22 January 2008

Mental Health Day

After my meltdown on Sunday  I decided that I needed a "mental health day." I felt guilty taking any days off when the school year started since I was taking mornings and some afternoons off to go to my former infertility clinic for various appointments to probe my nether regions. 

Oh yes, my evil former infertility clinic.

We lasted three months. Three months of internal ultrasounds with sometimes rough technicians that treated my vagina like it had no nerve endings. Three months of tests that my very kind Ob/Gyn said that I didn't really need. Three months of blood tests that made me feel like I was going to throw up. Have I mentioned that I can't stand the sight of blood (especially my own) and needles scare the living death of me? And a jerky doctor that didn't seem to want to hear that we were not going to undergo IVF, IUI or any other extreme measures. A jerky doctor that told us that adoption was just as risky as IVF. And then proceeded to show us the price list. Selling hope, are we?

Although I sometimes have pangs of panic that leaving the clinic was the wrong idea, I remember how humiliated I felt every time I had to take off my underpants and wrap the white sheet around my mid-section and wait for the ultrasound technician to tell me that she was ready for me. I also remember how angry and grumpy I was every time I had to get the car and drive north to the clinic. I also remember feeling how wrong the clinic was for me. 

You see, my hubby and I are practicing Roman Catholics. My brother-in-law is a priest. We both teach at Catholic schools. Any assisted reproduction is a sin, and although I've bent (and broken) Church Law many, many times, I knew that most things going on at the clinic were setting me on a sure path to hell. 

My cousin and his wife went through IF for almost thirteen years. They tried IVF and they are both practicing Catholics as well, IVF that resulted in a beautiful little girl. I can completely understand why they went the route that they did. But I also know that the self-loathing that I felt sitting in the waiting room full of hopeful women, waiting to see if this was the month that it would take and how guilty I felt that there are so many babies out there already just waiting for me to take them home as my own. 

Deep in my heart I know that if I can't have my own belly baby, that adoption will be the route for us. As my very fertile best friend has said to me, "Pregnancy basically ruins your body. It would be great if you could have your family and not have to get fat!" I honestly believe that she was trying to be sympathetic with that comment. 

The question is, how long do we try? Is it my April deadline (my acupuncturist did say six months...)? Is it when we run out of money? Is it the next time I have to pull into a parking lot in an industrial park to have a good cry? 

I know that I'm not going to find the answers on my Mental Health Day. I'm actually supposed to be doing work on my course, not blogging and importing songs onto my computer! I guess this is the lack of logic that a diagnosis of "unexplained infertility" brings to a life that has been pretty straightforward. 

There's nothing straightforward about this situation. Absolutely nothing. 


  1. J.

    There is hope for next steps even if you don't do IVF. In fact, in our city, there is a fertility clinic run by the Catholic diocese.

    I don't know what their success rates are, but it might be worth calling. If you ever want to chat, we can, I know most of the clinics in town, and there are several that practice very ethically, and would not ever push you into doing any treatment that you aren't comfortable with.

    But that reality is that diagnosis is the key, and the Catholic church does not have a problem with diagnosis or treatment, like laparoscopies for removing endometriosis or fibroids, and both can interfere with conception. In my case, DHEA meant I no longer had ovarian failure, and could finally ovulate on my own.

    For some women with PCOS, they need surgery to remove the cysts that are preventing normal ovaluation, and then they can take diabetic drugs like metformin to control their blood sugar, and ovulate on their own.

    So going all the way to IVF isn't always necessary. My husband, a former Jesuit priest, has said many times that God has inspired many wonderful scientific discoveries. It's our choice as humans to use them wisely and ethically.

    Like I said, I'm happy to chat about this anytime. Take care.

  2. after my very short stay at my evil infertility clinic i know that there is nothing physiologically wrong with myself or my husband. it just really sucks that i had to go through all those internal U/S's, HSG's and my favourite, the saline sonohysterogram!

    although my love my acupuncturist, mbfc seems like a fit to me.

    i'm not ready to think or even entertain any of my other options, my conscience is already too guilty.