Have you ever played musical chairs as an adult? That’s what it feels like being infertile in a group of highly fertile friends. It feels like we could have 7 players and 21 chairs and we will always be out in the first round.
When Ryan and I first started trying to conceive back in 2015 we came in with unbridled optimism.
The majority of our friends already at least had one child, so how hard could it be? Well, two years later we have learned how hard it is to get pregnant. We have done injections three times a day, including in the parking lot of the Rogers Arena after a hockey game. I have driven 5 hours round trip to Merritt to pick Ryan up as he was working out of town and we had to complete our IUI cycle. I have taken 9 supplements a day, partnered with acupuncture, and a completely new diet in hopes that they would improve my egg quality. All while secretly dying a little inside each time I hear another pregnancy announcement.
During our two years of struggling with fertility, our group of friends has delivered twelve babies, and four of our friends are currently pregnant. Every time that someone announces that they are pregnant I get to hide my envy, jealousy, and bitterness. “Here we go again.” is the first thought that pops into my mind, and “when is it my turn?” Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I am absolutely joyous that they are adding to their family. They have most likely had their own personal struggles along the way, but when everyone around you gets a slice of cake and you are standing there with an empty plate, it starts to wear on you.
I actually believe that I should be nominated for an Academy Award at this point in my life.
I have been able to turn “Oh, I am so happy for you, do you know what you are having?” into an Oscar worthy performance. Sometimes this performance is accompanied with tears that I can usually pass off as tears of joy for the mother to be. I am able to hold my composure at baby showers, 1st, 2nd, 3rd… birthdays, surrounded by little ones, all the while aching inside and willing to give anything to be part of “their” world.
Last year at a 1st birthday party, someone announced their pregnancy and I still held it together on fertility hormones and all.
When the words came out of her mouth it seemed all in slow motion. I had just finished telling this person about my struggle and the treatments that I was on. Was this some sort of joke? She didn’t even plan on telling anyone, someone figured it out and asked her if she was. All the while I sat there smiling and nodding along while pinching myself under my dress to keep the tears from falling.
We have been very lucky to have very good friends in our life that have gone down the long and bumpy fertility road as well. After two rounds of IVF, they were told that they would never be able to have children, and their only option of having a baby is adoption or an egg donor. They learned their terrible fate last February, three months before Ryan and I started our next round of fertility treatments. They were like the fertility mentors; they were seasoned veterans who had been through the battle. They were there for us to offer support, or to just listen to the rants of how completely unfair and random this all seems to be.
Then, this past November, they became pregnant. They weren’t even trying and had accepted their diagnosis of infertility. They were completely shocked and when they told us I was and still am 100% happy for them. Of course, there were tears, lots of tears. But none of the usual resentment, envy, and jealousy that always joins, only happiness. I had to ask myself a few questions, did I feel this way because they were fellow fertility warriors? Absolutely! Am I the fertility Grinch and was I losing my icy announcement heart? Likely not. Will I feel this way about another couple? Probably not.
The journey of fertility feels like throwing money into the wind for the chance of ending up with a baby.
Fertility treatments are like casino games, different odds for different procedures. You place your money down and hope that you come out a winner. At least we have a great group of friends and family supporting us while we gamble our savings away.