The Fertility Demarcation Line

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In only a few short weeks I’ll be turning 35. In defiance of this age that’s so crucial to the fertility-challenged, I’d started drafting a post all about how 35 could bring its bad self on, how some obscure number wouldn’t suddenly make my eggs all like, “Oh snap, we’re expiring soon!”, etc.  I was all set to publish my post too.

But then, a trigger.

While sitting in church on Sunday morning our pastor invited a couple to come up front with their baby for the baby’s dedication. *Insert gigantic GULP here.* I was caught totally off guard that there’d be a baby dedication that day. If I’d known, I probably would have come in late.

I felt a swarm of conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was happy for this couple. But I was also envious of them. I felt sad for myself… then guilty for entertaining a pity party, especially in church of all places! Several people at my church know that I suffer from infertility. If I left the service while the baby was being dedicated, surely people could guess why. But if I remained in my pew then there’d be the inevitable glances at Marixsa:  you know—the “barren one”—to see how I was “holding up.” Or at least that’s what my pride told me.

Somehow I managed to stay put through the ooohs and the awwws and the laughter that ensued when baby protested to our pastor carrying her around. My heart felt like it was being squeezed. I kept my gaze straight ahead and unsuccessfully fought back tears. In vain, I wrestled against the pangs of grief that my own babies never lived long enough to be dedicated, or even that anyone besides Jake and I know their names. Then I felt rotten for being so selfish during a special moment in the lives of my fellow parishioners.

And so it goes. Infertility’s reminders come during the places and times when we least expect it.

All day afterward something continued to gnaw at me, long after the baby dedication had ended. I finally figured out what it was: 35 looming large on the horizon. That—despite putting my best foot forward, remaining optimistic, and trusting that God will give us the desires of our heart—I’m struggling with this arbitrary line in the sand of my fertility.

By Sunday night I was full fledged upset about turning 35. Once that birthday happens, all the protocols change: my clinic would automatically transfer two embryos instead of one (though I don’t have any embryos anyway). I’d be an elderly primigravida in my doc’s notes and not just your run-of-the-mill primigravida. Any pregnancy I may achieve will be considered a geriatric pregnancy. Geriatric? Me? No way.

I plan to keep pressing on for now. But at the same time, I’m starting to slowly investigate the possibility of one day facing life as permanently childless/child-free/whathaveyou, which is something I’ve never been brave enough to face before. Which then begs the question: When do you stop trying?

It’ll be six years of TTC this June. It gets tiring. At what point does the anxiety of TTC and the putting things on hold “just in case I’m pregnant” get vanquished for good? When do I begin to plan for a future that will just be Jake and I? When do I accept what plans may be for my life?

On the other end, where does my faith come in to play? Faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Isn’t that precisely what this situation calls for? Believing in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? I’m either all in or not in at all. I want to be all in, in faith.

If that means continuing to make baby faith purchases along the way, then I’ll open my wallet. If that means swallowing the hurt at baby dedications then I can do it, by focusing on the fact that it’s just not my turn…yet… but someday it will be. If that means continuing trying to conceive despite the odds, then hello temping and ovulation tests.

Not that it’s not still difficult in the meantime. Because it sure is!  But nothing’s worth it if it’s easy… The hardest fought battles bring the sweetest victory… And so on.

What a number a number can do to us.

 

 

 

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Author: Marixsa

Navigating the infertility waters and encouraging other mamas-in-waiting along the way.

18 thoughts on “The Fertility Demarcation Line”

  1. I think that feeling sad about your birthday coming up is completely normal, truly valid feelings. So I hope you don’t feel crazy feeling that way. I was this way when I turned 30. I was so so so SO upset. I didn’t have the family I dreamed of having (YET!!). I was about 8/9 years in at not preventing not trying. Knowing there was a reason why I wasn’t getting pregnant but couldn’t really do anything about it b/c I was newly lost my job that had the best benefits that I had yet, that covered everything fertility. My faith was tested 100%. I had started to think about a childless life too, and actually started to ‘mourn’ motherhood. But then… one by one.. my prayers started to get answered. Its easy to say and to read, but His timing is awesome. My personal prayer was “your will be done, and my acceptance comes with that.” What really helped me when I was in this sort of weird emotional place, was #1 pray. Then I made a decision to focus on ME. Working out, running, worked on my relationship with the hubby. Took a vacation. Read great books. It’s actually something I’m starting to figure out I need to do again. My mantra has always been.. It will happen the way its supposed to. Hang in there!

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    1. I agree that God’s timing is perfect. But I like to rush Him along. It really is a test of my self to sacrifice submitting to not MY timing be done.

      I miss you, Kim! I hope all is well with you and babes. I’ve totally been slacking on catching up with your blog…sorry! Will do so soon though.

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      1. Well I’ve been totally slack on writing a blog. Totally off subject, but Im thinking about moving to wordpress. Its weird, but I think the Russians (hahahaha) are using my site as a portal??? There’s no way people are looking my blog 60+ times a day, and when I look at the tracking details its all like crazy Russian/not american websites.

        I hope to soon make writing a habit again. I felt like it kind of helped sort out my feelings sometimes!
        And aw!! Miss you too! I still have your email(s) saved in my inbox. BUT we are doing well. I have many moments when I sit back and ask myself “is this real life?”

