(Let me get this out of the way, because I forgot to mention it: My husband is once again employed. He’s now the director of digital strategy and development for Chicago magazine. He started last Monday, and it’s an awesome opportunity and he’s very happy and we’re both thrilled. As much as I miss having a Househusband, though truthfully he never really was, I much rather like having my husband happy and personally and professionally fulfilled. Having my commute buddy back is great, too.)

Well that was rather anticlimactic.

For all of you who mentioned to me that the Fertility Center of Illinois is a bit factory-like well, you’re right. Efficiency and quickness seems to be the order of the day. In as much as if they can if they were running on time, which they weren’t.

But here’s the thing: the staff was really kind and lovely and warm. I enjoyed being able to park, and the great magazines in the waiting room. I really liked the location in River North – it’s right on the river and today was a glorious, sunny day and it was hard not to be intoxicated by all of that humidity and fresh air. I was there a little early, and sadly, a software upgrade threw everyone off and so I was about 40 minutes late getting into see my doctor.

He was very kind and charming and funny and went through all of my tests and information.

He’s really not blaming my thyroid on anything. He’s blaming my…age. I went through my whole thyroid spiel, and he wasn’t having it as the reason why we’re not getting pregnant. He’s not saying that it isn’t causing me a bunch of pain and agony, just that it’s more likely all of my half-marathon training is as much to blame for my low progesterone levels as is my wonky thyroid.

Oh, yeah. And also? Age. Did I mention that part?

He made a couple of comments about me being “Thirty-four years young” which, incidentally, has the exact opposite effect he may have hoped it would have. People only say that sort of thing when you’re clearly not young. Yes, I know. I’m not 25 anymore, Doc. I know. But dude. You should have seen me at 25. I’m in much better shape at 34 than I was at 25, when I was regularly using my lungs as a repository for carcinogens and pickling my liver on a daily basis with cheap beer.

So all of this is just the unfortunate consequence of age, and perhaps my insane need to have certain athletic benchmarks accomplished before I die.  I am OK with this, as New Orleans was awesome and had I reproduced with any of the men with whom I spent my twenties, well, you know.

The good news is that while the insane training I was doing may have contributed to the progesterone problem, and I’m once again under orders to stop running (Monday’s Ridge Run will be my first and last race of the season, promise!), he did give me his full support to continue with my boot camp classes, which had me breathing a sigh of relief.

You guys, I really, really, really love these classes. I bound out of bed every day at 4:30 a.m. and enthusiastically head to the studio to put my body through torture for an hour. I’m home by 6:05 a.m., I get to water my flowers, play with the dog, have breakfast and get ready for work with time to spare. It’s the perfect way to start the day. I don’t want to give this up any time soon.

My diet is fine, my weight is fine and I’m not doing anything that he’s concerned about. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing.

So I’ll be taking the following tests to get a better idea of things:

1) Re-test for the progesterone.

2) Disease screening (HIV, HPV, etc.)

3) Genetic testing (although this is really pending insurance since it runs $6,000 (!!) without it.)

4) Rubella and chicken pox immunity status

5) Ultrasound for Antral follicle count

6) FSH, LH and Estradiol test (again)

This dance begins once again on June 7, which is great. I’m glad to not have to wait around much longer to get some more answers. He did mention that we’ll probably fall under “unexplained infertility,” which really wasn’t what I was hoping for.

And so I was a bit sad. Well, a lot sad.

I really resent having to do all this. I know what that sounds like, I know what that means, I’m sure it’s all normal, but wow. The fact that I can rattle off so many people who just have sex – sometimes even when they’ve been on birth control! – is just unfair. That’s it, it’s unfair. Plus? I don’t feel like the women who they are targeting, and I fear that no matter how I try to explain myself, I’m just going to come off as a snot.

I don’t identify with the pathos that seems to go along with being infertile. I just don’t. I never have. I have never been baby crazy. I have never seen myself as a mother, at least not until I met my husband and fell immediately in love with him. I didn’t even babysit more than a handful of times as a teenager. I can still envision a life without kids, even though it makes me very sad to think that’s our fate. The whole experience of having to go through these tests, at these sorts of places, surrounded by all of this heart-wrenching literature it, well, it pisses me off. I don’t like it, it just annoys me, they aren’t my people, and I don’t know how else to say it.

I think I feel about it all the way I originally felt about the language we used to describe body image and weight loss and health. My old friend, Wendy, once put it best and said, in essence, that she was tired of a perspective that demanded she view her body through the lens of a Cathy comic, accepting that we’re all just supposed to “ACK!” our way through the size our thighs and our butts. I feel that way in essence, about not being able to conceive a baby with my husband. Just because the world has decided we’re supposed to feel and act a certain way about not being able to get pregnant doesn’t mean I want to feel and act that way, and it’s hard to find any alternatives,

So I left there yesterday feeling very sad about the whole thing. It was Dip Day at work, so I brought in Baked Doritos and French Onion Dip, a favorite binge food of mine. Wisely, and as Geneen Roth advises, I had a small portion, in front of everyone, enjoyed the heck out of it and called it a day. I went right back to work. It was probably the healthiest and least obsessive approach to eating my feelings ever. I had a long talk about how I felt with my husband after work, went home, ate some leftovers and we took Glinny for a walk in the park across the street from our house.

On the walk, my sister, Devyn, sends me a text and asks us to watch Maddie, my 16-month-old niece, for a weekend in July. I could feel us both tense up with panic and dread – a whole weekend?! Though my husband started to mutter about being nervous about having a baby for the whole weekend, I reminded him that, well, you know, we are …

“Yeah, but that would be OUR kid!”

