FaceTime with Shay

When it came to fertility, my husband Davy and I had no problems conceiving Noah.  We’d worried, because I’d been on birth control pills for so long and I was about to turn 36 years old. People kept telling me I should hurry. We’d worried, because Davy had partied long and hard for years experimenting with all kinds of highs and lows and substances shadier than tobacco. We’d both lived like there was no tomorrow before we met each other until we married, and decided to build tomorrow together and start a family. For the first time in our adult lives we wanted to be fertile for a good reason.

Thankfully, Davy and I did nothing different once I went off birth control. We didn’t have any more sex or less sex than usual, but I followed my What To Expect iPhone app and tracked my ovulation. So this is what it’s like I’d thought every month as I waited for my period to never come so I’d be pregnant.

28Weeks

We got pregnant pretty fast, and almost overnight I connected with thousands of mothers and expectant mothers and also those struggling to conceive. I connected with women with hearts of gold but who’d yet to conceive naturally after trying for some time. The ability to have children and the ability to raise children are separate matters legally and biologically, but emotionally they are one in the same if you so choose to become a parent. Life then becomes unfair sometimes, and your choice to have a child is a struggle.

I have girlfriends in all stages of their lives and some of them started families right away and some adopted children because conception was not possible. Some of them lost babies trying, and those stories remain in the past. The details are personal and some never to be shared, and because of the sensitivity I have never probed when friends struggled to start families. I always did what I thought a good friend should do and made time to listen, when listening was all that was needed of me.

There are some things we can tell our online friends that we won’t always say to the faces of our real life friends. And vice versa, of course. It’s not about who the better friend is because all friendships are different, but some topics are nearly impossible to tackle in-person because they are so personal or rooted in deep suffering. Nobody wants to be a downer anymore, and people run to therapists and prescription drugs faster than they’ll run to a friend nowadays.

It’s no wonder people don’t speak openly in social circles about their infertility because there are so many words associated with different emotions, and it’s difficult to talk about without inadvertently hurting someone. On either side. Even the word infertility is defined differently in different parts of the world let alone in our own families and circles of friends. Hard conversations more often now are convenient excuses to change the subject. When everything in your life is going great you’re blessed to be having easier conversations in your everyday, as opposed to someone who’s life’s got some hiccups. We all do at some point.

Perhaps it’s because of the veiled anonymity of the internet that some people share so much with me about their private life, through email or private messages. I bring this up today because I had a private message chat this morning with a friend. A friend with whom I’ve had brutally honest conversations, over just about everything, for a long time now. Shay, and she’s been trying for a baby for some time.

“It is possible for us to grieve the babies we can’t have while simultaneously loving to death the ones you do. it’s not mutually exclusive.”

I know exactly what Shay means. I admit sometimes I feel bad complaining about lack of sleep and overall stickiness and ickiness of new parenthood. I’m aware that my friends like Shay who want children, but can’t have them, would love to experience it all all. The good and the bad. All my friends celebrated with me the day Noah was born, and my friends don’t love Noah any less or more because they can or can’t have babies themselves. It doesn’t work like that.

Shay’s struggles in life have been many but her successes have been greater, and all of it is what’s made her the fierce force of woman she is today. She’s got a pretty kick-ass husband and today was a big day because he had an appointment to squirt his man-juice into a cup, for testing. They’ve been trying to have a baby, and seeking answers to some tough questions about their reproductive health. I can’t imagine what that must be like, for a couple to head into a phase where fertility is tested and the possibility of adoption is a real-life decision and discussion.

Like I said, Davy and I were lucky to have conceived so quickly and to have a most active and energetic toddler to call our own today. I’m more aware of those around me who have the strength to work through infertility, and be able to laugh about everything still along the way. Well, Shay’s husband got to the clinic only to discover there was NO PORN in the room where he was expected to do his semen-business. Shay sent me this message:

“I told (hubs) going in oh, they will have porn it will be no big deal, and then he told me NO PORN.”

No porn?! In the movies and sitcoms there’s always porn! What else was there that I didn’t know?! Endless possibilities. I love learning something new, and today I learned that Shay spent a small part of her day on FaceTime with her husband in lieu of porn. She helped him get to where he needed to go to get his sample in a cup. FaceTime sex-time.

You go Shay.

