Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Age of Infertility

This girl doesn't know yet. She's eighteen, and she doesn't realize that the hell she's living in will only get worse. She doesn't realize that a few years later, when she's finally in a better place and happy, then her world will come tumbling down. She doesn't even see the danger lurking on the horizon.

Ignorance truly is bliss.


If I had started trying to have a baby at eighteen, I could understand people staring at me like I'm crazy. But I started at twenty-two, after being married for a year, and living with my husband for almost four years. Yet, even with my twenty-fourth birthday looming a month away, being married for three years this July, together for six, people still give me that glassy eyed look. They still stare at me like I'm nuts. I don't get it.

I also sometimes feel like people brush me off about infertility. I found out at twenty-two. I mean, an infertile twenty-two year old? I fall into the 5%. I think those statistics are wrong, I think that there are woman at twenty-two, or younger, who don't even know they're infertile. I didn't realize at sixteen that I had PCOS, I didn't think about it. I didn't acknowledge that I was growing a mustache, I got rid of it. I didn't care that I was only getting a period every few months, starting from the very first one... no, I was the luckiest teenager ever. I didn't get periods hardly ever.

What I didn't know then could fill a book.

So, that's why I feel the statistics are skewed. You can have a reproductive disorder lurking, and not even know about it until much later. And since many woman wait until they're older, we don't find out about it until we're older.

If I had started trying at eighteen (or even just had a competent doctor), I could have caught PCOS early. Began keeping it in check early. If I had known about it while I was skinny, I would have put greater effort into staying skinny. I would have made greater efforts in keeping up my daily walks. I would have known the danger that was lurking... but no one warned me. I didn't see it coming.

I don't regret waiting, I was in no position to be a mother back then (I do regret all that wasted money on BCP's and condoms though.) But I regret not finding out earlier, when I had a better chance to make things work. It's easier to maintain a weight, than to loose 80 pounds. It's easier to keep up an exercise routine than to jump into it again.

And while, yes, I'm young. It really doesn't make it hurt any less. I feel like an oddity sometimes, a young infertile. People treat it like an oxymoron, you're supposed to be most fertile in your twenties... yeah, how about not always? How about, that statement scares me even. If I'm my most fertile now, when I'm not ovulating... how much worse can it get when I reach my thirties and forties? Will an ovary die, my uterus close up, will my tubes do a little dance and end up knotted together?

The fact of the matter is that infertility hurts at any age, and it doesn't increase your odds of having a baby either. It just gives you more time to figure out what you're going to do about it, more times to try. It doesn't mean you'll have success, even with more chances of trying you don't always have an increased chance of getting pregnant. Yet people tell me to relax, I have plenty of time. That's strange, because two years of my life have just about passed me by, and I still haven't increased my odds of having a baby. I still don't ovulate, I'm still just as barren as ever. So, yeah. I have more time. It hasn't helped me though.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I found out in my twenties. It gives me more time to think about my options and figure everything out. I know what I'm up against. But damn, the things I didn't know then, that I know now.

Silly me.


Guera! said...

I don't know many people your age who have your wisdom. Sending some best wishes and encouragement your way.

janis said...

Ignorance can be blissful...
sending you all good thoughts and wishes.

Cara said...

I feel like we, Ifers and DBMs, have lived a lifetime in a minute number of years.

"How old are the two of you" I was asked today.

"33 and 32 respectively, I answered."

Then, I thought...holy shit - I don't feel that old, young, whatever. I just feel like the world has packed alot into these 30 years.

Shelby said...

IF is IF, no matter where you're from, no matter what your issues are, and no matter what your age. And it sucks all the same. I remember a period of a few months when I was 23 during which I didn't fill my birth control pills, thinking, whatever happens, happens. Well, of course, nothing did and I am convinced that we were infertile from day 1. I think you're right. There are so many of us who were never counted in the statistics in our early 20s as we were never trying at that time. The number is bigger than we all realize.

Penny said...

I often hate the fact that I did years of birth control. For nothing! My first was also a struggle.

On a different topic entirely, Tag! You're it. See my blog for details. :)

areyoukiddingme said...

You are so right - although I come from a different perspective. My issues are not age or reproductive system related. They are immune related and they would have been the same at 18, 25, 35, or 37 when I found out what was going on. Age is not the issue at hand.

When I was 22, my dad died from complications due to rheumatoid arthritis. I could not have imagined that 15 years later, there would be drugs that would have helped him. But keep that in mind. While being young is no salve, there might be research in the works that will be there to help you that you would never have thought existed. The other day, I read a story about a transplanted ovary - I would never have thought that would be possible! I guess that's what youth does give you - the possibility of hope.

Smiling said...

yeah, being young doesn't take away the hurt. I have found it a bit harder to find doctors who would really listen and help... I also found it hard to find peers who understood. Take care!