Sunday, July 12, 2009

To have both...

When I found out about our male factor infertility, it was like a huge punch in the gut from out of nowhere. There was no way for us to suspect low-functioning sperm -- there are no signs or symptoms most of the time. So when we found out, we initially felt shock and a deep, heart wrenching sadness. Male factor felt so black and white, so final, and without much option for "treating" the issue. We thought we would just have to either work around it through IVF or give up on biological children altogether. Both options felt scary and overwhelming, especially since this was only our very first infertility test. Go directly to jail without passing go....

We were fortunate that DH could have the varicocele repair surgery and that it did improve our male factor situation. The fact that there was a potential surgery and that it did result in improvement seems rare in the world of male factor from what I gather. We are thankful.

And, I think to some extent we have grieved our male factor diagnosis. The initial shock and pain wore off after many prayers and tears, and I think we came to a place of acceptance. Of course, there have been and will continue to be moments of intense sadness over our MFI, and I'm sure if there are failed treatment cycles those feelings will wash over us anew. And, of course, we feel the sadness over our infertility -- it just isn't as intense as when we found out.

On the other hand, the female factor diagnosis has unfolded slowly over time, with the no one "real" diagnosis, but rather with lots of symptoms and questions. Low progesterone? A fibroid? Spotting, spotting, and more spotting? Short cycles? Female factor has been gradual, subtle, and less intense. I almost think it has felt more hopeful -- once I get the right medication, diet, doctor, surgery, etc. it will "go away." But with more hope comes more potential for lows. And I feel the female factor monthly. With each cycle I am reminded that my body is failing me in its ability to conceive, and my body seems to be reminding me more and more often that it is unable to cooperate in this "getting pregnant" endeavor. I am heartbroken that my body won't act like it was designed to do...over and over.

Neither male or female factor feel easier or worse to me. I'm sure for other infertile couples their experiences with each or both could be very different than ours. But as I have faced the female issues more lately, I was suddenly struck by how my emotions and expectations have changed and varied with each side of our infertility.

But the underlying emotions are the same with both, and with all of you -- our wombs are empty. Our arms are empty. And how wonderful it is that we can all support one another with our different diagnoses and situations!

16 comments:

Melissa said...

What a sweet post. I definitely agree with your last paragraph. If IF has given me anything, it's been an entirely new place for support, compassion, and understanding that other people just don't have. ((HUGS))

Betty Rubble said...

Regardless of diagnosis, AND outcome--either success at the end of the rainbow or continuing to plug along--SUPPORT is key!

jones said...

thank you so much for your support! wonderful post.

Mrs. Hammer said...

You're right, we may not be fighting the same battles but we feel the same overall emptiness. Great post. {{HUGS}}

Kelli said...

I love how you said "OUR male factor infertility" - it shows how much you and your husband are in this together.

I couldn't agree more with the wonderful support and encouragement that can be found in people I have never met, but feel like I know so well. Thank YOU for being there for me and know that I am here for you! xoxo

twondra said...

Thinking of you sweetie. We, too, have "both" male and female so I can relate to some of what you're saying. Thanks for sharing. (((HUGS)))

Rebekah said...

Beautifully written and so very true. Support is key! ((hugs))

♥Tabitha said...

AMEN! =)

Hope Endures said...

How true...the support I have found from other bloggers has been amazing beyond words. We may not walk the same paths, but we share the same pain.

I've been meaning to comment for a while on the Habbakkuk verses in your sidebar. I always leave your blog feeling so encouraged. Just seeing those verses reminds me that God is God, in every circumstance.

Praying for you!!

Infertility is Hard said...

I also think it's wonderful that we can all support each other, regardless of how different all of our stories are. I know for me personally, I couldn't get through this without the support of wonderful people like you. :-D

Astrid said...

This community is the best medicine. Often better than anything my doctors can prescribe or offer me. Very often, in fact. Beautiful post and may I say you are weathering your respective storms beautifully and, it seems, quite successfully. I can feel your frustration on the mystery female factor. But I prefer to think of all these problems (challenges?) as just points along a spectrum. As much as it hurts to have uncertainty as to what is wrong, at least there is hope because as long as we can keep doing more to help ourselves, the door has not been shut.

Jen said...

just letting you know you have an award on my blog :-)

ttcourbaby.blogspot.com

finding_ac said...

we have the same problem...except i read so much on the internet about possible problems from the get go, i decided to get us both tested to see what the issues could be...

i reccomend buying the book fertility facts...good info in there and things you can do to up the count...and it is more reliable than the internet.

♥ ac

Missy said...

When I told my sister about our IF and that it is both male and female factor, she replied, "well at least neither of you can blame the other." I thought that was a good perspective.

A said...

What a great post! I agree with PP- it is great how you refer to the MFI as "our". I am so glad that we can support each other through all the ups and downs- hopefully our arms will be filled soon!!

gringa78 said...

Thinking of you, sweetie! ((HUGS))