Tommy Ramone died this past week. All of the original Ramones are gone Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, and again Tommy. I can remember it as though it were yesterday. I worked concert security at local concert halls and I briefly met them and worked several of their shows. I remember them being very nice. I also remember the barricade nearly crushing on top of me from the force of the swaying and punk rock equivalent of a dancing crowd. It seems like yesterday The Ramones were playing a reunion tour. It seems like such a short time ago. What does this have to do with infertility and its effect on our lives? I will try to draw a line that makes sense.
I would like to give you a quick family bio. My wife and I are part of the infertility community. We both contributed to what was affecting our ability to conceive and carry a child full term. After nearly five years, we had a child on our second IVF. We had tried other methods over that time period and like many others in the infertility lost babies and shed tears. My wife did eight months bed rest while carrying our daughter who is about to turn six. I wrote a book on our experience and at every opportunity try to offer support and our experience to families that are still finding their ways. My wife, a pharmacist, is involved with many women in various stages of infertilty. She is a rock. I don’t deserve so good and neither do most others. We wanted to be greedy and try again but decided not to tempt fate.
I did not forget to get back to the Ramones. When I saw on the news the latest death of a Ramone it was a clear reminder to me about how short our time is on this planet. Tommy Ramone was 64 when he passed, relatively young, but the impact that the band had on me was recent only over a couple of decades. 20 plus years seems like a long time, but it isn’t. If you consider that time frame think of your fertility window? If you or your spouse have infertility issues that can be medically treated and give you a glimmer of hope that window could be half or less of the 20 year Ramone window. Some couples and people feel in their heart that they have issues and do not seek help. Maybe they don’t get help because they do not want to face the truth. They could be dissappointed in themself or concerned they will disappoint their spouse. These couples may be scared of the unknown. They do not know if they can handle the finances, the emotions, or the test to their marriage. So your window that is already limited is getting smaller because of a very natural and normal fear of “not knowing”.
Many forms of infertility can be treated. Sometimes it is as simple as shots but it can sometimes need other treatments or even surgery. If you and your partner already have concerns and have tried to have a baby for several months or over a year to no avail then it could be time to have a talk. You must be honest with each other from the beginning and by this I mean both sides must express their fears and lack of knowledge up front. One of the worst things you could do is leave feelings unsaid because they may fester in ways that will make your infertility journey even more difficult. Once your fears and admission that you need help, as a couple, are on the table then its time to call your regular doctor for references and information. You will not be the first person to walk this path and sometimes fear can be quelled by support and experience. Attain Fertility, Resolve, and many other websites offer great advice and shared experiences. It has been my experience that sometimes knowing someone else has felt the same I do makes handling stressful situations better. There are many blogs kept by men and women at various levels of infertility that can be found on WordPress or through a google search. Be curious and read some blogs. It will not take your fears away but it might give you a little peace knowing you are not alone.
You had an honest conversation with your partner, talked to your doctor about next steps, and stalked some blogs and websites for support and proof you are not crazy but now the real work begins. Your treatments begin and you have submitted to a million blood tests and the first couple cycles go by and nothing happens. You get words of encouragement and hope from your doctor but the results are the same. You decide to take a break and skip a cycle. During your break you question yourself, the process, and stop talking to your pregnant friend you have know since childhood. Time is passing and so is your confidence and patience. What do you do?
You don’t give up ever? Stuart Scott recently said in a speech about his battle with cancer (and I paraphrase) that when you are too tired to fight let others fight for you. While infertility and cancer are clearly two very different issues the principle remains the same. You are not in your infertility battle alone. You partner is in the battle with you, your close friends are in the battle with you, the infertility community is in the battle with you. We had our child but we are in the battle with you (message us on WordPress). I will never forget what my wife did. Science is on your side, family and friends are on your side, but time? Not so much. Just like it only seemed like yesterday that I saw the Ramones on stage it also seemed like a blink in time when we were battling infertility to have our child. Do not give in if you can afford to move on. Be honest with yourself and your family. Cry if you need to. It is okay to let it go from time to time. Don’t doubt yourself. The resolve of women in the infertility process is amazing. You can do this. Time may be short but desire and drive to have a child are not. You can best infertility.