Friday, July 27, 2012

Women and Children Series: Peeing on a stick by Sam

My bladder woke me up before my alarm. On most days, this is annoying, but this particular morning was different. I was two days past-due for my period and was eager to go pee on a stick. A year or so before, I had bought a small stockpile of ovulation and pregnancy test sticks and I was down to one last test. It was going to work perfectly; my last pregnancy test was going to be my first positive. It had to be. I needed it to be. It wasn't.

My husband Jamie and I have been trying to start our family for three years now. We have put forth every level of effort from charting my daily temperature and using ovulation predictors to following the exhausted "don't try so hard and it will happen" advice that we so often receive, all to no avail.

We recently completed some testing to clear us of any potential fertility issues. I can't say that I was 100% relieved when everything came back positive as it may have been easier to decide what to do next if we knew why we were having such trouble conceiving. Since we are both "good to go", we fall into the increasingly frustrating inexplicable infertility category. For the time being, we have yet to decide what to do next. It might be time soon to go back to the doctor and see what he suggests. It may just be that I go on an ovulatory stimulant to better our chances of conceiving during each cycle, however, I can't keep myself from thinking that it won't be enough and that we'll need to move on to intrauterine insemination (IUI) or even in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The thought of using IUI or IVF sits a little uncomfortably with me for a few reasons. Firstly, Jamie and I both have some health concerns to take into consideration. I have a hereditary blood clotting disorder caused by a mutated gene that puts me at higher risk for blood clots. While most women with this disorder (Factor V Leiden) can have multiple successful pregnancies without issue, it does put me at risk for some complications due to clotting development in varying locations. As for Jamie, he was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis when he was a child. This is "a rare multi-system genetic disease that causes non-malignant tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs, and skin." (source)  Jamie's Tuberous Sclerosis is asymptomatic and doesn't have an effect on his daily life. If it were to be passed down to our child, it could be much worse causing seizures or developmental disabilities.

While the chances of our conditions causing complications in my pregnancy or our child's development and overall health is very low, it's still a major concern for us. Because of these concerns, we've discussed and are widely open to adoption. As much as I yearn to be pregnant and produce a life that will combine the best and worst of our features, I can't help but feel that it's a little selfish. What makes me uncomfortable about advanced fertility treatments is kind of the thought of forcing nature. Why should we be forcing conception when we have the risk of passing and possibly multiplying these health complications onto our offspring? There are so many babies being born that cannot be cared for, so why should we force a pregnancy? While an adoptive child won't inherit our specific physical and personality traits, an adoptive child will still learn and be molded by how we live and teach and grow with each other. This allows me to understand that adoption isn't the lesser option for starting a family.

This isn't to say that I feel IUI or IVF should not be used by a couple to grow their family; we still haven't ruled it out ourselves. It's something that I am very grateful to have as an option and is very well still in our minds. Starting a family is scary, and infertility only amplifies that feeling. In the end, it doesn't matter if we use fertility treatment to get pregnant or adopt. What is important is that Jamie and I are still working together, supporting and loving each other to create the best relationship and environment for our future baby.

Read more of Sam's writing over at her blog The Ellison Family Expansion Plan.

1 comment:

  1. All of these hurdles will make your marriage even stronger and if you really want children, it will happen one way or another. Go with what feels right for you. Good luck!