Archive for useless uterus

Reproductive Rights Duplicity

Posted in Infertility with tags , , , , on August 20, 2009 by Alison Amok

“Future generations will look back at the beginning of the 21st century and marvel that intelligent people actually tried to stop biomedical progress just to protect their cramped and limited vision of human nature.”

-Ronald Bailey

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Hello?  Is this thing on?  Can you hear me?  Here, let me step up here on this soapbox so you can hear me better.

Reproductive Rights.  What does that phrase mean to you?  According to the Center for Reproductive Rights their “issues reflect what a woman needs to direct her own life and make healthy decisions: Legal, safe, and affordable contraception and abortion.  Good obstetric and prenatal care for a safe & healthy pregnancy. Information about reproductive health that is free from censorship.”

I’m confused though as to why reproductive rights apparently only apply to those who can get pregnant and those who don’t want to get pregnant.  And an organization that’s whole purpose for existing is to further the reproductive rights of women has only officially been involved in one instance of the rights of couples to pursue fertility treatments (and that wasn’t even in the United States).

Another term that is quite a misnomer is family planning.  According to Wikipedia, “family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other tecniques to implement such plans.  Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and management, and infertility management”.  But when you do a Google search for family planning the services that come up are birth control, sexual education and abortions.  And lets not even begin that the picture that was deemed appropriate to symbolize family planning in the Wikipedia article was a picture of a common birth control package.  Again, how is it that the term family planning apparently only applies to those who don’t want any or more family?

Realistically, why is infertility treatments not included in family planning?  Just because I am biologically impaired when it comes to conceiving my children doesn’t mean that the methods I choose are not family planning.  Considering the fact that a heck of a lot more “planning” goes into any fertility treatment, I’m confused as to why infertile couples are overlooked and often mocked for their family planning efforts.

Take into consideration the growing environmental movement.  An article written for the online blog Babble was about how eco-activists are pushing the idea of overpopulation and how it is environmentally irresponsible to excessively procreate.  Titled The New Eugenics, the article also discusses how couples who pursue fertility treatments are often scorned as being indulgent, selfish and the four-letter-word of the eco world – polluters.  The author uses another article from the New York Times Magazine, this article was written by a woman who hired a surrogate after five years of fertility treatments.  Yet despite being a well written article about one couples infertility journey and their choices in their family planning sadly very few of the anonymous commentors took away the intended meaning of the article.

There were 404 comments to this article.  The first comment was left by H.H. in Port Hardy, British Columbia, Canada.  The enlightened H.H left the following comment:  “You’d think with nearly 7 billion people on this planet, a couple might think of it as a blessing that they can not add any more “consumers” to our Earth’s already overstretched resources.”  Sadly, H.H. wasn’t the only person who left such comments.  The author wasn’t just chastised for adding more “consumers”, she was overwhelming dismissed as being elitist and having more money than sense. The comments to this one article overwhelmingly prove that that the population as a whole just does not get infertility issues.

I don’t know about you but Husband and I are not rich by any standard.  I am a medically-retired, stay-at-home-wife.  I go to school full time.  Husband works for the government.  Luckily I was able to retain my health insurance because of my pancre-ass but my military insurance doesn’t cover all of our fertility treatments.  Infertility is an expensive disease.  And one that isn’t just a physical affliction, its mentally and emotionally exhausting.  It is a disease that permeates to the very fiber of your being.  Biologically, your reason for existing.

I’ve read articles and comments that actually go as far as suggest that as an infertile couple, we should “save the world” and adopt.  We should not be allowed to procreate and/or should use the opportunity to rescue the abandoned children of the world.  I’m sorry.  I am not here to save the world of its ills.  I am one person and I have one question.  Why is it ok for you to procreate or not by using “family planning” but as an infertile am not?

In June, I participated in RESOLVE‘s Advocacy Day.  On a day that was filled with health care reform rallies and protesters, a group of women and men sat one-on-one with their elected congressional representatives to discuss infertility.  We simply asked for them to help us receive equal health care rights.  Currently only 15 states require insurance coverage for fertility treatment and even then the laws vary.  And just from my personal experience I encountered legislative workers who were not only not interested in helping but openly so.  Yet our current president and congress plan on including taxpayer funded abortions in the pending Health Care Reform (to be fair, they plan on not excluding it).