Clearly I’m not the only one in our relationship who is very “Our Kid Exception To The Rule.” Just the same, we agreed to watch her.

We love our niece and nephews, and it’ll be just fine. It really will be a good glimpse into things for two people who are really used to doing their own thing. I imagine there will be calls to my parents on more than one occasion. And maybe Glin can babysit while we hit the bars down the street.


I am pretty sure I am cut out for parenthood. I am just not so sure that I’m cut out for being infertile.

12 Responses to RE-visit
  1. Mr. Smith
    May 27, 2010 | 7:22 am

    “As much as I miss having a Househusband, though truthfully he never really was…”

    You realize this makes it sound like I sat on the couch and drank beer for two months, right?

    Also, my wife is too modest to mention this – outside of a small call-out in the left rail – but she’s a speaker at the Evolution of Women in Social Media Conference in June.

  2. Melissa
    May 27, 2010 | 7:43 am

    Congratulations on your speaking engagement! I’ve been waiting to hear about your trip to the RE – I totally feel your ambivalence with this latest news. Being told we took too long? When for some of us it took this long to decide and/or get done our life stuff prior to wanting children? Is beyond irritating and sad-making.

    I’ve commented before, I’m in a similar age/thyroid situation – I just went on Synthroid with another blood panel scheduled in 8 weeks and a trip to an endocrinologist in the meantime. My doctor is hoping the pills will jumpstart my cycle, as I haven’t had one for 7 months now after going off birth control pills. The whole ‘why no baby’ discussion pretty much stops right there at this point, but honestly I’m scared that it still won’t happen after this and I’ll be in your “unexplained infertility” boat. Don’t get me wrong, you’re great company but seriously how hard does this suck and why can’t I find any good resources online that don’t make me crazy with the babytalk?

    Oh, and Mr. Smith – I didn’t get that impression! Some menfolk are just happier working outside the home and aren’t cut out for the full-time home arts :) I have a summer househusband and he enjoys staying home so it works really well for us, but personally I don’t know if I could do the same thing.

  3. Christy
    May 27, 2010 | 9:12 am

    I’m so sorry you are going through this!! I can relate as I tried for years to get pg — and hit 34 and said we’ve GOT to get serious about this. Long story short we went had to go the IVF route and now have a handsome 6 month old boy! I wish you all the luck in the world!!

  4. LT
    May 27, 2010 | 3:10 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and humor, it is nice to know I am never alone in my thoughts. Wish you peace with your future and happiness.

  5. Emily
    May 27, 2010 | 4:47 pm

    Have you ruled out male factor? I know two people who went through extensive and invasive testing (TONS of bloodwork, HSG, etc) only to find out they actually had sperm trouble. Just a thought, since I didn’t notice whether you had mentioned that or not! Semen analysis is probably a little bit embarrassing, but at least it doesn’t hurt! And if all is well, then at least you’ve ruled it out. If you have already done all that, then nevermind! Good luck. My husband and I are just starting tentatively trying. I’m hoping I take after my mom who got pregnant accidentally at 40, but we’ll see!

    I completely understand what you’re staying about not being cut out for fertility issues. I feel exactly the same way – particularly as my best friend just went through IVF and I honestly don’t think I could do it. But I guess you never really know under you’re faced with that option.

  6. Joanne
    May 27, 2010 | 6:52 pm

    Erin, I wish the doctor had better/less frustrating news for you. It really bugs me that your age is a problem, because as you know, I was two years older than you when I got pregnant, and 41 the last time I got pregnant. I just – I don’t understand it and I’m frustrated for you. I wish you luck and you and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Jenny
    May 27, 2010 | 11:42 pm

    I get the not-baby-crazy thing. I definitely wanted kids but never felt that consuming desperation and despair I found on so many blogs. I never felt I would “do anything” or spend any amount to get there. It’s partly why we adopted; easier for us to reach that point. Everyone is different.

  8. Amy Lester
    May 31, 2010 | 12:26 pm

    Erin, my heart aches for you. This isn’t fun to deal with, and it moves in slow motion, and it’s just frustrating. I have a good feeling, though, and I believe you WILL have that baby. Who will one day be an 8-year-old who won’t let you brush her hair and will walk around looking homeless. LOVE.

  9. Gayle
    June 1, 2010 | 7:48 pm

    Though it sounds like your RE is a great guy, it is unfortunate he just went to the “34=old” route without passing go. I first visited an RE at 34 and no mention was made of my age. Period. Because even women in their 20′s can have “old eggs.” It all depends on your hormone levels, genetics and other fun things.

    I hate falling under the “infertile” description – even after 2 kids I am not so sure about good parent thing either. Also – not a big fan of “other people’s kids.” Oops, did I say that?

  10. Eliza
    June 3, 2010 | 3:42 pm


  11. Jennifer
    June 4, 2010 | 11:33 am

    First, congrats to your husband for the new job! For the babysitting thing, if you need help with Maddie, give me a call!

    And finally, just wow to you. You certainly have a way with words–strike straight into the gut of the emotion. I can’t imagine what it feels like to go through what you’re going through. But I certainly have felt the resentment about other things in my life with the same depth that you describe.

    Your self-awareness and courage are an inspiration to me! Especially with all the petty stuff that I get upset about in my life. So thank you!

  12. [...] unexpected as we had begun to make peace with the possibility that our efforts would require some medical assistance or might come to naught. But no, we are with child. A girl, specifically. We could not be more [...]

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