Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Closing doors and expanding horizons

I learned the hard way about the "happily ever after" stuff. I mean, I never expected my marriage to be perfect, but I did expect life to go roughly as planned. Which it did, for about a year, and then we started trying for a baby. I had a miscarriage the day after my positive pregnancy test that first month. I never even told family or went to the doctor. But wait, at least now I knew I could get pregnant!

Never say that to a woman who's just lost her baby, by the way, because it might not even be true. It wasn't true for me. I've never conceived since. I wonder, now, if that pregnancy wasn't ectopic. I mean, I've never had my tubes looked at, but it makes sense for them to be scarred, given what I was eventually diagnosed with.

10 months later, I knew without a shadow of a doubt we had a problem. I know, I know, it takes 1 year of unprotected intercourse to be infertile, but I had no doubt whatsoever that we would get there. That guideline  applies to every couple, regardless of whether or not they know enough to time things correctly, and because we had been using the Fertility Awareness Method to chart my cycles since we got married, we knew when we could potentially conceive. Each perfectly timed cycle has between a 20-25% chance of resulting in a pregnancy in a couple of normal fertility. If you can do math, that's 4-5 cycles, 6 to stretch the chances out a bit.

Now, I don't say that to scare anyone. I personally know several women who had charted and timed intercourse and conceived on their 8th, 10, 13th months, for example. But I'm a little a lot scientifically oriented, and I knew we should be pregnant by now. I also knew my cycles weren't nice and textbook, and it looked like things were getting worse. So I started looking for help. I started supplementing with Maca root (which did help my cycles, by the way), futzing with the amount of light I let into my bedroom at night, drinking more water, and I scheduled an appointment to get some bloodwork done.

I also started researching what our options might be once we were actually classified as infertile, beyond the hope/despair/try harder cycle. A good friend of mine pointed me to an online forum for offering Christian support to infertile women, called Hannah's Prayer. There I found all I wanted to know and more, from women who had been through medical treatments, the adoption path, fostering, you name it.

It was there that I found a new thing. Something that had not been mentioned once in my years at a Christian University. It hadn't been mentioned in my nursing classes, nor in my ethics classes, nor in my philosophy classes,  no matter how much we covered conception, the beginning of human life, and the issues surrounding high-tech infertility treatments. Hannah's Prayer had a section dedicated to embryo adoption, and it seemed like I couldn't learn fast enough. What an obvious arrangement- why had I never heard of it before?

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