week fourteen – infertility doesn’t just affect me

Posted on: June 16, 2011

Week fourteen – infertility doesnt just affect me 

The thing with infertility is that it wont just affect whoever is infertile in the couple,  although it often feels like its my journey.  There are constant reminders that I am not going through this on my own.  Duncan my darling hubby has been there for me throughout.  I have talked before about the guilt that comes with infertility. This blog is a place for me to talk openly about how this journey has affected me, and hopefully to help those who my be facing the same decisions be informed of what it may be like for them.  Duncan has not chosen and nor do I think he would choose to, have an online blog where he writes how he feels.  I am deeply respectful of his feelings,  yet sensitively I feel that I need to write a small piece on how this has affected us as a couple and him.

There is not one aspect of our friendship that has not been affected.  I start with friendship as he is I believe my soul mate.  The bonus is that I love him deeply, I lust for him, he makes my heart jump a beat like no other.  He knows more than anyone how much this has affected me – I believe he is beginning to understand how much it has affected him too. 

Throughout the last 10 years,  we have talked, argued at times – both having differing ideas of when we were ready to try for a family, agreed and then waited for a positive test,  despaired when we have miscarried, had belief it was a one-off!  hoped for a miracle, attended countless medical appointments together, at times we thought we had lost each other in the abyss that becomes your infertility journey. 

Thankfully we have come through it together.

There are so many memories, there are two specifically that make me emotional because it is a glimmer of how deeply affected Duncan has been throughout this whole journey.  The first one is the night I miscarried one of our babies,  we had known for a couple of days that it wasnt a viable pregnancy.  Each loss was physically different and this one was particularly vile.  I was getting contractions, which made my body convulse.  D stayed up with me all night,  he held my hand, called the hospital for some guidance and held me.  For sometime before this miscarriage we had been drifting apart – our loss brought us together.  It happened to be christmas, and on Christmas morning D took my hand and promised me that he had married me for me, not for the babies we would have together. 

The second memory I will share today is about my last miscarriage,  Duncan and I have always tried to be optimistic, but this time we were so used to the routine we had both kicked in to ‘coping mode’. When a woman miscarries,  without wishing to be too descriptive, there are things that you shed.  I had seen it so many times I guess I knew what I was looking for. When it was over,  I told D that it had gone,  our baby had gone.  Something that had always troubled me is what to do with it.  In the past it had always been flushed away.  Only this time I couldnt bring myself to.  Thankfully D didnt think this was odd.  What we did next will remain between us,  but we were able to say goodbye in a way that helped us both.  He was and still is beautiful, loving and supportive.

My husband has been robbed of his fertility as a consequence of my infertility.

You only have to look at the media, tv, films etc to see that everywhere you look there are constant reminders that one of our functions in life is to procreate.  Its a primeaval instinct.  Fathers Day is nearly upon us, and whilst D has no maternal instincts what man doesn’t want to make things for their child, take them to school or share in their development?

When we got together (and married) our life plan was , marriage, find a job, get a home, save for the future and have a family.  The only thing we took for granted out of that list was having a family – so many people have them without even wanting them so why wouldnt we?

we have both in the past couple of weeks been questioned my many family and friends, wanting to know when we are going to start looking at adoption.  It is too soon for us to even contemplate this,  we are both too battered and bruised by the last 10 years.  Having a child when you have to think about it (lets face it so many people only have to look at a man and they are pregnant) takes alot more energy than a discussion about trying for a baby or just finding out you are pregnant.  The next person who asks us if we are going to adopt will be met with an answer that goes something like ‘if I had my leg amputated would you tell me it was okay because I am getting an artificial limb’. 

I know it seems harsh but we are both grieving,  we both need time to let our lives settle, in many ways we both feel free yet stuck in limbo. We dont remember a time when our lives werent controlled by medical appointments or a calendar which said when I was likely to be housebound because of the endometriosis.  Therefore it is simply too soon. It is lovely that so many people want to support us,  but when you are infertile, you are in a minority – even in our close friendship group we are one of only 2 couples who have no children. 

Physically our relationship has also been hugely affected,  intimacy has always been important to both of us.  Sex for us is much more about being together then it is about the act of sex.  Making love doesn’t have to be about penetration,  because of my illness it was less about convential sex and more about just being together.

So our friendship, our physical and mental needs have been tested by the nature of infertility.  Even as I write the words I am infertile I still struggle to realise that I am talking about me!  The one valuable lesson through all this has to be about communication.  The only way Duncan and I have survived is because we talk to each other, at times we have spoken different languages, we have been at different places in our journeys but we have continued to try to be there for each other.  I am not pretending its easy ,  its been the hardest thing either of us have ever had to deal with,  and its not over yet – its gonna be part of our lives forever.

I will always feel a sense of guilt for robbing Duncan of his fertility, there have been times when I have told him to find someone else who can give him what he wants.  But he reminds me that he wants me and at the end of the day thats all that matters – because I want him too.

Endosister Liz


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Roses of Endometriosis

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