to talk about. All I have is a decent walk-up apartment in the city and fur children that shed hair all over the place, including my clothes.
At least I have an incredible husband who I can show off and brag about.
As it is, I’m still debating on whether I want to go or not. However, what I do know is that a bunch of the HS friends that I still keep in touch with, will be planning a more low-key get-together some time next year. That should, at the very least, be a “milestone” something to look forward to next year.
I’ve had the pleasure of (finally) seeing my new family physician, not once but twice in the past few months. One was the quick one-over, “Hi, nice to meet you” -type of visit. The second was my yearly female parts check-up.
Both times my physician asked me if I was interested in pursuing further treatment for my infertility. And both times, I told my physician I still wasn’t ready to make that decision. I was in the midst of still adjusting to my new job in a new city.
And I needed more time to separate want vs. need, hope for the future vs. more disappointment, treatment vs. acceptance.
Let me say it’s extremely strange to go from living in one State where In vitro Fertilization (IVF) is not covered, to currently living in a State where it now is. To now have that option to choose what course of treatment that Hubby & I would like to pursue in creating our family.
For those that don’t know, infertility treatments are sometimes not covered by health insurance in certain States. There may be some aspects of treatments that are covered (such as the work-up and, at times, the medications), but for the most part infertility treatments — and specifically IVF is not.
The Infertile RN in me thinks it’s utterly cruel to allow coverage for the work-up of the infertility diagnosis and then turn around and not cover the treatment for it. Even though IVF is not a “guarantee” that one would be successful in starting a family, there’s still that little bit of chance that it becomes successful in “curing” that person’s infertility.
I relate it to treatment for cancer. Much like chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy is considered standard treatment for a person with such a condition … it’s never a “100% guarantee” that the cancer would be “cured” or go into remission.
It’s that double-standard in treatment of a health condition that bothers me the most about the lack of coverage in IVF treatments. Because, quite frankly … the RN Case Manager in me (the one who works for a health insurance company) strongly believes that people have the right to choose how they would like to pursue treatment and have the Health Insurance that I pay for assist in coverage for that treatment.
This January, it will be a year since I’ve lived in Chicago. And April will mark the official date that Hubby & I will have lived together in this bright new city (well, new to us anyway).
During this past year, Hubby & I have had a chance to open our hearts and minds to different possibilities. We’ve had the opportunity to accept where we’re at when it came to reassessing our options in creating our family.
We’ve talked about IVF and the impact it may have emotionally for me … Both if it wasn’t successful and if it actually was. But even though we know the option of IVF is available to us in the fine State of Illinois, both of us have decided not to pursue that route.
We’ve also had the opportunity to discuss adoption more in depth. To decide if this was the right path for us to take. And the more we thought about it, the more we decided that this was also something we wouldn’t be a 100% comfortable with. (Okay, I admit it. It’s me. I’m the one who fears that I’ll just end up being disappointed again. And I fear that I’d get stuck down that rabbit hole of darkness once again.)
So what does this all mean? Well, readers. It means that Hubby & I have accepted that having children at this moment is not in our best interest. It means, that we have accepted the fact that we may never have children. (Okay, maybe it’s more like *I* accepted this fact, because Hubby was light years ahead of me in this thought.)
This means that we’ve consciously and deliberately have made the choice to begin living life child-free.
It’s taken me more than 12 years, but I think I’ve finally reached some closure in my infertility journey.
Yet even as one door has closed in my life, I’m still learning to live with the reality of this decision. My infertility is no longer a daily struggle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have those “moments.”
And those “moments” are the reason I choose to continue writing on this blog. Except now, instead of this blog being about the longing to have a children, it will be about trying to let go of this longing. About learning to look forward to my new future with Hubby. The new journey we’ll be taking together.
It’s about trying to break free from these Apron Strings.