So here we are back to family planning.  I don’t know about you but I’m more than a little upset about all of this.  I take offense to the fact that a disease that already makes me feel less human, less of a woman also makes me a target for eco-activists, well meaning albeit a little miss-guided.  I feel that I have to stand up and speak for this disease that affects so many.  Because infertility doesn’t just affect me or Husband.  It affects our parents who are not grandparents, our siblings who have no nieces or nephews and our peers who are unsure where their friendship lies in our relationship.  I just want a family and I don’t know what’s more of a basic human right than that.

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Defining Me

Posted in Comments from the Peanut Gallery, Infertility with tags , , on May 21, 2009 by Alison Amok

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”

-Frank A. Clark

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Some newcomers to my blog, along with those who have been following my story for awhile, might be confused as to the overall tone of my blog.  So let me clarify it for you.

Infertility does not define me.  My health issues don’t either.  What defines me is a million little things that add up to make me the weirdo that I am.

I refuse to let my uterus dictate my life.  And while I’m doing that I feel like you actually might get to know me.

So please, take off your shoes and stay awhile.  I hope you come back and visit me often.  My true hope is that while our common bond of broken dreams might of brought you here, you stay because of me.

Welcome friend.

Adopting A New Mindset

Posted in Family Matters, Infertility with tags , , , on May 15, 2009 by Alison Amok

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”

-Pablo Casals

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Infertility is a bitch.  And to be frankly honest, so am I.  So why is it so hard to give up the fight?  Why do we continue with the stress and the drugs and the tests and the never ending negative pregnancy tests?

Adoption is an option.  An option that unfortunately is a source of great heartache between Husband and me.  I want to adopt.  I want a baby.  I want a child.  I want to know that this little person is ours and will forever be my family.  Husband wants his OWN baby, his OWN child.  A child that biologically is his.  This is a stance that I cannot seem to grasp.  I try to explain to him that even an adopted child will be HIS child.  His son.  His daughter.  Because as I like to remind him, it’s not like you can return them.

I come from a large family.  My mother was one of eleven.  Yes you read that right.  Eleven children!  Eleven children , nine of which had children of their own.  You are never at a loss for friends when you have a gajillion cousins.  Yes a gajillion.  This big, loud family was the norm for me.  I love the noise, the companionship, the constant conversations.  I LOVE the fact that there is always fourteen different conversations going on at once.  We all have opinions, we all have our own personalities, we were never at a loss for a good debate.  No subject was taboo – sex was talked about at the dinner table, religion debated over coffee and current events for breakfast.

And as much as I love Husband, I admit I find myself wistfully daydreaming about the day when my own house will be the madhouse I know and love.  Husband is a quiet man.  Well thats not intirely true.  He is a shy person but once he is comfortable around you, you can hardly get him to shut up.  He is passionate, intelligent, well read and honest but he is most comfortable with quiet.  His family is the incredibly quiet kind.  The kind where you could be around them for days and not have a conversation more derisive then the weather patterns.  Don’t get me wrong, his family is fabulous and I honestly love them.  I, daily, am grateful for being lucky enough to have in-laws that are honestly good people and crazily enough, they like me!

It just is that I normally do not operate with a verbal filter.  I tend to say exactly what pops into my mind and verbalize these crazy thoughts without forethought to how incredibly stupid I probably sound.  And when I’m around the in-laws, because I know I lean towards filter-less, I get incredibly nervous and then tend to say even stupider things!  I often feel like the undereducated, southern hick that I am.  I mean I know I’m really smart.  I know that his parents like me.  But for whatever reason I tend to be even more open-mouth-insert-foot than normal.

But back to my original point.  Husband has agreed that no matter what, we will eventually adopt.  We both honestly feel that we are two level-headed, intelligent beings.  We have good morals and values and believe we can offer a good household to any child.  Where we go off course though is that I’m ready to adopt now, Husband is not.  I can see his side, he wants a child that is “his”.  And I know Husband is nervous about children.  I know he has little experience with babies and the little he does have was due to my borrowing friends kids so he can experience them.  I know he is fearful of the unknown.  I know he will be the best father ever because I would never of married him otherwise.

I think I press the adoption issue more because I believe Husband will be a great father.  I believe he deserves children who love him and he loves.  I believe that more than anything Husband wants to be a father and I am daily heartbroken that I cannot provide him with children.  Aside with my personal feelings towards the incompetence of my fertility, I grieve for Husband and the children he so dearly wants to love.  I know that even though an adopted child is not biologically ours, that child will be fiercely loved.