 

Always dishing,

Jun

17 Comments

  1. Nancy Alexander

    Dealing with infertility when all you want to do is be a mom is tough. Due to endometriosis I had 5 miscarriages. Finally I was able to get a child here. All/most moms are protective but losing so many babies and being told it won’t happen makes you an overly protective mom. But being an overly protective mom makes for a paranoid child who I can imagine doesn’t want to be around his mom so you have to find a happy medium. I’m thankful for the child I was blessed with and sympathize with the women who struggle to be a mommy to a child who deserves her love and devotion.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thanks for sharing Nancy. I’m so sorry about your losses. I had one girlfriend who had endometriosis and she never tried to have children because she simply chose not to in the end, given how severely she suffered. I can understand your protectiveness, and above all I can feel the love. Give it time…he may yet come around 🙂

      Reply
  2. As someone who suffered a miscarriage and was unable to conceive, I would just say that people should stop and think before they interrogate people as to why they never had children. Of course, most people don’t know, but when you say you had trouble conceiving it does hush them up! I live in the South, so it’s assumed you have children and if you don’t, there has to be a reason. But that assumption can make it very uncomfortable for people who were unable to have children.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Yes yes yes on the interrogation part. It’s really been desensitized. Even if you do have a child people ask when the next one is coming too, etc…

      I think there are people who get it and those who don’t, but I don’t think most people intentionally ask such questions to hurt someone. It just seems to be a social trend when people get married or move on to the next phase of their life. Sigh. I hear you though. It can get uncomfortable. Everyone could use a little more awareness 🙂

      Reply
  3. Thistle

    I wonder if just this one place had no porn or if all of them don’t. Maybe it’s some legal issue (sexual harassment?) or… I can’t think of an “or”. Maybe you’re expected to bring your own?

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Apparently it’s different everywhere. Makes sense. But still in the media it seems like there’s always a funny porn story when guys give samples haha!

      Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      It’s so difficult to write about when you’re not going through it, yet when you see people you care about living through it you are a part of it somehow. It’s really really tough to talk about and I understand everyone’s need for privacy. At the end of the day we can all sympathize and empathize more 🙂

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    as someone who has been struggling with fertility (or infertility) for over 3 yrs this is a great read. Thanks for writing this.
    We went through all stages of testing and from pills to in utero insemination to IVF at this point. Very hard process emotionally, physically and time wise. Makes you feel like a failure on daily basis. Mostly you ask yourself “why me?”. Especially hard when I specifically didn’t go on the pill as I was scared it will affect my fertility and test all came back clear. Just two very healthy adults who cant get pregnant…
    BUT, I am glad to report that my Dr’s office definitely had porn in the “donation room”. Very sticky and varied porn per my hubbie’s description. Have to be happy for the little things =)

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thank you for sharing here, and keeping the convo going. I’ve wanted to address this since I first got pregnant, because there were so many people contacting me about trying to get pregnant…but I didn’t know how I could write about it given the fact that it’s the exact “very hard process” you speak of. It’s only something that you can understand completely because your’e going through it. From my perspective as a friend and confidant, though, I wanted to write something and see if anyone else felt the same way or could add to what I shared.

      Thanks for the donation room info. It seems they’re all different. Sticky is just how I imagined it! Ew! 🙂

      Reply
  5. I’m almost 57 (birthday is Sunday!), and have had 11 miscarriages. I’m lucky to be a bonus mom to two now grown kids, and MawMaw to six amazing grandkids. Hubby and I went through all kinds of tests, and after the last miscarriage were told that everyone’s DNA has little imperfections. It seems our DNA’s imperfections were so close we could never have a baby. To this day I have days that I feel ‘incomplete,’ and still grieve what may have been. I hope and pray that every couple who wants a child can find a way to make it happen.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Well soon-to-be birthday girl…
      I’ve never heard of DNA imperfections, but yes I image nobody’s DNA is perfect. That would be scary! 🙂

      I love stories like this about strong couples and long love 🙂 Thank you for sharing. I admire your candor in grieving and celebrating at the time. You’re blessed in so many ways!

      Reply
  6. Kelly

    I too had fertility issues and multiple miscarriages. its so hard to watch your friends have baby after baby. You rejoice for them love and spoil their kids and cry at night. My husband also had to have his juice tested. It was in a military hospital. They were not delicate about it. Sent him off to a cold room with no porn and he had 15 minutes to turn his sample in. They asked in a loud voice is this your sperm sample! Of course being the loving caring woman I am I laughed all the way home.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I’m laughing now. Thank you for adding that part, and for sharing your juice testing experience ha!

      You’re honesty about rejoicing and crying at night really is something else. Thank you Kelly. Your husband’s a lucky man 🙂

      Reply

Feel Free to Dish!