Infertility Post Six: Being Childlike Without Children
By the time my husband reached his residency years, we had been through four years of infertility. Or five, if you count the year I realized that home pregnancy tests were a malicious conspiracy. 😉
I finally had gone to an Ob/Gyn a few months prior to residency. I’m not sure why it took me so long to see an Ob/Gyn for a longstanding reproductive issue, but he turned out to be the best doctor I’d had up to that point. He said, “I can’t help you. You’d be wasting your time with me.”
God bless him.
He referred me on to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). We had avoided REs because we didn’t have the money, and insurance didn’t cover infertility. The Ob/Gyn made us aware of some charitable aid that would make it possible for us to afford the RE’s care.
My husband is a nice guy. And he knows me well…
Before the first appointment, he told me that this doctor is respected both nationally and locally. I should not try to manage the way he handled my care, as I’d done with the allergist and the doctor before that. In exchange for that comment, I made sure he would come to almost all of my appointments so I wouldn’t feel nervous!
The RE had reviewed my chart previously, and when he pulled it out at the appointment, it was obvious he was trying not to chuckle. He asked what in the world had been going on with my care up to that point. The chart was a mess of misdiagnoses and bad prescriptions.
Because of my previous distrust and frustration, I had brought a new and improved bulleted list of potential diagnoses. I tucked it away, but he had already seen it.
Gently, he said, “I don’t think any of the things on your list is the problem. Based on your chart, it’s probably a fairly straightforward case, and we can try the usual progression of tests and treatments.”
Then he added, “We need to get this problem solved so you can think about something other than a diagnosis!” I relaxed the tiniest bit, daring to believe this might be a different kind of doctor.
Still… completely failing at not making a fool of myself, I sarcastically vented about the litter of puppies at home that was driving me crazy: “Something else, like a whole litter of puppies?”
He brightened and said, “YES! Puppies are a good thing.”
A simple exchange, a snip of a conversation, can stick with a person for years… It was like two different worlds had collided.
Where had I gone so wrong, that I couldn’t just cuddle a puppy and be happy about it?
There are some things I wish I had done differently during those years. I wish I had sought (and trusted) the care of dedicated subspecialists as early in the process as possible. I wish I had made my husband feel like he was better to me than a house full of children – that he and I are a complete family. I wish I had taken every opportunity to be happy about little everyday things.
Are children necessary for harried adults to take pure, childish delight in puppies, rainstorms, fish at the pet store, roasted marshmallows, or a bug on the porch?
I really don’t know. I was hardly able to carry this, let alone rise above it, so… I’m just putting the question out there. Is it possible to walk through a major disappointment with enough emotional reserve to truly enjoy the little things?
And isn’t it ironic that this is what I got out of my first RE appointment?
This post is part of a series on our journey through unexplained infertility. To read the rest of the story so far, please click here to see the index of posts.