In case you are not familiar with spin off’s from TLC’s famous Toddlers and Tiaras series, there is this woman (mother to one of the pageant contestants) who is 32 years old and the mother of four daughters. She had the first when she was 15 years old, making her oldest daughter 17 now. Said oldest daughter is now expecting her first child making this woman at 32 years of age, a grandmother. See this glorious woman for yourself.
This is the sort of demented thinking that I am experiencing these days. Upon watching this, I have two reactions:
1. Since I might not be capable of having children of my own, I feel like it is my God-given right in this moment when I am coming to terms with that fact, to point out all of the terribleness that I see with other people’s parenting.
2. Actually, this woman’s life choices might have been better than mine. Her choice to get pregnant at the age of 15 actually turns out not to be so bad from the point of view of a 34-year-old who is one of the 76 out of 100,000 women in my age group suffering from premature ovarian failure. It is a special kind of pathetic when the choices of an unwed teenaged mother look better than my own.
For a long time I didn’t think that I was going to put any of this infertility stuff on my blog, because it is intensely personal and I didn’t want to seek out attention on something like this. I usually want to hide in the back of a room before talking about this to anyone, but I am introvert anyway. Even though this blog isn’t “private”, I know that no one who doesn’t know me reads it anyway, and for the people who do know me and read this, they probably know it is easier for me to write it than it is for me to talk about it. It always has been when it comes to me and my emotions. At today’s doctor’s appointment, I finally got the medical confirmation of what I felt like my body has unconsciously told me for a very long time, and that is that I have more rapidly come to the end of my good eggs than the average woman. My levels of Antimüllerian hormone (AMH) are “undetectable” according to my doctor, meaning I have very few eggs left. So now, our best hope of me getting pregnant is to try in vitro, where I stand about the same odds as women much older than me in actually getting pregnant.
As I said above, I had increasingly become consciously aware that my body had been telling me this for a long period of time. And now, I am able to see just how long my body was trying to give me this message, since from a biological standpoint, our bodies generally want us to reproduce and pass along our genes.
a. I have been impatient from even my earliest memories. I considered it a personal failing if I wasn’t the first kid in my class who finished a particular assignment or test. There hasn’t been a day in my life when I haven’t inwardly shouted to myself “HURRY UP!” at some point during the day. Maybe my impatience was born from my own body telling me that I don’t have time to waste.
b. I have always felt older than my given age and always felt more comfortable around people older than my own age group. I am not talking about the obnoxious freshman in high school who says, “I only hang around with the seniors,” but rather I mean that I always found myself most comfortable with people’s grandparents. I have always been a big hit with my peers’ grandparents. They love me! And now, this makes sense because my egg supply has always been on par with someone much older than me, so from a hormonal perspective, I always have been an old soul.
c. As a kid, I told my primary teacher, “I’m never having kids,” a shocking thing to say when you are a kid in the Mormon church. At the time I said that because I was convinced I was going to be a ballerina with the New York City Ballet during my childbearing years. My body wasn’t suited for that either. Still, it turns out as a nine-year old, my sense of premonition was somewhat remarkable.
I know it is normal for women who have this diagnosis to feel some tremendous sense of guilt accompanying this diagnosis, because they feel like they waited too long to have kids. I certainly feel that way, but at the same time, I don’t see what I could have done to have kids at an earlier age. I am not this career-driven creature who delayed childbearing out of some desire to make it to the top of my chosen profession. In fact, part of me feels a little guilty at this point in time because I feel like I sacrificed a lot of my potential to do something great in my career so that I would be in the position to have a family, and now maybe those sacrifices don’t make as much sense. I could have done the Foreign Service years ago, or I could have made many different choices to make it to the top, but I didn’t because I wanted the chance to have a family if the opportunity ever presented itself. I feel like I would have needed to completely alter my personality for it to have been remotely possible for me to get married at an earlier age, and probably that marriage wouldn’t have been so happy because I wouldn’t have been myself. I would never second guess the reason why David and I didn’t get married until we were 30. Maybe I should have had more unprotected sex as a teenager?
This kind of second guessing obviously is not helpful. The only thing that is helpful at this point in time is enough money to pay for multiple rounds of in vitro, and hope and prayers that this may be possible in spite of the poor odds in my favor. The hardest part of this for me is realizing that my own choices really have no control in this matter. Ultimately, I don’t have any control in the outcome of this, and I have to find peace either way. So, if in vitro doesn’t work, and it is more likely than not that it won’t work, then I have to be okay with that. It is our best option, and that is better than doing nothing which is the only other option that I have. I wish there was some medicine that I could take that would magically make me have better eggs, but there isn’t. So this is what there is.
I will be okay either way.