"I want it to be a conversation. I want us to sit next to each other and laugh about the crazy places our men have given us shots and all of those birth control pills we religiously took way back when. I want the tired girl with the coat to hear us and move to where we're sitting, join in with a story about a pregnancy test she was sure was going to be positive...and wasn't. I want to put my hand on hers and tell her I'll say a prayer for her every time she comes to mind. I want to stand up when the nurse calls my name, turn back toward them and smile as I walk away. I want to say, "Nice talking with you."After reading this paragraph, I realized how much I want that too. I want someone in my life to be interested in this hard road I'm traveling. I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I have an amazing support system consisting of my husband, family and a few close girlfriends who check up on my blog and then text or Facebook chat me to see how I'm holding up. Their support is something that I'm so very grateful for, something that I honestly need to keep me going.
But sometimes, it just doesn't feel like enough. On those days when I'm having super bad nausea caused by my Metformin and I don't feel like eating anything which causes my husband to get frustrated about what to make for dinner, I wish I had a girlfriend who just knew. Who knew what it feels like to have to run to the bathroom for the 5th time that day because she was thisclose to throwing up. Someone who I didn't have to explain what all of the lingo meant. Someone who would put her hand on mine and tell me that it will eventually be ok and that we'll make it through this together.
I've tried to become friends with a few ladies in the blogsphere, but there seems to almost be this hierarchy of infertility. Since I haven't been trying for a full year, I haven't technically been labeled as "infertile." Since I'm only on my third "trying" cycle, I couldn't possibly know what someone who's going through IUI, an injectable cycle or IVF is going through. Since I've only felt the disappointment of seeing my second negative test, I couldn't know how it feels to get my 30th.
I think this hierarchy is stupid. Everyone starts somewhere. Whether you found out you had PCOS because you didn't cycle for 4 months and decided to go get checked out (a.k.a. me,) or you "baby danced" every month for a year and then contacted your doctor, we all started somewhere. We all felt the confusion and worry of hearing those words, our diagnosis. PCOS. Male factor infertility. Endometriosis. The "now what?" question that ran through all of our heads.
I think as a people, we naturally want to one-up each other. To be the best. To be the most infertile. Because of this, I think this hierarchy has come up. But who are we to say that our negative test hurts more or less than someone else's? Granted, I don't know the pain of 30 cycles, of an IUI, of IVF so I can't say that a negative test from that hurts more or less than a negative test from our second cycle of trying. But why does it matter? We're all trying to get to the end, to our child(ren) one way or another. While traveling down the road of infertility, we may split off onto side roads to tackle Clomid, IUIs, injectables, or IVF, but at the end, we all hope to cross that finish line with babies in arms.
Emily goes on to tell a story about running a marathon. Miles 1-13 were "a breeze" but she hit a wall at mile 14. She wanted to give up. But then a few encouraging words from another runner helped her through. A simple "you go girl!" helped her finish that race.
I think that instead of telling each other that we couldn't possibly know what it feels like to run someone else's race (because we don't,) we need to tell each other that even though we don't know the exact pain someone is going through, we're still there for them. Still there to give advice, suggestions, experience. To be the shoulder to cry on after seeing a negative on test 2 or test 20.
Even though I haven't found my "cycle buddy," I have still enjoyed reading each and every blog I've found. Reading stories of despair when another test came back negative or an IVF cycle was canceled. Stories of hope that betas were rising. Stories of love and happiness where babies were brought into this world, into arms that waited all too long. Even though I don't have that friend who I can text or email to compare war stories, I have still found a sense of camaraderie among the ladies that I follow. I've gotten advice on how to deal with Metformin sickness by reading old posts from ladies who have been where I am now. I've known questions to ask my doctor about certain medications or procedures from ladies who have walked this path before me.
I'm so much more knowledgeable now than I was when I first heard the words PCOS, and it's all because of you. Because of you ladies who may be on cycle 30, this girl who is only on cycle 3 has an idea of what to expect. Because of the ladies who have trudged along this path, I know that there is hope. Seeing pictures of baby bumps and squishy newborns gives me hope that it'll happen for me to, someday. And unfortunately, because of you that have had losses, I know what warning signs to look for if I'm ever lucky enough to have a little one inside me.
I feel like this post was kind of all over the place, but it's something that has been kicking around my brain for a while now. If you're reading this, and have just gotten your diagnosis and you're head is reeling with questions and worries, contact me. Even though I not a veteran by any means, I know a little bit of what's to come. I also know a whole list of ladies who have been fighting this war for a lot longer than me that I can point you towards. I would love to be your shoulder to cry on and your friend to celebrate with. If you've been running for too long and are currently limping along needing a new ear to listen, let me know. I may not know tricks on how to make that progesterone injection less painful, but I'm more than willing to listen to your story.
Let's stop with the "I'm more infertile than thou" attitude and start helping each other through this race we're all hoping to finish.