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      2. Haha! I’m sorry to laugh but it’s actually pretty funny to think you’re funneling through some covert Russian mafia stuff on your baby/IF blog. Okay, it’s probably not actually *funny* funny, but—you know!

        Thanks for your encouragement today. Ultimately my faith part always wins, but I feel like it’s important to be brutally honest about the bad times too so others can identify. I’m believing for a miracle, even despite all the doubts and moments when it seems too hard. ❤

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      3. oh! and my 2cents. When my 2nd cycle didnt work (or so I thought).. I was inconsolable. It was a monday. It was that night where I laid in bed and cried the night away and I prayed, ok Lord -take it away. Take this pain away from me. It’s all you my man. I’m giving in to you. And I woke up feeling a little better and kind of thinking about what to do next since this cycle didnt work.. only it did work! It might take time, submitting is hard. Not wanting to control everything is HARD. But the moment you do, things can happen.

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    1. I actually thought of that when I was typing this. Like, there’s lots of women on here older than me who’re pregnant/just had their baby.

      But seriously, the words “geriatric” and “pregnancy” never belong in the same sentence. So mean to call us that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My doctor is really blasé about this stuff. Tells me I’m not old at all and he sees loads of older people. Number one concern with age is rotten eggs (my description). If your eggs are ok then you’re doing great already.

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  2. Oh I am totally feeling this post. I am sorry you have been having a hard time.
    I often have these thoughts myself. It will be 6 years for us this December. I honestly struggled badly with the emotions that come from this journey, I thought I was crazy and abnormal… until I checked out the blogging world and some Facebook groups and realised that what I was feeling is actually completely normal. It’s okay to not be okay with being “the barren one”.
    My trigger yesterday was finding out that the young couple that live in the car next to my work smoking cigarettes and bongs and leaving a trail of McDonald’s wrappers in their wake are expecting a child. How even is that okay? I literally feel like just banging on their window and demanding they give me the child when it is born. I know that rather than that child being taken and given to a family that will love it it will be used to get free housing and family assistance money from the government. It is just so wrong and I was very deeply upset by it yesterday.
    I am 34 this year and I certainly feel the crunch. I am having huge issues losing weight and everyone keeps telling me it is because I am fat that this is not happening for me.
    When you wrote about putting things off “just in case I am pregnant” I wanted to yell “ME TOO!!!” So many things have been put off because we are using the money for IVF or because we are trying to get pregnant. My 30th bday present was supposed to be a trip to New Zealand to finally see snow for the first time for me and my husband… I am now 33.
    I don’t think I will give up until my uterus is old and dusty, I will always have that hope. Every now and then though I think… is this worth it? But then I remember that it certainly is 🙂

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    1. Lol on “old and dusty”uterus! It *is* worth hoping. But I know plenty of women who’ve also made the choice to stop trying, and there seems to be something very freeing that they experience when they make that choice. I’m not ready to make that choice right now, but sometimes I wonder about it…

      And I completely support your snatching that baby from the jaws of the car people! I’d want to do the same. What a sad thing. Hopefully those people turn around from their lifestyle for that baby’s sake.

      The “advice” of some people! Like losing a few pounds will magically get you pregnant. So crazy.

      Glad to see you back on here! I always enjoy when you post. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder about it too. I do feel like it would be freeing, but then I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wonder whether one more round would have made the difference so I feel like until I don’t have that second part anymore I have to keep going hahaha.
        The car people do my head in. I just still haven’t been able to talk to anyone about my feelings about that. I have only mentioned it on here. It’s so wrong. I also struggle with the amount of “DOCS visits” (Department of Child Services) that happen in our library. We will literally have at least a couple each day. It is so sad. In Australia that do not terminate parental rights and put the children up for adoption except in seriously severe cases and they have to take the parents to court to have a judge decide. This system really needs to be addressed.
        Oh yes, obviously just losing weight will help me get pregnant. It doesn’t matter that I was still trying to get knocked up when I was 20kgs lighter and it still didn’t work… apparently that is not relevant… sigh.
        Thanks. Have not been good with blogging recently. Life in the real world just got super crazy.

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  3. oh yeah I struggled with turning 35 (last December) too! If I knew for sure I’d have a child one day then it wouldn’t even bother me so much. It’s the unknown and the fear that I’m running out of time and it might never happen. My hubby and I also struggle with the question of when to stop. Well, I do. He’s already ready to stop but has agreed to a final 4th IVF. If that fails it would be hard for me to accept and be ready to move on even though I also want our lives back and am sick of living in limbo. I hope we’ll get our desired children eventually.

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      1. I freaked out when I turned 30. I remember going to Galveston, TX, for a mini spring break and I remember mourning my 20s “I’m so old.”
        Now, I’m owning, more like pwning, the “advanced maternal age” of 35. I’m embracing it. I like to make fun of the concept of “advanced maternal age” on my blog. I, too, agree with you that I’m not letting a number get in the way of a dream. Yes, there are five of us who are 35 (Dubs, LongtermIVF, me) or about to turn 35 (you and Alaska). You’re in good company.

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  4. Oh dear friend. Reading about that dedication and those feelings you had during it made so many past emotions come back to me. Trying to smile through the tears. Im so sorry. You werent being selfish at all, what you felt is so understandable & anyone who has suffered loss or IF, or both, gets it.
    Its so hard thinking about when is enough enough…I wish I had the answer for you, I know I was almost at that point myself turning 34. I think about you all the time & pray the Lord grants you the desires of your heart ❤️

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