I want to provide Husband with a child, I need to prove that even though I am useless producing children that I will be a good mother.  I need to prove that he choose right when he married me and somedays it seems that being childless undermines our marriage.  I have failed him.  I have failed myself.  I have failed our parents who long for grandchildren too.  But mostly I have failed him.  I know Husband loves me.  I do know that even if we never have children and only have our dogs and each other that he will be happy.  I know that we only need each other but I want to give him this.  I need to give him children.

The idea of our potential family is never far from our minds. So, as one day turns into another, we will continue on this road together.  We will continue to grow together but I think we always leave a little space in our lives for the children God will eventually provide us with.  And while we continue to pray for the empty spaces at our table to be occupied, I think we learn to love each other a little bit more.

Useless Uterus

Posted in Infertility with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by Alison Amok

“If at first you don’t suceed, failure may be your style.”

– Quentin Crisp

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Money, love, friendship, youth and fertility…. all things you never fully appreciate until its gone.  Admittedly, fertility in my case was never possessed but that’s beside the point.  Fertility is always one of those assumed things.

A + B = C      A(boy)+Beautiful(girl)=cute(child)  – my math teacher mother would love my use of math to make a point.

For those of you who have perfectly functioning uteruses (uterii?!?) you have absolutely no idea what its like to know failure.  And this failure takes on a completely new meaning to the word.  This failure is not just an inability to pass a class, or failure to stop at a stop sign, or failure to adjust to a new situation.  This is a failure that goes to the heart of my purpose for being on God’s green earth.  Its the cruelest irony after years of complaining about crazy periods and being told its normal for periods to fluctuate and to be painful.  I suffer silently knowing that I probably never will “accidentally” become pregnant.  I will never have the simple joy of thinking “huh, I haven’t had a period in a while.  Oh  hey I’m pregnant!”  Its horrifying to think that in order for me to get pregnant it is going to require me to toss my modesty aside and put my most private parts and desires on display.

And to add insult to injury EVERYONE has an opinion!  I mean absolutely EVERYONE!  What is it about our society that thinks that they have a right to pass on some weird tip or advice when they basically have no idea what they’re talking about.  Crazy lady who has 4 kids, all of which were conceived while on birth control and/or by accident: telling me to relax is like telling someone with pneumonia to stop coughing.  If you’re trying to conceive you CANNOT relax about it.  Because seriously, you need to be crazy about it in order to become pregnant.  You have to track freakin’ everything, your cervical fluid, your basal temperature, your ovulation, and the DRUGS!  Fertility drugs, ohmygod, these alone make it impossible to relax. You cannot relax when you are trying to conceive!

For someone who doesn’t ovulate, and apparently hasn’t in quite sometime, forcing me to ovulate as turned me into some 13 year old who just started getting her period.  I have mood swings, well Husband swears they’re more like mood attacks, and ACNE!  I’m an adult!  Its the worst.

But back to advice.  Some stranger once basically told me that only women who were sluts have fertility problems because she read somewhere that gonorrhea and chlamydia and STD’s all cause infertility.  So I in turn replied : Well listen up crazy lady, and sorry for being graphic here but, a slut I never was and I have never had an STD.  So explain that now.  And of course she could not.  Surprise surprise.  And there is then the religious variant of this crazy who verbalized that obviously God doesn’t think I deserve children.  Because apparently they are a gift from God and if I have not been gifted yet, then its an act of God.  Ok.  Um… well huh…  I consider myself to be a moral person.  And while I’m obviously not the most perfect person I highly doubt my fertility is God punishing me a la the great flood or something.  And you Mean Jesus Lady are crazy!

And then there always is the lovely ladies who feel they need to tell me that they are so fertile that if their husband just looks at them the wrong way they get knocked up.  Seriously, SERIOUSLY!  You felt that was necessary to tell me?

The worst is when people ask “Who’s fault is it?  Yours or your husbands?  Is his sperm ok?”  As if my inability to get pregnant is a personal fault!  As if I just tried a little harder then I would get pregnant.  This isn’t the SAT’s people, studying for it isn’t going to make me better at babymaking.  And dear Stranger, what makes you think that it is socially acceptable to ask in public, whether or not my husband’s sperm is functioning properly.

Husband is as supportive as he can be but most days I think my collection of medical problems is a little overwhelming, even to him.  FYI, I also have pancreatic issues that compound the problem but I’ll get into that in another post.  But he honestly has just no clue sometimes.   I love him anyways!

I know most of these crazy people mostly have the best of intentions in mind.  But remember: Hell is paved with good intentions.