Welcome to the Journey to Parenthood!
Parenthood IS a journey and the detour of infertility can be a GPS clusterbuk.
At 51 years old I can give you a quick lowdown of my own fertility journey and how working as a nurse for over 25 years in the field and related fields makes me an infertility jack of all trades.
At 18 years old I had surgery for a removal of a tumor on my ovaries. At 19 had surgery for multiple adhesion's causing issues with my bladder and other important organs... At 19 years old my physician mentioned to my parents and I that fertility might be a small obstacle. I was in college for my nursing degree and my fertility was not even on my radar, though, stoically in the back of my mind I kept that" I can deal with that later mentality". I also should say that I listened to every story at the time of "the first test tube baby" being born and even went as far to write reports on it. That way I could tuck information away by multitasking while getting my degree. Fast forward, I become a nurse, marry my college boyfriend and start my career with more than a ton of excitement. I even decide to keep my name since in the back of my mind I may be diving full into my career knowing that a family might not be on the list for me. My husband devoutly said having a family would be great but we didn't need it to be happy... hmmm. Three minutes later I start talking to myself with many private conversations that I need to be on every level... a Mom. I found myself turning down a job on a maternity floor and going straight to a CCU to avoid those private conversations from becoming public. To no avail the conversation went viral with my good friends who were all getting married and pregnant and then just like a dangerous virus it ate away at some of the relationships and I became obsessed with solving my "problem". My husband, the eternal optimist and
basic hormonal male sat back and enjoyed the frequent sex that camewith "trying" to get pregnant a ticket to paradise. Then I started the road to medical appointments and procedures that became of sorts a part time job and a complete downer. My husband quickly saw the emotional pain and the actually detour to the road to starting a family became a true obstacle. Every phone call from that "friend" with their good news was a dagger to my heart. On top of it all... I kept thinking... "this is all my fault".
Not to omit everything in between (have to leave something for future blog conversations) I went through the in-vitro process 6 times and became pregnant with my "prince". Remember, in the early 90's, this was groundbreaking... IT WORKED! I also without thought, froze three embryos not thinking what even to do with them... I was pregnant... I had acquired my badge like a true girl scout and made light blue my favorite color... I had hyperemesis with my first pregnancy and lost over 20 pounds in my first trimester but little to pay... I was lucky! I wasn't even aloud to complain because I got what I wanted... we can even save all the parochial guilt for future blogs... October 15th 1991 I give birth to our son, Daniel. Life was good. fast forward again... phone call from my fertility center... what do you want to do with your embryo's call? Crap, I didn't want to go through THAT again... I had already started the adoption process with "Adopt China" and never told either organization of my divided loyalty. Well, I couldn't abandon the embryos so I had them "put back" and wool-ah, twin pregnancy... Welcome Alec and Michael, Jackpot! I am higher than a kite and busier than a bee and found myself fast forwarding to an interesting Christmas Eve with my husband and kids thinking out loud... "My heart still feels like I lost someone the day I called the adoption center and cancelled the adoption process". Wondering who didn't have the fortune of making their way into our family. My husband looked at me and said if you feel this way I support it. "Get moving Kate" "I don't want to be in the diaper phase forever". That's when I knew I loved that guy till we would be old and gray... Wait, as I type, we are old and gray. We also have our wonderful daughter, Tess, who came to us via Cambodia. My husband was the guy who hopped the plain in his cargo shorts loaded the pockets with bottles, diapers and formula and brought her home looking like a scene out of Rambo... He came down the runway like he had given birth... it was his little girl in his arms... I melted! For me, I was a MOM! Still had the need to never leave my career I started finding ways to compliment it with what I was living. I was a childbirth instructor for a number of years, a school nurse, fertility nurse and now a postpartum nurse on a mother infant floor. I LOVE my job... not as much on the weekends but even on a Sunday morning at 7AM, holding a brand new bundle of joy does not get old.
So this is my journey. Now I have three sons 23, 20, 20 and a daughter 15. I am a MOM. I love my detour. It was my detour and the fact that it is a road behind me replaced by all the rights of being a parent I will never forget the gloom and fear in my heart on many occasions. When my kids drive me crazy I don't say I should love this because of that detour... its just part of the memory that until I started to write this blog I hadn't given much thought.
When my dear friend from years ago asked me to join the board on her non profit organization I was star struck on the excitement that I may be involved in some way helping other women contend with this very private pain.
So... with that being said this blog belongs to women and men who feel lost in their struggle from emotions to medical confusion and frustrated with trying to figure out how to solve it for them on their terms.
One last thought: The struggle with ones need to have a family whether you are in a traditional marriage, same sex marriage, single parent to be... having a family is ones right... right down to the simple science. It is for some of us our immortality... I know... Heavy stuff!
Off to the gala...