Wednesday, October 28, 2009

what not to say to an infertile couple...

I’m completely sympathetic that people don’t know what to say to someone struggling with infertility/pregnancy losses. Especially since I used to be one of them back before I had my own fertility issues. I’d mutter out an embarrassed “I’m so sorry,” and that was about it. I’d feel bad that I didn’t have anything more comforting to say to express how truly sad I was for the couple. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, turns out I shouldn’t have been embarrassed. “I’m sorry” is exactly the right thing to say. And if you and the couple are both religious, “I’m praying for you” is nice too. And here, as a PSA, are the WRONG things to say:

1. “Just relax” or “Stop trying so hard” Ask anyone struggling with infertility what they like to hear least from friends and family and this is usually it. It puts the blame of infertility of the couple since they just aren’t “relaxed” enough. Victims of rape and incest get pregnant, and I doubt they were relaxed. I rest my case. And as for not trying so hard? I’m over 40 and have a blocked tube from an ectopic and 6 pregnancy losses. Some of us DO have to try so hard.

2. “If it’s meant to be it will happen” This one just annoys me. Would you say this to anyone else going through a tough time? Example: “My daughter is in the hospital in a coma.” “Well, if she’s meant to live it’ll happen.” See what I mean?

3. “At least you can have fun trying (wink wink)” I’m trying for pregnancy #7 with no living children. “Fun” went out the window a long time ago. Plus, this is especially creepy coming from male relatives.

4. “Don’t have kids” This one always comes from the exasperated parents of several kids. This is especially painful because A) they were able to have kids easily and B) they don’t seem to appreciate them. Believe me, if I ever become a parent I know I’ll need to vent too. Just please don’t do it to us right now.

5. “Are you pregnant????” Don’t ask someone struggling with infertility if she is pregnant—it’s just mean. If she looks pregnant it could be weight gain due to infertility treatment, depression, or from her hormones being out of whack after losses. Or, if she IS pregnant and hasn’t told you, it’s because she realizes all too well that she might not stay that way. Please wait for her to tell you when she's ready.

6. “Guess what? I’m pregnant! 5 weeks already! And I just got a BellaBand, and we’re naming the baby Sam if it’s a boy…I just know it’s a boy…and I just got some maternity clothes from my neighbor and they’re SO cute, and we’re painting the nursery green, and….” I’m happy for you. I really am. But I remember the early pregnancy excitement all too well and it’s just a painful reminder that after 6 losses I’ll never be able to be that excited about an early pregnancy again. So share your news gently with me (preferably privately rather than making me be part of a group announcement), and if you save your decorating discussions for someone who can handle it more than I can right now I’ll do my best to be a good friend and give you the support you deserve from me when it comes to the important stuff.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

never try to pick up a waitress...

Back when my friends were single and bar regulars, the guys had a rule. Never try to pick up a waitress. She's heard every line out there, and she's not going to bite so don't waste your time.

I'm starting to think the same rule applies for fighting the insurance company. They've heard it all, and whatever you have to say won't sway them.

Basically, despite my age and blocked tube, the insurance company wants me to do "lesser before greater," which means 3 cycles of IUIs with drugs before they'll think about approving IVF.

Which shouldn't be a big deal, but my RE is recommending we start with Clomid and I'm scared to death of it. After I took BCPs for a month before my fibroid surgery a little over a year ago, I started getting migraines. The headaches I could deal with, but the weird visual problems I get for about 1/2 hour before the headaches start are tough: flashing lights, floating flashing squiggly lines that cause blind spots in my vision, it was all the pits. So after thinking I was having a stroke or something else serious (I didn't know much about migraines when this all started) I spent a lot of time making the rounds between my primary care doc, eye doc, and neurologist before they got it all sorted out and determined that yep, I'm getting migraines. I'm down to 1 or 2 a month now (the 2nd month after I went off the pill I had 4 in a week and thought I'd lose my mind), and have accepted them as an fact of life for me now. I'm grateful they aren't worse (I feel like crap for a couple days after I get one (my "migraine hangover"), but the pain isn't nearly as bad as what a lot of people have. Plus, I'm one of those fortunate people whose migraines seems to go away with pregnancy (at least they have with the two 8-week pregnancies and even the chemical pg. I've had since then.)

Now comes Clomid, and its possibility of weird visual side-effects. I talked to my neurologist this week to see if I'm more likely to get them because of my history, and he said "maybe" (helpful? not so much). He said the side effects are similar to what I get w/my migraines, and if I do have problems I can always stop taking it. Easy for him to say. I talked about the people whose vision problems are perymanent, and he said it's only about 1% so not to worry. That is fine, unless you are that 1%. And I've seen posts from that 1% online, and they scare the bejeepers out of me.

The neurologist said he could write a letter to my insurance co. if I want, saying that he advises against Clomid for me, but he didn't know if that would help. And I don't know if I want him to, because what if Clomid works? And what if I don't have problems tolerating it?.

So I have my appt.tomorrow a.m. for a CD 3 bloodwork/ultrasound so I can start the Clomid, and I don't even know if I'm going to go. Or if I do go, if I can make myself take it. And I've heard the mood part isn't great, hence the nickname Clo-mood. I'm already in a funk after having been laid off in August. And having 6 pregnancies in the last 2 1/2 years. I'm really not sure I can deal with being more moody than I already am right now. Really.

I made an appt. to talk to the shrink at RE #1's office next week. I've never met her, but am starting to feel like I need some help negotiating all this. I used to be a pretty upbeat person before all this, and I'm starting to not recognize myself anymore.