As luck would have it (if you can find the upside to infertility), our doctor was hosting an informational meeting about a week after we found out we weren’t pregnant. Aptly titled “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting”, the goal of this meeting was to provide couples information as they make their way through this thing called infertility. In the 2 years we have been seeing our doctor, this is the first time I’ve seen him host a meeting like this. It felt almost kismet, as this meeting was going to determine our next move.
The meeting itself was great. It was Dr. Corfman’s birthday, and yet, he chose to spend it with 3 couples who were at various points in their infertility journey. What bothered me, however, was that I seemed to be the only person unashamed to be there. Perhaps saying they seemed ashamed is the wrong way to describe it, but whatever the reason, it was that night that made me realize I needed to start this blog. It made me realize just how nice it would be if we could be open and honest with our fertility struggles. We should be sharing in what we’ve learned so far and empathizing with the other couples. After all, each of our end goals is the same.
What the meeting didn’t prepare me for, however, was the anger I would feel toward myself and the resentment I would feel toward my husband after the meeting concluded.
Anyone that knows me and Lee knows that we are very different. And I’m sure if you were to ask him, he’d agree that some of our differences are as endearing as they are infuriating. While I like to plan and research and know what I’m getting myself into, my husband is perfectly happy to be complacent. So, when I ask the question about what we should be doing to prepare ourselves for IVF, I was surprised at all of the info they provided to Lee about what he could do to improve our chances. I had been so focused on improving myself, that I had never thought Lee might need to work on some things as well. And neither did he.
It’s not as though he did nothing to improve our chances. He had been taking some herbal supplements, that were supposed to help with production and motility. However, when our doctor started telling us about sperm production (did you know it takes 2-3 months to produce a single sperm cell? Neither did I.) and the different ways a man’s habits can affect those cells, I was not only frustrated that this was the first time I was hearing these things, but that my husband had never thought to research these things for himself. Drinking, smoking, eating poorly; all of these things affect sperm production. And all of these were areas he could improve upon. I had been so centered on my diagnosis and the difficulties it posed, that we had never really looked into what he could do to improve our chances. The fact of the matter is, when we first started testing for our unexplained infertility, his results came back first. He had low sperm counts and low motility. Nothing that was impossible to work with, but definitely below average. However, once we found out I also had PCOS, we stopped exploring his fertility issues. Now it was hitting me like a ton of bricks that we had wasted 2 years by only looking at one piece of the puzzle.
It was at this point I decided we needed to seek additional help. We need to start seeing a relationship therapist. Our marriage is great in so many aspects, but the workload for this process is skewed. We need to be a team. And I have been adamant with Lee that I will not go through with this if I have to do it by myself.
We’ve got our first full therapy appointment tonight, and honestly I’m excited. I was expecting a little bit of push back from Lee when I suggested it, but was pleasantly surprised when he immediately agreed. It makes me hopeful about the future, not only for this process but for our marriage as well. As long as we’re a team, I’m confident that Lee and I can get through anything.