So, a few years ago, Marie at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer did a week long series of posts on infertility. She included posts from a woman who adopted, one who had a surrogate, one who froze her eggs and is still waiting…etc., etc.
I had never written about my own issues with infertility and it seemed like a good time to weigh in, but I never finished that post. Maybe it’s time to do so now.
I started out as a serial monogamist in high school and early college, but by the time I graduated from those undergrad years, I was getting involved in relationships that were shorter in duration and there were many dry periods mixed in. During my 20s, I decided that if I wasn’t married by 40, I would adopt and create a family that way. That plan assumed that if I was married by 40, my husband and I would try (and succeed) at making babies. I didn’t have a plan if I was married and didn’t get preggers. That wasn’t part of the equation.
T and I married in November 2004 and consciously tried to start getting pregnant the following summer. No luck. We were 36/39 when we married and 37/40 the following summer, but my ob/gyn wasn’t concerned. I had been teaching for 4 years at this point in a really challenging school and in many ways my students were my kids, but I still wanted our own. We moved into our condo and I started grad school in September 2005 and things got really busy with working full time and going to school. And then my mother-in-law began a 1 and a half year battle with congestive heart failure with plenty of care giving responsibilities drawing us back to Michigan and getting pregnant still didn’t happen. By 39/42, my ob/gyn had recommended a fertility specialist and all of our tests came back fine. In fall 2007, I had an outpatient procedure to check for blockages (which I remember being extremely uncomfortable) and I’m not quite sure what it was; however, afterwards, between the procedure and discussion of the possibility of using someone younger’s eggs, I stopped scheduling appointments with the specialist. I think, frankly, I got overwhelmed with life. Stressful work, grad school and life just left me too tired to risk putting so much of our energy and resources into fertility treatments–especially with the high rate of failure for couples our age.
And I kept hearing stories of women who got pregnant naturally in their early 40s and kept hoping that would be us…
I basically decided to pursue the Wait And See Method, hoping that I would get pregnant, but trying to live life as fully as possible in the meantime. To get my parenting/nurturing fix, I fell in love with and nurtured our fur babies; wrapped myself up in teaching; worked hard at being a rock star aunt/auntie/tantie; and focused a lot of energy on my family tree. By the time I finished grad school in December 2008, I spent 2009 (at 41) dealing with a torn ACL and moving to New Orleans–not a lot of time to pursue fertility treatments. And I kept hoping I would get pregnant, so I didn’t push for us to pursue adoption. And then breast cancer happened and Ortho Depot shots shut down my fertility and we moved back to Chicago and the past 5 years have not been the most conducive to wanting to add to our family…
And now I find myself at 51, knowing we have choices. Not in terms of getting pregnant, but we could adopt or foster children–or continue as we have been–which is a choice. I know it still stings when people assume I never wanted kids or that we didn’t try to get pregnant. I know I loved loving on our newest niece as a baby, but I’m not feeling that drive to have a baby in the house–or at 50 trying to negotiate taking care of such a wee one. But I’m not adverse to the idea of adopting a child that is older, maybe even a teenager.
For now, however, throwing out my ‘truth’ on this topic is enough.